All About Alphas: The Next Generation of Diners

March 2024

All About Alphas: The Next Generation of Diners

They’re a group with many names: Alphas, Gen C (for “COVID-19”), and the “Glass Generation,” because they grew up seeing the world through screens on mobile devices. They are also a powerful new demographic in the dining space, already leading trends and influencing menus.  Let’s take a look at who these young consumers are and what they want from food brands.


Consumers of Convenience

Born from 2010 on, Gen Alpha’s earliest play, learning and social interactions were shaped by technology. Their proficiency with devices like smartphones means they’ve been conditioned to want and expect fast and convenient services. This expectation extends to their food options and ordering experiences as well, with nearly half (43%) of their parents saying their kids order fast food at least once a week.


Alphas are likely to use restaurant apps, especially from businesses with loyalty programs. Gamifying incentives gives these diners a fun experience with a brand and the chance to earn points for food discounts or freebies. Among 14-to-17-year-olds, two-thirds have a restaurant app on their phones, based on these benefits and the convenience of ordering food for pickup.


Worldly Diners

Gen Alpha is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in history, with many born to Millennial parents with different cultural backgrounds. These Millennials had greater access to diverse restaurants and cuisines than previous generations. Many have carried these influences into their home cooking and restaurant choices and introduced their children to a broad range of foods and recipes from different cultures.


As a result, Gen Alphas are likely to order global cuisine at a restaurant. Half of parents say their Gen Alpha kids enjoy food from countries like Peru, India, Vietnam and Morocco. Millennial parents are partial to Mexican cuisine, and kids’ menus reflect this, with Mexican-influenced menu items increasing 10% from 2016 to 2019.



Because of their love of convenience, it’s not surprising that Alphas are big on snacking. Households with children under 12 have helped snacking occasions increase 24% at limited-service restaurants, and 14% at full-service restaurants since 2017. Small bites are popular for their lower price point compared to entrees, and because they offer a shareable experience. Restaurants can entice these young diners, in part, with special deals and discounts on small plates during happy hours.


Because Gen Alpha makes up such a large portion of the population, they are already the most powerful consumer group, having spent around $24.3 billion in 2020. By offering them things like fun, digital experiences, global options and shareable snacks, food brands can successfully tap into a new market.


How will you get the attention of Gen Alpha? Share your thoughts on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages and visit our Resource Center for more tips and trends.



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