Younger consumers increasingly worried about cognitive decline with aging, market expert says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images
Getty Images
Moving organic foods out of the health food store niche into mainstream aisles helped jumpstart a data business, one that will provide market insights for an upcoming NutraIngredients-USA Healthy Aging Online Event.

The founders of Natural Marketing Institute​ ran a successful health food store in Pennsylvania, according to Diane Ray, the company’s president of strategic innovation. 

“Then the Genuardi’s supermarket chain came to them to reset the inside of their stores to carry natural and organic products,” ​Ray told NutraIngredients-USA. “That was the origin of the store-within-a-store concept.”

Market segmentation

They learned a lot about how the market is segmented in that effort, Ray said.  They also learned about the different attitudes held by the people in these different segments.  They then embarked on an effort to quantify these differences to provide insight to brands seeking to market to these different segments.

“When you initially build a segmentation of the market you want to look at attitudes and behaviors around which people cluster together and which ones drive people apart,” ​she said.

Each segment is characterized by a certain set of beliefs, Ray said.  The company has more than a decade of data on the methodology​, so the findings are increasingly robust as time goes on, she said.

diane ray mug
Diane Ray

“Initially when we set these up we used between 400 to 600 behaviors across a big sample of about 4,000 people,” ​Ray said.

“After we put all that data together and did some statistical analysis, we found that the health and wellness market split up into five groups,”​ she said.

NMI eventually came up with a proprietary way to segment the market, as far as how consumers are interacting with natural products, organic foods and dietary supplements.  The five segments were called Well Beings; Fence Sitters; Eat, Drink and be Merrys; Magic Bullets; and Food Actives.

Most committed segment of consumers also the fastest growing

One of the biggest shifts in the market in the decade or more that NMI has been segmenting consumers this way is the growth of the Well Beings segment which now makes up 26% of the market, Ray said.

“At first they were not the largest segment. But they have been growing. These are the most proactive healthy products consumers.  These are the sorts who will boycott products if they are not healthy.  These are the consumers who will go to your website to research ingredients,” ​she said.

Healthy Aging Online Event

Ray will give an in depth look at what NMI’s data has to say about the Health Aging market in an online event put on by NutraIngredients-USA scheduled for May 29.  Ray will give an overview of the market and then drill down to the cognitive health sector.

When applying NMI’s methodology to the consumers’ concerns about cognitive health, Ray said the interesting takeaway is that it is not just older consumers who are alarmed about possibly losing their memory.

“Surprisingly, this concern is highest among people younger than 50,” ​Ray said. “Some of them say they need to stay mentally sharp to perform in a competitive job. Others are trying to manage the cognitive decline of their parents.”

Event details

NutraIngredients Healthy Aging Online event is schedule for May 29.  To go along with Ray’s keynote address will be presentations by key suppliers as well as a panel discussion on the cutting edge questions in the category.  For more information on the event or to register, please click here​.

For more information on NMI’s data products and services, click here​.

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