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The outlook for the consumer packaged goods industry gets better with age, according to a new report from IRI.
While other segments have struggled, the recession has not played a huge a role in boomer food-purchasing decisions. More than three-quarters of the group, born between 1946 and 1964, maintained their spending on necessity items, and 85 percent continued to make unplanned purchases. This makes the group, which still represent half of total U.S. spending, a $50 billion growth opportunity for consumer packaged goods companies, the report notes.
The study evaluated boomer shopping habits according to three age groups: Truman (53-62), Kennedy (44-52), and LBJ (34-43). It found that private label popularity increased with age. Sixty-six percent of Trumans purchased store brands, and 83 percent gave the products “excellent” quality ratings. Only 70 percent of Kennedy and 73 percent of LBJ boomers agreed.
Top private label products included bottled water, ice cream and nuts. This trend, however, was not reflected in nonfood products, such as over-the-counter vitamin supplements and medications, products that Trumans had more of a reliance on than their younger peers.
Nutrition was predictably more of a concern with older consumers. Trumans reported healthy eating as a priority (84 percent) and a means to manage health conditions (61 percent). Healthy beverage options and organic labels weren’t as important.
Nuts/seeds/corn nuts, ice cream, and chocolate candy were the most popular product categories for Trumans. Cold cereals, frozen pizza and salted snack purchases were less common than with Kennedy or LBJ boomers.
“Today’s retail and consumer packaged goods community must work hard to understand the unique opportunities being created by this large and diverse consumer segment,” said IRI consulting & innovation SVP Sean Seitzinger. “Different microsegments will define the market growth opportunities in health and wellness, and the next generation of products and brands.”