Baby Boomers: 2021 Consumer Insight

January 15, 2021
Innovation Baby-Boomer
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With well over $300 million in spending power, we’re diving into Baby Boomers’ food and beverage purchasing choices and how they’re adapting to new online shopping habits, hobbies, and health solutions. In our last report we explored the top ingredients of interest for Baby Boomers and their new found tech savviness—which only increased during the pandemic—as well as how they are proactively pursuing their health goals. From their interest in at-home cooking to products that will alleviate their health concerns, let’s see where you can find opportunity for your brand today.

Boomers by the Numbers

In 2019 Mintel reported that the Baby Boomers generation had reached 72 million adults, making up 22% of the US population; and despite the fact that Millennials have overtaken Boomers in terms of size (24% of the US population) Baby Boomers control more than 70% of the nation’s wealth. That’s a lot of spending power—well over $300 billion!

According to IRI, over 3 million Baby Boomers will reach age 65 every year until 2029; and by 2030 more than 20% of the total population will be over 65. Age often comes with an increase in chronic disease, and by 2030, 25% of seniors will be living with diabetes, 33% will be obese, and half of all Baby Boomers will suffer from arthritis. This presents an opportunity for brands to create products that proactively combat these health challenges.

Food & Health: Impacts of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Baby Boomers’ lifestyle. The biggest impacts on Baby Boomer’s dining behavior is in the way they shop, care for their health, and prepare food at home. Whether it’s exploring new products via grocery delivery, purchasing a health-focused supplement or snack, or trying something new and exciting in the kitchen, Baby Boomers continue to age in place with taste. In fact, shopping habits they have picked up during the recent months are likely to stay true even after the pandemic.

From home cooked meal kits with featuring exciting flavors to proactive aging products with functional ingredients that will help Boomers function well and feel great, let’s take a look at where we’re finding opportunity in this space.

Home Cooking Here to Stay

According to Amica Senior Lifestyles, the two new hobbies seniors are embracing during the pandemic are cooking (41%) and baking (34%). This provides ample opportunity for innovation with meal kits and baking mixes, especially when 25% of Baby Boomers cited their biggest challenge when cooking at home is coming up with new meal ideas, and 24% cited lack of innovation to cook.  Easy to prepare meal kits with classic flavors like BBQ and approachable global flavors like chili lime could bring convenience and creativity to the at-home Baby Boomer.

Products of Note

Cinnabon Rolled Pancake Kit & Brunch Mug Set contains Cinnabon rolled pancake mix, frosting mix, double chocolate cocoa mix, and two white mugs for serving. | USA

Fresh Express Twisted Caesar Greek Chopped Salad Kit is a ready to toss salad comprised of romaine lettuce, herb seasoned flatbread strips, feta cheese, and a Greek Caesar dressing. |USA

Hamburger Helper Cheesy Fajita Rice is inspired by Old El Paso and features naturally flavored cheesy sauce mix, rice, and just requires the addition of ground beef or chicken. | USA

67% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product

Plant Based is Booming

When asked about their food choices, Food Industry Executive found that 3 in 10 Baby Boomers claimed to be eating more plant-based food due to the pandemic; and with 59% of Boomers claiming to now be eating healthier overall, plant-based product’s inherent healthy halo is a perfect place to innovate. To please senior’s nostalgic, traditional palates, creating plant-based meals and snacks with everyday flavors could encourage them to go green without biting too far out of the box.

Products of Note:

Dairy Free Oui by Yoplait Strawberry Coconut Dairy Alternative is 100% vegan, free from gluten, and made with natural flavors. | USA

48% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product

Del Monte Veggieful Plant-Based Philly Cheesesteak Pocket Pies with Bell Peppers & Onions feature a golden crust made with cauliflower, are made with plant-based beef, bell peppers, onions, and 100% real provolone cheese. Each microwaveable pie provides one serving of veggies and 10g of protein. | USA

