Baby boomers looking for healthier options

by Keith Nunes
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CHICAGO – The notion that baby boomers focus on eating healthier as they age is not news. What is news are the food and beverage products they perceive as healthy that they are buying.

The market research firm SymphonyIRI has published a report titled “Baby boomers: Riding the wave of diversity” that delves into the demographic, reviews the current market situation and outlines potential opportunities for consumer packaged goods (C.P.G.) manufacturers.

For the purpose of the report, SymphonyIRI broke the baby boomer demographic into three segments: Younger boomers, who were born between the years of 1956 to 1964; older boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1955; and seniors, who were born in the 20 year period between 1925 and 1945.

“When it comes to specific food-related behaviors, adoption tends to increase with age,” said SymphonyIRI. “For instance, 35% of younger boomers eat whole grains on most days—essentially the same versus the average consumer. In comparison, 44% of seniors are eating whole grains daily. And, 21% of younger boomers consume omega-3 foods or supplements on a daily basis—only slightly more versus the average consumer. But, propensity increases rather sharply with age, and, at 30% of the population, seniors are significantly more likely to make omega-3s part of daily life.”

SymphonyIRI identified an opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers in marketing products with functional benefits to all three baby boomer demographics identified in the study. Spending by baby boomers on products featuring functional benefits, such as refrigerated teas, declines as they age.

The market research firm also warned C.P.G. manufacturers to not underestimate the technological savvy of the baby boomer generation.

“While younger shoppers are much heavier users of the Internet for learning about and shopping for C.P.G. products versus their golden year counterparts, the latter group is, indeed, turning to the Internet in their search for product information and money-saving opportunities,” SymphonyIRI said. “For example, one-in-three senior shoppers searches the Internet for recipes, and about one-quarter look to manufacturer and retailer websites for coupon opportunities. These numbers may be lower versus the average shopper, but they still represent an opportunity to engage this sizable consumer segment.”
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