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Older consumers worldwide seek convenience in food, says Canadean.

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By Anna Bonar+

14-Aug-2014
Last updated on 15-Aug-2014 at 15:16 GMT

 “Products that are ready-to-eat allow on-the-go consumption, whilst those that are pre-prepared offer older consumers more free time to spend on their most favoured activities,
“Products that are ready-to-eat allow on-the-go consumption, whilst those that are pre-prepared offer older consumers more free time to spend on their most favoured activities," said Kirsty Nolan, analyst from Canadean.

Convenience motivates 17.1% of food consumption among older consumers, according to a report from Canadean.

In the survey the respondents were given 82 food categories and were asked how often they consumed each category and why.

The results showed that although convenient products aimed at busy city workers, they were becoming increasingly popular amongst over 55s, as 17.1% of their consumption was motivated by this need. According to Canadean, manufacturers who only targeted the busiest consumers were missing a large proportion of potential customers.

“At the moment there are very few global products targeted directly at older consumers and these tend to be more functional,” said Kirsty Nolan, analyst from Canadean.

No need to be patronising

As old age is often accompanied by a loss of strength and dexterity in hands and wrists, some producers aimed to make their products more accessible to older consumers.

A packaging of nut assortments from Emerald now had indents to improve grip and a shortened rotation required to open the products. Similarly, Cheddar Cheese biscuits from United Biscuits had a horseshoe tab which could be pulled to tear open the pack.

“While this packaging has been designed for elderly consumers, it is not mentioned at all on the packaging itself,” Nolan told Food Navigator.

“The key thing is that products are not seen to patronise older consumers by specifically referencing them (particularly if positioned around disease maintenance) – instead references need to be subtle,” she added.

Convenience is not just on the outside

While packaging was important, the food itself should had to be convenient and easy-to-eat.

 “Products that are ready-to-eat allow on-the-go consumption, whilst those that are pre-prepared offer older consumers more free time to spend on their most favoured activities.

 “The most convenient foods are those that take little preparation time. However, if we are considering older consumers they have other pressing need stakes like a demand for healthy and tasty food,”  said Nolan.  

 “The supermarkets private label brands in the UK have been successful in targeting this with products such as fresh prepared vegetables that are suitable for microwave cooking, or assortments fully prepared and ready to add to a casserole or stew,” she added.

The research was conducted across ten countries:  UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, China, Russia and India and involved 750 people per country.

“By encompassing the most important economies worldwide, and approximately half of the global population, we believe that this data provides a robust view of consumer trends globally,” said Nolan.

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2 comments

Manufacturers are ready - retailers not

Reading your comment that Older consumers can't all buy/use convenience foods I felt your pain.
We are a food and beverage manufacturer (dedicated certified Gluten Free, GMO, corn, rice, peanut and most of allergen free).As my background: biochemistry, food science and naturopath I created over 100 nutrition-rich, safe, added functionality and tasty items for individual consumers in convenience packaging. Tested every single ingredients for safety approval...etc. We spent a lot of money, certifications..etc...and the price range wasn't to much higher as "regular" food or drinks. Retailers: shelf prices extremely high (we supposed to pay to the retailers), and they don't understand the concept behind these items...Their opinion that "no market demands" for these items, so we won't take it...Even I tried to set up and launch an International Franchise System (I know the market demands for these unique and safe items)...I didn't received any interest from investors...so where is the solution?? Yes, there is a huge market demands and yes, some manufacturers already have the products...we just should figure out the way to connect...

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Posted by Szilvia
20 August 2014 | 16h18

Older consumers can't all buy/use convenience foods

I'm an older consumer and I'd love to buy ready-prepared foods. Sadly, I'm both wheat and maize intolerant, and manufacturers are way behind on keeping up with the latest statistics about food intolerances. University research is now suggesting that maize intolerance has been under-reported and that maize contains a substance rather like gluten. Tell me about it!!! I thought I was getting stomach cancer, my stomach was so sore. It was maize - in just about every food, including so-called 'free from' and even in vitamin tablets. For the first time in ages my stomach is not sore. But my purse is. It's hugely difficult and expensive to find things without maize in them. Potato starch and other root flours would be just as good in many of the free-from foods. I can't even buy a loaf of bread.

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Posted by Anna Jacobs
15 August 2014 | 17h48