Demographic change

A reversal of the age pyramid

In the past, manufacturers and packaging companies have created their range of packaging solutions mainly in line with the needs of the younger population. Due to demographic changes and therefore their considerable purchasing power, the 60+ target group has become more interesting and desirable for companies as a potential customer base to drive success, now and in the future. Demographically, society is on average getting older mainly due to increased life expectancy and a decline in birth rates. In 1950 for example, the number of people under the age of 20 years old was about twice as high as the number of people who were 60 or older. By 2050 however, this ratio will have been reversed. Then there will be twice as many older people than younger. Even today in the European Union, the number of people over 65 years of age is already at 115 million. It is clear therefore that people aged 60+ are a growing target group. For companies, the task is to explore requirements for senior-friendly packaging that often can be identified in product and packaging specific way. It is clear that consumers will ultimately avoid buying a particular type of packaging if it causes them substantial problems with the opening and closing process or it is simply inconvenient. But what kind of problems do seniors have with retail packaging solutions? There are a number of factors that should be considered when designing a suitable packaging solution. To ensure satisfaction of the older consumers groups, it would first of all be desirable to provide packaging solutions which come with portioning possibilities, optimal shelf life, are attractive in design and are easily recognizable, to name but just a few. According to a study by the Federal Association of Senior Citizen Organizations (BAGSO), the main issue for older consumers when it comes to packaging is the information on the packaging and its opening mechanism. Over half of the respondents said that the font was too small and illegible. As a consequence, information about the expiration date, the product’s ingredients and information on how prepare it was difficult to read. 75.4% of respondents expressed that the packaging’s opening mechanism did not work effectively. More than 50% indicated that the tab or the tear strip couldn’t be found, and 46% said that a lot of force was needed. In cases of a negative assessment of the packaging or negative experiences, the majority of consumers react in the straight forward way that the products with packaging problems either aren’t purchased at all or are not purchased again.