18 December 2015
As Baby Boomers age and "Millennials" delay marriage, these two dominating consumer groups are shaping what has become a very large “smaller living” trend in America, opening up new, uncontested and increasingly hard­-to-­find-­market space in an otherwise highly competitive, overcrowded global food and beverage industry.

In fact, the fastest growing and largest population segments in the U.S. are now single­ and two-­person households. According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau figures, these households now comprise 65 percent of all American households; and, according to data from the OECD, 60 percent of them have no children.
But, while smaller living has been driven in part by the economic recession of 2009, which impacted the decisions of many families and individuals to downsize or "scale back," the more economized, eco­-friendly lifestyle preferences of the emerging small household demographic speak most to the evolving consumer mindset of this increasingly dominant cohort.

From living in smaller homes and driving smaller cars, to making smaller purchases and, increasingly, shopping in smaller stores, this new American demographic is embracing a more simple, economic, and ecological way of life. Yet, for many of these consumers, "it is not so much a matter of downsizing as ‘right­sizing.’" For these consumers, value is often more about quality than quantity. They want to live purposefully and ecologically, not wastefully. And, accordingly, they want to purchase products that are smartly and creatively packaged to reflect their highly individualistic and socially and environmentally aware lifestyles.

All of these factors present new opportunities for food packagers who offer packaging solutions that meet the needs of this new demographic group. This is a complex undertaking, especially since this diverse demographic runs the gamut from recent college graduates to retirees. They may be single, widowed, cohabitating or married. And most fall into two segments: Millennials, now 18 to 34, and Baby Boomers, 45 to 65, each with their own diverse preferences and proclivities.

From on­-the­-go and vitamin­-enriched products to products that portray individuality and social responsibility, incorporating all of the different packaging qualities that might appeal to a particular consumer is not as simple as it used to be. But understanding the consumer trends that inspire innovative packaging solutions is imperative in creating a package that stands out.

Read the full story, "Beverage Packagers: It’s Time to Think Small," as published in Packaging Digest, October 10, 2012.

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