Baby boomers set the nutraceutical agenda

Research undertaken ahead of Vitafoods Europe suggests that the needs of ageing baby boomers will shape the nutraceutical agenda over the next decade.

The survey shows that the industry is responding to the needs of millennials and Generation Z. However, baby boomers are expected to reign as the most important consumer group, even in ten years’ time.

The organisers of Vitafoods Europe (15-17 May 2018 at Palexpo, Geneva) asked 196 nutrition industry professionals to identify the two age groups that are currently most important to their business. Nearly three quarters (72%) chose baby boomers – people currently aged between 49 and 72, with Generation X (ages 36 to 48) close behind on 70%. One in three (35%) chose millennials (ages 25 to 35) and a quarter chose the “silent generation” – people currently over the age of 72.

With baby boomers approaching old age – and expecting to live longer – their needs are prominent on the nutraceutical industry’s agenda. Nearly a quarter (23%) of survey respondents say healthy ageing is the most important health benefit area for their company. Dr Steffi Dudek, senior scientific consultant at analyze & realize GmbH, says, “Ageing boomers will indeed be an important target group.

“Their increased life expectancy and lifestyle require investment in health, wellbeing and performance. The optimisation of physical and mental performance will also be a strong need for this group.”

When asked which groups would be most important to their companies in ten years’ time, boomers still came top on 55%, but half of respondents (50%) chose millennials. Reflecting that, some experts are advising nutrition companies to focus on the needs of younger “digital native” consumers.

Jeff Hilton co-founder and chief marketing officer at Brand Hive is speaking at a business and marketing forum within the Vitafoods Europe Education Programme, titled ‘Consumer 2.0: It’s a digital world.’

He says, “Increasingly supplements are an online vendor purchase, particularly among millennials. They prefer to use their smartphones for everyday purchases. It will become essential to have a marketing presence in all distribution channels.

“The watchword will be ‘meet your customers where they are’, and increasingly that means online and social media through web forums, blogs and influencers. This vast and explosive digital landscape is the new marketplace opportunity for nutrition products.”

Many companies are also starting to focus on the needs of Generation Z. One in five (19%) companies said this group (currently aged 22 and under) is already a key market, with one in four (23%) saying it will be in ten years’ time.

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