An Ageing Society
Japan is ageing more rapidly than anywhere else in the world, with estimates suggesting one in three people will be over 65 by 2035. Japan also has the highest life expectancy in comparison to other developed countries, with data showing that the main concerns amongst elderly people are whether they and their spouses can live healthy lives without long-term care.
To respond to these demographic changes, we have developed innovative strategies at AEON to make our stores more senior-friendly. One of these solutions, known as ‘Grand Generation’ stores, aims to provide elderly people with a shopping complex that helps them live comfortable lives by making healthy products and services available to them, as well as becoming a regional platform for healthy ageing. Using the term ‘Grand Generation’ we would like to convey the message that the golden years are an interesting phase for elderly people.
City Government Concerns – Healthcare Financing
Municipalities with lower death rates due to senility amongst the elderly require higher medical expenses per person. Ibaraki City, with a population of over 280,000 people, has the lowest senile death rate amongst 130 municipalities and the annual healthcare bill per elderly person reaches around 1.1 million yen. With rising medical expenses, the city government has a strong interest in promoting the extension of a healthy life expectancy. In 2012, for example, they established the ‘Health and Food Education Promotion Plan’, with the aim of encouraging citizens to reduce their salt intake, to eat more vegetables and to get into the habit of exercising. As part of this plan, they also recommended citizens to visit their doctors for regular checkups. However, with the consultation rates being relatively low in Ibaraki City compared to other places in Osaka Prefecture, it is still necessary to expand the health promotion activities in the City.
AEON-Style Shin-Ibaraki ’Collaboration for Healthier Lives’ Initiative
At AEON, one of the biggest retail companies in Japan, we are expanding our business in Asia. We have collaborated with Ibaraki City government, several manufacturers and the medical corporation, as part of the ‘Collaboration for Healthier Lives’ initiative with the aim of extending a healthy life expectancy at AEON-Style Shin-Ibaraki, one of the ‘Grand Generation’ stores. It is important for us to develop and promote programs that will urge our consumers to improve their lifestyle habits. We believe it is also necessary to establish methods for evaluating how our project could change consumers’ consciousness, behaviours and health conditions to build a sustainable business model. Our initiative is based on the following contents:
- Moderate Salt Intake: Measuring blood pressure and vascular age, and offering a low-sodium diet
- Metabolic Syndrome Prevention: Measuring visceral fat and body fat, and explaining consumers how to improve their diets and lifestyle habits
- Sufficient Vegetables Intake: Introducing veggie-rich recipes, and advising shoppers to eat plenty vegetables and fruits
- Health Checks: Measuring blood pressure, weight, body fat, and muscle mass, and recommending appropriate diet and exercise routines based on the results.
We plan to integrate purchasing and health data to analyse the relationship between purchase patterns and health conditions and in doing so, identify the changes in consumers’ behaviors and baskets. In the long term, we hope to expand this business model to other Asian countries, as well as in more regions in Japan.
This blog post was written and contributed by:
General Manager, Group Quality Management Dept.
AEON RETAIL Co., Ltd.