What new market opportunities for clinical nutrition ?
The ageing population shapes society and is an unprecedented challenge worldwide. New trends are emerging, and nutrition will be more important than ever in the coming years due to the reversal of the age distribution curve and changing habits in the field of health. Let’s see what opportunities this change in society represents for the nutrition sector.
Clinical nutrition, a target that extends to healthy ageing
The focus of clinical nutrition is broadening to include healthy ageing
The onset of old age is marked by a number of physiological changes that can cause frailty, loss of appetite, reduced bone and muscle mass, and a weakened immune system. Clinical nutrition helps to meet the nutritional needs of the elderly, who are often affected by malnutrition and various other conditions (diabetes, cancer, obesity, sarcopenia). The products are often prescription-only and administered for medical purposes. Nutrition is also becoming increasingly recognised for the role it plays in preventing age-related problems and diseases. Consequently, more and more nutritional solutions are appearing on the market.
The clinical nutrition offer is becoming less of a medical issue
The clinical nutrition offer is becoming less of a medical issue. Clinical nutrition products are now increasingly available, not only as powders or supplements, but also as everyday snacks and ready-to-eat meals that are no longer limited to purchase in pharmacies . Demand for a more varied range of nutritional products will be sustainable considering the ageing population, growing awareness of the notion of healthy ageing, and the increasing availability of nutritional products.
Healthy ageing: a growing trend
It is widely recognised that a healthy diet contributes to healthy ageing
With the increase in life expectancy, the link between nutrition and health is gaining momentum. Society is becoming more aware of the dangers that can affect longevity (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer). It is widely recognised that a healthy diet contributes to healthy ageing  and nutrition is increasingly part of a healthy lifestyle choice.
The notion of ‘healthy ageing’ is defined by the WHO as ’the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age ’. The goal is to improve the ageing experience by ensuring people continue to be independent. The health challenges that emerge as the population ages represent an opportunity to develop nutritional products to support healthy ageing in the fields of mobility (muscular health, bone and joint strength), and immunity .
The importance of nutrition accentuated by the Covid-19 crisis
The role of nutrition: prevention and healing in the context of Covid-19
Nutrition has a clear role to play in the prevention of Covid-19-related risks in order to build immunity
Recently, Covid-19 spread across the entire world, particularly affecting people over 65 who represented 80% of hospitalisations . This has led to physical and mental health consequences for the elderly: reduced food intake, muscle wasting, isolation, and increased malnutrition . Proper nutrition helps to build a person’s ‘health capital’, making them less vulnerable to infection and more resilient when faced with a health crisis . In this context, nutrition has a clear role to play in the prevention of Covid-19-related risks in order to build immunity: it is important to provide adequate nutrition to the body during the period of exposure to the virus.
Patients with Covid-19 are at risk of malnutrition, particularly the elderly and those who suffer from chronic disease. These patients require nutritional supplementation during their treatment to prevent malnutrition and muscle loss during hospitalisation . Nutritional support plans should provide adequate energy and protein. The sharp increase in hospital admissions due to Covid-19, and the consequent risk of malnutrition, has led to an increased demand for energy- and nutrient-dense products .
The impact of Covid-19 on the morale of patients and the elderly
The pandemic made all generations, but particularly the elderly, more aware of their vulnerability and more attentive to their nutritional needs
In addition to the health implications of the Covid-19 infection, the pandemic made all generations, but particularly the elderly, more aware of their vulnerability and more attentive to their nutritional needs . With a rapidly ageing population, the notion of ‘healthy ageing’ and consideration of the elderly will be challenges that companies will be facing more than ever in the coming years.
Choose Lactalis Ingredients proteins for nutritional products designed for healthy ageing
Proteins play an essential role in maintaining overall optimal health, and in the prevention of age-related disorders. A clinical nutrition product must meet the varied nutritional needs of older patients but must also be pleasant and easy to consume.
Dairy proteins are excellent candidates for formulating healthy products with a high nutritional value due to their high essential amino acid content and easy digestion. To meet the expectations of both healthcare professionals and patients, Lactalis Ingredients has developed various ingredients with suitable functional properties for making fortified foods and oral nutritional supplements (ONS):
- Native whey proteins: Pronativ® – Native whey proteins
- Native micellar casein: Pronativ® – Native micellar casein
Our proteins intended for clinical nutrition are subject to rigorous microbiological monitoring to meet the quality requirements of this market. Lactalis Ingredients staff are available to assist you in developing and launching your products. Please get in touch for further information.
 Mintel Insight – Cater to the evolving needs of healthy ageing consumers
 “Nutrition: A Solution for the Unprecedented Challenge of 21st Century Aging”, 2021, Global Coalition on ageing & Nutricia
 WHO “Healthy ageing and functional ability” : https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/healthy-ageing-and-functional-ability
 Mueller et al. 2020 – “Why does COVID-19 disproportionately affect older people?”
 Stratégie de prise en charge nutritionnelle à l’hôpital au cours de l’épidémie virale Covid-19 : avis d’experts de la Société Francophone de Nutrition Clinique et Métabolisme (SFNCM) ; Thibault et al, 2020 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7194687/
 Nutricia . The Role of Nutrition in COVID-19 Recovery and the Ongoing Pursuit of Healthy Aging,
 How the Covid-19 epidemic is challenging our practice in clinical nutrition—feedback from the field, Thibault et al., 2021 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-020-00757-6
 Global Market Insights, Clinical nutrition industry trends, 2020, https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/clinical-nutrition-market