It’s a fact – America is aging. Over the next several decades, we will see big changes in our country’s population:
- One in five residents will be age 65 or older in 2030.
- By 2030, all of our Baby Boomer population (the single largest consumer group in America) will be senior citizens.
- By 2050, the U.S. population age 65 and older will more than double that of 2010 (increasing from approximately 40 million to over 88 million).
As the population ages, the significance of 50+ consumers will grow dramatically in importance. Marketers in the food industry need to capitalize on this shift, by creating products that address the most important health and well-being areas of interest for this demographic: retaining mental clarity, keeping both cholesterol and blood pressure in check, and increasing quality of life.
Bearing these points in mind, here are a few wellness food options to consider as you develop new products:
- The “blue advantage.” In a recent study testing the effects of blueberries, results show that people who ate a cup of blueberries a day performed five to six percent better on motor skills tests than a control group. Why? Blueberries contain a compound called anthocyanin, thought to be responsible for neuron protection. Food processors can make use of this “blue advantage” by incorporating whole, diced, fresh, freeze-dried or other forms of blueberries into their products.
- Sodium alternatives. Studies have shown that 75 percent of a consumer’s sodium comes from prepared foods. Since our aging population is looking for lower sodium options to address blood pressure concerns, investigate alternatives for your products. Popular options include potassium chloride, mixed mineral salts and sea salt.
- Inulin. Derived from chicory root, inulin is easy to use. It’s invisible in water and can be added to all sorts of products as a source of dietary fiber. A fiber-rich diet is especially important to older individuals, helping them stay regular, stay full longer and lower their risk of chronic diseases.
- Long chain omega-3s. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) are essential fatty acids important for heart health, brain and eye health. Foods enriched with these long chain omega 3s can become an important source of these vital nutrients for aging consumers.
As we age, having a better quality of life through a better diet doesn’t take miracles. It’s about making small, practical changes to eat healthier. Food processors can help make these changes easier for senior citizens by developing new products (or enhancing existing ones) to address their unique health issues.
Kinsa Group – On Top of the Trends Impacting Our Industry
If there is one constant in the food & beverage industry, it’s change. As national recruiters in the food & beverage industry, we at Kinsa Group stay on top of the issues and trends that are important to your food & beverage organization.
In fact, we’ll be at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago, which runs from July 13th through 16th. We’re looking forward to learning about the newest product, ingredient and technology developments, as well as the trends that will shape the industry in the months ahead. If you attend the event, please stop by our booth (#4153)!