01 April 2014

With longer life spans and an abundance of healthier food options, just how are the nation’s 76 million Baby Boomers adjusting their diets?

Food research firm The Hartman Group has found that 81 percent of Boomers prefer fresh, less processed, locally-sourced food over other options. But a host of other shifts that signal healthier lifestyles make an even stronger case for innovative products and packaging formats. For instance, more than half of those aged 55 and older eat alone on a regular basis, meaning they consume smaller portions. CPG companies can capitalize on this trend by offering a broader array of products in smaller or reclosable packages to accommodate cooks preparing smaller portions.

Baby Boomers are paying closer attention to how they feel when they eat various foods and adjust their buying patterns based on those sensations. They seek personal growth by visiting ethnic restaurants, branching out beyond the traditional meat and potatoes seeking products that are more exotic to their tables at home.

Baby Boomers appreciate clean labels
The Harman Group discovered that older consumers often monitor good versus bad fats, cholesterol, sweeteners and appreciate the idea that some packaging can alleviate the need for preservatives. This means clean labeling is more important than ever for this age group. With just 6 percent of older consumers eating food within an hour of purchase, compared with 15 percent of those aged 18-54, this generation is more apt to eat at home and appreciate products aimed at this preference.
With the average life span in the U.S. now 79 years, the opportunities for CPG companies becomes even more obvious when you consider this generation’s habits.

Baby Boomers shop differently
Today’s 55 and older consumers shop at a range of grocery stores, depending on what they need. They may have a primary supermarket, but choose another one for certain products or health foods. They may also have a third or fourth market they visit just to buy specialty goods to treat themselves. To reach older shoppers, CPG companies need to make sure their products appear at a range of retailers, not just traditional grocery stores.

To learn more about Baby Boomer food and lifestyle preferences, download the full white paper from The Hartman Group.
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