With the world’s population ageing in developed countries, it may affect our food choices in the future. How? Well, boomers (ages 53–71 in 2017), largely a subset of the 55+ consumers, have hit retirement ages and mostly are not adequately prepared financially. This has made them realize a much lower amount of cash to be used as excess income. Boomers have often been labeled the sandwich generation, and that too might be contributing to belt-tightening. Other boomers are stuck between helping their elderly parents and their struggling children or grandchildren. This puts a strain on their personal cash flow, and results in less spending in the economy.
Borrowing is not as easy as it used to be either. Boomers have lived on credit for a number of years to keep up their spending habits. That other sizable demographic, the millennials, shakily makes up for the drop in spending from seniors, but not by much. The report from the JPMorgan Chase Institute shows that in December 2016, consumer spending by the 35–54 demographic was 41.2 percent of the total and the under 35 bracket contributed only 20.6 percent.
Seniors’ appetite for restaurants seems to have become particularly tepid. In December 2016, the difference between LCCI percentage spend at restaurants between consumers under 35 and over 55 was 13.8 points, a noticeable increase of 5.2 points from March 2014. In other words, the gap for eating out between the under 35 and over 55 group has been widening. Restaurants are dishing out more options and offering more Instagram-worthy concoctions for the younger set, which might partly explain why the 55+ is turned off and less eager to gobble up what’s fed them.
Regardless of the reasons, a decreased senior appetite for spending is worth keeping a cautious eye on. Especially given the coming “silver tsunami” — where, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by 2030 — this could quite possibly be a sea change that the economy cannot afford to ignore.
So if only the millennials are eating out, the cascading effect in terms of types and numbers of restaurants would be there…Food delivery anyone?
Check out my related post: