Approximately 76 million baby boomers live in America today, according to the Population Reference Bureau. Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation represents roughly 24 percent of the US population. The Hartman Group, a research and consulting firm, reports that 81 percent of eat at home a majority of the time, and what they are cooking reflects their new eating habits. They seek fresh vegetables and meats more now than in years past. These new diet habits coupled with modern medicine means most of these consumers will be living, and shopping, longer.
The SymphonyIRI Group, an analytics and consulting firm, reported that baby boomers spend more than 15 percent of their grocery dollars in the fresh/perishables and frozen sections of the supermarket. Considering the large size of the baby boomer demographic, its spending power, willingness to spend and the longevity of its spending future, instore departments need to maximize the opportunity to earn more from this generation.
Boomer Eating Trends
Like many consumers, boomers are using healthy eating as a key strategy in their goal to live longer and healthier lives. In fact, the report 87 percent of consumers over the age of 65 are trying to eat healthier these days. When it comes to specific food related behaviors, adoption tends to increase with age. For instance, 35 percent of younger boomers (born 1956-1964) eat whole grains on most days, essentially the same versus the average consumer. In comparison, 44 percent of seniors are eating whole grains daily. Twenty-one percent of younger boomers consume omega3 foods or supplements on a daily basis only slightly more versus the average consumer. But, propensity increases rather sharply with age, and at 30 percent of the population, seniors are significantly more likely make omega3s part of daily life. Given this particular trend, deli and foodservice departments should put more omega-3 foods onto their menus.
When thinking of omega-3 rich foods, salmon often comes to mind first. If you have an instore chef, he probably has some ideas of a few salmon dishes that he could easily create and make them friendly for staff and shoppers. If you don’t have an instore chef, recipes are abundant and easily accessed on the internet. Designate a manager or staffer to choose a few low ingredient, foodservice friendly salmon recipes and start the promotion.
Omega-3 Rich Foods To Incorporate
• Wild rice
• Pasture-raised meats
Marketing To Baby Boomers
Baby boomers are some of the trickiest consumers to market to simply because they cannot all be lumped together in one neat little demographic. Once a person reaches the age of 50, they have been refining their individual tastes for more than 30 years and it becomes ineffective for marketers to make sweeping generalizations in their messaging. Smart marketers will seek input from boomers themselves in order to create effective online marketing campaigns.
Boomers value individuality and autonomy, and because of this, are less subject to peer influence than younger consumers. Campaigns that focus on social status or “keeping up with the Joneses” will not play as well with this market.
Unlike younger consumers who can be swayed by sweeping claims in marketing messages, baby boomers are turned off by hyperbole. When considering a purchase, the 50 and older crowd wants the facts and only the facts. With years of buying behind them, boomers have consumer intelligence which allows them to sniff out hype when they hear and read it.
Although boomers want cold hard facts, they usually don’t want them until they are emotionally hooked. Studies have revealed that as people enter midlife they begin relying more on right-brain functions (emotions) and less on left-brain reasoning. If you can make boomers feel something deeply, you have a chance at making a customer for life.
Baby boomers are aging very differently than the generations before them who seemed to throw in the youthful towel once they hit 50 years old. They don’t want to be treated as “seniors” and inundated with messaging that solely focuses on health conditions and retirement plans. Though this age bracket may indeed need a few prescription medications and information regarding investment opportunities, they are still people who need to buy basic consumer goods just like everyone else and they want to be treated as such.
The baby boomer generation is a key demographic and can drive higher sales if reached effectively. The single largest consumer group in America, boomers are wealthy, educated and sophisticated shoppers. If you can win their loyalty, you will have a significant opportunity to gain their loyalty and increase your bottom line.