As the U.S. population continues to age, dairy products meeting the nutritional needs of older consumers will become increasingly influential, according to market researcher Canadean. To address those needs, U.S. dairy marketers should communicate the health benefits of their products by promoting the advantages for maintaining an active lifestyle.

A new Canadean report reveals the number of people in the United States  aged 65 and older is set to more than double by 2050. “Consumer Trend Analysis: Understanding Consumer Trends and Drivers of behavior in the U.S. Dairy Food Market” tracks the influence health needs have on consumer dairy choices.

Rather than these consumers looking for more “therapeutic” products that help with maintaining certain issues such as bone decay, consumers in their fifties and sixties in particular are looking for dairy products to act as preventatives, to keep them active and in good health. 

Canadean tracked the influence of 20 consumption motivators in the US dairy market, finding 34.6% of yogurt and 32.0% of milk consumption volume was tied to the consumers’ age requirements.

According to Joanne Hardman, Canadean analyst, “markets should look at this as a good opportunity to focus on the older consumer market by producing functional products that offer a health boost and cater specifically to the needs of an aging U.S. population.”

Older consumers are increasingly looking to dairy products for their functional, nutritional benefits in satisfying age-based needs, such as tooth-retention, avoiding osteoporosis and maintaining heart and brain health. Specific minerals such as calcium are desired by consumers to help maximize healthy bone strength, as is riboflavin to maintain good nerve function and limit the risk of cancer, dementia and heart disease.

According to Hardman, there is opportunity for U.S. dairy marketers to take advantage of these findings as dairy consumption is increasing among the U.S. population aged 55 and over. This age band has the highest amount of dairy food occasions per year totaling 33.5 million. However, this is due to the sheer size of the demographic, and they have the smallest number of occasions per person at 416.1 per year.

With this being the case, more dairy products with age-specific benefits need to be on the market to encourage older consumers to eat dairy products more frequently.