“Aging well starts young”: Preventative approach widens NPD scope
14 Feb 2019 --- Health and wellness are important for consumers across all age groups and life stages, united by a common goal of “aging well.” The nutrition industry is increasingly approaching the topic of aging in a broad manner, tapping into a range of market areas from bone and joint health to energy and alertness. Long gone is a negative “anti-aging” philosophy and celebrated is an approach touting “positive aging” or “aging well,” according to industry experts.
Dr. Mark Miller, Global Ambassador of AstaReal, a supplier of natural astaxanthin, highlights the term “healthspan” and how it is gained mainstream popularity: “Consumers are being encouraged to think about how they can add healthy years to their lives, thus increasing their healthspan. The term healthspan is the segment of your life in which you are healthy and generally free from serious or chronic illness.”
“The nutritionals industry can play a key role in bringing real solutions to consumers to ensure that there is not a significant lag between their healthspan and lifespan and that through prevention, healthspan can be maximized,” Andie Long, Sales & Marketing Manager for AstaReal Sweden, tells NutritionInsight. “There is growing support around the potential for astaxanthin and other antioxidants, for example, in aiding a longer healthspan.”
“Prevention is better than cure”
The demographic for healthy aging products is shifting and, according to industry experts, this is a trend that will only expand in 2019.
“Aging well starts young. Therefore, the demographic for healthy aging products is, to some extent, unlimited. This, coupled with consumers’ ‘prevent rather than cure’ approach towards their health means that products that may have traditionally been targeted towards an older demographic may now be appealing to a younger audience,” explains Long.
“Today’s surprising trend is how the approach to people aging has changed. Finally, aging is not only related to ‘old’ age, but it is recognized as a physiological modification of the body that happens over time, from the beginning to the end of life. Aging is not something to be afraid of, but simply a biological process to know, manage and try to fight,” Lorena Carboni, Product Support Specialist at Gnosis, tells NutritionInsight.
Indeed, balanced nutrition and physical activity are fundamental pillars for managing the aging process and aiding healthy living.
“For example, muscle preservation is pivotal for active aging and staying independent. However, loss of muscle mass and function should not be viewed as strictly a concern for older individuals,” Neus Bonavida, Market Segment Manager at FrieslandCampina Ingredients, tells NutritionInsight. “In fact, for those past the age of 40, counter-measures such as dietary protein and physical exercise are already useful to slow down the aging-related loss of muscle mass and function.”
Healthy aging concerns can also vary geographically. Regions with a higher number of older people in the population may have an increased level of public knowledge, such as in Japan for example, Bonavida adds.
Taking such blurring category lines into consideration, the industry should also be mindful when communicating and marketing their message to the public.
“There is an emphasis on ‘ageless beauty.’ Some brands are already capturing these trends by using more positive wording such as ‘ageless’ and ‘positive aging.’ Ingredients, such as collagen, which has been traditionally marketed as ‘anti-aging magic,’ should experience the opportunity to reposition themselves and therefore expand their consumer group,” a PB Leiner spokesperson tells NutritionInsight.
Bone and joint health, as well as cognition, are salient categories for aging well. Such categories have been growing over the past five years, the PB Leiner spokesperson continues. Innova Markets Insights data show that new product launches between 2013 and 2018 with an energy and alertness claim increased by 19 percent, while bone health claims grew by 17 percent.
Regarding cognitive health, “Even if the determinants of the differences in age-related cognitive decline are not fully understood, the identification of the modifiable risk factor provides a crucial approach to the prevention of brain impairment. Healthy diets, antioxidant supplements, preventing nutritional deficiencies and increasing physical activity could be considered the first line of defense against the development and progression of cognitive decline,” Carboni says.
“Since processes related to cognitive decline or dementia begin to damage the brain many years, if not decades, before symptoms appear, early intervention is key,” they note.
Strong bones all round
The global market for bone and joint health supplements is growing, driven by the large baby boomer population seeking to maintain their mobility and the high rate of supplement use among millennials using them preventatively.
“When it comes to bone and joint health, a subject that traditionally concerned seniors, younger consumers are also increasingly concerned about their health and ability to stay active for longer. Products that support mobility, which includes bone and joint health, are increasingly popular among a wide range of active consumers – from professional athletes to ‘weekend warriors,’ meaning, people who practice sporting activities only occasionally,” says the PB Leiner spokesperson.
One in two US consumers over the age of 50 are expected to have, or to be at risk of developing, osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes 8.9 million fractures annually, which has a cumulative cost of incident fractures at US$474 billion over the next 20 years in the US, according to Carboni.
Yet, the probability of developing bone disease later in life is closely related to the amount of bone mass one accumulates before the age of 30, they explain, further underscoring the role of preventative supplementation and nutrition.
“In this landscape, vitamin K2 as MK7 is one of the most promising ingredients. Its market is booming worldwide, with impressive growth predicted for the next few years, due to the recognition that the ingredient has regarding bone and cardiovascular health,”says Carboni. “Gnosis by Lesaffre is carrying out an information campaign to define the critical aspects of quality for an optimal vitamin K2 as MK7 with an excellent quality profile. Among them, the most important are certainly the natural origin, the supply chain of the product and the ‘Clean Label’ claims.”
Nutraceuticals with cross-generational appeal
One nutraceutical with strong potential in the aging well space is astaxanthin, a keto-carotenoid ingredient.
“Astaxanthin’s popularity is increasing quickly, and not only due to its antioxidant potential. It offers clinically validated benefits that consumers can feel working in their bodies. Astaxanthin can be used in many different formulas targeted at sports and recovery, skin health, eye and brain health, cardiovascular support and immunity,” says Long.
Findings from a recent study indicate that a formulation containing AstaReal astaxanthin provides a 40 percent increase in endurance and significantly reduces muscle function loss in sarcopenia sufferers.
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass associated with aging and affects nearly a quarter of adults over 60. It affects a person’s healthspan by diminishing the ability to do everyday activities such as lifting objects and climbing stairs.
“This is just one example of how nutraceuticals can make a significant, positive impact on a person’s health and the unlimited potential natural ingredients have within aging well NPD,” Long adds.
Products that tap into the “aging well” category, such as bone and joint or cognitive health offerings, are appealing to a wider demographic of people. This widening target market introduces ample space for NPD from the nutraceutical industry and the industry experts are predicting that the preventative use of supplements, for example, will only continue to expand.
By Laxmi Haigh
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