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Published 10.06.2017

Four Ways to Market to the Baby Boomer Generation

These days, it seems you can’t go anywhere without hearing the term, “millennial,” but many people are overlooking a part of the population that has just as much influence. Baby Boomers — those between the ages of 52 to 70 — continue to hold an immense influence over the larger population. Baby Boomers and millennials each represent about 23% of the population.1 Even more interesting, millennials and Baby Boomers have more in common than you’d think, especially when it comes to food. Together, they are driving profound changes in the food industry.1

“Boomers view food as a key to living a higher quality of life for longer,” said Melissa Abbott, vice-president of culinary insights at the Hartman Group. “Boomers have driven a lot of what has been going on in terms of the fresh, less processed food movement. They not only led it; they shaped it. They also led and shaped how the organic food movement is happening.”1

Four Things to Consider When Marketing To Baby Boomers

1. Premium Ingredients

Today’s consumers expect better-for-you ingredients and baby Boomers are no different. While millennials may be responsible for making the terms “natural,” “whole,” and “organic” mainstream,2 many Boomers also feel strongly about food transparency and the wholesomeness of foods. In fact, 39% of Boomers perceive organic as healthier1 and many may lean more towards antibiotic-free foods.3

2. Healthy Choices

Boomers are very interested in the health benefits of food.4 At least 25% of Boomers say they are on a diet, which means they want foods with reduced fat or sugar, as well as foods like whole grains, fruits and eggs that promote health and vitality.5 Boomers are also more likely than the general population to define a healthy eating style by serving size and portions.4

3. Restaurant Environment

Boomers’ have certain expectations when dining at restaurants. They prefer quieter environments that are more conducive to conversation. One of this generation’s biggest pet peeves is a noisy restaurant where they must strain to hear dinner conversation. This is easily remedied by turning down background music and utilizing designs and materials that bring down the ambient noise.6

4. Restaurant Experience

If you’re looking to win over the 50-plus crowd, consider what would create a better experience for them. For example, you could offer large font menus and better lighting, as well as ensure there is comfortable seating. Consider featuring a frequent diner or discount program, which can attract Boomers, especially those on on a fixed income. Baby Boomers also appreciate polite and friendly servers.6

Baby Boomers have a massive presence in American life with more purchasing power than any other generation. They eat out and travel more than any other demographic. In fact, 62% of all quick service/drive-in restaurant visits during the coming 10 years will be from guests in the 50 or older range. This translates into an additional 1.4 billion visits by 50-plus consumers in comparison to an increase of merely 875 million among the 18-49 age group.6

With about 75 million people representing the Baby Boomer generation, there is a huge opportunity to drive your business. However, in order to attract and accommodate Boomers, you must start by better understanding what they want. Once you know what motivates their purchasing decisions, you can determine how best to market to them.

 

1 Food Business News, “How Boomers and Gen Z are Changing Food,” 6/30/16

2 Restaurant Nutrition, “The Millennial Opportunity: Redefining Health,” 5/19/16

3 Rewards Network, “Marketing in the Middle: How Baby Boomers and Millennials Eat,” 6/23/16

4 Food Dive, “Boomers vs. Millennials: Mind the Food Generation Gap,” 10/28/16

5 Poultry Times, “Consumer History Helps Shape New Food Trends,” 5/17/17

6 Washington Hospitality Association, “Don’t Forget the Baby Boomers,” 7/14/17

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