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Proactive prevention: Looking to the future of supplements for seniors

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New survey findings shed light on the over-60 supplement consumer’s preferences and priorities.

The collective experience of U.S. seniors has evolved as people are living longer, making them a sought-after—but often misunderstood—demographic.

A 2021 federal agency report on seniors in America showed that from 1900 to 2019, the percentage of Americans age 65 and older rose from just over 4% to 16%, a seventeenfold increase in size from 3.1 million to 54.1 million individuals. As the segment continues to grow in proportion to the overall population, seniors are undeniably a major segment of the U.S. market.

However, marketing strategies that work for mass audiences may be less effective with seniors because they have a unique set of needs and values. Because they are retired or nearing retirement, they spend their time differently than other audiences. They also shop and use media differently. When it comes to wellness and supplementation, they are more likely to look for certain types of supplements and ingredients for prevention and management of the need states which are most prevalent among people their age.

‘General wellness’ looks different to older audiences

To put it simply, supplement consumers in their golden years have different priorities than other vitamin, mineral and supplement shoppers. According to a new MarketPlace survey of supplement consumers, age 60+ supplement consumers are more likely than their younger counterparts to take supplements for general wellness (62% versus 53%), and more likely to agree that general wellness means:

- “I can count on my body to do the daily activities I’m used to” (58% versus 42%)

- “I feel good, mentally and physically” (60% versus 41%)

- “My mind is sharp” (43% versus 36%)

- “I’m generally healthy, with fewer sick days” (54% versus 36%)

When it comes to specific need states, those age 60 and older are more likely than average to take supplements for joint health (41%), bone health (39%) and heart health (38%). Furthermore, three out of five (63%) in the 60+ group said they take supplements as a proactive or preventative measure; a much higher rate than supplement consumers younger than 60 (44%).

Seniors take longer to jump on trends

Among the 60+ group, levels of interest in popular supplement ingredients such as vitamin D and probiotics, by and large, were similar to the average supplement shopper. However, the older subgroup was much less likely to have consumed certain trending ingredients like adaptogens and medicinal mushrooms. In fact, 93% of the 60+ cohort said they have not consumed any medicinal mushrooms in the past 12 months.

To read this article in its entirety, along with related content, check out the healthy aging digital magazine.

Jon Copeland is a research strategist at MarketPlace, a strategy and branding firm to food and beverage, pet and animal, and health and wellness businesses. From primary research studies on the impacts of Covid on supplement demand to white papers, he delivers valuable insight to MarketPlace’s partners and the nutrition industry at large.

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