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Healthy Ageing: Golden Opportunities for the Silver Generation

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Healthy Ageing: Golden Opportunities for the Silver Generation


A version of this article originally appeared in Asia Pacific Food Industry July/August 2021 Edition.

By 2040, 16% of the population in Asia Pacific will be aged over 65. Yet, age-specific, non-prescription food which targets this increasingly health-conscious demographic is still limited in Asia Pacific. At the same time, consumers tend to shift away from thinking strength and fitness are key factors of health as they age.

Top Ranked Selections for Perception of Health by Age Group in Asia Pacific, 2021

image89s7e.pngSource: Euromonitor International Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey
Full question: What does “being healthy” mean to you? Select all that apply.
Note: Fielded Feb-Mar 2021, n=6,564 (Asia Pacific respondents above 18 years old only)

Food plays an important role in the desire to age well. In Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey fielded in February 2021, 13% of respondents claim to get the vitamins and nutrients needed from foods rather than taking supplements, up from 11% in 2019.

Immunity-boosting food has room to grow beyond dairy

Intensifying interest in preventative health fuels demand for ingredients like probiotics, typically through products like yoghurt and drinking milk. Indonesia and India lead globally with the highest count of products bearing an immune system health claim, in part due to the large number of SKUs available in both markets. However, they also show a relatively high percentage for the proportion of total packaged food SKUs (excluding baby food) with an immune system health claim.

imagerleg.pngSource: Euromonitor International Product Claims and Positioning
Note: E-commerce retailers only, Jan-Dec 2020, n=1,741,078 SKUs

In Asia Pacific, products positioned as primarily beneficial for immune support (excluding baby food) were worth USD1.7 billion in 2020. In dairy, however, immune health benefits have taken a secondary role, with the main focus typically digestive health benefits. So for a brand to position itself more prominently to consumers seeking food that improves their immune system, fortification of immunity-boosting ingredients in product categories beyond dairy could help raise awareness more effectively.

Food for mental wellbeing and relaxation yet to meet demand

Despite the high ranking of mental wellbeing as a health priority by consumers across all age groups, the market for supporting foods is still underdeveloped in Asia. Products fortified to boost brain function emphasise better focus, performance, and memory; and those with a prime positioning of brain health are more commonly targeted towards infant nutrition with very little presence besides. This makes the region’s development relatively slower versus the US or Western Europe, where nootropics have boomed, targeting young adults for better performance in work and study.

image46f5.pngSource: Euromonitor International Health and Wellness
Note: *Food refers to Packaged Food excluding Milk Formula

In 2020, sales of packaged food products positioned as beneficial for brain health and memory (excluding milk formula) were valued at only USD87.3 million whereas the global market totalled USD46.3 billion in 2020. Nevertheless, product development is gaining traction in Asia, utilising ingredients like GABA and L-theanine as the basis claims. These ingredients are marketed as calming and relaxing; and are moving into a whitespace that has yet to be tapped by manufacturers seeking to address holistic wellness.

Clean labels gain traction as part of mindful eating and feeling good

Perception of health can become more subjective to consumers above the age of 60. In fact, the top two reasons for consumers across all age groups to seek natural products are that they are “better for me” and “makes me feel healthier” rather than food safety concerns and nutritional benefits. This indicates that clean label claims like “natural” hold appeal to consumers seeking healthy food.

imagetl953.pngSource: Euromonitor International Health and Wellness

Forecast sales growth for natural packaged food (such as naturally high fibre food including wholegrain bread, nuts and honey) in Asia Pacific is set to be among the most optimistic globally, with absolute growth set to be the largest of all seven regions. By 2025, naturally healthy packaged food in Asia Pacific is forecast to be close to North America’s total sales, at USD29.3 billion.

Food for healthy ageing is not only for the elderly

Healthy living can be understood as a life-long desire to age well physically, mentally and emotionally. Despite the large and growing population of people aged 65+ in Asia Pacific, manufacturers should also design healthy ageing products for consumers within the age range of 30-59 who wish to enter their sixties in a good state of health.

imageora6.pngSource: Euromonitor International Population

Products positioned to address pertinent health issues like immunity and mental wellbeing will attract consumers across all ages. The feelgood factor of food products that promote holistic health will also play a more significant role in attracting those aged 65+.


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