Needs of Senior Consumers Often Overlooked

Despite possessing more than 75% of the nation's wealth, the needs and preferences of the country's 78 million Baby Boomers, and other members of the senior market, are often overlooked, Paul Murray, creative director for the Varsity marketing consultancy told attendees at the Food Marketing Institute show here yesterday.

LAS VEGAS — Despite possessing more than 75% of the nation's wealth, the needs and preferences of the country's 78 million Baby Boomers, and other members of the senior market, are often overlooked, Paul Murray, creative director for the Varsity marketing consultancy told attendees at the FMI Show here yesterday. Through focus groups, a nationwide study and polls of manufacturers, Varsity is working to create a predictive model based on the emotional mindset and physiological needs of consumers over 55. So far, it's learned that the top issues among members of the age group when shopping in retail are: Items are hard to reach (54%); items are hard to find (27%); crowds are difficult to navigate (27%); and prices are hard to read (22%). Other preliminary findings reveal that buy-one, get-one-free offers don't appeal to members of the group since they're looking for smaller portions; items like half a loaf of bread could support higher prices for this reason; and the font used for on-package messages alerting shoppers of easy-open tabs needs to be larger. One focus group participant complained that because he couldn't see the "open here" message on a box of dial soap, he hadn't been using the convenient pull tab. "Most people who have trouble with opening packages, have trouble with eyesight," noted Murray.

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