Generational differences are creating distinct trends in the industry. So how can a village look to provide a wide range of customers with such varied—and sometimes conflicting—tastes, trends and styles? It’s easy to see Baby Boomers as ‘stuck in their ways, but increasingly they are likely to try new flavours, especially when added to age-old favourites like pasta or burgers.
Every business has variation in its customer profile, regardless of age. However, Baby Boomers expectations are higher than any previous generation. There are plenty of things that chefs would do well to explore as they traverse generational eating traits and habits.
Recent trends of clean eating and understanding provenance have become more top of mind for all consumers regardless of age. Shared globally, but within each generation, there are other unique trends. With ageing, there are more transformational generational differences in dining trends and food tastes.
But as the boomers see themselves, rather than their parents, as retirees or those needing care, the pressure will move to offer alternatives to the present institutional model. These new models will not come cheap, but boomers are better educated, well-travelled and more individualistic than any previous generation.
Baby Boomers are not immune to evolving dining trends. Although they are perhaps more resistant to drastic changes, Boomers display unique patterns to their age group. For instance, brand loyalty is probably more prevalent amongst Baby Boomers than other generations; this means menu transparency and aspects of dining familiarity.
On top of the global trends of clean eating and ethical provenance, convenience and technological developments are ways that allow easier adaption as each generation enters the sector. The more that technology develops, the smoother and faster foodservice will become.
Boomers are unlikely to go quietly into the night - acceptance will not come easily. The chances they will buy into a one size fits all institutionalised styled living seem highly unlikely. Change is already evident in village developments and even the marketing campaigns for the chains have seen exciting innovation over the past year. Expect to see more innovation in these developments as generational shift affects change.