Today’s growing ageing population is more aware than ever of the need to consume increased levels of protein to remain healthy in their twilight years. Unfortunately, the demand for nutritional solutions that reduce the unwelcome effects of ageing is met with an undesirable range of options.
A growing global market
2.1 billion seniors are expected to make up the world’s population by 2050, up 54% from the current number of 50+ year olds that make up today’s population. Most of this growth will be in Asian markets, whose senior population currently already makes up 60% of the world's senior population. Rising populations are also leading to rising costs in the healthcare sector; it is expected 6-8% of GDP in most countries will be spent on ageing related healthcare costs by 2050. In turn this is leading to the rationalisation of healthcare systems.
Research shows that older adults need more protein to support their good health. Protein malnourishment can cause weakening and shrinking of the muscle, as well as other health-related problems, which leads to dependence on healthcare professionals and family members. The fact that people have a higher life expectancy means that they are also living longer with health conditions like malnutrition, sarcopenia, cancer and dysphagia. As a result, today’s ageing consumers are actively making more informed decisions about the preventative nutrition solutions they consume to improve their ability to live a quality life in the present and to live a long life into the future.
The pursuit of healthiness
As people age, they experience changes to their senses, such as a decreased sense of taste and smell, as well as a reduced ability to swallow and digest nutrients, amongst various other ageing related issues. These challenges can result in a reduced appetite for the person, causing a negative impact on their nutritional status and well-being. Ageing consumers are also seeking solutions to support things like mobility, vitality, mental alertness and digestive comfort. Around the world, healthy agers can find it difficult to get the nutrition they need to mitigate the negative effects of ageing to enjoy robust health for many more years than previous generations. Much of the nutrition offered is unattractive in taste and texture, limited in variety, and not resembling ‘normal food’. Most commonly, the products available are in beverage, powder, yoghurt and jelly formats, and have a negative stigma attributed to them.
As a result, there is a growing global need for protein-fortified nutritional solutions for the ageing population that have improved taste and texture, come in a variety of product types and formats, and are pure, natural and clean label solutions. Producing protein-fortified foods that are a close fit to ‘normal food’ for these consumers allows them to enjoy nutritious foods as they age, maintain their dignity with regard to the food they eat, and uphold a healthy lifestyle to maintain their independence, which is incredibly important for a person’s mental well-being as they age. The functional food market for seniors is estimated to be worth USD $63.3 billion by 2022, which presents a large opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers to tap into a market of consumers willing to increase their spending to maintain good health.
NZMP’s proactive approach
NZMP’s Medical Nutrition Business Unit offers solutions focused on the healthy ager targeting energy and vitality, mobility, digestion and gut health, metabolism, and mental alertness. From caseins to whey proteins to specialised ingredients, NZMP is ready to partner with you to formulate dairy nutrition solutions and develop highly specialised ingredients that offer customers specific benefits and reflect leading-edge R&D, backed by clinical research.
To speak to a member of the NZMP Medical Nutrition Business Unit, please fill in our contact us form.