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The Top 11 Kinds of Food Content Gen Z and Millennials Like To See

The new generation of foodies aren’t just looking for food content that teaches them how to cook…


TL;DR

  • Millennials are more interested in food content on social media than Gen Z 
  • The older gen is looking for recipes and healthy food they can make for themselves
  • Gen Z, on the other hand, is looking for entertainment and food content that’s about more than dieting

Millennials have created foodie culture as we know it today, but Gen Z are taking a different approach. Where the older gen is all about well-lit photos of aesthetically pleasing meals and being adventurous with what they eat, Gen Z is more interested in food content on social media that’s realistic or entertaining. Our new trend report, The End of Foodie Culture (As We Know It) takes a deep dive into what’s separating these generations’ outlooks on food, in their personal lives, but especially on social media. 

When it comes to being a “foodie,” two thirds of Millennials call themselves a foodie, while just over half of Gen Z identify with the term. Millennials are also more likely to be posting their own food content, and where they’re posting it shows a big difference between the gens. Even when Gen Z are posting food content, they’re flocking to their favorite app, TikTok, more than Millennials, who are sticking to Instagram and Facebook. 

Their use of different platforms is reflected in the different kinds of food content that they’re really interested in having on their feed. We asked 13-39-year-olds to choose which kinds of food-related content they like to see on social media from a list of 14 options, and these were their top choices:

Side by side ranking of Gen Z and Millennials' top 11 kinds of food content they like to see on social media

Gen Z is less interested in food content overall

In general, Millennials are showing more interest in food content, and are more likely to say they would like to see most food media types. Nearly half of Millennials’ like to see food content that shows them how to make a meal with simple ingredients, making it their top choice. That’s also Gen Z’s top choice, though they are slightly less likely to say they like that kind of content.

Millennials’ top three choices show a pattern of interest in cooking what they see on social media for themselves. Compared to Gen Z, they’re taking the content they watch into their IRL lives more often: 37% say they have cooked a meal after they saw somebody post it on social media versus only 28% of Gen Z who said so. And it makes sense when you know how Millennials feel about their foodie lives in general; 36% say food is a passion for them, as compared to only 23% of Gen Z. And, one in four Millennials say they’re very adventurous with the food they eat, and it’s reflected in the broad range of content they’re looking at. 

Gen Z is looking for realistic, not restrictive diets—and entertainment 

For Gen Z, foodie content is not so much about cooking as it is for Millennials. In fact, they’re much more interested in content like “what I eat in a day videos” and “oddly satisfying” content, which fall lower on Millennials ranking of interests. The appeal of these two kinds of content are not exactly the same, but they’re almost certainly coming from the same source: TikTok. 

TikTok is where Gen Z is consuming their favorite social media content in general, and the kind of “what I eat in a day videos” videos Gen Z likes are all there. The hashtag #WhatIEatInADay has 13 billion views, and serves a purpose that shows a larger shift in food culture for this gen. In the past, this content existed on other platforms like Instagram and Youtube for health influencers and celebrities to boast their high protein diets and bone broth recipes, and were largely about weight loss or management. But, creators on TikTok have used these videos to show that everyone’s diet is different, and isn’t just about cutting calories. Our What Is Wellness? trend report shows that Gen Z considers mental health a more important part of their wellness than physical health, which is why they’re leaning into food content which encourages them not to judge or restrict their diet.

On the other hand, “oddly satisfying” food content is more about entertainment than anything else. There’s more of it than you can even imagine, too, as “oddly satisfying” can include everything from an ASMR cooking video to de-seeding a kiwi with tweezers (yes, really). At their core, these videos are usually mesmerizing in their ability to totally immerse a viewer, sometimes in only a few seconds, because of their perfect methodology or gentle sounds. And, seriously, no matter how “odd” they are, these satisfying videos can rack up millions of likes, showing just how popular they are amongst Gen Z.

Millennials are looking for recipes, especially healthy ones

Meal prepping has been a huge trend for Millennial foodies, having had a constant flow of content for years now, especially on YouTube, where a cursory search for “meal prep” will yield thousands of results. Now, over on TikTok, #MealPrep has 7.7 billion views. And there’s a variety of reasons for Millennials to love it—the common themes of this content include eating healthy, saving time, and saving money, with some claiming to cut down to as little as $2 per meal. By buying ingredients in bulk and cooking every meal for the week all at once (of course portioned out into the most recommended meal prep containers), they save themselves the need to cook each day or spend on eating out. 

But, Millennials aren’t just interested in seeing the typical healthy meals these videos tend to offer, they also want to see content that shows them how to make healthy versions of generally unhealthy food. Even though our What Is Wellness? trend report shows that Millennials largely agree “somebody can work out and eat junk food in one day, both for their wellness,” their foodie interests lean toward healthier options for what might be considered a “guilty pleasure” to older gens. 

YPulse paid users can access the full The End of Foodie Culture (As We Know It) report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse paid account? Find out more here.