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April 23, 2014

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Antiaging “Untapped” in Functional Food

Many marketers are missing a big opportunity in functional food and drinks: the senior market. This age group (65 and older) is quickly growing in size-yet marketing lags behind. Diana Cowland, senior health and wellness analyst, Euromonitor International (UK), will discuss this conundrum during her presentation at Vitafoods Europe on Tuesday, May 6.

“The opportunity to develop products for the aging is clear, as people are living longer as a result of healthier lifestyles and continuous medical advances,” she tells Nutritional Outlook. “In 2012, the size of the global population aged over 65 reached 597 million, and Euromonitor International estimates that by 2018, this figure will rise by 122 million individuals.”

Clearly, there is opportunity in this “growing and largely untapped consumer base,” she says. And products can target a range of age-related issues, including Alzheimer’s disease, vision loss, bone and joint problems, chronic cardiovascular disease, digestive health, and even beauty from within.

But marketing food and drinks to this demographic is challenging, she adds. For one, seniors do not want to be reminded that they are old. Secondly, seniors-and most consumers, for that matter-won’t stick with a product unless they feel/see results “within a reasonably short time frame,” Cowland points out.

Still, the options and opportunities are many. Food formulators can choose from more than 70 age-supporting functional ingredients, she says, including heavy-hitters like soy protein, galacto-oligosaccharides, fructo-oligosaccharides, vitamin

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