Student Investigates Impact of Pandemic on Generation Z’s Consumer Behaviour
Kristina Iatsenko’s Graduation Assignment Analyses Changes in Consumption of Food and Beverage
After the COVID-19 restrictive measures were lifted, Wittenborg student Kristina Iatsenko noticed that her consumer behaviour regarding food and beverages had changed significantly in comparison with the pre-pandemic period. Among other new habits, Iatsenko stresses that instead of going to restaurants with friends, she now prefers ordering food and having dinner at home, while trips to the grocery store have been replaced by online orders that include home delivery. Moreover, she points out that she has started cooking much more often, trying out new recipes and considering it a hobby.
Curious to know the extent to which these changes had affected generation Z (born between 1995 and 2010), Iatsenko, who has recently completed an IBA degree in Hospitality Management, decided to address this topic in her graduation assignment. “After discussing this phenomenon with my friends, I realised that this could be a trend of our generation. When planning my research, I thought it would be interesting to focus on international students, since they differ from each other in terms of culture, mentality, traditions and worldview. So, by having diverse backgrounds and at the same time living in a common environment, young people could have been hit by the pandemic differently,” she says.
In order to conduct the investigation, the student used quantitative methods, having administered an online survey to 296 Apeldoorn-based Wittenborg students who are members of generation Z. According to the study’s findings, as a result of the pandemic, Gen Z-ers have adopted new consumer habits and preferences concerning food and beverages. These changes include ordering food from cafés and restaurants more frequently, choosing online grocery delivery services, cooking their own food, opting for a healthier diet, increasing the consumption of vegetables and fruits and minimising the consumption of sugar and fast food.
“Some of these aspects are common trends of the generation, while others are individual in nature and can be studied in more detail. Considering that these consumer habits have remained even after the restrictions were lifted, we can talk about the long-term nature of these changes; therefore, we need to be prepared for the fact that humanity is demanding new types of services within the food and beverage industry,” Iatsenko highlights.
Asked about her plans for the future, the graduate says she is focused on building a career in the hospitality industry, and mentions that she is currently working as a night auditor at a hotel from the Radisson group. “This is a position that involves supervising tasks and responsibility. Therefore, I am planning to dedicate my ‘zoekjaar’ (orientation year) to becoming more experienced as a supervisor, and later I would like to work as a junior manager at a hotel in the Netherlands.”
by Ulisses Sawczuk