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.

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