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The untapped boomer opportunity

The boomer cohort in Canada is large, affluent and willing to spend their dollars - ignore them at your peril
Front view of senior woman hiker standing outdoors in nature at sunset.

Boomers are still viewed as one of the more affluent generations and they’re also one of the most under-targeted cohorts, says Nourish Food Marketing president Jo-Ann McArthur. But, there are ways for grocers to tap into this “massive marketing opportunity.”

The senior segment accounts for nearly seven million Canadians, but few research studies even include respondents over the age of 65, said McArthur, while presenting 2022 food trends during her presentation at the SIAL Canada trade show and conference in Montreal on Wednesday.

What seniors and boomers are looking for are foods and beverages with functional benefits, and they’re willing to pay more for products that support their health mission. “Think of health span and not life span,” said McArthur.

This generation is looking to preserve their muscle mass, skeletal strength, immunity and vitality, said McArthur. They’re also looking to maintain their independence. Aside from product assortment, one way grocers can help with this is to rethink the makeup of their meal kits.

For instance, seniors and boomers may not have the same energy levels or cooking skills they once did, but they still want to prepare their own meals. Make it easier for them to do so, she said.

“How can you lighten the load [for them] at home? Can you develop a meal kit that supports this mission and allows them to assemble it at home, but still have the pride of ‘I made it,’” said McArthur.

Seniors and boomers are more active online now thanks to COVID, but they may need a little help. Bump up the font size on websites, make it easier for them to re-order certain items and consider using seniors as social media influencers, McArthur suggested.

For example, SuperAge, a brand of powder blends out of the United Kingdom that is dedicated to customers over 50, has enlisted boomer-aged brand ambassadors to help other boomers achieve “their bucket list through powerful nutrition,” said McArthur.

Another example of a company catering to seniors and seniors-to-be is Instacart. The online grocery delivery and pickup service launched a support team that specializes in setting up accounts and placing orders for customers over age 60. According to Nourish Food Marketing’s 2022 Trend Report, after two orders placed using Instacart’s Seniors Support Service, “support needs decrease, while purchase frequency increases.”

Boomers have money and they’re willing to pay for products or services that help them achieve their health goals. Think of how you can cater to them or “ignore them at your peril,” said McArthur.

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