What foods do older consumers want to eat?

A report is available that claims to explain the different needs and wants for food between ageing consumers and younger folks.

But wow it’s expensive – $8,000 (individual) or $24,000 (corporate)! Despite the high price, a quick look at the table of contents indicates there is no coverage of the physical barriers to consumption that affects everyone as they age! For example, issues related to digestion, taste, portion sizes and our changing nutritional needs. Think about the impact of reduced hand strength that renders poor packaging difficult to open/close or impaired vision that makes labels illegible. These are among the 25 physical effects of ageing that can be critical barriers to purchase and consumption by older consumers. A surprising omission from the report.

Having said all that, the report defines the ageing population as people aged 55 and over and claims to highlight new product development for effectively targeting this group’s motivations. It offers strategic recommendations to capitalize on the evolving motivations driving their consumption in both developed and developing economies.

This includes a wider understanding of the role factors, such as convenience, indulgence and health, play and how packaging design and positioning can play a role in meeting these needs. It also shows how culture and traditions influence consumers’ preferences and priorities.

The key findings are not surprising but worth noting;

  1. Senior consumers are often considered as being overly concentrated on health, however, it is a far less important motivator than price, superior taste and convenience.
  2. Consumption motivators among those aged 55 and over are similar to other adult groups. Disruptive NPD based solely on age will fail to connect with an older audience. (This is what we call this Lifetime Customer Experience).
  3. The older generation does not see their age as a burden and don’t want to be seen as fragile. They want inclusive products, as opposed to specifically targeting their age
  4. When the older generation does have age-aligned health problems, they seek products that are aimed at the condition rather than age bracket.
  5. The demand for food products providing “insperiences”, experiences at home, will grow, as it not only saves the effort of going out, but also offers better value for money, which is important for this group.
  6. Culture and traditions define consumption patterns, especially for the older generation; rather than trying to change them, manufacturers and retailers should launch products that fit into consumers current lifestyles.

The absence of apparent reference to the opportunities and threats arising from the physiological change that accompanies age, is a remarkable oversight. I certainly won’t be spending my money on this.

Learn more about the 25 effects of ageing in our book, Marketing to the Ageing Consumer.