Aging Changes Consumption

Elderly Woman

According to consumer research by ABN Amro in Germany and The Netherlands, the aging of the population will have a significant impact on the food sector. People over 55 eat less calories, choose different products, have different purchase motives, choose for different nutrients and packaging, and prefer different purchase channels than younger generations.

Baby boomers are less interested in convenience, they mostly have more time to cook a meal, however, the demand for easy to prepare food increases with those aged 75 and up. Both Dutch and Germans over 55 more often consume fresh products such as fish, fruit, cheese and potatoes and less processed products such as meat substitutes and pizzas.

Older generations also need different nutrients, like proteins and vitamin D. Functional foods, which have added vitamins, proteins or fibres, would respond to this need.

Aging also influences food packaging. As the number of single-person households increases, the demand for single-person packaging increases. The motor skills of hands deteriorate and many people experience ‘wrap rage’: the annoyance that packaging does not open or is difficult to open. Packaging labels often contain small print that makes it hard to read the expiry date and other important consumer information.

In terms of purchasing channel, baby boomers are the most frequent visitors of supermarkets of all age groups. Older generations pay less attention to price and more to health.

ABN Amro concludes that “aging” deserves a higher place on the agenda of food manufacturers.