Baby Boomers healthiest eaters, says research

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 13th March 2013

The food preferences of the Baby Boomer generation are the healthiest, according to new research from Australian market research organisation, Roy Morgan Research. The Baby Boomer generation covers those Australians born in the post-World-War-Two period from 1945 to 1960.

In a marked preference for healthier food options, 76 per cent of Baby Boomers in Australia preferring to eat salads, 69 per cent sandwiches, and 65 per cent soups. Pre-Boomers also showed a clear preference for healthier options, with 73 per cent of those born before 1946 preferring salads, 68 per cent soups, and 64 per cent sandwiches.

“Boomers tend to agree more with statements about eating healthily than wanting to lose weight. It follows that their choice of salads and other less fattening food options is motivated more by a desire to stay healthy than to reduce their waistlines,” said Norman Morris, Roy Morgan Research’s Industry Communications Director.

Younger generations, however, showed more of a preference for high-fat and high-calorie foods like pizza, BBQ chicken and hot chips. Among the younger generations, Generation Z (those born between 1991 and 2005) had the highest preference for the less healthy options, with 71 per cent in that generation showing a preference for pizza, 66 per cent for BBQ chicken, 66 per cent for hot chips, and only 62 per cent for sandwiches.

Pizza and BBQ chicken were also popular with Generation Y (born between 1976 and 1990), with 69 per cent going for BBQ chicken and 67 per cent for pizza. Generation Y also showed some preference for healthier options: 65 per cent said they preferred salads and 64 per cent said they preferred sandwiches.

Salads and sandwiches fared a little better for Generation X (born between 1961 and 1975), with 71 per cent saying they preferred salads and 68 per cent sandwiches. But BBQ chicken and pizza were still popular with Generation X, with 72 per cent showing a preference for BBQ chicken and 65 per cent for pizza.

“These results highlight the difference in food preference between generations. It’s no surprise the older Boomer generations like healthier options such as salads, soups and sandwiches: half of them report being concerned about their cholesterol level. In contrast, only 16% of Generation Zs are worried about cholesterol, so pizza is not yet the enemy,” said Morris.

In New Zealand, salads are also favoured by the Boomer generations, as well as Generation X. Pizza tops the list for Generations Y and Z, with 80 per cent of those generations preferring pizza above all other food types.

“Food manufacturers and retailers, nutritionists and health departments need to understand how food preferences differ between generations, and how they evolve over time, in order to maximise their ability to market existing and new products and services,” said Morris.