“The Decade of Healthy Aging,” and many leading developers and suppliers within the segment agree it is a growing and popular trend.
Innova Market Insights’ Trends 2023 Survey bolsters these assertions, revealing that almost one in three consumers say they started to take active steps to age healthily from the age of 30 and onwards.
To understand the trends, ingredients, formats and innovations shaping the healthy aging space, NutritionInsight speaks with professionals and experts from Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients, Nutiani by Fonterra and Kaneka Nutrients.
“Globally, demand for healthy aging products is being motivated by our increasing aging population and the societal drive to keep this demographic as independent and healthy for as long as possible to mitigate future healthcare costs on society,” says Jacqueline Van Schaik, lead nutritionist at Fonterra.
“As people live longer and birth rates are declining, the population aged 65 and over is growing faster than all other age groups.”
Emily Navarro, global marketing manager at Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients, agrees, stating: “People live longer – and they’re increasingly looking for ways to stay healthy as they age and do what they love for longer, whether that be walking or playing with their grandchildren. Solutions that can support joint health are trending as consumers of all ages look to prioritize longer-term health and mobility.”
Innova Market Insights highlights these trends as well, noting that functional foods and beverages with “aging well” claims have had a 14% annual growth globally for the past five years (CAGR, 2018-2022) and says that this growth correlates with consumer interest in healthy aging.
“The demographic for healthy aging is also evolving – no longer only the concern of the older generation, many young consumers are now also taking a more proactive and preventative approach to health and well-being,” explains Filip Van hulle, general manager at Kaneka Nutrients Europe. “In a recent global market study, 48% of consumers said they make proactive health and wellness choices on a regular basis.”
Forging functional science-backed ingredients
Kaneka Nutrients states that consumers are increasingly seeking natural and sustainable science-backed ingredients, for which it says its product Kaneka Ubiquinol – a biologically active form of coenzyme Q10 – is ideal for formulators and manufacturers.
“As well as being backed by multiple clinical studies, the ingredient is also bioidentical to the naturally occurring ubiquinol in the human body, which makes it easy to digest and absorb, delivering optimal results,” says Van hulle. “In-vitro studies have also indicated Kaneka Ubiquinol’s strong antioxidant properties, with the ingredient demonstrating higher relative antioxidant free radical scavenger activity than vitamin E.”
“Ubiquinol sacrifices itself before other antioxidants like vitamin E and C are depleted and is also able to recycle these two essential nutrients – this in turn protects the cell from aging.”
Nutiani also touts its science-backed ingredients and elaborates that the company has tested and found that fast-absorbing milk proteins and whey proteins have a beneficial impact on the texture of high-protein beverages, a lower viscosity and easier-to-drink mouthfeel.
“An extensive systematic review and meta-analysis of 12 clinical trials showed that high protein intake trends to a positive association with bone mineral density (trend) and significantly decreases the risk of hip fractures,” says Van Schaik. “Dairy proteins such as MPC (milk protein concentrate) or calcium caseinate can be ideal ingredients because they are a source of both protein and mineral (calcium & phosphorus) components required to build and maintain bone.”
The company notes that its probiotics LactoB HN001 and BifidoB HN019, are among the most researched strains in humans and are clinically proven to support multiple aspects of digestion and immunity.
Calling on collagen
Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients also emphasizes the benefits of its UC-II undenatured type-II collagen, noting that the product’s benefits for mobility and joint health are backed by 11 human clinical studies showing that it reduces joint discomfort, improves joint flexibility and helps make walking more comfortable.
“What sets it apart from other joint health ingredients is its unique, patented manufacturing process using chicken sternum cartilage – the richest source of type II collagen,” Navarro elaborates. “Lonza’s proprietary manufacturing method uses gentle, low temperature-processing to preserve more of the undenatured triple helix structure of the type II collagen.”
“It also preserves important bioactive binding regions on the collagen triple helix, called epitopes. These epitopes enable the ingredient’s unique mechanism of action, which triggers the body’s natural process to build new joint cartilage. Another feature of Lonza’s UC-II undenatured type II collagen is that it only requires a small, 40 mg daily dose to be effective.”
Focus on format and holistic solutions
Nutiani explains that mobility is a holistic term which can be defined by five key healthy aging needs: bone and joint health for Osteoporosis prevention, muscle health and strength for Sarcopenia prevention, flexibility, energy and balance and agility.
“Holistic solutions that address multiple claims fulfill consumers’ expectations that their health and wellness products should deliver more bang for their buck,” says Van Schaik. “This is for both reasons of convenience and value.”
“Our recent proprietary consumer research with IPSOS showed that consumers felt healthy aging products skewed strongly toward bone and joint claims only, and there was an unmet need to address wider concerns around muscle maintenance or overall movement and balance.”
Van Schaik further reveals that this shows most consumers have a holistic view of healthy aging and that understanding this is key in supporting different parts of the body to work together.
“Products that only focus on bone, joints or muscle alone are inadequate for dealing with mobility in its totality,” she underscores.
At the same time, Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients emphasizes that dosage and convenience are also key to supplement design and positioning.
“Our proprietary research showed that capsules are the preferred delivery method for 42% of US supplement users thanks to their convenience and ability to support their health goals,” Navarro reveals. “Capsules also enable combination products to be developed, featuring multiple healthy aging ingredients in a single dosage form.”
“Lonza’s Capsugel Duocap capsule-in-capsule technology, which consists of a smaller, pre-filled capsule inside of a larger filled capsule, opens up a range of formulation opportunities, enabling supplement brands to create innovative multi-benefit products.”
Navarro also notes that the functional F&B market also continues to grow as people continue to seek more enjoyable and convenient ways to support their health.
Which is why we’ve collected data that supports the use of UC-II undenatured type-II collagen in various food and beverage applications,” she concludes. “This now broadens the opportunities for brands to develop convenient, science-backed joint health solutions to support consumers’ healthy aging goals.”
By William Bradford Nichols