After catering to millennials for so long, the question many franchise concepts are struggling with now is, “How do we get ready for Generation Z?” This is especially pressing, but not unfamiliar territory, in the food service and restaurant segments because each generation’s palate changes.
But, smoothie concepts, such as Smoothie King, are in a good position to meet the demands of Generation Z, the segment of the population born between 1995 and 2012. By meeting the demands of the Millennial Generation, people born between 1980 and 1994, Smoothie King paved the way for an easy transition for our franchisees.
For example, millennials are often concerned about what’s actually in their food and from where it’s sourced. Smoothie King answered that demand by introducing the Cleaner Blending initiative. We’ve added more whole fruits and vegetables to our ingredients, and eliminated high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, gluten, GMO fruits and vegetables, ingredients prohibited by NSF International, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Generation Z is also interested in better-for-you food options, and transparency about ingredients and sourcing is just as important to them.
Here’s what else we know about Gen Z and their food and beverage preferences, and how Smoothie King is ready to serve them:
Function and Nutrition Matter
Taste will always be important, but the function of food and its nutrients are of significant interest to Generation Z.
In addition to the nutritional transparency provided through our Cleaner Blending initiative, Smoothie King develops blends with specific functions in mind. For example, our Fitness Blends tend to be higher in protein. Our Slim Blends are 350 calories or less per 20-oz. serving. Our Wellness Blends have essential vitamins. And, the function of our Take a Break Blends is to reward our guests with a delicious treat.
Innovation and Convenience
While food function and nutrition can be important to Gen Z, don’t discount taste. Members of Generation Z often place high demand delicious, high-quality and distinctive-tasting foods. They’re typically the first consumers to try something new on the menu. But, they don’t want to wait long for it. Gen Z is made up of snackers who prefer on-the-go options.
Smoothie King’s research and development team are constantly creating smoothies that our guests will crave – without losing focus on the purpose behind each blend. Our guests have come to expect smoothies that meet demands dictated by the latest flavor trends as well as seasonal limited-time offers.
Smoothies are inherently convenient and can pack taste and nutritional value in a single, portable cup. Smoothie King helps meet Gen Z’s demand for convenience through operational efficiencies and drive-thru locations so that the Gen Z student – or their parent – on their way home from school doesn’t even have to leave their car.
We also know that Generation Z places importance on digital engagement and how that enables more convenient experiences. Smoothie King’s recently upgraded loyalty app helps meet Gen Z’s demands with pre-pay and other options.
Changes with the Seasons
Gen Z’s flavor preferences fluctuate depending based on the time of year. Smoothie King accommodates seasonal preferences by introducing or bringing back LTOs that reflect the flavors of each season. For example, in the fall we put pumpkin-flavored smoothies on the menu.
Staying competitive is not hard to do when you sell a product that can easily adapt to the changing tastes of every generation.