New research from IGD warns the food and grocery industry that future old people will be very different from those we know today. Those companies that currently rely on the custom of older people may need to reassess their offer if they want to remain successful. It is essential that companies begin planning for this now as in less than ten years time (2011), these customers will represent one in six people.

Joanne Denney, Chief Executive, IGD unveiled the research, Winning the Mature Vote, at today's IGD convention, in London, commenting, "Today's retirees really like what the industry does now and that's great news. But at IGD, we're convinced that things are going to change. The move towards convenience is unstoppable."

How Convenient is Convenience Food?

Source: IGD Consumer Unit , October 2001

Compared to today's retirees, those of the future are much more positive about convenience foods.

  • Future retirees are 24% more likely than current retirees to believe that convenience foods offer good, very good or excellent convenience
  • One-third of people in their fifties say that convenience foods (eating out, takeaways, ready meals or part-prepared meals) will be their main approach to meal preparation when they retire.

With far fewer future retirees wanting to bother with cooking from scratch, the major development is likely to be the rapid rise of the meal solutions centre. This combines a rolling product range of freshly prepared or semi-prepared foods that would change on a regular, possibly weekly basis, with a convenient location and excellent customer service.

IGD Chief Executive Joanne Denney, added, "This suggests a tremendous opportunity for convenience stores to benefit from changes in the elderly customer base. They have the distinct advantage of being "local" and often close to offices, residential areas and transport links. We must remember however, that a vast proportion of future retirees will be short of cash. Therefore the greatest challenge is to provide convenience and excitement at the lowest possible cost."

The report "Winning the Mature Vote" offers food and grocery companies some good news too. Nine out of ten elderly people rate the overall offer of the food industry as good, very good or excellent. The same proportion also rated the choice of products on offer as good or excellent. In terms of value, eight out of ten are satisfied. 

EDITORS' NOTES

  1. Visit the IGD website http://www.igd.com.
  2. IGD is the leading research and education organisation for the food and grocery industry. Its membership is drawn from the total grocery supply chain, including retail, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, catering, packaging companies and primary producers. IGD also has close links with consumer organisations.
  3. The IGD 2001 Annual Convention "Solving the Value Equation" is taking place today at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.