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Healthy Ageing is Big But how do you Connect with Someone in Denial?

A new research project is exploring drivers for the purchase of healthy ageing products via senior consumers in both developed and emerging markets.

Right now, healthy ageing seems to be on everyone’s agenda—including my own. But, for the nutrition industry, there is a challenge: namely, that the target group for healthy ageing products is a demographic that doesn’t really want to be reminded of why it is being targeted. “Are you getting older?" is not a question we enjoy answering affirmatively.

So what does the perfect product look like for a healthy ager? The perfect dietary supplement? The perfect dairy product? The perfect diet? And most importantly—how do you ensure that you employ the perfect communication and branding, so that your product resonates with older consumers, instead of alienating them?

To answer these questions—while avoiding the pitfalls of normal consumer research (consumers tend to lie)—the HealthyMarketingTeam has linked up with the Faculty for Applied Cultural Analysis at the universities of Lund and Copenhagen. Their approach, cultural analysis, involves combining standard research methods such as interviews and focus groups with other techniques such as observation, active participation and a toolbox of methods based on cultural understanding.

With the help of a multinational research group, we are looking into drivers for the purchase of healthy ageing products across four different countries on two vastly different continents. We are comparing Denmark and the Netherlands in Northern Europe, where the welfare systems are highly developed, with Thailand and the Philippines in Southeast Asia, where they are underdeveloped. We will explore the cultural factors as well as the sociodemographic trends that are influencing the attitudes and behaviour of healthy agers in these countries. By doing this, we will be able to better understand the differences (as well as the similarities) between senior consumers in both developed and emerging markets.

In a preliminary discussion within our own team of consultants, it became clear that we needed to avoid viewing healthy ageing as a purely western phenomenon. In fact, in emerging markets, the rapid growth of an affluent middle class—in combination with declining birth rates—has freed a whole generation from the burden and duty of caring for a large family. With this trend has come an attitudinal change that permits the older generation to invest in its own pleasure.

So, “Life 2.0" is an idea that is globally attractive. Nevertheless, we must also remember that while it may be taken for granted in a Northern European country, it is still only accessible for the tip of the sociodemographic pyramid in Southeast Asia. This means it will be critical to understand how to segment healthy agers based on both attitudinal and economic factors. How are they influenced by health trends? What will motivate changes in their purchasing habits? What attributes and benefits will attract them to products, categories and brands? Our aim is to find out.

The results of this work will be compatible with our FourFactors® Consumer Segmentation approach, and we hope it will help us answer the question of how best to target healthy agers all over the world. We plan to present the first report from our research at Vitafoods Europe 2016. We’re very much looking forward to sharing the findings—and we’re confident they will give you a fresh and unique perspective into the way older consumers shop for, and purchase, nutrition products.

The HealthyMarketingTeam will present the initial findings of its healthy ageing project at the Vitafoods Europe Conference on 10 May 2016. To find out more about the conference, click the link.

TAGS: Life Stages
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