Make ‘Food’ Easier for Squeezed Boomer Moms

Articles
March 11, 2010

Make ‘Food’ Easier for Squeezed Boomer Moms

The recession that has brought three generations under one roof (moms and dads, their elderly parents, and the young college graduates with poor job prospects) has a silver lining.

The recession that has brought three generations under one roof (moms and dads, their elderly parents, and the young college graduates with poor job prospects) has a silver lining. Despite tight quarters that irritate, the shared stories about favorite foods from different decades, and even from different lands, can help stimulate fun memories and forge closer relationships.

We all know families that treasure grandma’s recipes. Now rather than twice a year at holidays, they can pay homage to her culinary skills live, in person, week after week. And if one day she doesn’t feel like preparing, she has earned that right. She can pass along her know-how to the next generations and appreciate their ability to emulate or even add welcome new twists.

There’s plenty supermarkets can do to foster shared food activities and conversations around the multi-generational family dinner table.  By marketing to this fast-growing dynamic, supermarkets can insinuate themselves into the dialogue. Think beyond recipes to include imagery in the store of earlier times and retro kitchens, perhaps with Glenn Miller music, and an occasional ‘yesterday’s prices’ promotion on select items. That could prompt some storytelling at home.

Or how about a ‘Pitch in and give mom a break’ theme that encourages Boomers to take a rest so their grown children living at home can partner with the grandparents to prepare household meals for a week at a time?

Stores can have plenty of fun with these kinds of ideas that would resonate with core shoppers. Some 63% of Boomer women say at least one adult child is living with them now, according to a recent survey done by MediaPost’s Engage Boomers. “Of those adult children, nearly half have brought one or more of their children with them. That’s on top of the 13% of Boomer women who report that their parents or in-laws are living with them as well,” MediaPost reports.  

Some 70% of Boomer women blame the economy for this multi-generational lifestyle; two-thirds expect their adult children to remain with them for more than a year. MediaPost says more than a quarter (27%) impose a monthly rent greater than $500 on their adult children.

So their living pressures might be great, but for supermarkets the pooled resources likely provide enough dollars to make marketing to them a smart investment. This should be true especially if themes are respectful of the values of each generation under the same roof.