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Why Overlooking Baby Boomer Consumers is a Big Mistake

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The tastes of Baby Boomer consumers are evolving in a manner that defies stereotypes.

“With nearly sixty percent of Boomers using digital promotions, and that usage increasing rapidly – surpassing paper usage last year – (businesses) should focus their strategy on digital promotions,” said Rob Weisberg, president of the incentives & loyalty division at Inmar Intelligence.

Ultimately, marketers may overlook Baby Boomers at their own peril. That was a key sentiment shared by several experts that spoke to The Food Institute for its extensive June report about senior consumers, available to members on Thursday, June 1 (to join FIclick here).

Baby Boomer consumers – which number 72 million in size and comprise the second-largest generation in the U.S. (slightly trailing Millennials, according to Mintel) – boast immense purchasing power. Each year, Boomers (ranging in age from 59 to 77) outspend other generations by approximately $400 billion.

And the Covid-19 pandemic clearly had an impact on Boomers’ purchasing habits.

“We’re seeing a rise in experiential and gifting purchases,” said Lindsey Galey, CMO of Giadzy, an e-commerce platform that delivers items like Italian food to consumers. “Ingredients to make an authentic Italian Amatriciana Pasta at home (for example) – and sending gifts to loved ones in lieu of gatherings. We have seen particular spikes in the use of gift notes around seasonal items – like Easter chocolates, and celebration and birthday-specific gift kits.”

Kara Landau, a registered dietitian and product development advisor for the Gut Feeling Consultancy, said today’s senior citizens have become more health-conscious in recent years.

“With this in mind, developing functional offerings that target specific health conditions of relevance to Baby Boomers consumers is a strategic way for food and beverage companies to … stand out in the market,” Landau noted.

Boomers remain a target demographic for restaurants, especially in the U.S., considering the group is responsible for nearly 50% of the nation’s spending. To win over today’s senior consumers, restaurants need to focus on offering a unique night out, according to Norah Clark, a veteran chef who has worked at restaurants and hotels worldwide.

“Personalized experiences, interior aesthetics, and excellent customer service are crucial for appealing to this demographic,” Clark said of Boomers.

The Food Institute Podcast

Convenience stores often get a bad rap for lackluster foodservice options, but the category has expanded to include better foodservice options in the past few years. Circana SVP of Retail Client Solutions Scott Love joined The Food Institute Podcast to explore how convenience stores are utilizing data more than ever before, and how the industry is adapting to changing consumer habits amid inflationary pressures.