Life stage nutrition leads consumer segmentation in the era of eating occasions

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / monkeybusinessimages
© Getty Images / monkeybusinessimages

Related tags: lifestages, healthy aging

Brands are releasing new products that appeal to life stage nutritional needs, Euromonitor International reveals in its latest evolving trends in food and nutrition report.

For manufacturers and retailers, life stage nutrition is a core area for new product creations. As brands strive for more segmented product portfolios, the oldest and youngest consumer demographics have stood out as target markets to appeal to.

Reaching young and old

With aging populations in Latin America, food producers are drafting innovative and novel ideas to “meet the unique nutritional needs” ​of older purchasers, market intelligence provider, Euromonitor International reports.

By 2030, 991 million people around the globe will be aged 65 or over, a figure that amounts to a  47% increase from 2018 to 2030. In developed markets, the over-65s are expected to grow 7.5 times faster than the total population by 2030. Therefore, healthy nutrition in older years opens up growing market opportunities. Products that are introduced from early infanthood through to childhood, adulthood and elder years support the concept of life stage nutrition as a vital part of consumers’ diets.

Simultaneously, brands are starting to focus on child-specific formulations that sit in the early-stage nutrition phase alongside infant formula. To date, launches have remained limited and the segment underdeveloped. Yet now, brands are recognizing the opportunity to develop infant nutritional products to push up higher prices and fuel value growth.

A total of 1.72 billion people worldwide will be between 0–12 years old by 2030. Between 2018 and 2030, 36 million absolute growth will come from both emerging and developing countries.

Market differences

Nutritional needs can vary between specific markets, potentially within the same region, and therefore, manufacturers need to react to different demographic trends.

There is a clear distinction between developed and emerging markets in their approaches to nutrition, the report suggests. In some developed markets, for example, a “hollowing out”​ effect of the middle class has occurred, with extreme growth taking place in both “premiumization trends and private brands growing together at the expense of standard offerings”​. Emerging markets, on the other hand, see consumers trading up to packaged foods that combine cost-effectiveness with a perceived value derived from specific nutritional elements such as fortification.

Companies are now reacting to changing eating habits, Euromonitor International states. In explaining how it is responding to these demands, Danone 2018 Annual Report reveals: “We want to offer people great eating and drinking experiences by providing the right product, in the right format, at the right moment.”

Nutritious product offerings, smaller and portable packaging, organic and clean labeling, free-from options and fortified/functional foodstuffs are all ways that manufacturers are promoting their products to adapt to these new eating habits, occasions and consumer segmentations.

Consumer segmentation in the era of eating occasions

With both consumer segmentation and new eating occasions leading trends, members of the food industry have new ways to develop and market products that latch onto changing preferences.

Convenience, on-to-go and sensory eating experiences are all high on the list of priorities for consumers who want to fit snacking or indulgence around their busy lives. Brands are looking at appropriate formats and products that are available at ideal consumer times. On-the-go eating, in-between snacking and the loss of traditional meal times typify the current food and nutrition landscape, impacting the food choices we make and the nutrition we receive.

Fluidity is taking over when it comes to consumers’ eating preferences, and so, consumers are focusing more on food choices that fit their lifestyles. As such, producers are now utilizing hyper-segmentation to reach more consumer types, occasions and portfolios in a growing number of markets.

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