Millennials vs. boomers in nutrition bar market

Millennials vs. boomers in nutrition bar market

Both groups buy boatloads of nutrition bars, but they seek different flavors and attributes. Here's the breakdown.

Nutritional snack bars represent a $6 billion dollar market in the United States and are one of the fastest growing food/beverage product categories in mass merchandise channels with annual sales growth estimated at 6.4 percent.

The growing popularity of nutritional snack bars is likely attributed to the increasing interest in healthy eating, and the rise in snacking behavior of U.S. consumers.

Two of the most important consumer segments for all products in the U.S. are the baby boomers due to their size and current purchasing power, and the millennials who are poised to overtake the boomers in numbers and spending power by 2020.

Baby boomers and millennials are two of the largest market segments for nutrition bars. Virginia Dare completed consumer research in 2013 to understand similarities and differences in purchase behavior between these two groups of nutrition bar consumers. A national survey was completed of 979 nutrition bar consumers to determine flavor preferences and purchase behavior. Focus groups were also conducted to gain additional consumer insight.

Some of the more interesting findings:

  • It is likely the nutrition bar category will continue to grow due to their convenience and healthy/nutritious halo.
  • We found significant overlap between millennials and baby boomers attitudes toward nutrition bars.
  • There are important differences to consider when positioning products:
    • Boomers accept condition specific health claims
    • Millennials look for “wholesome nutrition”
    • Formulating for millennials requires “cautious” use of nutrients
  • The most popular bar flavors have equal appeal for both groups (chocolate, peanuts/peanut butter)
    • Boomers more conservative regarding new flavors (maple, salted caramel)
    • Millennials more trendy (Nutella, coffee, tea, Greek yogurt, chia)
    • Opportunity for both groups for salted caramel, mango, coffee, tropical fruits, additional chocolate variations
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