The latest company to do so is Campofrio, the Spanish meat product producer. Working closely with nutrition experts at the Universidad del Pais Vasco in Spain, the company has created a line of products called Sanissimix, which it claims provide a nutritional balance tailored specifically for older consumers.
Best known for its products such as cooked ham and sausages, Campofrio is increasingly marketing itself as a nutritional food producer, and Sanissimix is the latest move in this diversification strategy.
The company is investing heavily in research and development in the nutritional sector, focusing on a number of specific dietary requirements relating to sectors of society.
The Sanissimix range is made with all natural ingredients and has no added salt, and is described by the company as the perfect base for creams and purées with traditional flavour profiles but with the optimum nutritional balance for older consumers.
There are six varieties in the range: Beef with vegetables, Fish with vegetables and rice, Chicken with vegetables and rice, Italian Cream of Eggs and Vegetables, Legumes with vegetables and rice, and Pork with vegetables. All varieties are pre-cooked, and have a refrigerated shelf life of three months.
The mixes are a complement to the company's existing Sanissimo line of meat products targeted at consumers seeking a balanced, healthy diet, the company said.
Campofrio did not say how it hoped to target senior citizens with the products, but if it does create a marketing and advertising campaign focused specifically on this section of society, it will be one of the few companies to do so.
A recent report from Datamonitor shows that the European average disposable income of the 50-64 age group was €19,800 in 2002, giving them a not insignificant purchasing power, but most food and drink producers are doing little to tap this potential.
The conventional wisdom states that consumers over 50 are very brand loyal and less likely than younger people to try new products - which means that few products have been targeted specifically at them. But in reality, many senior citizens are increasingly ready to experience new things, particularly once they are unencumbered by children, according to the Datamonitor report.
But seniors are certainly less likely to be swayed by advertising, with age often making them much more cynical, the report claims. Most marketing campaigns and associated advertising messages are targeted at young people, and those that do speak explicitly to seniors often have a tendency to stereotype and patronise their lifestyles or for the advertisement to lack relevance, Datamonitor said.
What Campofrio and other marketers need to do if they are to effectively carve a market for themselves among older consumers is a change of attitude, according to Datamonitor. This means using senior-specific media for advertising and portraying senior lifestyles more positively through the use of active images which illustrate their enjoyment of life, the report suggests.