How big will the seniors ‘functional foods’ market be in 2022?

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th June 2018

DAIRY giant Fonterra is applying itself to help find solutions to malnourishment in older people.

Fonterra has joined with 24 scientific and nutritional organisations in a five-year international project.

The Prevention of Malnutrition in Senior Subjects in the EU project is investigating the role diet and appetite may have in malnutrition and functional decline of people over 70 years.

Seniors malnourished entering hospital

In New Zealand, almost 75 per cent of older adults involved in a recent study were found to be at risk of malnourishment, or were malnourished, when they were admitted to hospital, he says.

Fonterra’s New Zealand-based director of medical nutrition Maarten van Beek says the research findings will help Fonterra develop innovative new food products that prevent malnutrition and support active and healthy ageing.

“Older people need more protein to support good health, as malnourishment can cause muscle shrinking, as well as other health-related problems.

“The (project) findings should offer valuable insights into the best ways to incorporate more protein into their diets,” says Mr van Beek.

“A key focus of (our) work is to develop great-tasting, protein-enriched nutritional solutions that are part of a normal diet for older people.”

The size of the global functional foods market for seniors has been estimated to be worth $NZ95.8 billion by 2022, according to Fonterra.

A functional food is a food given an additional function by adding new ingredients or more of existing ingredients. Functional foods may be designed to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions, and may be similar in appearance to conventional food and consumed as part of a regular diet.

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited is a New Zealand multinational dairy co-operative owned by around 10,500 New Zealand farmers. The company is responsible for approximately 30% of the world’s dairy exports and with revenue exceeding NZ$17.2 billion, is New Zealand’s largest company.