Three powerful consumer groups emerging this decade

February 10, 2014

New focal points for food marketers include IndieWomen, Latino Millennials and seniors.

Originally published on Facts, Figures & the Future (F3).

Women, Latinos and seniors will top the list of the nation’s most influential consumers by the end of this decade, concludes a new Packaged Facts report, Americans in 2020, that examines primary data from Simmons, Experian and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Their socio-economic rise will affect the retail and CPG food worlds.  The 2014 food trend predictions issued by SupermarketGuru Phil Lempert already paint a picture of how some of this is taking shape this year.

Let’s start with the influence of women.  Packaged Facts predicts they’ll usher in “an era of income equality” with men, because delayed marriages and “a greater propensity to pursue ‘three-letter’ degrees will allow women in the workplace to secure more positions of authority and affluence.”

Already, says Lempert, the “IndieWoman” is emerging in 2014 as a major food influencer.   He references almost 31 million females fitting this description – age 27 and older, living alone with no children.  When they aren’t busy being social or growing their careers, they also enjoy shopping. According to a survey, these women have strong affiliations to brands and love to hunt for bargains. When it comes to their supermarket habits, "IndieWomen" spend $50 billion on food and beverages each year. 

Time is of the essence for the "IndieWoman," he adds.  So expect more brands to cater to this powerful consumer who wants to cook, but might not have the time for a homemade meal every night. A ConAgra Foods survey conducted by, found that 59% of respondents purchased multi-serve frozen meals because of their busy schedules. Because this group is increasingly busy, brands will cater to this demographic through more semi-homemade meals that use fresh-tasting, high-quality ingredients.

Meanwhile, the Latino population is growing in sheer numbers and in education levels. Packaged Facts notes this will add to their spending clout and other influences on retail.  The Hispanic population in the U.S. will reach 64 million in 2020 – exceeding African-Americans (42 million), and reaching one-third the size of non-Hispanic whites (199 million).  Latino Millennials are attaining higher education, as they diversify vocational sectors and residential communities across the U.S., and set the stage for greater influence in the future.

F3 has written recently about retail opportunities to serve Hispanics.  The F3 reports dovetail with another Lempert trend for 2014 – greater popularity of international restaurant flavors at home.   

The surge of Latino and Asian populations - along with growing consumer interest in adding more flavor and variety to mealtime - leads to more growth opportunities for South American, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, he states. From school cafeterias, to the dining room table, global flavors are sprouting up in places other than restaurants.

Since children today are exposed to global cuisine flavors at earlier ages, they’ll accept international flavors more easily as they grow up with sophisticated palates. Children influence nearly 80% of purchase decisions by families, so expect adults to seek these new flavors for their dinner tables at the supermarket. 

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, Boomers and seniors head a “greater abundance of affluent households” and are often loyal consumers that retailers should court, suggests Packaged Facts.  By 2020, people older than 65 will account for 17% of the U.S. population (up from 13% in 2010) and account for 42% of total population growth in the decade, the firm says, citing Census data.