The survey 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 at 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 said healthy aging is the most important health benefit area for their company. “Aging boomers will indeed be an important target group,” said Dr. Steffi Dudek, senior scientific consultant at analyze & realize GmbH. “Their increased life expectancy and lifestyle require investment in health, well-being and performance. The optimization 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 10 years’ time, boomers still came out of top at 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 BrandHive, said, “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.” Mr. Hilton is speaking at a Business & Marketing Forum within the Vitafoods Europe Education Programme, titled “Consumer 2.0: It's a digital world.”
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 10 years’ time.
But whichever demographic is most important to nutraceutical companies, Vitafoods Europe will offer insights. The Vitafoods Life Stages Theatre will include expert sessions on nutrition requirements from infancy to later life, exploring issues such as fertility, prenatal and neonatal nutrition, obesity, and supplements for healthy aging.