Food marketing to older consumers ‘has lessons to learn’ from fashion and beauty industry

For the first time in history, across the globe people aged over 65 now outnumber children under five, according to the UN. By the middle of this century there will be more than twice as many. In Europe, the population of over 65s is expected to reach almost 150 million by 2050.

These facts very clearly present massive opportunities for the food industry to capitalise on the specific needs of what is a rapidly expanding, and often affluent, consumer group keen to explore foods associated with slower cognitive decline.

Are we making the most of these opportunities?

According to a recent report from Barclays, the food industry should do more to meet the nutritional needs of the ageing population. It complains the number of new products launched that cater to ‘silver surfers’ and ‘baby boomers’ pales in comparison to NDP targeting trendy millennials or Generation Zers. “The narrative on ageing needs to evolve. Living longer, healthier lives will impact people of all ages and there are many opportunities for the nutrition industry in particular to adapt these offerings,”​ said Barclay’s head of sustainable and thematic investing, Hiral Patel.

How to commercialise healthy ageing products

Anu Turpeinen, nutrition research manager at Finnish company Valio, told the FoodNavigator 2021 Digital Summit: Positive Nutrition​ that the food industry should look to the health and beauty industry as an example of how to commercialise healthy ageing products.

“The beauty and personal care industry has established a successful business model for healthy ageing, with products containing premium ingredients in elegant packaging with positive language,”​ she said. “The fashion industry has started featuring older adults in ads enjoying life, and the food industry could do the same. We could take ownership of being part of the solution to enjoy life to the maximum as an older adult. There is ample scientific evidence on the important of nutrition in healthy ageing and there are verified health claims to utilise in food products for heathy ageing.”