As millennials grow into their spending prime, health food marketers have targeted this generation with laser-like tunnel vision, largely ignoring their parents and grandparents: the Baby Boomers. According to a Fona International report, Boomers currently outspend other generations by $400 billion per year on consumer goods and services. Healthy food brands can take advantage of this untapped revenue by tuning in and targeting Boomers.
Boomers don’t want big-button cell phones or LifeAlert—they want new methods of self-care to preserve health, vitality, and dignity. They see this time as the beginning of a new chapter, seeking purpose and meaning in their Golden Years. This can include new career directions, giving back to their communities, and—of major interest to food marketers—maintaining health.
To speak to Boomers, it’s important to understand their attitudes toward wellness and retirement. In fact, “retirement” may not be the right word to describe their current stage of life at all—it suggests withdrawal from life and prolonging the inevitable. For Boomers, it’s more important to live better, not longer. Abraham Lincoln captured the idea best: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
According to a SymphonyIRI Group report, Boomers have adjusted their diets to a more healthful and wholesome path. They spend a larger percentage of their food and beverage budget on health and wellness items than younger generations do.
According to Fona’s report, they look for high nutritional value (like extra fiber and protein), convenience, and authentic flavor. Their focus on health and wellness as they age makes products that are all natural or low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol particularly appealing.
So how can health food marketers adjust their strategies to target Baby Boomers? Here are some suggestions:
- Play up your relevant strengths. If your brand offers a product that fits the bill to appeal to Boomers, consider modifying your message. The difference between a healthy product that appeals to millennials and a healthy product that appeals to Boomers may be nothing more than messaging that makes its relevance to Boomers’ lives apparent.
- Align with their values.
Not all products can boast the functional benefits to which Boomers often respond, but Boomers may still be interested. Show Boomers how it can still fit into their lives by talking about what’s important to them.
- Speak to them on their terms. Advertising should portray and speak to Boomers in a way that aligns with the way they see themselves. Enough with the elderly clichés. Make sure your brand is portraying their vitality, values, and roles in society accurately and treating them like the perpetually-middle-aged, able-bodied individuals they feel they are.
Although millennials are certainly becoming a critical consumer segment, health food marketers should not lose sight of the opportunity that’s right in front of them. Boomers are here and they’re spending—on healthy food especially. Treat them with respect and understanding and your brand could win big time.