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Aging population demanding easy-open packages

The average age of the population is decreasing in many African and Asian countries, but people in the Western industrialized nations are growing older, putting a premium on package opening.
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Consumers aged 60 and greater in Western nations are increasingly demanding product packages allowing more efficient handling. This aging population segment experiences greater difficulty reading package graphics and opening packs by hand.

According to a study by the German Federal Assn. of Organizations for the Elderly (BAGSO), older people have a particularly tough time with products welded in plastic, where the tear tabs are often difficult to find and it takes considerable effort to open the packages. That’s why the elderly prefer easily recognizable and straightforward opening methods.

Industry cannot ignore the needs of older, working, and health-conscious people. Anyone who disregards convenience and whose products don’t stand out from the crowd with an attractive appearance and high functionality will soon not be able to compete in the international market.

In Germany alone, the convenience market, according to figures from the Munich researchers USP market intelligence (Phone: 011.49.89.69388.10), comprises 560,000 points of sale and now has a sales potential of about EUR 30 billion--with an upward trend. “Convenience features are rated as important to very important by two thirds of consumers,” says USP analyst Katrin Waller. In fact, 34% of the elderly buy a different product if they cannot cope with a package, says the German BAGSO study.

Excerpted from interpack 2011: Specialist Article No. 2, by Messe Düsseldorf North America.

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