Consumers of retirement age are among the most affluent in Europe yet food companies are failing to tap the potential of this market with their products and advertising, an upcoming conference will investigate the science behind new product development for this rich potential market.
Sensory capability and food perception, nutrigenomics and personalised nutrition, as well as product trends will all feature at the event, 'Foods for the healthy elderly' in Amsterdam from 6 to 7 October, 2005.
"From initial feedback, we believe this subject area is of key interest to the food industry, " conference organisers Bastiaanse Communication said to FoodNavigator.com.
The organisers, all scientists and backed by an advisory board with members from Cargill, Nestle, Unilever and DSM, said they are currently putting together the poster sessions and conference speakers.
A recent report from market analysts Datamonitor shows that the European population is ageing rapidly, with the number of people aged 50-64 set to rise by 15 per cent from 127.4 million in 1997 to 147 million by 2007. This, together with the fact that 'Seniors' possess high disposable incomes, makes it a highly attractive and profitable segment.
"Changing attitudes and consumption habits of both current and future cohorts of 50-59 year olds will herald a 'new-age' of Senior consumerism," said Daniel Bone, Datamonitor consumer markets analyst and author of the report.
With a new generation of Senior consumers and a blurring of values between the so-called 'older' and 'younger' age groups, food companies, suggests the report, must make fashionable products available to and inclusive of Senior consumers.
A significant reason for advertisers shying away from consumers over 50 is the conventional wisdom that they are very brand loyal and less likely than younger people to try new products.
"This is perhaps the greatest marketing myth associated with Senior consumers and stems from historic and stereotypical references," said Bone. "Critically, food purchases tend to come into line with food preferences once the kids leave home simply because there are fewer people to please. They have more time to focus upon themselves and this is often reflected by different consumption patterns."