Defining and discussing “silver consumers” and their needs at Vitafoods Asia 2017


08 Sep 2017 --- The topic of healthy aging was explored in detail at Vitafoods Asia 2017 in a panel discussion involving key insights from industry insiders that discussed how to define and serve the “silver consumer” with healthy aging products. Chaired by The World of Food Ingredients Chief Editor Robin Wyers, the discussion featured contributions from analyze & realize Senior Consultant Iris Hardewig and Director of Nutrition Science and Advocacy at DSM Nutritional Products, Human Nutrition & Science of Greater China Weiguo Zhang.

“Prediction of global demographics from the UN for 2050 indicate that all region are expected to age when compared to 2015 figures, with the over 60 population to account for over 34 percent of the European demographic in 2050, compared to 24 percent today,” explained Wyers in his introduction, which emphasized the importance of the healthy aging space as life expectancy grows.

Defining “silver consumers”
The 50-plus age group is where the “silver consumer” lies, according to Hardewig: “This is the age when heart disease increases, but not only that, also the eye problems [and others] start to increase […] at least at this age if not earlier than that.”

However, Zhang believes that healthy aging should be a concern even earlier: “I don’t know from when, but 40 or even before that, we should start considering […] intervention or prevention. So apart from omega 3, we are interested in other ingredients and […] solutions.”

This “silver consumer” group’s needs present a challenge that companies in the healthy aging space are figuring out how to meet. “They definitely have different requirements for nutrients – that’s why in some countries their RDAs are age-specific for vitamins, because for some vitamins [they are] higher for the elderly,” points out Hardewig. “For instance, vitamin B12 requirements are increasing with age. The requirements for protein, for instance, [are now] increasing with age.”

Focusing on prevention
Ingredients like omega 3, which Zhang gave a presentation on, could be crucial in preventive healthcare for “silver consumers.” “The omegas will have a very beneficial effect in terms of disease prevention,” Hardewig asserts. “[In the last few years I have seen] that the focus is going more and more to plant polyphenols and especially to berry paste products. If you look at those products, they are usually high [in] anthocyanins, and anthocyanins are known to target especially […] eye health, heart health, and now the latest studies show that anthocyanins are able to target the cognitive decline. This is also a nutrient movement that is very beneficial for the aging population.”

“I think prevention is a very important point because we know that with the aging population, [in] the last years of life they need more intensive health care because they develop chronic diseases,” Hardewig says. “Since we know that the life expectancy is increasing, it can be expected that also the lifespan where they need more intensive healthcare will increase. I think it’s one of the responsibilities of the industry to prevent that. [It should] move this threshold where the elderly population is developing these body diseases […] we see that filling up the nutrient efficiencies may prevent chronic diseases, but then also adding these other nutrients like the omegas and so on, there is a chance to delay the development of chronic diseases.”

As far as the Asian market goes, providing vitamin D concerns Zhang, thanks to its link to fighting osteoporosis: “The bone density is going down [in] many young people in Asian countries. The sunshine exposure is reducing, probably for two reasons: one is air pollution that prevents the UVB from penetrating […] and reducing our skin synthesis of vitamin D. The other one is our culture: Asian people prefer fair skin, not darker skin, and whenever the sunshine is strong, we try to [reduce] sun exposure. It’s not [all bad] because it will reduce the incidence of skin cancer; on the other hand, you pay the cost for reducing vitamin D synthesis.”

Healthy aging industry must deliver
Whatever the industry’s other concerns are, something that Hardewig also believes should not be forgotten is presenting products in delivery formats that “silver consumers” can handle.

“Consumers of the age of 50 already have problems swallowing capsules, so I think one of the very important things is to consider [is] delivery formats that are easy to consume by the elderly,” Hardewig notes. “Think about the small pellet formats, or the liquid formats, something that is easy to swallow. Also, packaging needs to be easy to open. Getting a pill out of a blister is already a problem for elderly people; this is something that is often forgotten in the R&D departments because they’re [generally] young people and for them, it’s just not apparent that this may be a problem. This is something that really needs to be considered. I think that is already a way of qualifying as a product dedicated to the elderly population: if you can write on your package, ‘easy to swallow’ or ‘easy to open’ [then it qualifies].”

By Paul Creasy

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

Gluten-free bakery: Growing demand for products with extra nutritional benefits, DuPont survey reveals

20 Feb 2018 --- European consumers are looking for gluten-free bakery products that match regular products in terms of taste and texture, but also offer additional health benefits such as high fiber, a DuPont Nutrition & Health consumer survey has revealed. The survey results show untapped potential for bakers to develop more and better-quality products with extra nutritional benefits, and the company notes that customized ingredient solutions are the way to tapping into this potential.

Nutrition & Health News

Research driving demand for OPO in China’s formula market: Advanced Lipids

16 Feb 2018 --- OPO is increasing in popularity in China’s infant formula market, and according to Advanced Lipids, this is down to the growing body of scientific research backing the benefits of this ingredient. Also known as SN-2 palmitate, OPO is a premium quality ingredient that mimics the fatty acid profile of human milk.

Nutrition & Health News

Lactose-free dairy: DSM to market cost-effective analyzer

16 Feb 2018 --- February 2018, DSM will exclusively market BIOMILK 300, a compact residual lactose-analyzing device produced by Biolan. For dairy producers, the BIOMILK 300 is a fast, cost-effective and accurate analyzer for quantifying residual lactose levels in lactose-free and lactose-reduced dairy products.

Business News

Natures Crops, De Wit Speciality Oils enter into European distribution partnership for Ahiflower oil

15 Feb 2018 --- Natures Crops International and De Wit Speciality Oils have entered into a distribution agreement for Ahiflower oil in the European dietary supplement marketplace. This alliance is thought to add strategic value for both companies through each company’s leading position in manufacturing and marketing nutraceutical products.

Nutrition & Health News

“New gold standard”: Salmon with double the omega 3 content introduced in US

13 Feb 2018 --- Aquaculture producers Kvarøy and Blue Circle Foods, along with feed company BioMar, have announced the production of salmon that offers a 100 percent increase in marine omega 3 content. According to the companies involved, this farmed salmon contains one of the lowest levels of marine contaminants in the market and boasts a record-breaking fish-in, fish-out ratio of .47 to 1, setting a new “gold standard” for the aquaculture industry.

More Articles