The event, organised by FoodNavigator-Asia and NutraIngredients-Asia, kicked-off on Tuesday with experts from Nestle, Blackmores, DuPont and AstaReal sharing their expertise, alongside insights from Singapore’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Amrin Amin.
Chin Juen Seow, research analyst, Food & Nutrition, Euromonitor International, also took to the stage and said that Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and China could already be classed as ‘aged economies’.
He added that China and India were set to be the largest ‘silver markets’ in Asia by 2030. In China, more than 400 million people will be over 65 by then while in India more than 200 million people will be so. In Japan there will be 75 million, which will account for one-quarter of its population.
“In terms of sheer market size, China and India, because of their population sizes, will present the best opportunities for those targeting the silver market,” said Seow.
Drilling down into some of the emerging consumer trends, he highlighted key developments
1) Food for prevention
Seow said more consumers are seeing food as preventive medicine, and have a better understanding of the importance of eating more healthily.
“When we do indulge, we indulge mindfully within a fixed proportion. A good example of this is the rise of single-serve ice creams through convenience stores channels, throughout Asia,” he said.
2) Rising income, rising sales
One of the key drivers of this healthy ageing megatrend is the shift of economic power to Asia, with Asian consumers today having higher disposable incomes and therefore the means to afford healthier food.
“Health, today, is the new wealth. It’s not enough to be wealthy; people want to have good health so can they can enjoy it,” he said.
3) Functional fuel
Older consumers are increasingly aware of the need to get additional “functional fuel” from food, said Seow.
He said products that help in the prevention of osteoporosis, such as those fortified with calcium, vitamin D and omega 3 were increasingly popular, as were foods linked to the prevention of heart disease, namely those containing omega-3, monounsaturated fats and beta glucans.
In terms of packaged food sales by prime positioning, Euromonitor data shows products targeted at bone and joint health are currently more popular than those for cardiovascular health.
However, “Cardiovascular health, being smallest market, has the best projected growth of 17% over the next five years to 2022,” added Seow.
Taiwan, Hong Kong (China) and Singapore were the top three countries, respectively, in terms of per capita retail value sales of bone and joint health targeted products.
4) Free-from future
Seow also argued that free-from and clean label food product sales are rising across the board, and senior consumers were no exception.
He said this is related to the ‘back to basics’ trend that places simplicity at its core.
“People are looking for products free from certain preservatives and additives, and to adopt a back to basics approach — where we eat things that are more natural and are from nature without any adulterated content,” he said.
5) Dairy driving innovation
According to Seow, in Asia, milk for drinking and powdered milk still remain the main source of calcium, a key nutrient required for bone and joint health.
Dairy is also the main vehicle to deliver nutrients to the elderly as they tend to have problems with digestion and swallowing hard food.
Whether in young or ageing country markets, various milk products specifically targeted at seniors have been launched across Asia, such as Meiji Gold in Thailand having launched a product high in calcium and protein.