Boomers & Online Grocery Shopping

The quippy “OK Boomer” phrase has officially outstayed its welcome. Far from out of touch with technology, Baby Boomers are becoming more comfortable with the use of online shopping and grocery delivery. In June 2020, NRF reported that over 25% of Boomers had used a grocery delivery service at least once in the past three months, and Age of Majority found that 17% of online grocery shopping seniors have the intention of continuing to do so in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged seniors to try new flavors and products, in fact, nearly half (41%) said that the pandemic has prompted them to try a new brand or product that they had never tried before . Top product categories of interest include snack foods, frozen meals, and alcoholic beverages. In addition, 65% of Boomers are more inclined to buy local products now that before the pandemic (Age of Majority). With interest in new flavors and a new found savviness for online shopping, developers can find opportunity in these offerings

Products of Note

Vizzy Hard Seltzer contains natural flavors and is made with antioxidant vitamin C from acerola superfruit. | USA

Digiorno Croissant Crust Pepperoni Pizza is said to combine the buttery, light, flakiness of a croissant with famous tomato sauce, 100% real cheese, and pepperoni. | USA

62% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product

Cascadia Fruit Co. Blackberry Jam is made from locally grown blackberries in the Pacific Northwest and free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. | USA

Boomers Booming Health Perceptions

According to Mintel, while 84% of Boomers express concern of certain aspects of their health, more than two-thirds agree that they feel healthy. However, 24% of Boomers said they are a bit more concerned about their health than they were before the pandemic. Boomers are optimistic about improving their health though. Ultimately, health conditions that inhibit day-to-day commitments, such as vision loss and joint/body pain, are the first areas Boomers will look to improve. And fortunately for product developers, these are areas where great tasting products with functional ingredients can bring daily relief.

Baby Boomer’s Top Health Concerns

Consumers in this age group focus on their health and wellness by purchasing and consuming products that make them function and age well. And with certain health concerns increasing as they age, product developers can find opportunity in offering products with functional ingredients in this space that will make Boomers feel great.

Body Weight

While this is one of Baby Boomer’s top health concerns, they are least likely of all generations to be physically active. Instead, they opt to make diet changes to reach their goals, such as cutting sugar or reducing overall calorie consumption. (NutraIngredients)

Aldi Fit & Active Italian Herb Flatbread is high in fiber, contains 55% fewer calories than regular flatbreads, and features 70% less fat than regular flatbreads. | USA

42% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product

Joint Health & Body Pain

Arthritis impacts a significant number of aging adults now and will continue to do so in the coming years. Products that feature ingredients that reduce inflammation or relieve daily aches and pains could benefit a vast number of Boomers.

Sproos Up Your Joints Mango Turmeric Enhanced Collagen Beverage Crystals is said to help maintain healthy joints, to protect against the deterioration of cartilage, and to reduce joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. | Canada

Eye Health

With increased screen time due to being at home more often and the natural degeneration of eyesight with age, Baby Boomers are beginning to make food and supplement choices to boost eye health.

GNC Natural Brand Acai Berry Lutein Soft Chews are naturally flavored and combine the two most widely researched and recognized eye health ingredients, lutein and zeaxanthin isomers to support overall eye health and improve visual function in glare conditions. | USA

Mental Health

Mental health has often only been a focus of younger generations, but 86% of Baby Boomers said that the pandemic has encouraged them to think and talk more about their own mental health. Products that promote mood, cognitive function, and stress relief could benefit Boomers.

Twinings Unwind Spiced Apple & Vanilla Flavored Passionflower & Chamomile Herbal Tea is said to be reminiscent of apple pie with vanilla ice cream. It features passionflowers and chamomile which are considered useful in helping to wind down at the end of a long day. | USA

33% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product

The Takeaways

Though some of the healthy choices Baby Boomers have been influenced by COVID 19,  many will continue well into the future. In fact, according to Amica Senior Lifestyles, 88% of seniors polled said they intend to stick with some element of their food choices into the new year. This will vary from eating more plant-based food, continuing to utilize grocery delivery services, improving daily aches and pains through functional food and supplements, and just making the most of cooking at home as stay at home recommendations wear on. One thing we know for sure, Boomer’s taste for great food is still booming, and their positive outlook on health will spur them on to a happier, healthier future.

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Sources in full report