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What Gen Z Dining Trends Could Mean For Campus Food Services

Gen Z: How Are They Re-Inventing Campus Dining

What is the Gen Z generation, their food preferences and why?

Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is the first generation to grow up with social media and the internet. Many members of Gen Z came of age during the pandemic, at a time which they were more adjusted to ordering delivery than older generations. And having online resources which could readily teach them cooking techniques, it made them well aware of their investment in food, both in time and cost. Their knowledge of food preparation and storage is also advanced. As dining in person is once again gaining momentum, they’re enthusiastic about it. This is one of the many reasons why Gen Z individuals know a restaurant’s menu well, enjoy their favorites, and look forward to tasting the latest specials and then sharing such dishes on their social media feeds. Gen Z-ers are more concerned with health and the environment than older generations. Therefore, their preferences for menu options include:

  • functional foods and going meatless once per week
  • healthy foods which they are willing to pay the price for
  • sourcing: being aware of where their food comes from
  • how food is stored and presented – fresh food

Campus Lifestyle to Campus Dining

The average Gen Z-er is 10-25 years old, therefore attending some sort of educational program.  Due to supply chain shortages, school districts or colleges must consider their role in providing food supply within their institutions.  School districts are increasingly turning to local sources of proteins, fruits, and vegetables to fit the need and to also fit Gen Z demographic preferences. Many are finding those sources are more reliable than national vendors. But as with any investment, especially in food, it is good to control food costs and avoid spoilage.

Handgards has a part in accomplishing this with their reclosables storage bag product line.  They pair up perfectly in a high volume kitchen such as those found on large campuses. Handgards’ Zipgards® Reclosable Bags products include:

  • High-Density (HD) storage bags which are designed to protect foods further by blocking out more spoilage causing light and air, therefore preserving foods for longer periods of time. These HD Bags can protect food from -50°F (-45°c) and up to 220°F (104°c), which means they can also go from a deep freeze directly into a microwave or hot water to defrost quickly, therefore saving time and labor versus having to take out the contents and leave them exposed. This line is Made in the USA.
  • Low-Density Quart and LD Gallon size storage bags with a ‘SLIDE-ZIP’ closure, which is an easy-open-and-close seal with an easy grasp zipper closure for use in high pace kitchens. These Low-Density bags are good for dry storage or refrigerated products.
  • Handgards® offers a Low-Density (LD) storage bag for keeping pastas, vegetables, fruits, and breads fresh and crisp in a refrigerated or dry storage/prep area.
  • There is also a Low-Density Freezer bag option for colder storage needs. Pint-2 Gallon sizes

All of these Handgards bags come with write-on blocks on which to write the contents of the bag and use by dates to ensure the freshest food goes out to Gen-Z patrons as well as all others. 


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