The Future of Aging

By Sean Moloughney, Editor, Nutraceuticals World | September 4, 2013

It’s rare when the U.S. is considered an emerging market, but that seems to be the case with nutricosmetics. Well-established in Asia, these ingestible supplements are designed to promote beauty from within, and continue to gain traction in North America.

As nutrition and healthy aging expert Paula Simpson writes in her article “A Fresh Look at Nutricosmetics,” the message is pretty clear: “The lifestyle you lead can accelerate or delay how well your body ages.”

That connection between beauty and diet/lifestyle plus environmental influences seems to be sinking in with consumers across a range of demographics. From the aging population faced with rising healthcare costs, to younger women (and men) intent on looking and feeling healthy, the shift away from disease treatment and toward prevention is gaining momentum.

The premise of healthy aging is more relatable and realistic than the idea of cheating death. I think the concept could be an appealing pitch in the future anti-aging market. For more on this segment, see Amanda Baltazar’s “Aging with Dignity” feature. And be sure to attend Happi’s Anti-Aging Conference & Tabletop Exhibition Oct. 29 & 30 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ. (Click here for more details.)

Nutrition Business Journal, Boulder, CO, estimates U.S. sales of nutricosmetics rose 9.4% last year to $1.1 billion. It’s fair to expect growth to continue as long as economic conditions improve, alongside consumer confidence. However, to attract and retain more consumers, industry must overcome significant challenges. For one, while it’s encouraging to see more studies conducted on ingredients and products in this market space, the research curve still needs to bend further upward.

Another factor manufacturers must consider is the efficacy and bioavailability of nutrients in their products. While functional foods/beverages and new supplement formats like gummies and chews appeal to consumers, they ultimately need to deliver a health benefit as well in order to ensure long-term, sustainable success.

Speaking of sustainability, as Ms. Simpson points out, 63% of consumers under the age of 40 are willing to pay more for socially responsible products and services. It would be a wise investment to consider a younger crowd of consumers, and to help them age gracefully.