Over 50% of the 2,000 18-24-year-old Europeans surveyed said they track their food in some way, though this figure differentiates starkly between countries, rising to 65% of Germans compared to  38% of French.

While most are focused on counting calories, Gen Zers – with the majority being women – are actively seeking out healthy snacks that prioritise their mental health.

Mental health

In fact, 55% of those surveyed think that including calorie counts on food labels and menus can be detrimental to mental health – a figure that rises to 62% in the UK, 60% in France and 61% in Germany.

Instead, young people want a better narrative around healthy eating, which the majority believe is a major failing today.

“Young people are fundamental for the transformation towards healthy and sustainable food systems,”​ said Dr Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food.

“Yet our research clearly shows that they are being let down. Across Europe, 18-24 year olds find healthy food more expensive, harder to find on the go, and lacking the information and advice they need to make informed nutritional decisions.”

The research – conducted by Opinium amongst Gen Zers in France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK in June and July 2021 – is aligned to the launch of the ‘Our Food, Our Food System’ campaign by EIT Food to help young people have their say on the future of food. The initiative will recruit 10 FutureFoodMakers to spearhead a call for radical makeover by the food sector towards easier access to healthy, sustainable and affordable food.