Boomers eating healthier with age: NPD Group

12/19/2011



The baby booomer generation is shifting to healty eating, according to the annual Eating Patterns in Canada report by NPD Group.

According to the report, boomers are most concerned about nutrition when planning a meal, more than any other age demographic in Canada.

Two-thirds of Canadians 65 years of age and older (72 per cent) say that nutrition is as important as taste when planning a meal.

This compares to 57 per cent of people ages 18 to 34 and 62 per cent of those 35 to 44 who believe nutrition is an important factor.

As Canadians age, fruit and vegetables become more prominent in their diets as meat and protein alternatives become less popular.

“The baby boomer generation represents the largest age group in Canada and, in terms of numbers alone, they have a tremendous influence on Canadian market trends,” said Joel Gregoire, food and beverage industry analyst, The NPD Group. “As this population ages, their eating behaviours begin to change, giving food and beverage companies the opportunity to capitalize on this shift to a healthier lifestyle.”

Driving this trend is the struggle with weight issues, with 63 per cent of people ages 45-64 overweight or obese compared to 51 per cent of those 18 to 44.

The study also found that boomers are not only becoming more selective in the foods they eat, but are becoming much more disciplined in consuming three balanced meals a day.

Key concerns are the ingredients in food.

Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of those 65 years of age and older believe people should be cautious when serving foods with saturated fat; over two-thirds (68 per cent) are concerned with trans fats; and two-thirds (71 per cent) are concerned with salt or sodium.

In addition, Canadians ages 46 to 65 seek healthy options containing more fibre (62 per cent), antioxidants (37 per cent) and omega 3 fatty acids (35 per cent).

The top three labels Canadians look for on food are: low fat, whole grain and trans fat free, while the top three on beverages are low fat, light/ lite/ diet and vitamins added.

And boomers are more likely to follow Canada’s Food Guide. In 2011, just over one quarter of Canadians (28 per cent) claimed to adhere to its guidelines, while 44 per cent of Canadians 65 years and older embrace the guide's recommendations.

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