(Feb. 2) There’s no doubt about it: Aging baby boomers offer a splendid opportunity for the fresh produce industry.

The latest Fresh Trends special report, conducted by Vance Research Services for The Packer, again drove this point home. The research, featured in the three-part series “Baby boomers: Coming of age” that concludes in this edition, cited boomers’ concerns about health and well-being and their willingness to alter their lifestyles to address those concerns.

And all of that plays into the hands of the produce industry.

Already 40% of baby boomers, defined as those born from 1946 to 1964, select foods based on how healthful they are. As boomers age, that percentage clearly will rise, perhaps significantly.

Sure, convenience plays a role in purchases. But the ever-adapting industry has made strides in meeting those demands. Improvements are certain to continue.

Price, too, plays a part in the buying decision, the research points out. But remember that boomers, as they near and enter retirement, will have more discretionary income than at any point in their lives. They’ll be more than willing to spend it to help maintain or improve their health.

Count on it.

As Tim Fleming, himself a boomer and vice president of Strube Celery & Vegetable Co., Chicago, said, “As we get older, we become more interested in preservation. We want to live longer, and we’ll do whatever it takes: food, medicine or lifestyle changes.”

By providing products that truly are good for people, as well as being reasonably priced and convenient, the produce industry is poised to capitalize on this demographic change.

It’s an opportunity the industry can ill afford to miss.