Silver food, an untapped gold mine also in food service!

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The over-65s spent nearly €43 billion on food in 2021, all circuits combined, that is, almost 30% of French food consumption when they make up less than 21% of the population. In supermarkets (GSA), they already account for almost one out of every two purchases. And the consumption of these elderly people will grow at an annual rate of 3.5% to reach 49,000 million euros in 2025 (almost a third of the market in value), Xerfi Precepta experts predict. And with the restaurant market (meal delivery, catering in healthcare establishments, etc.), it will exceed 52,000 million euros. An above-average disposable income, favorable food consumption choices and more meals at home explain this overconsumption by the elderly. The aging population is disrupting the entire food industry: manufacturers, distributors and catering specialists. If in healthcare establishments this phenomenon is well known by the actors of collective catering and clinical nutrition, the potential of silver foods seems little exploited by the big brands and distributors. And conquest strategies are still in their infancy. The former are testing new packaging, resizing their products or embarking on exporting to find new sales outlets, while the latter are betting more on services (free delivery or slow payments). to products highly exposed to the demand of the elderly. Xerfi-Precepta experts have distinguished three main product profiles. Products with a dominant life cycle effect are characterized by the excessive consumption of certain age groups for reasons specific to their age, not a generation. This is, for example, the case of sea products, over-consumed by the elderly both for reasons of purchasing power and for nutritional needs (Omega 3). This is also the case with fresh fruit. All things being equal, the increase in the elderly population has a positive effect on its products linked to a generation. These generational products, not surprisingly, correspond to sectors in difficulty, including the wine sector, which has to deal with a structural drop in consumption in the internal market, but also in the rabbit and sheep sector. For these manufacturers, it is increasingly urgent to activate the levers that allow a strategic repositioning of their offer. Finally, “specific” products are explicitly or implicitly aimed at the elderly through claims that bring a real or supposed benefit to their health (protein-rich yogurts, with bifidus or “balanced” cereals), is, therefore, to slow down the decline in generational sales. products, to position themselves in the products of the life cycle and capture senior consumers through a specific and differentiating but non-stigmatizing offer. Stigmatization of complex, heterogeneous, evolving and refractory marketing objectives, the senior population is, indeed, difficult to understand. However, some manufacturers have ventured into it by offering specific products such as Lactalis with Jour après Jour, Capital Calcium and Lactel Primevère, or Sodiaal with its references Candia Proteins and Candia Calcium Plus. However, only format initiatives, such as the Petit Appétit de Bigard range, among others, have been preserved in this segment of the population. Retailers are intensifying their efforts to attract them, for example by deploying “slow checkouts” that allow a dialogue with an employee (appearing at Carrefour, Auchan and Système U in 2020) or offering delivery facilities (preferential treatment rates for to the elderly, phone assistance, or even shopping robots as in the United States), delivery (shopping, meals) and for the market share gains of catering outside the home compared to retail. In this new context, the baby boom generations represent a strategic target for food services. And it seems that all the conditions for the development of the senior food market in restaurants are met (significant market potential, gradual diffusion of online shopping practices, willingness to keep the elderly at home) (with networks such as Les Menus Services, Saveurs et Per tant, Vie or Appétits & Associés) should pick up speed. With an increase of around 2% per year on average, this should reach 560 million euros in 2025 (around 520 million in 2021), according to Xerfi Precepta experts. Collective catering companies (Sodexo, Elior or Compass) have rushed into the sector of health establishments where patients require the most attention from a nutritional point of view (malnutrition, dehydration, mastication and swallowing disorders) .…). But if the prospects are real, the requirements are also numerous in this market.
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