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Abstract

The purpose of the research on which this report was based was to determine the projected impact that an aging American market could have on retail food stores. A survey was sent to 2,600 households resulting in a total of 721 responses. The data were analyzed to determine present retail food store selection criteria and food purchasing behaviors compared with behaviors projected for the year 2000. Several recommendations for food retailers were made based on the results of the survey. The survey respondents did not project significant changes in store selection criteria between 1989 and the year 2000. Service requirements did differ. Home shopping and grocery delivery were projected to be more important in the year 2000. Shopping and food preparation behaviors will apparently change with time. Nutrition will be more important, more males will shop for food and the microwave oven will be used extensively. Smaller portioned, but more nutritional foods will be important in the future. Basic services were much more important than any projected new services. Fast, efficient, friendly, front-end service, and check cashing were projected to be more important in the future than services such as dry cleaning and video rentals. It is recommended that management plan to develop a store that is user-friendly to future mature consumers. The results indicated that tomorrow's mature shoppers will appreciate wide, uncluttered aisles; larger, nutritional food sections; and employees who are empathetic to mature shoppers' needs. Management should develop in-store foods with smaller, nutritional portions that are convenient to prepare. Convenient foods will apparently help supermarkets to increase their competitive share of dollars that are now spent on food consumed away from home. The mature food consumer of the year 2000 will apparently have special wants and a need for a larger variety of nutritional food, and smaller portions. However, a store's basic services will apparently continue to be the key to attracting mature shoppers.

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