New report shows how ageing dynamics will influence food sales

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 15th December 2009

Research into the likely eating patterns of different generations shows that considerable changes in the consumption patterns are likely in coming years, with each generation to make a distinctive mark on how and what consumers will be eating in 10 years, The NPD Group said.

In its ‘A Look into The Future of Eating’ report, American-based NPD finds that eating patterns over the next decade will be influenced by the behaviours that occur with aging, and the differences in preferences from one generation to another.

The report looks at how Generation Z, born 1990 to present; Y (Millennials), born 1976 to 1989; X, born 1965 to 1975; Younger Boomers, 1956 to 1964; Older Boomers, 1946 to 1955; and Generation Silent, 1930 to 1945, eat today, and how as they age they will eat 10 years from now.

Based on the impact of age dynamics, trend momentum (prior and current eating patterns), and population growth, the top five food groups expected to increase in consumption are salty/savoury snacks, easy meals, centre of plate proteins (i.e. meat entrees), sweet snacks/desserts, and heat and eat breakfasts. Based on generational and ageing influences, over the next decade, people in Generation Y are expected to be primary contributors to the forecasted growth in consumption of all these food groups with the exception of heat and eat breakfasts. Kids less than 10 years of age are expected to have more influence on consumption of this food group compared to the other foods.

Salty/savoury snack producers are likely to be the big winners, with sales forecast to rise 16.1% led by Gen Y – with sales to this group expected to rise 44%. Easy meals (+16%), centre of plate proteins (+15.1%), sweet snacks (+14%) and heat and eat breakfasts (+13.4%) are the other categories forecast to see surging sales.

“As the different generations age over the next decade, corresponding changes in their life stage will have a major impact on what and how they eat,” Ann Hanson, author of A Look into The Future of Eating and director of product development at NPD, advised. “Understanding the effect of aging on the various generations’ eating habits and preferences helps food and beverage companies develop long-range plans in terms of their overall product portfolio, positioning and innovation.”