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Healthy foods a growth industry as boomers age

Some of more than 8,000lbs of locally grown broccoli from a partnership between Farm to School and Healthy School Meals is served in a salad
Some of more than 8,000lbs of locally grown broccoli from a partnership between Farm to School and Healthy School Meals is served in a salad

STOWE, Vt (Reuters) - Food and beverage companies will need to gear up and churn out healthier food and products for aging baby boomers in the United States, a group which tracks eating habits said in a report on Tuesday.

Joe Derochowski, executive director of the NPD Group, told the annual meeting of the industry group American Sugar Alliance that the "next agent of change" in food eating patterns will come from people turning 50 or older.

Foods rich in sugar has been blamed in part for rising obesity rates in the United States. But sugar industry groups dispute that, saying that eating too much food without exercise or physical activity is also to blame as well.

NPD is a group that has been tracking the eating patterns of Americans for the past 30 years. Derochowski is with the group's Food and Beverage Services.

"With the population aging...there's going to be money to be made selling health," he said.

"That's the driver. It's all these people 50 plus (years old). It's the boomers and the empty nesters."

Baby boomers normally refer to people born from 1946 to 1964, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and make up a surge in births after World War Two.

Boomers are defined as a demographic group whose tastes and consumption patterns were closely followed because of their impact and sheer size in society. The first boomers are now retiring and their choice of food or health care is seen by analysts as having a huge impact in the economy.

(Reporting by Rene Pastor; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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