The aging global population, together with the increasing number of people making up the older age groups, is spurring interest in food and beverage products that promote health and longevity, a recent report has revealed.
According to UK-based research organization Leatherhead Food Research's report "An Ageing Population – Trends & Opportunities for the Food Industry," official projections from the United Nations suggests that the percentage of the global population aged 60 and over will increase from 11% in 2000 to 22% by 2050, during which time the number of people falling into this age category is expected to grow from 605 million to around 2 billion. Further, the report says many members of the aging population have an increased risk for adverse health conditions such as coronary heart disease (CHD), osteoporosis and dementia.
These trends carry numerous implications for the global food industry, the report says, as this increasingly affluent demographic group becomes more inclined to seek out products that promote health and longevity as well as a healthy and active lifestyle past middle age. This trend has already been observed in sectors such as milk, yogurt drinks, bottled water and ready meals, and seems set to shape NPD activity to an ever increasing extent over the coming years. The report says the significant product sectors include green tea, cholesterol-lowering yellow fats and food and drinks fortified with functional health ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids.
From a supply perspective, many of the leaders within the global market for functional foods represent the key suppliers of products geared towards the older age groups, the study adds. Many companies now supply distinct functional food ranges which are thought to carry particular appeal to the older age groups and are purchased for their alleged health benefits. Examples include heart health products such as Unilever’s pro.activ cholesterol-lowering dairy spread, as well as fibre-enriched products such as Fiber One from General Mills.