Can the Antiaging Market Mature?

March 22, 2013
Innova Market Insights

Thus far, the antiaging category hasn’t grown much beyond antioxidants.

Healthy aging remains a key trend for product development and marketing in 2013. However, marketing to this audience is complicated. Instead of labeling products specifically as “antiaging,” for instance, many marketers focus more generally on overall health maintenance and protection with antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients. Why? Because many consumers prefer not thinking of themselves as “elderly.”

Less than 0.1% of the global food and drink launches Innova Market Insights recorded in the 12 months ending October 2012 were positioned specifically on an antiaging or “aging well” platform. By contrast, ten times that number, or over 1%, were marketed as high in antioxidants.

The antiaging category is highly fragmented, with products focusing on a broad and diverse range of ingredients and general benefits. Although key antiaging concerns include cognitive function, eye health, bone and joint health, and more general categories of immune health and heart health, companies are increasingly targeting these areas with everyday foodstuffs instead of creating “antiaging” products specifically advertising these benefits.

 

Products and Ingredients

What types of products and ingredients have healthy-aging benefits? “Superfruit” juices such as pomegranate, cranberry, and goji, for starters. Demand for these juices is rising strongly alongside demand for other functional drinks that imply specific health benefits. Demand for products that straddle the boundary between mainstream food and drinks and dietary supplements, such as supplement-style drinks and chews, is also growing.

Other active ingredients used in the aging-well category include antioxidant vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, and glucosamine.

Relatively high-profile ingredients just starting to appear in mainstream food products include resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant claimed to help prevent the free radical damage that can lead to premature aging of cells. Resveratrol has been linked to benefits for cardiovascular health and anti-inflammatory processes, as well as antiaging properties that help promote youthful energy and appearance. While the ingredient is relatively well established in the dietary supplements market, it is starting to appear more regularly as a component of U.S. beverage and confectionery launches. Launches in 2012 included Genesis Today’s juice drink Pomegranate & Berries with Resveratrol and the first resveratrol-fortified chewing gum, Cheiron’s Heart Strong Gum, which claims to have 40 times more resveratrol than a glass of red wine.

In the United States, another example of a beverage offering antiaging benefits is Activate. Its vitamins and nutrients are housed in a cap on top of the drink bottle, and they pour into the liquid only when the consumer opens the product. The Activate line includes Defy Blueberry Pom and Beauty Exotic Berry, which contain powerful ingredients such as vitamins A, C, and E; tea polyphenols; and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (better known as EGCG).

Carotenoids-particularly lutein and zeaxanthin-are linked with eye health and the protection of eyes against age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But their use hasn’t  moved much outside of supplements. There are some exceptions: in some supplement-style health drinks, for instance, carotenoids have appeared in combination with other nutrients. Genesis Today’s Goji 100 drink, for example, claims to help improve mood, memory, vision, and overall health with naturally occurring, high levels of polysaccharides and antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein. The company also offers Goji Vitamin Chews with similar purported benefits.

 

The Future

When asked why antiaging shows promise for continued growth, Activate Drinks vice president of marketing Jesse Merrill says, “Consumers are starting to think about the aging process at a much earlier age and are taking measure to maintain their health and appearance as early as in their 20s. A beautiful and healthy appearance is a hot topic that’s highlighted in popular culture, and consumers are much more aware that what you put in your body affects your health, appearance, and overall well-being....Consumers are being proactive in seeking products that meet these needs.”