Aging US consumers demand functional dairy products

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th August 2014
Aging US consumers demand functional dairy products
Aging US consumers demand functional dairy products

Older US consumers are looking for dairy products with nutritional benefits, according to market research organisation Canadean.

Consumers aged 55 and above make up over a fifth of dairy consumption in the US, and this number is set to increase. Canadean said manufacturers should develop functional dairy products to meet the needs of an aging population, whose consumption alone was worth almost  8.7 billion US$ in 2013, Canadean says.

Older consumers want functional dairy products

According to Canadean, older people want products with calcium to help maximise healthy bone strength, as well as riboflavin to maintain good nerve function and limit the risk of cancer, dementia, and heart disease.

“Bone health is a fundamental need here,” said Catherine O’Connor, Senior Analyst at Canadean. “Products that are enriched with extra calcium to help with tooth-retention and prevent from osteoporosis will prove particularly popular,” she said.

“There will also be increasing demand for products containing omega 3 and DHA to maintain brain health,” Ms O’Connor said.

Products should be positioned sensitively

Canadean advised that marketers should be sensitive in how they position products to the older population.

Dairy food should carry both a preventative and therapeutic message to target healthy consumers and meet the needs of those already suffering from issues such as bone decay.

“Manufacturers should communicate the health benefits of products by centring campaigns around keeping active and health maintenance, rather than focusing on older consumers’ vulnerabilities,” Ms O’Connor said.

Easy-to-open packaging key

Manufacturers should also consider the packaging requirements of older consumers, whose appetites should be met with smaller packs, according to Canadean.

Older consumers will require packaging that is lightweight and easy-to-open, particularly those with declining wrist strength or a decreased ability to carry heavier items. Canadean cited packaging brand Shinsen as an example. Shinsen produced caps with “seal and gas flushing technology” that is utilised to maximise dairy products’ shelf life.

“Packaging manufacturers should innovate with seals that increase shelf life in order to require fewer shopping trips for those who find getting about difficult,” Ms O’Connor said.