In part 1, we learned about the newest generation, Gen Alpha. Now that we know more about them, we can start thinking about they are affecting our nutrition programs in schools everywhere. 

As we discussed in part 1, Gen Alpha is too young to be making purchasing decisions but has a significant influence on how their parents are shopping. This week, we’ll take a look at how their parents’ shopping habits affect you and how to get your program ready to attract Gen Alpha as they get older. 

Millennial Parents

You know them, you love them, and they’ve been out of our schools for years now. However, they’re still making a big impact on your nutrition program. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, millennial parents turn to their smartphones at every point when shopping. 78% use their phones to research products, 75% use their phones to check prices, and 71% use their phones to place an order or pay when checking out. So how can you use this information to increase participation in your cafeterias? By using technology to bring the cafeteria to them!

Remember the phrase, “there’s an app for that”? Well, there are several apps to turn your cafeteria into an all virtual experience. By providing parents with an all-in-one app, they are more likely to have their children participate in your program. Find an app that allows parents to:

  • View Menus
    • So parents can help their students make informed decisions about food choices when going through the cafeteria line
  • Apply for free/reduced meals
    • So that all kids have the opportunity to get a meal
  • Make payments
    • So that they can add funds to a student account with a few simple clicks
  • Place orders
    • So that parents can have a more active role in their child’s diet

Prepping for Gen Alpha

Smartphones and tablets have surrounded Gen Alpha since the day they were born. Though their purchasing decisions may be limited due to their age now, they are going to have purchasing freedom soon, and you need to be ready. Because of their current upbringing, and new changes to their lifestyle (thanks to COVID-19), Gen Alpha is going to be familiar to virtual learning and receiving meals outside of the cafeteria. According to McCrindle, 90% of people surveyed believe that COVID-19 will cause technology and screens to play an even bigger part of their lives, and 82% believe that we will see online learning increase in the future. If there is anything we have learned in 2020, it’s that we need to be proactive versus reactive, and being proactive with Gen Alpha means improving your technology resources in order to keep participation high. Resources include: 

  • Digital Menu Boards
    • Whether these are in the cafeteria or in the halls, digital menu boards can bring life to your menus and make meals look enticing
  • An all-in-one app
    • Find an app that’s easy to use, allows students to access their IDs, and place advanced orders for pickup or classroom delivery!
  • Social Media
    • Spread the word about your program on whatever the most popular networking site is! Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok – make sure to engage with your patrons outside the cafeteria! 

Want to learn more about Gen Alpha? Keep an eye out for our October eBook!