Over the next 20 years, the demographic of people 65 and older is projected to grow more than 4.5 times faster than the non-senior population. This expanding demographic of “silver” consumers, that includes the mature/silent generation and increasingly the baby boomer generation, is the fastest-growing age group on the planet and has tremendous impact on the latest food packaging innovations.

Many seniors today are living longer, working longer and enjoying a more active and financially comfortable lifestyle. They generally have more free time and a disposable income, twice that of those under the age of 25. For businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve by catering to the needs of silver consumers, there is tremendous opportunity.

When it comes to food packaging, silver consumers demand creative solutions to meet their unique needs.

1.     E-Commerce, grocery shopping and home delivery

With an increasing number of silver consumers going online, grocery home delivery continues to become more popular with this demographic. In the UK, more than one in 10 consumers aged 65–74 are already buying food or groceries online.  As seniors become less physically able, home delivery makes grocery shopping more manageable.

2.   Simplicity in packaging and labels

More than 52% of the consumers aged 60 and older (in a 2013 A.T. Kearney focus group) said that they had found that product labels are hard to read. From packaging that makes a product easier to open to labels that are easier to read, convenience makes it easier for seniors to maintain independence. 

The demand for shopping environments with thoughtful layouts and convenience-focused food packaging is on the rise. Items that are easy to tear open, properly portioned or and have the ability to be re-sealed for extended shelf life will become more of the rule than the exception.

3.   Nutritional food products that offer smaller portion sizes

Silver consumers don’t eat as much as they used to and their households are smaller. Finding food that is available in single servings or can easily be sealed and stored in the freezer is important to this demographic. As the population ages, seniors are also looking for food selections that clearly outline nutritional information and meet their dietary needs.   

Looking at these trends, it’s clear that the 65 plus generation is reshaping the food retail landscape. When competing for customers, businesses that can adapt to the needs of the silver consumer will be the clear winners.