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Vitafoods Asia 2022

Don’t ignore demographic differences for your healthy ageing products in Asia - Interview

Article-Don’t ignore demographic differences for your healthy ageing products in Asia - Interview

Vitafoods Asia 2022 - Speaker interview: Bettina Hudry-Gerez, Alcimed
Healthy ageing is a huge concern across Asia but the concept resonates differently for consumers of different ages, meaning manufacturers must tailor their products accordingly, says one expert.

Bettina Hudry-Gerez heads the APAC activities for Alcimed, a business management consultancy, and focuses on nutrition and health as well as agriculture and sustainability.

She will be giving a presentation on the topic of ‘Healthy ageing: The emerging trend from Asia-Pacific (APAC)’ on Thursday 6th October from 12:30 to 12:55 (Bangkok time).

We spoke with Bettina to find out more about this on-trend topic and what to expect from his presentation. Click here for more information about our Vitafoods Asia 2022 event.

How are health and age interlinked and perceived by consumers in the APAC region?

“In the APAC region, consumers’ perception of the definition of healthy ageing is mainly cognitive-related – [being] mentally active and sharp – followed by physical activeness, and not suffering from chronic diseases. This differs slightly when looking at each country individually and even further by age groups within the country.

“For example, in Thailand, the definition of healthy ageing, according to elderly Thai people, is the lack of serious chronic diseases, while for middle-aged people, functional independence is the core of ageing healthily.

“Healthy ageing in APAC is also seen to start young. Over half of the APAC consumers expressed that they believe the movement towards healthy ageing should be brought up as early as 30 years old, as this is the age they start to have age-related concerns.”

Are there any differences between the foods and ingredients that consumers in Asia seek for health benefits, compared to Western consumers?

“There is a slight difference in the diet and food trend seen for healthy ageing. For instance, the Mediterranean diet is promoted for healthy ageing – it is studied by Westerners on Westerners and is well adopted in the West. The Japanese diet is well researched in Asia and has found some commonalities with the Mediterranean diet. A difference is that Asian diets will typically contain potent botanicals such as, for example, turmeric, umeboshi plums, goji berry, ginkgo, and ginseng.

“The younger generations in APAC are also rediscovering the benefits of these traditional botanicals, opting for food and drinks to incorporate these functional ingredients. For instance, turmeric has been increasingly found in energy drinks and tea categories as a superfood in India.

“Looking at long-term health concerns, all regions globally show a greater concern for memory-related issues than other concerns [such as] sleeping problems and stress, etc, but the awareness of these concerns and ageing healthily is the highest in APAC.”

Can you give us an example of an innovative healthy ageing product that really stands out from the crowd in your opinion?

“According to the Nutrition Business Journal, the sales of healthy ageing supplements grew by 8.9% in 2020, which is more than double the sales rate in 2019. There is a trend seen in several key ingredients, such as promoters of NAD+ [nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, a critical coenzyme important for metabolism], resveratrol, and L-leucine.

“An innovative product example in the food segment is the set of three healthy ageing nutritional products launched by Danone China in 2022. The three products are to be taken at three different times of the day for different functions, including probiotics for gut and immune health in the morning, multi-protein for mobility to be taken in the afternoon, and a drink for sleep and brain health at night. The set of products aims to cover all the different concerns in ageing.”

What can the audience at our Vitafoods Asia 2022 event expect from your session?

“The audience can expect a better understanding of what is healthy ageing and why it is important for APAC. They can also expect to gain inspiration from research and other industry sectors for possible business opportunities in the healthy ageing category.”