Will Canned Foods Be the Next Food Trend for Gen Z?

Will Canned Foods Be the Next Food Trend for Gen Z?

Is it true that canned foods might actually be a healthier alternative to fresh produce? Well, I’m here to give you the inside scoop! Most people have a preconceived notion that fresh foods are superior to canned foods because of the concept that “fresh is best!” In our generation, referred to as Gen Z, we generally get most of our information from various social media platforms that, well… might not be so accurate. The truth can easily be lost in translation when we are trying to discover how to eat healthy. There are a ton of fad diets, food trends, and plant-based recipes that are shared amongst our generation. One component that is not traveling through the social media world is the importance of canned foods in our diet. Read on to learn more about the process of canning and benefits of canned foods!

There is a specific method for creating canned fruits and vegetables, making it important to follow the proper steps—processing, sealing, and heating. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, canned foods are rich in nutrients because these produce are picked, canned, and preserved at maximum freshness, meaning they contain the optimal amount of nutrients needed to provide our bodies with the vitamins and minerals we need to live a healthy lifestyle. One of the most consumed and healthiest canned products are tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are high in lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce risk of diseases, certain cancers, and inflammation. They also contain vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, and folate—all important nutrients our bodies need for proper bodily functions. The best part about canned tomatoes is that they come in various forms—canned, diced, paste, soup, and more! This enhances their versatility in numerous meals that you and your family are guaranteed to enjoy, such as pizzas, pastas, stews, soups, and tacos. Who would’ve thought that simply incorporating more canned tomatoes (or other canned products) into one’s diet can be both nutritious AND delicious.

Since Gen Z consumers are constantly looking for more ways to boost their fruit and vegetable intake while eating more plant-based meals, canned products are a great way to do so! Numerous studies have shown that individuals who frequently consume canned foods generally have a higher intake of essential nutrients. With that being said, there is a positive correlation between consumption of canned food and boosting required nutrient intake recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition to striving for healthier eating habits, Gen Z’s goal is to purchase affordable foods that neither break the bank nor lead to food waste. Recent studies have provided sufficient evidence that canned goods are readily available and accessible to people of all ages, incomes, backgrounds, and geography, which makes it easier for people to purchase cost-effective, nutrient-rich foods while enhancing their quality of life. The great news is that canned products also have a long shelf life, which allows individuals to reduce the amount of trips they take to the store, saving them time and money—and who wouldn’t want that?

When purchasing canned foods, it’s still critical to read the ingredient labels on the cans you are purchasing to avoid any high sodium or added sugar within the product. Once you have secured the canned items and are just about ready to whip up a delicious meal in the kitchen, always make sure to rinse the canned fruits and vegetables in order to reduce sodium content and ensure maximum cleanliness. So whether you’re trying to eat healthier, more plant-based, save time and money, reduce food waste, or lessen your carbon footprint, canned products are the way to go! Next time you go to the store, remind yourself to purchase canned items that you can easily whip up in no time, creating a flavorful, nutrient-packed meal for you and your loved ones.



Savanna Malki is an RD2Be from Los Angeles, California. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health Policy from the University of California, Irvine. She will be starting her Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics this upcoming Fall at Loma Linda University. She is extremely passionate about plant-based nutrition (as she has been vegan for about 4 years). In her free time she enjoys cooking, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends. Her goal is to become a Registered Dietitian so that she can provide nutrition education and help improve the health of our society.

Why Canned Tomatoes are a Staple in the Gen Z Kitchen

Why Canned Tomatoes are a Staple in the Gen Z Kitchen

Each generation’s food values are unique, and Gen Z tends to prioritize healthy, plant-based, easy meals that still taste delicious and are totally instagrammable. Tomatoes are the ideal food for the flexitarian-focused generation, packing in the nutrition, color, and taste they crave in a convenient can. Read more about why canned tomatoes are a staple in the Gen Z kitchen with this guest blog from RD2Be, Ally Mirin.

According to the latest research, Gen Z (that’s people born between 1996 and 2010) is setting the stage for food trends. Gen Z’ers have embraced several core values when it comes to food choices, including nutrition, convenience, and a tendency towards plant based. Fruits and vegetables are stars of all three of these categories, which has great implications for our future health. Diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure, reduce risk of chronic disease, and promote a healthy weight. Choosing more plant-based meals is a great way for the youngest generation to help improve health outcomes, as well as decrease the harmful impacts of animal agriculture on the planet. Luckily, a recent survey from Aramark found that 65% of Gen Z’ers were interested in plant-forward eating, and 79% would eat meatless one to two times a week.

So what foods fit into the core values of Generation Z? Canned tomato products hit all the marks. From pasta sauce to salsa, tomatoes are versatile veggies that are chock full of nutrients, convenient to buy, store, and use, and taste delicious in a wide variety of dishes. Gen Z tends to lean towards fresh products, and canned tomatoes are picked at the peak of freshness and packaged immediately, so flavor and quality are perfectly preserved. When it comes to nutrition, tomatoes are rich sources of Vitamin C, potassium, iron, fiber, and beta carotene. Many people don’t realize that cooking and processing can actually increase the bioavailabity of certain nutrients. Lycopene is one of the more unique compounds found in tomatoes and is responsible for their signature red hue and cancer-fighting properties. Lycopene becomes more readily absorbed by your body during the cooking process, making canned tomatoes an excellent choice for Gen Z’ers focused on maximizing nutrition.

Gen Z loves to get creative in the kitchen and is more willing to try out foods from international cuisines than older generations. Tomatoes are key ingredients in classic dishes in many cultures, from Italian spaghetti Pomodoro to Indian tikka masala, to North African shakshuka. Using canned tomatoes enhances the flavor and nutrition of these diverse meals and makes preparing them easy and convenient for a generation who’s always on the go.

Gen Z is also known for their dedication to social media, and the bright red pigment in tomatoes provides a pop of color perfect for sharing via photo or video on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Canned tomatoes make it easy for busy young people to create delicious, nutritious, plant-forward meals that taste and look incredible.

The up-and-coming generation has been breaking down barriers and fighting for change across all fronts, and food is no exception. With a focus on health, sustainability, and convenience, Gen Z has the power to shift food trends in a nutrition-focused, environment-friendly direction. Canned tomatoes are a prime example of a food that checks all the boxes and can hold a critical space in the Gen Z pantry.

RD2Be Initiative: Tomato Wellness is a big supporter of Registered Dietitians and has a new series featuring the Registered Dietitians of Tomorrow! Get to know the future leaders in nutrition and dietetics. #RD2Be 

Ally Mirin is an RD2Be from Ithaca, NY. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Society with a minor in Nutrition and Health from Cornell University and is currently working on her Master of Science in Nutrition Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Ally is passionate about plant-based nutrition and cooking up healthy, delicious recipes, and hopes to work as a clinical dietitian in the future.