Demographic Composition Shifts Tastes

Mar 28, 2002

During the next 25 years, the country’s population will include more ethnically diverse Americans, more singles and more senior citizens. By 2025, 40 percent of the U.S. population will be a race other than white, up from 31 percent today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The ever-influential Baby Boomers will retire, while Gen Y, almost as large as the Boomers and more ethnically and racially diverse than any other generation, will make its own demands on the marketplace.

While demographic swings will affect all future consumer markets, they’re already beginning to change foods, ingredients and the amount of time spent in the kitchen. In 2000, Americans spent $821 billion on food — from supermarket produce to meals in restaurants to candy bars from vending machines — a figure expected to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2010, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, which tracks food consumption and spending.

In an effort to discern which societal shifts will affect how and what we eat, American Demographics interviewed two dozen analysts, consultants, researchers, economists, marketers and other industry professionals. Leaders within the three major food industry categories — packaged food manufacturers, restaurants and retail distributors — are turning to specific demographic, lifestyle and attitudinal changes to grow their businesses, experts say. Although each category faces its own set of sales growth challenges, what follows are the five key trends taking shape in response to demographic and lifestyle modifications.

  1. Convenience
  2. Good for You
  3. Customized
  4. Flavor Burst
  5. Safe

Moderator Comment: What factors will have the greatest
influence on changes in the food industry and retailing in the years ahead?
Anderson – Moderator

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