The Emerging Ageing Opportunity in Asia
Cormac Nolan – Business Analyst, Market Insight – Bord Bia
Between 2019 and 2050 the population over 60 in Asia is going to double to 1.5bn people. This stark reality creates challenges across a number of policy areas and opportunity in the emerging sector of adult nutrition. Adult nutrition is focussed on the prevention of some of the manifestations of aging including cognitive decline and sarcopenia.
At the Healthy Ageing APAC conference which took place in Singapore last week, a number of businesses and healthcare practitioners presented new research and perspectives. These had a number of implications for Irish food companies, both as a manufacturers and supplier into manufacturers.
There is increasing recognition that dietary reference values for optimal intake of calcium, protein and other vitamins have been set for the average middle aged person and that the desirable intake value varies over a lifetime. In parallel with the increasing availability and affordability of nutrient needs testing, the future is likely to include personalised nutrition recommendations and solutions.
Changes with time
Despite the science gap in terms of understanding the changes wrought be aging, there are some known certainties. These include;
- Appetite reduces in later years, so creating more nutrient dense foods that are palatable to older people is an opportunity
- Taste perception dullens and preference moves towards sweeter, so consideration needs to be made of those realities in product formulation.
Claims and function
Consistent across the conference was the acknowledgement that adult nutrition products have a preventative role rather than a curative. And that from a marketing perspective then the challenge is in having people engage at the age that there will be a preventative benefit - i.e. before the onset of symptoms.
There remains significant challenge in functional claims on pack and the level of evidence necessary for claims. Many products in this category fall into pharmaceutical regulation where the evidence bound is high. Regulatory regimes are still difficult to navigate and vary significantly from country to country.
If you would like to know more about this, Bord Bia’s Strategic Insight and Planning team is currently undertaking a major research project on the opportunity for Irish food companies in Asia, particularly in China. This research will be completed and disseminated to the industry in September.