What do you hope the Wo(men)’s Networking Lunch will achieve and what, for you, are the key objectives of this event?
“Women’s health can often be overlooked-- in medical research, and sometimes even by women themselves! Busy schedules and prioritising the care of others can get in the way of women focusing on their own health needs.
“Yet prioritising their health is not only critical for women. Because women are central to our families and communities, they are an important part of the foundation of families and societies. And because of the critical roles women play, children, partners and parents also benefit from healthy women in their families. Our goal is to raise awareness of this foundational role women play, and to highlight solutions to help support health and wellbeing for women and their families.”
What key trends are we seeing in the women’s health and nutrition sector?
“Women’s health is becoming a very holistic term, encompassing more than just traditional need states women may have throughout their lives. No longer confined to ‘women’s issues’ like menopause that were not often freely discussed, we’re seeing that women’s health actually includes health needs that are important to everyone — from age-related concerns like heart health to joint health to everyday considerations like making the most of their digestive and immune health and managing stress and sleep.
“It’s really encouraging women’s health is becoming a topic for everyday conversation, fuelled by sources like women’s activism, social media, TV, magazines and even discussion forums like this one.”
What opportunities is this creating for companies and what are some of the obstacles to successful commercialisation?
“What’s especially encouraging about seeing women’s health as being about the whole person is that, while we’re keeping an eye on products that support women’s hormonal and reproductive concerns, we’re also looking at formats that consider women’s unique makeup when it comes to more general health and lifestyle goals.
“Women are not simply ‘small men’. Rather, solutions to their everyday health needs need to be in formats that they find appealing and that are easy to incorporate into their daily lives.”
How is Kerry disrupting this space? Do you have any examples you can share?
“Kerry’s ProActive health portfolio includes science-backed core ingredients specifically designed to support women’s health, from puberty through conception (Caronositol Fertility), breastfeeding (LC40 probiotic), to menopause (Luprenol) and beyond.
“Our portfolio also features innovative solutions for everyday need states like immune support (Wellmune), heart health (Eupoly), digestive health (BC30, with a study showing benefits in nutrient absorption in older women), and cognitive and anti-stress benefits (Sensoril Ashwagandha, with a recent study showing benefits for menopausal women’s quality of life) as well as joint health and more.”
Dr Alexandra Boelrijk is senior director of research and development for ProActive Health at Kerry, the sponsor of Vitafoods’ Wo(men)'s Networking Lunch. The two-hour networking event will include a welcome speech from Alexandra; a panel discussion showcasing female pioneers in the field of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM); and a panel discussion on empowering female entrepreneurs. You can view the full agenda here.