Senior nutrition: Personalization, protein and genderfication as clear drivers

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05 Jul 2018 --- With life spans increasing across the globe, consumers are seeking ways to remain healthier for longer and boost their life quality. Advances in the understanding of healthy aging are driving both consumer demand and product development. NutritionInsight spoke with a number of suppliers to gauge their views on the preferences of aging consumers.

Personalization and genderfication
“[Active seniors] account for an impressive portion of the dietary supplement consuming population. They are constantly looking for solutions that help them to lead active, healthy and meaningful lives,” says Tiziana Ferrari, Coordinator at Faravelli’s Nutra Division.

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 Tiziana Ferrari, Coordinator at Faravelli’s Nutra Division.

Nutrition plays a key role in every phase of our life. This is particularly true for people who are over 65. 

“Aging gracefully is largely the result of proper diet and nutrition which play a major role in maintaining health and in age-related diseases prevention. There are two levels of actions. One is more generalist and includes general prevention in terms of anti-aging, anti- inflammatory supplements, as well as products that are meant for active seniors. Moreover, there is great room for more specific health concerns, like bone, heart & cardiovascular, brain and cognitive health, whether for preserving memory and mental function. Considering what has been said above, personalized nutrition is surely a rising star and will have a bright future ahead,” she says. 

“As for specific nutrition areas, ‘genderfication’ is a trend which is steadily growing in the supplements industry and is based on the formulation of supplements that are meant to target specific male or female health diseases. Among other trends, age-related and lifestyle related products are also very prevalent, without forgetting formulations that are meant for treating and preventing specific health diseases, such as bladder and urinary tract infections (e.g., cystitis), or gut health for reducing intestinal inflammation, strengthening the gut lining, regaining your overall health or eye health,” Ferrari notes.

Protein: Name of the game
Interest in protein is significant for all activity levels and age groups, but the macronutrient holds specific appeal to aging consumers due to its ability to improve muscle strength and recovery.

“The use of high protein drink powders and foods, as well as standard dietary supplements that promote increases in strength and endurance are no longer limited to marathon runners, bodybuilders and athletes. These so-called ‘performance supplements’ are now marketed to individuals who simply want to exercise longer without muscle fatigue. These products are also appealing to older individuals who realize that their muscles don’t recover as fast as they once did from everyday active hobbies, such as gardening or golfing,” says Nena Dockery, Technical Services Manager at Stratum Nutrition.

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Nena Dockery, Technical Services Manager at Stratum Nutrition.

Dockery notes that this trend shows no signs of slowing as companies strive to create products that appeal to those who simply want to live a healthy, more active life. Individuals over the age of 55 comprise one of the largest demographics who purchase dietary supplements.

“Baby Boomers don’t want to look or feel ‘old’ before they must, and they desire to be active and mentally alert. They are more resistant to the appeal of a pharmaceutical for every ache and pain, and want treatments that are natural, safe and proven effective. They are also busy and are engaged in numerous social activities. To meet these needs, the industry must stay in tune with the evolving needs of this group and offer functional food and supplement choices in convenient forms that can help them protect their minds, slow the visual signs of aging, and keep them active,” Dockery notes.

Appetite for knowledge
Consumer mindsets are increasingly seeking to prevent, rather than cure, the health inconveniences associated with old age. To this end, education and consumer understanding is growing in important.

“Consumers are aspiring to live a healthier lifestyle and are arming themselves with knowledge. They are making the effort to educate themselves about what goes into making their foods and dietary supplements and understand the benefits of preventing rather than curing disease,” says Andie Long, Marketing and Sales Manager at Astareal AB.

“We see a clear preference for natural, holistic solutions amongst both older and younger demographics as well as a demand for natural, safe, science backed products and ingredients. Furthermore, we see that consumers are better informed and as such demand that products contain branded ingredients from a reputable source whereby quality and safety is assured,” Long concludes.

This article is based on interviews to appear in the Summer edition of The World of Food Ingredients (Nutrition Insight).

To contact our editorial team please email us at

Stratum Nutrition


Stratum Nutrition is a Novus International business offering specialty and functional ingredients for manufacturers and marketers of foods, beverages, and supplements.

Stratum European HQ offers a food and beverage laboratory with product development and analytical services and expertise. Specialty, branded ingredients include: ARTINIA for artery health, NEM and ESC for joint and bone health, TeaFense for healthy aging, and ACTAZIN for regularity.

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