Toops Scoops: Starved for time

Dec. 15, 2003
Generation Jonesers bought 33 percent of all food sold on the Internet last year, and purchased 33 percent of all fast food sold as a result of mail advertising

Editor's Note: Diane first wrote about Generation Jones a month earlier, now at

Keeping up with the changing tastes of Generation Jones, those born between 1954 and 1965 (See November 2003 Toops Scoops, p64), presents both an opportunity and challenge for food industry members, according to Los Angeles-based marketing consultant Jonathan Pontell and author of the forthcoming book Generation Jones.

"One variable to bear in mind is that Jonesers (GJs) are experiencing a major time drought," says Pontell. "This is partly because they are at the peak of their work-life cycle, (people tend to work the longest hours between their mid-30s and mid-40s), and also because Jonesers delayed marriage and child-bearing until later than any previous generation."

Jonesers head 67 percent of all U.S. households that have two or more teens. Pontell points out that GJs must not only deal with time demands of their children but also their aging parents, who tend to live longer these days.

"Since Jonesers are starved for time, convenience is a key attribute in food purchases," says Pontell. "Given the pivotal role that women play in buying food, it's notable that 42 percent of all American women working full-time are GJs."

Jonesers' households buy more groceries compared with other generations. A survey by New York City-based Scarborough Research found that of all households that spent $200 or more on groceries per week, 41 percent are headed by Jonesers, compared with Matures (8 percent), Baby Boomers (20 percent), Generation X (19 percent) and Generation Y (12 percent).

A sense of Joneser buying power is apparent in their preferred beverage brands. Scarborough found that Jonesers consume 47 percent of all Monarch Beverage Co.'s All Sports (sports drink) sold; 45 percent of Anheuser-Busch's Bud Ice; 43 percent of Citra, a grapefruit-flavored beverage by Coca-Cola; 42 percent of VeryFine (fruit juice); 37 percent of PepsiCo's Diet Mountain Dew; and 36 percent of Nestle's Arrowhead (bottled water).

Jonesers bought 33 percent of all food sold on the Internet last year, purchased 33 percent of all fast food sold as the result of mail advertising, and comprise 32 percent of all Food Network viewers.

New York City-based Simmons Market Research Bureau found that Jonesers were 41 percent more likely than other consumer groups to purchase/use 12 quarts (3 gallons) or more of ice cream/ice milk/sherbet, 40 percent more likely to use prepared lunch kits and 38 percent more likely to consume ready-to-drink iced tea.

"While conventional wisdom assumes that people become less ,'reachable,' or have stronger brand loyalty as they get older, the truth is that generational variables sometimes render that conventional wisdom untrue," says Pontell. "GJs are now at a point in their lives when they have unusually weak brand loyalty, and so they are very reachable, sellable, gettable and switchable," says Pontell.

"Reachability translates into opportunity to get this large, affluent generation to try new food items at a time when they are actively experimenting and trying new brands," Pontell observes. "but bear in mind that GJs tend to be very price-conscious. In fact, numerous studies show that GJs are more attracted by discounts/price-savings/coupons than surrounding generations."

Because GJs are crunched for time, it's more difficult for marketers to reach them, according to Pontell. "Advertising needs to get to the point quickly, and emphasize the practical attributes of the product/service."

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E-mail Diane at [email protected].

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