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To Win Over Gen Z, Your CPG Brand Must Understand Wellness

May 13, 2022

Written By
Danielle Muller
CPG brands are already reacting to the wellness trend. Because nutrition is a core tenant of wellness, this movement is particularly prevalent within the food and beverage space. People want to put “better for you” whole foods in their bodies. Everything in emerging CPG has some tie to “better for you.” But you’ve definitely noticed that already. 

One demographic for whom wellness is particularly important is Generation Z. What you need to consider now is how Gen Z (people born between 1997 and 2012) will propel the wellness movement forward. You also need to understand how your CPG brand can capitalize on this generation’s rising interest in their health and wellbeing — as backed by research. 

Why Gen Z Matters to Your CPG’s Wellness Marketing Efforts

Gen Z doesn’t know a world that’s not focused on wellness. And we’re not talking about your grandmother’s Jane Fonda workout in the morning and cocktail in the afternoon. Gen Z has an intrinsically more sophisticated view of wellness that encompasses physical and mental health as well as appearance, nutrition, and fitness. 

As Gen Z grows as a distinct market segment, you have no choice but to incorporate wellness into your brand in some way. Or at least learn about wellness before Gen Z overtakes every other generation of shoppers and insists on wellness-promoting products. 

Besides, your company has to look at Gen Z research anyway. They are the up-and-coming consumer group. If Baby Boomers are your main target market, what happens when there are no more Baby Boomers? 

3 Findings that Prove Wellness Is Gen Z’s Bread and Butter (or Coffee and Spotify Playlist) 

The popularity of wellness along with the rising influence of Gen Z — which are inextricably linked — compelled us to review some of the latest research on Gen Z behavior. And this research is what led us to this article’s title: 

Your CPG brand can’t attract Gen Z without understanding wellness. 

Let’s look at three findings about Gen Z that prove this thesis:

1. Alcohol Consumption Takes a Backseat 

Cocktailing was a way Boomers tended to their mental wellbeing. But the opposite is true of Gen Z. Research shows they’re ditching alcohol and even CBD products in favor of self-care treats. 

You’re much more likely to find a Gen Zer at a coffee shop sipping an oat milk latte and listening to music than you are to find them at a bar. Or perhaps enjoying a dark chocolate bar with the same Spotify playlist on loop. 

For CPG, less emphasis on alcohol could explain the rise of non-alcoholic drinks. Bigger picture, what do Gen Z’s preferred treats mean for your product line?

2. For Emotional Health, Podcasts Are out and Music Is in 

Along the same lines as caring for their mental wellbeing with coffee over cocktails, Gen Z has its own ideas about staying emotionally sharp and well. 

Unlike their Gen X and Millennial predecessors, Gen Z doesn’t search for podcasts, grab their yoga mats, or cut down on caffeine on their quest for emotional happiness. Instead, Gen Z folks prefer: 

  • Listening to laugh-worthy content
  • Jamming to even more music 
  • Connecting with friends and family 
  • Exercising 
  • Acknowledging their thoughts and feelings throughout the day 

These findings about Gen Z and emotional health can influence your marketing, especially partnership marketing. For example, it would be powerful to create a Spotify playlist curated to match the vibe of drinking a cup of your brand’s coffee. Add a QR code to your packaging to make the playlist accessible and take a campaign like this to the next level. 

3. Whole Foods Are Here to Stay 

The most food and bev-related research finding is that healthy fats and natural whole foods are at the top of Gen Z’s grocery list — duh. 

The takeaway is that the trend toward whole foods, ingredient transparency, and so on is continuing to grow. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced consumers’ commitment to wellness through food. 

Getting on board with this piece of research might mean simplifying your ingredients and/or your label. 

Let Wellness Influence Your CPG’s Next Marketing Moves

We’re not saying your CPG has to develop elderberry gummies tomorrow (unless you’re a supplement brand, then go right ahead). But you should be aware of the larger wellness craze and its deep-seated connection to the growing Gen Z consumer group. 

Let all of this research come together to inform your marketing strategy, including what brands you cross-promote with, the content of your marketing activations, and the areas you explore to innovate.

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