If there was ever any doubt that the senior sector of Americans will drive the need for services and goods, including those in flexible packaging, here are some important facts that will put those doubts to rest. Older citizens, including those age 65 and over, constitute one of the fastest growing segments of the population. According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, this portion of the population numbered 44.7 million in 2013 – an increase of 8.8 million or 24.7% since 2003. Upon reaching 65, they will have an average life expectancy of an additional 19.3 years – 20.5 years for females and 17.9 years for males.
Greatly influenced by this aging population, U.S. demand for flexible packaging is forecast to reach as high as 24 billion units in 2018 and then grow by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.3% for the following five year period. This pattern is expected to extend across a wide assortment of product categories, including food and beverages, personal care and healthcare, including medical and testing devices.
A great deal of traditional packaging, as it exists now, poses challenges for seniors. More than half of consumers between the ages of 60 and 80, report some degree of frustration with current packaging. Even with the aid of glasses, much of todays of packaging can be hard to read for older people. This signals an opportunity that may be taken advantage by consumer product companies. Pouches that naturally lend themselves to displaying easy-to-read typography and eye-catching graphics can be designed with broad panels that communicate clearly with older shoppers. Additionally, older consumers are prone to dexterity challenges and appreciate the inherent ergonomic design features of flexible packaging such as easy-to-open and hold pouches with easy-to-use resealable closures.
Flexible packaging with convenient, easy-to-use features and superior barrier protection properties (such as seal quality and tolerance to microwave oven temperatures) is expected to realize considerable market gains. Growing replacement of rigid and semi-rigid containers with flexible packaging that offers sustainable advantages and environmental responsibility in consumer product categories like frozen food, snacks, health and beauty and pet food are helping to fuel the market’s gains. Standup pouches, for instance, are replacing multi-wall bags in packaging baked goods and snacks.
Manufacturers seeking to respond to the senior market are considering downsizing portion sizes, given that about 29 percent (11.3 million) of non-institutionalized older persons live alone, according to a profile of older Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This demographic prefers to have the option of choosing a smaller or an individual-sized portion since they typically do not or cannot consume the contents of a larger container for many reasons, including dietary concerns and volume intake limitations. Smaller portions packaged in films designed to optimize product shelf life smartly responds to senior shoppers and their evolving buying patterns.
While heritage brands with a heavy senior customer base are natural candidates for these kinds of changes, the reality is that all brands, even those aligned with younger demographic cohorts, are reviewing their packaging protocols. After all, mature adults also purchase many of these products for their children and grandchildren.
Another important segment of the market is packaging used to protect and deliver healthcare devices and medications, both OTC and Rx, to the patient. A growing number of medical products in flexible packaging are sold directly to the consumer, will be disposable and will require only single-use packaging. New materials offer options to brands and manufacturers to produce flexible packaging that safeguards contents in smaller, lighter and more durable primary packaging – making storage, transport and usage far more effective.
For companies looking to position themselves to satisfy the needs of the burgeoning senior population, a packaging partner with deep knowledge, expertise and the capabilities to match is of prime importance. LPS Industries has been meeting the crucial needs of their customers since 1959, ensuring product integrity, performance, quality and consistency.
LPS Industries is an ISO 9001:2008 flexible packaging supplier in NJ specializing in custom manufactured packaging solutions for a wide variety of brand owners and manufacturers, many serving this growing senior market. We are your resource for innovative flexible packaging solutions produced using environmentally responsible manufacturing practices. Contact us and let us help you develop a flexible packaging solution that’s ideally suited to your needs.