Have you considered how your food or beverage brand is engaging with older consumers? The 58- to 76-year-old generation makes up the second-largest population group in the U.S. with an estimated 71.6 million people.
Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers grew up amid a wide range of pivotal cultural and political events including the Vietnam War, the Cold War era, the Civil Rights Movement, and the moon landing. Many Boomers inherited the idea of the postwar American dream from their parents and were raised to value hard work and family relationships. Boomers benefited from the postwar economic boom and have since become the wealthiest generation. Deloitte estimates Boomers control around 70% of all disposable income, around $53 trillion, in the U.S. And as many Baby Boomers enjoy retirement or prepare to exit the workforce, their spending habits with disposable income are bound to shift.
Let’s explore a few characteristics of this generation and the ways food and beverage brands can engage and create connections.
How Can Your Brand Appeal to Baby Boomers?
According to Innova, the Baby Boomer generation is more conscious of their food choices and the impact diet has on health. They are more likely to avoid processed foods and other ingredients they perceive as unhealthy, like sugar, salt, fat, and carbs. With organic options becoming more mainstream, older folks are looking for more natural, wholesome options in grocery store aisles to meet health goals and prevent illness.
- 52% of U.S. consumers believe organic foods and beverages are healthier than products that are not organic (Innova).
- 50% of U.S. consumers aged 55+ agree that preventing disease/illness motivates them to eat healthier (Mintel).
- 49% of U.S. Baby Boomers wish they could redo past choices that have negatively impacted their health (Mintel).
Maria Alfano, a retired Baby Boomer who runs thesilverdiaries.com blog explains how she thinks about food and health, “When I sit down to have a meal, I’m much more conscious of what I put into my body. I prefer healthy fats like avocado, coconut, and olive oils, and organically grown vegetables, as well as grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish.”
Alfano also gave the Food Institute some tips for food and beverage brands who want to appeal to older generations:
- Use natural ingredients
- Provide clear labeling, with nutritional facts “front and center”
- Avoid words like “lite” on labeling as it can look like an advertising ploy
- Create functional products beyond just “heart-healthy” foods
Support for Healthy Aging
Baby Boomers are living longer than previous generations. And with more time to enjoy their golden years, many are taking a proactive approach to healthy aging by prioritizing healthy food choices, taking supplements, and getting regular exercise.
- 66% of all consumers say healthy aging is extremely or very important (Innova).
- 35% of US Baby Boomers are concerned about their heart health (Mintel).
- 46% are interested in functional foods like probiotics and vitamins (Mintel).
Innova notes that older generations are more likely to look for supplements and products offering healthy aging benefits. Sleep, hydration, heart health, immunity, and gut health are most often cited as desirable food and beverage traits among Generation X and Boomers.
Classics with a Twist
Most Baby Boomers aren’t as adventurous with their taste as younger generations. Putting a new spin on more classic flavors is a low-stakes way to encourage older shoppers to explore new tastes.
- 62% of Baby Boomers say they are interested in trying new foods but prefer to eat them for the first time as part of more familiar menu items (Datassential).
- 69% of Baby Boomers will only try a new food if they think it will taste good (Datassential).
Although Baby Boomers tend to cook meals at home, Datassential reports that this generation spends more away-from-home dollars on breakfast than any other generation. Food and beverage brands can take a cue from Boomers’ breakfast preferences, which, according to Technomic include better-for-you fare and twists on classic dishes like savory waffles or eggs benedict with harissa hollandaise. Build-your-own omelet stations or waffle bars, for example, offer the opportunity to personalize the eating experience to align with taste preferences and wellness goals.
Baby Boomers will likely maintain their status as the wealthiest generation, but they still want to economize grocery budgets, especially as rising inflation takes a toll on household finances.
Flavor still plays an important role. Seniors, like all generations, prioritize taste and balance price with the desire for higher-quality ingredients that they link with more effective nourishment.
- 70% of consumers say they will keep cooking at home after the pandemic (Hunter)
- 60% of seniors tend to be frugal and buy the least expensive option (5W Public Relations)
When it comes to reducing food spending, an Innova survey found that Boomers plan to:
- Buy lower cost items (41%)
- Cook from scratch and prepare foods at home rather than pay for convenience foods (39%)
- Buy fewer items (34%)
- Cut down on luxury products to prioritize basic essentials (30%)
Partner with FlavorSum
Will your new food or beverage launch connect with older generations? Our insights team can help find alignment between your brand and the older generations. Working with our flavor and applications experts can help you bring your new concept to life and bring it to grocery store shelves. Connect with our team to learn more!