Over a billion of the world’s population will be over the age of 65 by 2030, which presents a multi-billion pound opportunity for food and grocery companies, according to the latest research from international food and grocery expert IGD.

“The number of over 65s is growing rapidly in many major markets worldwide, with the fastest growth in emerging markets like China and India,” explains Michael Freedman, senior consumer analyst, IGD.

“’Sixty-somethings have a high acceptance of technology, long-standing exposure to marketing and serious purchasing power, so they will form perhaps the most important consumer segment of the future.

“Health and wellbeing is a significant consideration for older consumers, as are packaging and portion sizes. Investing effectively in the middle-aged market segments of today will reap huge benefits, given the projected growth in the coming years,” says Freedman.

“Ageing, along with the other key demographic trends of urbanisation, immigration and the increasing economic role of women, are perhaps the most important influences on food consumption in the 21st century.

“Older generations want to retain their influence as they age. Food and grocery companies should think of 60-year-olds as the new 40-somethings, only with greater purchasing power and higher expectations.”

Freedman adds that food companies are missing out if they don’t recognise generational differences.

“Differences in experience and expectations are vital considerations in the food and grocery marketing mix. This is especially so in emerging markets like China and India, that have seen rapid social and economic change in a short space of time, and are seeing the greatest growth in the number of older people,” he concludes.

The report ‘Following the shopper – exploiting international growth trends’ also has the following findings:
• Only two out of 10 global shoppers assess nutritional factors each time they shop, indicating the need for more education
• Political, economic, social, technological and environmental factors are also rapidly changing the nature of food consumption
• As Western markets mature, emerging markets such as China and India take on increasing importance in growing the global grocery industry.