As the world’s population continues to age, especially in more developed countries, the senior age group will become increasingly valuable to brands seeking to maintain and grow their market share in the long term.

The rise in global life expectancy has coincided with a fall in birth rates as many adults choose to have fewer children, and delay starting a family until later in life, causing populations to age. In 2015, 12% of the world’s population, or 901 million people, were over 60 years old.  Though this is not equal across every country it is particularly acute in Italy because of its low fertility rates and youth emigration to other European countries for work. 

As of 2015, the over 55s were the most important age group in Italy with older consumers making up 33.7% of the population  and accounting for 31.7% of the food markets total volume compared to only 16.0% for 45-54 year olds. Their share of consumption is only forecast to rise as Italy’s demographics become more ‘gray’.

Though aging is impacting every market it is having a particularly striking effect on the food industry as many older consumers increasingly use food to meet their age-specific health needs. Consequently, food manufacturers are offering products that are more multifunctional, have age-related health claims and come in convenient, easy-to-open packaging to appeal to seniors with high disposable incomes. 

Food brands therefore must cater more to seniors as they simply cannot afford to miss them in an Italy becoming more ‘gray’ by the day.