Supplier view on consumer trends in the nutritional space

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31 Jul 2017 --- Keeping track of all the latest trends in the nutritional goods market today can be an arduous task. Market leaders seem to agree: “It is difficult to pinpoint the single most important driver,” says Gerd Mueller, international sales director for natural health and nutrition, EMEAI at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM). “Indeed, consumers are often looking for products that meet multiple purchasing considerations at once.”

NutritionInsight looks at what’s currently popular and brings together thoughts from market leaders and other key companies on the nutritional trends they have observed recently.

Actively staying in shape
“Weight is a primary concern in both EMEA and North America, where consumers are worried about maintaining a healthy shape and are looking for ways to achieve a long-term balanced diet,” says Maria Pavlidou, Head of Communications for the EMEA area at DSM. She believes this is very tied in with personalized nutrition: “The success of personalized nutrition will be heavily connected to advances in technology and consumer proactivity in managing their own health.”

Consumers seem to be taking their body shape and health more seriously than ever before, leaving a clear opportunity for nutrition-focused businesses. Capsugel research shows that “increasing lifespan” and “maintaining independence” are two very strong driving factors making sure that consumers take more self-responsibility for their health. “More than three-quarters of all respondents in the US, Germany, France and Italy report they are taking more responsibility than they did ten years ago and report they have a desire to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle,” according to Dominik Mattern, Capsugel business development manager, EMEA.

“From labeling and claims trends we can see that the consumer is becoming more and more health-conscious,” agrees Y.H. Tan, director of international sales for Quantum Hitech Biological Co Ltd (QHT), who notes possible financial benefits for companies. “For pre-packaged foods, we can see that convenience and taste still rank as the top considerations for the consumer, but health benefits bring added value to the product and could persuade the consumer to spend that bit more to look after their wellbeing.”

A healthy diet is also increasingly being linked to a beautiful appearance. Over 50 percent of consumers reported concerns about the impact of their diet on their health and appearance in GlobalData’s 2016 Q3 global consumer survey. 

Healthy aging
More concern about maintaining health inevitably means that people are living longer, and nutritional products are reflecting this new reality. “In particular, it is critical for our aging population to take a more holistic approach to maintaining health during aging, rather than relying on medical interventions once a condition has been diagnosed,” according to Maria Pavlidou, Head of Communications for the EMEA area at DSM. “Through a combined effort, involving healthcare systems, government bodies and the nutrition industry as a whole, people can be encouraged to take steps to protect their health.

“With increased awareness, consumers will be more likely to follow a healthy, balanced diet early on,” Pavlidou says, “and therefore have a better chance of maintaining wellbeing later in life.”

People are taking the health of their older selves into their own hands as they age and before they age, says Dominik Mattern of Capsugel. “Staying healthy and preventing diseases is the direct result of a self-directed health care movement,” he agrees, adding that it has “taken on new life globally and especially in healthy aging and active nutrition – as consumers take responsibility for their own overall health and wellness.”

“Life expectancy is expected to break through the 90 years barrier, as reported by the UK medical research council,” notes Y.H. Tan, director of international sales for QHT, summing up why active management of aging is increasing in popularity. “Consumers want to spend those years with quality and not be bound by multiple morbidities. This means more research to be done on novel ingredients bearing micro-nutrients and their effects on chronic diseases. Funding for scientific and medical research from nutritional companies, essentially selling a food ingredient, will only increase as the years go by.”

Specialized health
The increase in the aging population is also leading to a specialized concern for brain health. “With regards to new opportunities, cognitive health is one of the up and coming areas for new product development,” according to NP Nutra Director of Marketing Margret Gomes. “NP Nutra’s NutraBrain, our own Cognitive blend, is specially formulated from a selection of Ayurvedic ingredients including Mucuna pruriens, Bacopa monnieri and Licorice, to help promote cognitive function.”

Meanwhile, the top consumer concern for DSM in the APAC and LATAM regions is eye health in particular, according to Maria Pavlidou of DSM. “This highlights the fact that people are increasingly aware of the harmful effect that the blue light from computer screens can have on our eyes,” she adds.

Check NutritionInsight next week for more expert views in part two of our special report on nutritional trends.

By Paul Creasy

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