PA C K A G I N G Let’s unpack the story further, because 28 MARCH 2016 food packaging will be a major influencer of mature and older consumer dietary and nutrition choices as New Zealand and global populations age. Merrill Lunch claims that the silver economy is the third largest in the world, behind the United States and Chinese economies. Our populations are aging for the first time in human history, and countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Greece, Italy, Spain and Germany are seeing rapidly increasing older societies. In our neck of the woods, the number of mature and older people aged 65 year or more will double in the next 10 years, reaching 1.4 million by 2050. If that’s not enlightening, consider this: the New Zealand silver economy is estimated to reach $65 billion in the next 34 years. Add to that a UK research study of 2000 consumers that indicates that people limit their food choices as a direct response to complicated packaging, with nearly three-quarters saying they get frustrated at trying to open packaging…and you realise the impact older people are starting to have. Wrap rage has been the basis of numerous worldwide articles and even YouTube videos that describe the anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open hard-to-open packaging. Heat-sealed blister packs and clamshell packaging, film wrap and squeeze-turn lids are amongst the most hated, but are not the only source of consumer indignation. The biggest offender for injuries such as cuts and sprains is still the tin can. Then there are the culprits such as scissors, the screwdriver, knives and any handy weapon used to pry open precious inaccessible items, especially when you are hungry. How often have you tried using your teeth to open a food item such as the Air New Zealand biscuit? As well as the risk of incurring physical injury, there is the mental anguish of damaging the product in the process. Many times I have returned a jar of pasta sauce or pickle to the pantry because I couldn’t open it when I really wanted to use it. Is an elder quality of life reduced to living out of cans? We know that older people search for food items that are easy to prepare and nutritionally worth the precious dollar spent and, while wrap rage is experienced by people of all ages, it has real relevance for young children and the rapidly growing number of mature and older people. Increasingly, elderly people rely on packaged food as they seek convenient, longer life products and smaller portions. But they still want to buy everyday household items such as a new toothbrush or batteries which can be equally as unaccessible as the vegemite or jam jar, sour cream or dairy products with tear tabs that require nimble fingers and the arm muscle strength of Tarzan. Inclusive design change is urgently needed, as it really counts in the aging Can you open THE CAN? “It is time to discuss the new economic reality of the boomer market; of more mature and older people more than 50 years of age than less; of more people living longer; and the potential for realigning your business in the silver economy.” Everybody is complaining about packaging. It’s called wrap rage. “Why is it so difficult to open everyday items such as food?” people say. Carole Gordon is the SUPA-NZ national convenor.
To see the actual publication please follow the link above