Older consumers offer untapped opportunities

by Monica Watrous
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NEW YORK – Food marketers have room to grow in reaching the baby boomer population, according to the Nielsen Global Survey about Aging. More than half of respondents said they do not see advertising that reflects older consumers, and half said it is difficult for the aging demographic to find easy-to-read product labels.

The on-line survey polled more than 30,000 respondents in 60 countries. More than four in 10 consumers said they have difficulty finding products that meet special nutritional diets, have smaller portion-size packaging or feature clearly labeled nutritional information. However, products are more likely to meet the needs of an aging consumer in North America, where 53% of consumers said products provide clearly labeled nutritional information on packaging. In addition, 52% said food products that cater to older consumers fully meet special dietary needs.

“These findings serve as a wake-up call to manufacturers, retailers and other marketers that need to bolster efforts to better reach and cater to an aging demographic,” said Todd Hale, senior vice-president, Consumer & Shopper Insights, Nielsen. “People 65 and older already outnumber kids under 14 in many developed countries like Japan, Germany and Italy. While the global aging population is growing in number, their spending power is growing, too, as many have more time to shop and spend than their younger counterparts.”

Retailers may benefit from boomers’ increased on-line activity, according to the survey. More than a third of global respondents said they order groceries on-line for home delivery, and more than half are willing to try if the option becomes available.

”While the findings are based on on-line respondents and represent an increased propensity for on-line usage, the research reflects the sentiment of leading-indicator attitudes that will only continue as Internet penetration rates grow,” Mr. Hale said. “As the Internet’s influence continues to permeate the everyday lives of connected people everywhere, savvy marketers need to ensure they are connecting with them, too.”

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