A Big Surprise About Millennials and Boomers

The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC), a nonprofit whose mission is to communicate science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition, reports each year just how well we're doing in our quest to eat healthier.

The organization’s 2017 research includes results of its companion national survey of consumers ages 50 and over, the fastest-growing U.S. demographic, conducted in partnership with AARP Foundation.

David Orgel writes in Drug Store News that the conventional wisdom is that younger generations are leading the transformation of how Americans eat. But it turns out that older consumers, from 50 to 80 years old, are the ones most confident about their health choices and sources of nutrition information, at a time of widespread confusion driven by conflicting stories in the media. This finding has important implications not just for supermarkets, but also for a wide range of retail channels.

The deeper dive into Boomers and older consumers is valuable at a time when most research seems to be analyzing Generations Y and Z and their relationship and drivers in food and beverages.

IFIC’s topline:

  • 47 percent of consumers ages 50 to 80 years old say the confusion about what to eat leads to doubts about their choices, compared with 61 percent of those ages 18 to 49.
  • Consumers ages 50 to 80 are more likely than younger ones to follow healthy eating behaviors, ranging from cutting back on full-fat dairy to eating more foods with whole grains.
  • Older consumers are more likely than younger ones to connect specific foods with health benefits they're pursuing.

In the interview with Drug Store News, Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling, IFIC’s VP of research and partnerships, observed that the confidence of older consumers may result from how they source information.

“They rely on fewer sources of information, and more credible sources, so they get less conflicting information,” she explained.

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