Recipe report: Gen Z’s most craveable foods

gen z cookout

The flavors, ingredients and cuisines college students are craving today can have a large impact on current and future menu planning. This group of customers—most of whom fall into the Gen Z age group—are into Indian and French cuisine, street foods, chicken and snacking, according to Technomic’s 2017 College and University Consumer Trend Report. Whether you focus on college dining, fast-casual restaurants or another type of foodservice operation, these five recipes can help you feed those cravings and gain young fans.

Chicken Thigh Jerk Skewers with Mango Drizzle

chicken skewers grill

This dish quickly became a favorite among Yale students, as it hits several of this group’s sweet spots. Chicken is a top protein choice among college-age diners, with 46% preferring it for dinner, as stated in Technomic's report. Also getting high marks are streets foods (46% in favor) and Jamaican cuisine. The kitchen at Yale uses chicken thighs for a juicier result, marinated in Jamaican jerk seasonings and jalapeno for a shot of heat; a mango drizzle finishes the dish with a tropical twist.

Click here for the recipe.

Reshami Kebab

indian lamb

The report also shows Indian food is gaining favor with college students, with 29% expressing a preference for this cuisine compared to 24% two years ago. For this recipe, lamb is seasoned with a housemade garam masala spice blend, rolled into balls and roasted on skewers for a portable dish that can be prepared in both snack- or entree-sized servings. Temper the heat of the spice with cool, creamy raita.

Click here for the recipe.

Spicy Korean Pork Bowl

osu korean pork bowl

This filling, flavor-packed bowl meal hits many of the on-trend flavors preferred by young diners: It features spicy chili oil, pickled kimchi and a craveable mix of spicy-savory ethnic ingredients. The Korean pork itself could also be menued in a variety of other ways, from handheld street tacos to noodle-based soups.

Click here for the recipe.

Beef Bourguignon

beef and mushrooms

Data in Technomic’s report also revealed that students’ preference for French food increased from 23% to 28% between 2015 to 2017. A classic like beef bourguignon is a good way to introduce the cuisine to customers because it includes familiar ingredients such as mushrooms, onions, bacon and beef. Wine is used to braise the beef, but the alcohol evaporates during cooking.

Click here for the recipe.

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Nachos

vegan nachos

More often, college students are creating a lunch from an assortment of snacks or appetizers. Nachos are easy to mix and match with other nibbles to make a meal. This plant-forward version is loaded with roasted shiitake mushrooms, cauliflower and edamame, and fits the dietary needs of vegans, vegetarians and dairy-allergic eaters.

Click here for the recipe.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
staff pack

To keep staff motivated, we locked them in a room together. As part of a midsemester training session, we formed work groups and sent them to a local Escape Room to see which team could play the game together most effectively and escape first. Not only was this training a great team-building experience, but it supported a local new business and gave our staff a memorable experience.

Ideas and Innovation
star employee

Senior leadership meets twice a year to do organizational talent planning for every position from the top down. We talk about who are the potential high-performers, and go through how they can grow. People are your differentiator—you need to take care of your assets, and your assets are your human resources.

Industry News & Opinion

Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be served student-grown produce from the campus farm at dining halls this fall, M Live reports.

The dining team received its first batch of produce from UM’s on-campus farm in June, after students received the proper USDA certification to grow, harvest and deliver food to campus dining halls. In order to figure out what produce is needed, students communicate with the dining department weekly, and Michigan Dining purchases items accordingly.

"The students are involved from seed to plate," Executive Chef Frank Turchan...

Sponsored Content
college students eating

From Ovention.

Today’s colleges and universities know they should offer more than a large selection of breakfast cereals in the morning and chicken tenders at lunch to appeal to students. When it comes to what’s trending on campuses, here’s a look at what directors can tune into to boost engagement.

1. Expanded dining hours

Late-night options have long been a popular fixture on college campuses, but if it’s too late, students often choose to venture to off-campus retailers to satisfy their cravings. According to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend...

FSD Resources