People age 50 and over, tend to link their diet with their health. A new consumer research survey, “Boomers and Beyond: Marketing Food to the Over-Fifties”, says that 94 percent of the respondents say these factors go hand-in-hand.

The big news from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association’s survey shows that about 43 percent of the respondents are trying to cut back or stop eating meat, while almost half are doing the same with carbohydrates.

Some of the other findings from the research indicate:
* The 50-plus crowd watch what they eat– 81 percent read nutritional labels; 47 percent are less likely to buy products without such labels.

The study goes on to recommend that retailers provide both nutritional and ingredient labels. This particular group of consumers is most interested in fat and calorie content, cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, fiber and serving size.
* 85 percent of respondents are eating more fruits and vegetables.
* 79 percent of respondents have cut back on high-fat food.
* 73 percent are trying to eat more high-fiber foods.
* 73 percent are cutting back on high-cholesterol foods.
* 68 percent are reducing high-calorie foods.
* The group as a whole is increasing its calcium intake and decreasing sodium consumption.

Another interesting note, the 50-plus consumer isn’t too intrigued by organic foods. The study shows that 8 percent buy organic foods, while 49 percent never buy organic. Higher product cost is the biggest reason cited for the low numbers.

These consumers, however, are wary of genetically modified foods. They tend to be leery of food additives that suggest the food isn’t totally “natural”.

The survey shows tremendous insight into the purchasing patterns of a consumer segment that continues to dominate the marketplace. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 27.3 percent of Americans are age 50 and older. Certainly younger consumers offer more long-term purchasing potential, but pork has an opportunity to cater to this 50-plus crowd because of the healthful and nutritious attributes that fresh pork products offer.