The Best Snack Foods, According To Gen Z

A new report on brand affinity shows the food and drink that each generation loves the most.

At the risk of sounding like the worst person you've ever gotten stuck talking to at a party, the majority of our diet is marketing. I'm not even talking about our media diets, but rather the stuff we choose to snack on, all of which is typically some form of corn wrapped up in a lot of beautiful packaging, eye-catching advertising, and urgent sales tactics. A new report from market research firm Morning Consult has compiled a list of Gen Z's favorite brands, and it's a revealing glimpse at which snack companies are most successful at convincing young people to spend.

Gen Z’s favorite snacks

Using a survey size of a few thousand Gen Z respondents (compared against thousands of respondents from other generations) between May and August 2022, the Morning Consult report revealed that, out of these young adults' top 10 favorite brands, four were snack brands. No brand could touch the supremacy of Gen Z's beloved YouTube, which ranked at 86.23% favorability among respondents, followed rather predictably by Google, Netflix, and Amazon.

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In the latter half of the list, though, M&M's is the top food brand, coming in at number 5 with 79.81% favorability. Doritos (79.32%), Kit Kat (78.96%), and Oreo (78.57%) round out the bottom of the top 10. (What were 6 and 7 on the list? Why, Walmart and Target, of course.)

Gen Z snacks compared to millennial snacks

Many of the brands favored by Gen Z are hardly unique to that generation; companies like Google, Netflix, and Amazon are widely beloved across the entire population of US adults. That's why the Morning Consult report additionally provides a list of the top brands Gen Z loves more than the general public, measured in the percent difference between their favorability vs. the average favorability among all adults. Here's where things get interesting.

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While we all love a good Oreo or Dorito, can you guess which snack brand is uniquely adored by Gen Z? Only one edible item made the top 10, and it's Trolli. As in, the candy brand known for its Sour Brite Crawlers gummy worms. This brand has a 21.17% differential ranking, and actually sits above streaming giant Twitch in the list. Why so much love for Trolli? Adweek suggests that the brand's irreverent social media presence and marketing campaigns have something to do with it—and that's an appraisal that Morning Consult agrees with.

"A lot of them have very fun marketing tactics and social ways of connecting, which helps with younger consumers," food and beverage analyst Emily Moquin told Adweek.

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Only one other edible brand made the top 20, and it's perhaps even more surprising than Trolli: Capri Sun, with a 16.21% differential. I don't think I drank a single Capri Sun after the age of 12, right up until last week when we tasted the brand's new lower-in-sugar monk-fruit-sweetened offering. But I suppose Gen Z has just as much nostalgia for the brands of their youth as millennials do.

(Oh, by the way, TikTok is number one in this list of brands uniquely favored by Gen Z, but I'm guessing you already knew that.)

 

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