Kids today: they’re tech savvy and total foodies, at least according to Y-Pulse’s new 2018 Kids Dining study, Understanding Tomorrow’s Tastemakers Today, which surveyed more than 900 K-12 U.S. consumers aged 8 to 18 about their attitudes and behaviors around dining. 

The study shows that food media, peers and the need for community heavily influence the current food culture in young consumers. Here are five things food companies and restaurants need to know about Gen Z consumers' dining preferences:

Gen Z enjoy comfort food and new dishes with almost equal zeal. Of those surveyed, 71 percent of the kids say they like trying new dishes and flavors at restaurants while 91 percent of kids like ordering their favorite foods or foods that they are familiar with.

Gen Z enjoy the feeling of community when dining out. Their choices in restaurants reflect this priority: 66 percent of the kids surveyed like restaurants that offer shareable food and 76 percent of kids say they like to hang out with their friends at a restaurant.

Gen Z is heavily influenced by food-driven media. Televised and internet-first videos both garner big support: 56 percent of the Gen Z consumers surveyed say they like to watch the Food Network while 52 percent of these consumers say they like to watch "Tasty" style videos on Facebook and Instagram.

Gen Z cares about eating healthy and are influenced by perceptions of healthy eating. When asked about their perspective on eating healthy, 40 percent of those surveyed say that the snacks offered in school vending machines are healthy.

Gen Z is independent but enjoys convenience. More than half58 percent — of Gen Z consumers say they like to cook for themselves and 50 percent of them say they like to get snacks from the convenience store.