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Gen Z Consumers: Shaping the Future of Meat

Bridget Wasser

Reading Time: 3 minutes
A mother and her Gen Z daughter
Like every generation, Gen Z was indelibly shaped by the environment they grew up in. Gen Zs were the first generation to be raised completely in the digital era, have been exposed to heightened climate awareness and experienced a global pandemic during a pivotal time in their lives. Gen Z is also a smaller generation than either the Millennial or Boomer generations in the United States.1 While they may not be as large or hold the buying power of those generations right now, they are quickly influencing the marketplace with their own set of preferences that are shifting consumption patterns. As more and more of the Gen Z generation enters adulthood, we can expect to see their influence continue to intensify. Looking ahead as marketers, it’s crucial we understand this generation, their habits and what they are looking for when making meat purchases.

In August 2023, Midan Marketing released Meat Consumer Segmentation 3.0 research, a deep dive into today’s meat eaters that breaks all U.S. meat consumers into five segments with distinct shopping and eating habits. From this research, we extracted a Gen Z Profile report, a snapshot of today’s meat consumers ages 18-25. The majority of Gen Z fell into the Convenience Cravers (37%) segment or the Connected Trendsetters (26%) segment. We learned that Gen Z meat consumers over-index for online meat purchasing, convenience, social media usage and sustainability concerns.

Online Purchases

Throughout the pandemic, consumers developed the habit of ordering and receiving goods with the click of a button. While delivery for takeout and grocery has waned slightly since the pandemic, for Gen Z, these habits have become engrained. Gen Z are more likely to make purchases online than any other generation, and this extends to their food purchases. When it comes to meat shopping, more than half of Gen Z have purchased meat online in the past three months and plan to continue.2


Many Gen Zs are in college or early in their careers. Four in 10 say they work a side gig on top of school or a full-time job to earn extra money.3 Pressed for time, convenience items have become an essential part of Gen Zs’ routines. It’s no surprise the largest portion of Gen Zs fall into the Convenience Cravers segment. Because they are time and money strapped, providing convenience for these consumers is a key way to get on their radar.

Social Media Usage

Gen Z is uber-connected digitally. Six in 10 Gen Zs follow brands on social media, more than any other generation4 and 65% say a brand’s social media presence influences their fresh meat and poultry purchase decisions.2 For brands to reach Gen Z, having a social media presence is table stakes. With more than half of Gen Z turning to social media to discover new foods and recipes, the opportunity to reach Gen Z meat consumers is online.5


Because they grew up in a time when climate change was gaining attention, it’s not surprising that Gen Zs have a strong interest in sustainability. When it comes to meat purchases, 75% of Gen Z think about sustainability at least some when purchasing fresh meat, slightly more than other generations. Beyond sustainability, Gen Z wants brands to stand for causes they care about and 50% say they would pay more for meat that supports a cause they are in favor of.2

Overall, Gen Z consumers’ meat shopping and eating preferences are still forming. It’s essential for brands to come alongside and understand this generation as they gain buying power and form habits. Not only is Gen Z the future consumer, but more than half of adults say their Gen Z children and acquaintances influence how they shop today.6 Learn more about the Gen Z meat consumer in Midan’s Gen Z Profile Report.



1 Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios, 2019

2 Midan Marketing, Meat Consumer Segmentation 3.0, 2023

3 Ernst & Young Global Limited, Gen Z Segmentation Study, 2023

4 SurveyMonkey, Gen Z Social Median and Shopping Habits, 2021

5 Hartman Group, Taste of Tomorrow, 2023

6 Edelman, Gen Z’s Influence on Adults’ Brand Engagement, 2023


About the Author

A Texas A&M grad with both a B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science, Bridget is the new Associate Director, Customer Insights at Midan. In that role, she will lead CIT strategy and insights direction and facilitate high level internal stakeholder collaboration as well as relationships with external clients/vendors. As the former Senior Executive Director, Product Quality & Education at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Bridget is the co-author of articles in several industry publications. When not working Bridget makes and sells cactus, succulent and house plant arrangements and cheers on all Denver and Texas A&M sports teams.
Bridget Wasser