Friday, November 19, 2010

Food Trends Recognizing Aging

I was excited to see that one of Mintel's 2011 "megatrends" is recognition of the demographic shifts and the aging workforce.

http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/Demographic-shifts-to-determine-food-trends-in-2011-Mintel

Today's food products are geared toward the youth (think energy drinks) but Mintel predicts that more products will be targeting "vitality and health" for those of us who are older. And why not, given that the number of us in the U.S. aged 45 to 64 who will reach 65 over the next 20 years has increased by 31% in the last decade. Baby boomers are more likely to be active, too. The Health Club industry says adults age 55+ comprise a quarter of health club memberships. From 1998 to 2005 those over 55 joined gyms--33% increase from earlier years while the 18 to 34 year old age group showed no increase.

Here is my wish list of products that I would like to see the food industry develop and market to older adults:

  • Half loaf of whole wheat bread (I can never finish a whole loaf of bread and bread just doesn't freeze well)

  • Sports drinks with lower carbs (4% range) without being sickly sweet with fake sugars (older adults were diluting sports drinks long before sports drink makers came up with "light" versions but those are still too sweet tasting. This reminds me of Dr. Randy Eichner, retired team doc for the University of Oklahoma Sooners, who encouraged Gatorade to make a drink for older adults and call it "Later Gator.")

  • Lower sodium everything products while at the same time increasing potassium; both nutrients are important for managing blood pressure.

  • Yogurt with more calcium and vitamin D. At a recent food conference I tasted Yoplait yogurt that is being introduced soon and it will have 50% of the daily value for calcium and vitamin D--great job. Most people are surprised to learn that only a a couple of yogurt brands have any vitamin D. And Greek yogurt (which I love) has more protein than regular yogurt, but less calcium and no vitamin D.

We might be "older, lower, and slower" (a slogan used by some master athletes who pole vault at senior games) but we have the financial means to purchase food products that help us stay vital and healthy.

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