Ocado, amazon, eBay, Netflix and Spotify – there’s basically no need to ever leave the house these days. You can either stream it straight to your increasingly fat face, or get a man with a device that’s impossible to sign to deliver it straight to your front door instead of fighting your way through such a quaint concept as a ‘shop’. It’s a wonder any of us know what the outside world is like any more.
But, for older people, who have perhaps not quite got up to speed with the wonders of the internet, and may have lost a friend or two by now, a trip to the local supermarket can be a highlight of their week – in order to simply fill up that fridge, but also to get out and interact with people.
A new report suggests that these still-loyal physical consumers should be better catered for by supermarkets, in the form of special slow checkout lanes, in order to let them enjoy the ‘social aspect’ of their visit, whilst staying out of the way of those keen to get in and out with the minimum of fuss.
In addition, the researchers are urging supermarkets to provide more seating for their elderly customers, and provide special offers to encourage them to shop at quieter times of the week.
Furthermore, the findings revealed that older people prefer to buy smaller amounts of items, in order to carry them home easily, and also to avoid waste – they often feel “disenfranchised” by innovations such as buy one, get one free offers.
The recommendations come from a report by researchers from the University of Hertforshire, who studied the shopping habits of people aged between 60 and 93 in 25 homes near the University’s Hatfield base, and comes in the wake of figures published recently that claimed stores are losing £3.8bn of business from elderly people who are currently put off from visiting.
Professor Wendy, of the University of Hertfordshire, said: "Older people are more likely to have a wide range of factors working against them when it comes to sourcing, buying and preparing food. Industry and policymakers have a real opportunity to introduce practical and cost-effective measures that support older people to enjoy a healthy, affordable and safe diet, and to develop, or continue with, a positive relationship with food.
Failure to act could result in older people's food security, and therefore their health and wellbeing, declining at a faster rate, placing greater pressure on the NHS and care providers."