Understanding the older food consumer: present day behaviours and future expectations
The main aim of this study was to determine whether Baby boomers know how they would manage to maintain a healthy diet on lower incomes in retirement. A cross-sectional survey was conducted at two shopping centres in Melbourne, Australia with 352 respondents. Contingency table analyses (using chi-square tests) were used to examine differences in present and future cooking habits between gender, age and socio-economic groups as well as anticipated changes to food shopping if they had less money in the future. The findings suggest that the most common food preparation behaviours were making meals from scratch ingredients (80% of participants) or using a combination of fresh and convenience foods (55% of participants), with socio-economic and demographic factors significantly influencing specific behaviours. Nearly 50% responded that if they had reduced income they would make a change to their food shopping habits. The most common changes were to the types of food purchased and seeking out special offers or cheaper brands. The results suggest that when faced with a lower standard of living, people will make changes to their food consumption habits. The challenge facing health promotion practitioners, is to ensure that these changes are well informed, leading to healthy options.