Earlier this month, Ad Age and The Harris Poll launched the second quarterly Gen Z Brand Tracker. The tracker relies on QuestBrand data to rank Gen Z’s (ages 18-24) top 20 brands by brand equity growth quarter over quarter. An overall brand equity score represents an average of its four components: familiarity, quality, consideration, and momentum.

Two meal-kit brands made the list for Q1 2022, Freshly (+9.4) and Daily Harvest (+7.8). Both brands resonate with Gen Z consumers who are looking for convenient and healthy food options, built on sustainable business practices.


Gen Z adults are new to “adulting.” They are beginning their careers, and stepping out into the world for the first time. Meal-kit services provide the convenience this demographic desires, so they can balance their commitments while embracing a healthy diet. An American Egg Board survey found that up to 40% of Gen Z consumers consider convenience an important factor in the food they choose to eat.

Many Gen Zer’s started ordering more groceries and meals online during COVID, with 34% expecting to continue this increased online food spend post-COVID. Their strong preference towards convenience makes this demographic a good fit for ready-to-order meal-kits that require minimum effort for a satisfying meal. 


According to the Produce Blue Book, Gen Z embraces wholesome, fresh food, with 65% wanting a more plant-forward diet. Both brands may be scoring big with this demographic due to their ability to provide natural and healthy options.

Daily Harvest boasts organic, plant-based options, while Freshly distinguishes its brand by shipping fresh (never frozen) food. Both brands accommodate for personalized dietary preferences, such as gluten-free, plant-based, low-carb, and dairy-free diets. 


Freshly and Daily Harvest developed their product offerings to minimize waste and maximize sustainability, a key priority for Gen Z consumers. Freshly advertises that all parts of their meal kits are either recyclable, biodegradable, or reusable, allowing subscribers to “feel good about taking care of the planet!”

Daily Harvest took this mission further in January with a nationwide “Bite Me” campaign. They loudly called for a more sustainable future with full-page print advertisements in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, as well as a light projection on the U.S. Department of Agriculture building in D.C.

Daily Harvest exposed the industrial food system’s harms and advocated for the creation of a more organic, sustainable future. Extending beyond words to action, the brand works directly with farmers to help them transition to organic farming and support biodiversity. Daily Harvest particularly stresses helping underserved, minority farmers. This mission resonates with Gen Z, a group that fights for social and environmental justice.

A growing subscriber base

According to QuestBrand data, the percentage of Freshly’s consumers that are from Gen Z increased from 5.2% to 12.0%, Q4 to Q1. Gen Z increased from 4.5% to 9.4% of Daily Harvest’s consumer base.

If Gen Z continues to align with the values and offerings of these natural meal-kit services, we may see Gen Z consumers make up a higher percentage of both brands’ user-bases in the future.


Catherine Ake

Senior Marketing and Content Strategist

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