Help Boomers Achieve More

April 19, 2011

The baby boomer generation and those older make up a large portion of the population with health as a main priority. What are they looking for when food shopping?

According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, the baby boomers (those born between ‘46 and ‘64) who started turning 65 this year, and the total number of older people are expected to increase dramatically during the next twenty years. The older population in 2030 is projected to be twice as large as their counterparts in 2000, growing from 35 to 72 million and representing nearly 20 percent of the total US population!
According to Packaged Facts, those 50 plus following a health regime are more likely to consider their wellness goals including healthy eating than health conscious younger Americans; keep in mind that this group also represents higher household incomes, therefore even more likely to pay more for those ‘better-for-you’ foods. 
Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts, told, that “As Boomers turn 50 and enter their 60s, they carry with them a firm belief that getting older means getting better. Many look at aging simply as another life stage filled with opportunities for reinventing… and experiencing new possibilities for personal growth rather than as a signal to wind down their lives.”  
So how can supermarkets and manufacturers support boomer’s desires to improve and encourage growth? Well, recent research has demonstrated that snacking may be a great way for boomers and those senior to meet their nutritional needs. The key is what to eat, but what are their needs? Typical snack foods in the market are high in calories and low in nutrients, not exactly supportive of healthy aging.  So what nutrients should snacks and in-store promotions targeting boomers emphasize?

Calcium and Vitamin D: Older adults need more of these nutrients to help maintain bone health. Options include vitamin D-fortified low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt, dark green leafy vegetables and canned fish with soft bones i.e. sardines. 
Vitamin B12 is of special interest to the aging population as complications with digestion inhibit B12’s absorptions. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans even made a special note for this vitamin for those over 50. Sources of B12 include fortified cereal, lean meat, some fish and seafood. 
Fiber rich foods help us stay regular as well as helping to lower the risk for heart disease, balance weight and prevent and control type 2 diabetes. To increase fiber intake boomers should be encouraged to eat more whole-grain breads, cereals and more beans. Fruit, especially berries and non starchy vegetables are also great sources of fiber.
Increasing potassium along with reducing sodium can help boomers lower the risk of hypertension. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free dairy products are good sources.

Protein: Another challenge during ageing is a gradual loss of muscle, due to inactivity and also possibly due to poor protein intake. The great news is that older men and women can make muscle just as easily as younger men and women, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To keep muscles strong, the diet should include moderate amounts of protein-rich food such as lean beef, fish, pork, chicken, dairy or nuts. Eggs are also a great source of protein.
Boomers are certainly an important segment of the population to target nutritionally, both through in-store promotions as well as creating healthy products with few ingredients. The aging population is certainly interested in maintaining and improving good health and wellness which can be achieved through proper diet and exercise. 
For more visit the American Dietetic Association http.