10 ways to market to the healthy aging crowd

To appeal to consumers interested in natural, healthy aging, including baby boomers, try these 10 insights from a marketing expert.

At Nutracon 2012, Peter Wennstrom, president of the London-based Healthy Marketing Team, offered great insight about how to make your products appeal to consumers interested in healthy aging. From keeping it simple to appealing to nostalgia, here are 10 tips to follow.

1. Don't give consumers a reason to reject your product.
It takes a few seconds for shoppers to make a decision in the aisle. The goal is getting a shopper's hand to pick up and check out your product. You want them thinking both, "I'm motivated to buy," and "I have permission to buy," i.e., there are no bad ingredients and the company doesn't seem sketchy. Consumers today increasingly reject products, said Wennstrom.

2. Keep it simple.
Marketers tend to overload consumers with information and don't use language that consumers understand.

3. Aging itself can become a reason to reject a product.
Milk consumption has been declining, he said, partly because as people get older, they don't believe they need as much any more. Also critical: Can an older consumer read the tiny print on your food product or supplement bottle? Can he or she open the lid or other packaging?

4. Attitudes toward aging are changing.
Menopause, for instance, is being redefined. It's seen as the entry to an age of wisdom, when women can still be vibrant. More women want to manage menopause symptoms in a natural way, said Wennstrom.

5. Skin health is hot.
Instead of undergoing the knife of plastic surgery, more people want to help prevent aging by eating healthy foods and fostering beauty from within with natural products. 

6. Food isn't just fuel, but building blocks that can help manage aging.

More older adults are realizing this: They want to eat higher quality foods that can help keep them healthy.

7. Low- and nonfat are dead in the water in Europe.
Wennstrom said sales of butter, cream and meat are up—people want real food and there's nostalgia for home cooking, especially among busy people. TV chefs have a great influencing role.

8. Innovation is happening by M&A activity, rather than internally.
This is true for big players, said Wennstrom. "Coke can't do Odwalla; Coke needed to buy Odwalla."

9. Consumers want solutions, and convenience.
We have hectic lives, so a product needs to communicate its solution quickly. Ask yourself: Who needs this product—when, and why? Compartmentalize a product's benefit—heart or bones, for instance—and show that it's science-backed. 

10. People want to change, but they also want products to feel familiar.
When buying healthy products, aging consumers need to buy in: "I can change. I believe in this [product]." They won't buy products that they don't understand or ones that don't resonate with them.

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