Are grocers ready to deal with the aging population?

Are grocers ready to deal with the aging population?

A recent study by 84.51º, the retail and data science, insights and media arm of Kroger, found that people over 65 will outnumber those under 18 by 2034, which which suggests adjustments may be needed from brands and retailers to meet their needs.

By 2030, all baby boomers will be at least 65 years old.

To meet the dietary needs of baby boomers, 84.51º research suggests:

  • Fresh products like milk and bananas are the most sold.
  • This generation shows less interest in niche categories like cider or products based on natural ingredients.
  • Overall, prioritizing freshness, convenience and familiar treats aligns with frequent purchases across generations.

In a separate blog post, Katarina Weil, senior solutions design consultant for 84.51º – foundations clients, said household sizes could become smaller for some older consumers as children grow up and couples are facing divorce or widowhood later in life. However, for other older clients, aging leads to larger households emerging from multigenerational cohabitation and as younger parents take on caregiving roles.

An aging population is also expected to shop less, particularly if their household size is decreasing. Research from 84.51º shows that shoppers aged 19-24 complete approximately 34.3% more shopping than shoppers aged 75 and over.

“For retailers, this makes in-store conversions increasingly important,” Weil said. “Managing basket sizes and improving shopping convenience for seniors should become priorities. For CPG brands, these demographic realities require rethinking product offerings to meet the needs of older adults. Packaging, labeling and ingredients may all need to adapt to changing physical abilities and health conditions. Marketing and advertising should be aimed at older consumers.

In an opinion column for Ad Age, Pamela Millman, associate director of integrated marketing at AARP Media, wrote that the over-50s remain “often overlooked” by food marketers, although the group buys 54% of all groceries in the United States and has become more health conscious and cooking more frequently since the pandemic.

Millman wrote: “Whether it’s preparing meals at home or buying groceries at the store or online, adults over 50 are open to new ideas, experiences, products and services, which which makes them very receptive to marketing campaigns that catch their attention.

A University of Hertfordshire study found that older people face “a wide range of factors working against them when stocking up and buying food”. Beyond nutrition, the benefits of food shopping for older adults include providing opportunities for social interaction as the risk of loneliness increases, the research notes.

Among the University of Hertfordshire’s suggestions was the introduction of ‘slow’ or ‘relaxed’ checkouts at fixed times, which has been trialled in recent years by many UK grocers. The university’s study found that many seniors don’t want to be rushed when it comes time to pay. The researchers said: “Older people said they appreciated the chance to interact with staff or other shoppers. »

Other recommendations included:

  • Provide rest areas or more spacious seating.
  • Organize lunches for seniors in in-store cafes
  • Invest in staff training or consider implementing “shopping buddy” programs with volunteers to help shoppers who need help reaching items on shelves or carrying their bags to the door .
  • Offer discount alternatives that allow for small purchases to complement family-focused “BOGOF” deals.
  • Provide more food in smaller packages without financial penalty.
  • Meet the challenges of online shopping for those who find it difficult to leave the house.

Professor Wendy Wills wrote in the study: “Supermarkets have a great opportunity to introduce practical, cost-effective measures that help older people benefit from affordable nutrition and maintain a positive relationship with food. »