Consumer demand drives the market. Food isn’t an exception. We’ve seen skepticism of genetically modified crops spur a wave of non-GMO labels, advertising, and pressure on conventional farmers.
But there is good news coming: Generation Z, defined as those currently between ages 18 and 25, are overwhelmingly comfortable with food tech. A U.S.- based study found that 77 percent of survey takers favorably viewed technology in agriculture. That could have huge implications for the adoption of further technologies, and even the use of bioengineered foods.
But even Gen Z draws a line somewhere. A whopping 72 percent of those surveyed weren’t interested in eating lab-grown meat. On the flip side, less than half of Gen Z thinks this meat could provide an important source of nutrition.
Unfortunately, the survey revealed Gen Z has succumbed to some prevalent myths on animal agriculture. They think it has negative impact on the environment, even if it isn’t clear what that impact is. And they also think we need to increase animal-welfare standards. So there’s some work to do on that front.
Overall these results are encouraging. There’s so much we’ll be able to do if we can get public approval of agricultural technology. Gen Z can lead that change and open the door.
At the same time, we also need to do more to reach these young adults about animal agriculture. That’s going to take time, patience, and persistence. Note though that they aren’t necessarily opposed to it, they just want to know that farm animals are taken care of properly, and that we’re being good environmental stewards. So sharing out story is more important than ever.
On the other hand, they aren’t interested in lab-grown meat. That feels like a win. Not because there’s anything wrong or dangerous about those products. But I hate the marketing and remarks made by those behind the companies. It’s an interesting dichotomy though.
So maybe Gen Z is a distant beacon of light for a world full of backward thinking, food labels, and activists.