Lifestages lifelines: New populations, nutritional needs and niche marketing

What is a lifestage and why are they important to food manufacturers? There are the obvious ‘stages’ like pregnant women, infants, children and seniors. But what about millennials? Teens? Tweens? Foetuses? Menopausal women? Super seniors?

Nutrition science is evolving rapidly, but is it keeping up with lifestyle and lifestage marketing? And while, for example, medical foods have a proven tradition in assisting seniors fight maladies like bone and muscle wasting, and infant formula will always serve as a necessary alternative to breast milk, will they buy ‘vitamin D bone juice’ or ‘omega-3 brain breads’?

The evidence suggests they will, and that governments are increasingly interested in assisting industry marketing campaigns with educational ‘prevention versus treatment’ campaigns of their own as public health care costs rise with ageing populations.

Niches within niches

And so niches within niches are being created, or new fortification options pumping up existing population ‘slices’. Protein and vitamin and mineral-boosted children’s milks; omega-3 boosted infant formulas and drink for brain development or enhancement ($35bn globally according to Euromonitor); energy drinks targeting tweens and millenials ($37bn).

That’s just at the senior end of the spectrum. But more middle-of-life stages are also interesting food makers, even if it can be a difficult thing to make a seemingly healthy person buy foods for a much later stage in their life where they may be less well.

Euromonitor International health and wellness analyst, Diana Cowland, told us recently: “How to get younger consumers to buy products that may help them much later in life is a tricky problem for food manufacturers and marketers to solve. There are also doubts about the efficacy of some of these products.”

Efficacy doubts may exist, some of them less founded than others, but that doesn’t stop the evolution of food science and formulation that continues to deliver nutritionally more targeted products, even as regulations tighten around how those foods can be marketed.

And the market statistics are promising, even in crimped economic times. Take bone and joint health products. Euromonitor stats show a global sector worth around $14bn, of which seniors make up a substantial proportion. Cardiovascular products come in at about half that, while brain health claims are around $1bn. (But that it strictly for products making such claims.)

Question is: In an increasingly crowded and sophisticated market, targeting increasingly savvy consumers of all ages, can your product connect with an individual’s lifestage, deliver a benefit and deliver on your bottom line.

This conference should answer that question and others your company may have.

Shane Starling
Senior Editor

Online Conference & Expo

Starts 8:00 am in New York | 5:00 am in Los Angeles | 2:00 pm in Paris

October 02nd, 2012

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