Let’s talk about senior citizens. Did you know that there are 46 million adults over 65 in the USA, and it’s expected to double by 2050? These are the baby boomers, who are now grandparents and are hopefully enjoying their retirement years.
These seniors are very likely bringing their grandchildren into your shop to spoil them with your delicious homemade creations. And yet, they themselves may be lactose intolerant. The digestive enzymes necessary to tolerate lactose decreases with age.
The need for lactose intolerant treats may coincide with their grandchildren’s desire for plant-based options. Gen Z kids are the most likely to choose a vegan or flexitarian diet. Therefore you may be seeing a grandparent and a grandchild with similar needs as they walk into your shop.
Seniors may also be looking for lower-fat options. The high-fat content of your creations - now averaging 14%-16% - may not be easy to digest for people as they age. They could be experiencing a number of health issues that make these treats a no-no: hypertension, digestive issues, and many other diseases and conditions may require them to limit their fat intake.
Many of these seniors grew up in a time before ice cream had such a high fat content. Super premium ice creams were not introduced until the 60’s and 70’s and only in limited amounts. Most ice cream parlors served 10% ice cream, or even lighter “ice milks”. So a person born in the 40’s and 50’s grew up with lighter fare, and may actually prefer these lighter treats.
Unsurprisingly, in order to satisfy their dietary and health concerns, without losing out on enjoying a treat with their grandchildren, they may choose a dairy-free option such as a vegan/plant-based cone or cup. Mami’s Gelato’s 4% to 5% fat range is a perfect choice for folks with these issues.
Seniors may even come into your shop without grandchildren to enjoy a plant-based cone or cup, especially if you let them know they are available through marketing campaigns directed specifically to them. Have senior discounts available on your vegan offerings and/or have specials at specific times for seniors. You could even create a special size for seniors like you do for children, a “senior cone/cup”. Hiring seniors is also a good way to bridge the generation gap.
As more and more people reach retirement age, make sure you consider them in your business decisions. Consider their needs, and let them know you are there for them. They will become loyal customers and bring along the next generations with them.