Bone health problems including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and hip fractures continue to be major health issues worldwide. The burden of osteoporosis is projected to surge across the world, particularly in Asia Pacific (APAC). Experts have said that women are more vulnerable to developing bone-related diseases, with more than double the risk compared to men.

According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), between February 2012 and January 2017, almost half of the world’s food, drink, and vitamins and supplements products with bone health claims were launched in APAC. However, most of these products were targeted at babies, toddlers and children, while a very small fraction carried a demographic claim for females. In fact, bone health products with a demographic claim targeted to women have plummeted by a considerable amount in the past five years.

Asian women are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D

Diet is considered one of the key solutions in combating bone health problems and adequate calcium intake and vitamin D levels are essential factors in maintaining optimal function of bones.

However, calcium and vitamin D intake among Asians is currently considered to be insufficient, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and The Asia Pacific Regional Audit of IOF. It is said that the average dietary calcium, as well as vitamin D, intake for adults in Asia is far below recommended standards. As Asian women are not getting enough of these necessary nutrients, their risks of suffering from osteoporosis and other diseases is increasing.

In light of this concern, there is an opportunity for manufacturers to venture into different food categories through fortification and supplementation. Fortified foods including breakfast cereals, milks and yogurts, along with supplements are becoming good sources of calcium and vitamin D.

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Anlene Gold, Chocolate Flavoured Milk Powder, Indonesia
This relaunched brand now contains Movemax formula to support active lifestyle. It contains extra calcium and magnesium which together with zinc maintains bone density.

Eyeing women

The launch of bone health products targeting women is low, but innovation in such products could appeal to more women and inspire manufacturers to introduce more bone health products for the female demographic

As discussed in Mintel’s 2016 Food and Drink trend, ‘From the Inside-Out’, the concept of beauty from within is resonating with consumers. With a growing pool of female consumers linking their diets to their appearances, there is an opportunity for bone health product manufacturers to target women by launching products that have  ‘edible beauty’ attributes. Highlighting the opportunity, data from Mintel GNPD shows that just 6% of bone health food, drink, and vitamins and supplements product launches in APAC in the last five years featured a beauty benefits claim.

Lalas India

Lalas, Aloe Triphala Ras, India
This vegetarian product contains aloe vera that claims to prevent tissue damage, delay ageing and aids postmenopausal conditions such as weakness, nervousness and osteoporosis.

 Based in Singapore, Michelle is a Food Science and Nutrition Analyst at Mintel. She specialises in food science and ingredients, with a focus on nutrition. Prior to Mintel, most of her career was in the field of nutrition and dietetics concentrating on food service, clinical nutrition, health and wellness program management, nutrition research and marketing. She’s a licensed Nutritionist-Dietitian in the Philippines and an Accredited Nutritionist in Singapore.

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