Canadian Pizza Magazine

What do Canadian gen Z workers want? Food at work, sustainability and digital adoption

By Canadian Pizza   

News Business and Operations Staffing

Gen Z workers – those 13-27 years old – are calling for improved well-being, sustainable and digital benefits in the workplace, and are willing to look at alternative employers if their needs aren’t met. This is according to new research from Compass Group, a leading food-services company, and global market intelligence agency Mintel.

Compass Group’s Global Eating at Work Survey 2023 is one of the largest inter-generational surveys of its kind, analyzing insights from 35,000 global workers across 26 countries on their workplace preferences, including views on eating at work, sustainability, digital adoption, health and mental well-being.

Across all age groups, 60 per cent of Canadian workers agree they are scrutinizing employee benefits more closely than they used to, peaking at 64 per cent among gen Z.

Working age population generational demographics:

  • Gen Z – born between 1996-2010
  • Millennials – born between 1981-1995
  • Gen X – born between 1966-1980
  • Baby boomers – born between 1946-1965

Thirty-eight per cent of Canadian workers say they feel less loyal towards their employer since COVID-19.

Facing higher costs of living, 77 per cent of Canadian gen Z and millennials would like  employers to provide free or subsidized meals at work.

Pizzerias, restaurants and bakery-cafés have something of an advantage as being provided food at work is viewed as a major asset in the war for talent, especially among gen Z workers.

Across all age groups, flexible working hours are considered the most appealing non-monetary benefit that employers can provide, followed closely by staff restaurant.
In Canada, 61 per cent of gen Z say an on-site cafeteria would positively influence their decision to join a prospective employer compared to only 37 per cent for Canadian baby boomers.

Providing a sustainable and healthy food offer at work is paramount, especially for younger generations, the research indicates.

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadian workers agree employers have a responsibility to proactively promote sustainability in the workplace.

All age groups expect that food outlets should help them make healthier food and drink choices through the food they serve, peaking at 65 per cent among Canadian gen Z workers.

Younger generations are driving a meat-free revolution in the workplace, with 58 per cent of gen Z workers advocating for more plant-based options. Compare that to 46 per cent of gen X. Of any generation, gen Z are most open to digital food-service innovations that can improve their productivity and health at work.

Eighty-four per cent of gen Z iagree that taking a proper lunch break makes them more productive when they return to work. Two-thirds are happy to order food and drinks via app, compared to just a quarter of the baby boomer generation.

“The Global Eating at Work research is an opportunity for us to learn what is resonating with certain demographics, particularly in the area of workplace dining,” said Heather Wilkie, SVP of Sustainability and Innovation at Compass Group Canada. “With gen Z and millennials soon to make up the largest proportion of the global workforce, understanding their perspective is critical for us to hear what matters most to them and address potential gaps.”

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