Sam Moore
Sam is a Global Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel, specialising in dairy and beverages.

Dairy drinks are ideally positioned as healthy ageing products. They are already perceived by many as being healthy, functional and effective for maintaining bone health—important factors for preventing osteoporosis. Mintel research reveals that almost half of Chinese consumers agree that milk is good for the elderly.

According to Mintel’s Global Food and Drink 2019 Trend ‘Through the Ages’, healthy ageing is emerging as a food and drink opportunity in 2019 and beyond. Preparing oneself for a longer, healthier lifespan is particularly relevant as consumers view health and wellness as a holistic, proactive and ongoing pursuit.

With its fast growing ageing population, Asia can provide significant opportunities for food manufacturers, particularly dairy drink companies.

Despite the world’s ageing population, ‘senior’ claims have so far seen limited use globally. Currently, Asia Pacific leads the way with senior-positioned food and drink launches, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). Looking specifically at dairy, as many as two thirds of Asia Pacific’s senior-targeted food and drink launches are from China. Yet this still only accounts for 2% of China’s dairy launches.

Creating functional products that meet various needs

South Korean dairy and beverage producer Maeil Dairies Co. has recently opened a sarcopenia research and development centre. To cater for the growing number of seniors in South Korea, Maeil Dairy plans to invest more in products that meet their dietary needs.


Nestlé has added a high-protein product to their Boost range, which targets adults 50 years and older with the slogan ‘stay strong, stay active’. (Source: nestlehealthscience.com)

Sarcopenia is the gradual loss of muscle that occurs as part of the ageing process, and can affect mobility. Few dairy drinks are said to help with muscle loss for seniors. In fact, Mintel GNPD reveals that the majority of dairy products aimed at seniors are milk powders positioned towards bone health. This aligns with Mintel research which reveals that a fifth of metro Indonesians and a third of metro Thais associate protein with reducing muscle loss during ageing.

Bone, joint and immune system health are traditionally targeted in products for seniors. Mintel predicts that in the future, brain and eye health will feature more prominently and capture the attention of consumers who are concerned about dementia, memory loss and poor eyesight.

Food and drink formulations can offer alternatives to medicine and medical treatment for seniors, especially those who are not actively treating their health issues. For example, Mintel research reveals that in China, a sizeable percentage of consumers aged between 55-74 suffer from poor eyesight as well as weak memory, yet are not doing anything about it.

Embracing a new era of positive ageing

Consumers, especially seniors, want to be empowered by the products that they purchase or consume and do not want to be reminded of their age. Brands should start promoting senior targeted products positively by using a ‘healthy ageing’ concept, developing products that help them to stay active, ease body pain, support mobility issues and promote a healthy lifestyle. There is opportunity to innovate more on preventative claims that take a proactive and protective approach to one’s health.