Boomers and Older Americans:
The Health-Driven Generations
As people age, their nutrition needs and dietary preferences change. But few have examimined the shopping habits and eating patterns of Americans ages 50-plus—the country’s fastest-growing demographic.
That’s why the IFIC Foundation, in partnership with the AARP Foundation, conducted an oversample of respondents ages 50–80 for the 2017 Food and Health Survey to help uncover insights into the diets and health of older Americans.
Compared with other segments of the population, those age 50–80 …
- … are more confident in their choices. While 80 percent of all consumers say there’s a lot of conflicting information about what to eat and what to avoid, only 47 percent of those 50 – 80 say it makes them doubt the choices they make, compared to 61 percent of those ages 18 – 49.
- … use fewer information sources when deciding which foods to eat or avoid. Consumers age 50 – 80 also are less likely than millennials to use friends and family as a common information source (23 percent vs. 40 percent).
- … are more likely to adopt and maintain healthy eating behaviors. Among the most significant differences, Americans age 50 – 80 are more likely than those age 18 – 49 to be:
- Cutting back on foods higher in satuated fat more than younger Americans (75 percent vs. 57 percent)
- Cutting back on foods higher in salt (71 percent vs. 59 percent)
- Eating more foods with whole grains (70 percent vs. 62 percent)
- Consuming smaller portions (68 percent vs. 59 percent)
- Comparing sodium in various foods (63 percent vs. 52 percent)
- Cutting back on full-fat dairy or replacing it with low- or no-fat alternatives (60 percent vs. 50 percent)
- … are more likely to be able to connect specific foods with the health benefits they seek. Of those who named a desired benefit, 49 percent of older Americans could associate it with a food or nutrient source, versus only 40 percent of younger Americans.
Meanwhile, Americans’ interest in getting weight-loss benefits from food and nutrients falls dramatically with age. Weight loss and management are far and away the most desired benefit, at 40 percent among those 18 – 34 and 38 percent from 35 – 49, but that drops to 23 percent from age 50 – 64 and 28 percent from 65 – 80.
Desire for foods and nutrients with cardiovascular benefits increases with age, from 11 percent ages 35 – 49 to 23 percent ages 50 – 64.
Confidence in the safety of the food supply increases significantly with age, with 55 percent from 18 – 49 saying they’re confident, 66 percent from 50 – 64, and 76 percent from 65 – 80.
Download the 50+ Report:
* Please feel free to use these slides in your presentations. We ask that you do not manipulate or change data reportings, and that you attribute any data and slides to the International Food Information Council Foundation 2017 Food and Health Survey.
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