Sunday, August 14, 2016

Silver into Gold

Longevity market. That’s the term being tossed around for over-50 market. I like the sound of it. If only because it infers that boomers are going to be around for a while.

We know that entrepreneurs are going to profit off us by coming up with products and services that are specifically targeted to an aging population. And I’m okay with that. Whether it’s electric bicycles or stylish walking shoes or home care, I’m in.

According to AARP, this longevity market accounts for $7.6 trillion in economic activity. That’s a trillion pound elephant. What makes it interesting is that millennials are coming up with great product ideas out of personal experiences with parents or grandparents. Grandson sees how hard his parents are struggling with Grandpa’s care and he comes up with a new app for homecare providers. Daughter wants to help her parents continue to exercise and designs an electric bicycle.

Note to self: the next time I want to disparage a millennial, remember that she might be the one who invents an automated prescription pill dispenser.

New business ideas that cater to baby boomers are most likely going to be coming forth in a constant stream over the next decade. Ironically, that means that millennials who have been blaming boomers for everything wrong in our society may one day be thanking us for all the start-up opportunities that we have stimulated. Venture capitalists have taken notice and there are now numerous crowdfunding options for any startup that has targeted the longevity market.

What’s in it for boomers? Investment opportunities for one thing. I’ve been saying for years that I really should invest in whatever company makes the most advanced and barely visible hearing aid, because that should be a very profitable business. Just the fact that so many millennials are interested in creating products and services targeted to boomers bodes well.

Now we just have to worry about Social Security remaining solvent enough for us to pay for the new products and new apps. What am I thinking? Some millennial out there is working on a Social Security Management App at this very moment.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cereal Killers

I’m not feeling sorry for Kelloggs or General Mills, but cereal sales have fallen off sharply. Apparently baby boomers who grew up eating cereal for breakfast and snacking cannot make up for millennials who rarely go in for the milky crunch.

We had Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Wheaties, Puffed Rice, Sugar Pops, and loads of other brands I can no longer remember. We ate them with milk and if they were covered with sugar, we ate them as snacks.

According to recent surveys, millennials forego the cereal habit because “it’s too much work.” Read that again. Too much work. You have to clean up the bowl and spoon afterward. Almost 40% of those surveyed gave that as the number one reason they prefer the convenience of protein bars or fast-food biscuits. I’ll grant you that some of the cereals we ate back then were just slick sugar delivery systems, but as we got older we turned to Wheat Chex, Rice Chex and other somewhat healthier alternatives. Then we added fresh fruits as well, all in the name of eating smarter.

Cereal makers have not given up on trying to attract millennials and the inducement of healthier offerings is still being used as a lure. Kellogg has come out with a variation that has quinoa in it. Can Kale Bran be far behind?

If it’s too much trouble to get out a bowl, spoon and milk, can we count on these people when we’re no longer able to feed ourselves? Are they going to put us on protein IV drips for breakfast? That may be the same way they get their morning nutrients, but for folks who grew up listening to their Rice Crispies making snap, crackle and pop noises it’s going to be a real downer.

Convenience is a great selling point for just about anything. Internet access, cruise control, electronic bill paying, ATMs, and more have made our lives easier and more pleasurable. But the pleasure of cold milk hitting a bowl of crunchy grains and scarfing it all up while the cereal is still crunchy – that may be an indulgence that future generations (thinking about the Matrix here) never get to experience.

Sugar Pops are Tops!

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.