Golden years may not be so golden for fresh produce demand

12/12/2013 02:55:00 PM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstWe’ve been told that America is getting older. If our own graying temples and aching bones don’t suggest the truth, recent Census Bureau statistics certainly confirm that point.

The data shows that the over 65 population was 13.4% in 2012, up from 11.9% in 2000.

The actual number of Americans over 65 climbed to 41.5 million, up from 32.6 million in 2000.

Projections for the future from the Census Bureau show that AARP is bound to have its golden era in the next 30 years. By 2020, the middle series projection for the U.S. population is over 65 population is 55.9 million, or 17% of the U.S. total population. By 2030, the over 65 population will jump to 72.7 million, of 20% of the population. By 2040 - not far from my 80th birthday, I hope - the over 65 population will be nearly 80 million, or 21% of the population.

 How this graying of America affects the future of fresh produce demand is interesting to contemplate. It’s got to be good news, right? One might assume that older Americans will be more invested in choosing the right kinds of food to stave off the aging process; all blueberries, all the time, am I right? Will older Americans consumer more canned fruits and vegetables and less fresh because of the hassle of making trips to the market?

 I would think that home delivery of groceries and fresh food would be attractive for “seasoned citizens.” The grocery store holds no mystery or romance for a 70-year old, I would guess. The attraction of home delivery will only increase in the years ahead. By the way, did you hear that Amazon Fresh is moving into San Francisco

Looking at geography, the Census Bureau  reports the states with the most “senior’ population in 2010 were mostly easy to predict. Florida (17.3% over 65) leading the list. Others near the top of the chart included Maine (15.9%), Vermont (14.6%), Arkansas (14.4%) and Iowa (14%).

Another Census Bureau report that is worth noting is the 2010 state-specific report on fruit and vegetable consumption by age group.


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