Can the fountain of youth be found at the bottom of a juice bottle? Well, not likely. Nonetheless, beverage makers are keeping the dream alive with liquefied potions that appeal to baby boomers’ quest for sustained health and wellness.
According to Statistics Canada, the population of those 65 and up has surged to nearly five million. There are 9.6 million baby boomers in Canada, or 29% of the population.
“They view food [and beverages] as very important to helping them stay healthy,” says Kathy Perrotta, vice-president of Ipsos Reid East in Toronto. “It’s going to be a driving force.”
Savvy beverage manufacturers have already prepared for the demand. Abbott Nutrition has developed a number of nutritional drinks, under its Ensure banner, to meet the specific health needs of an older demographic.
For example, Ensure with scFOS helps increase calcium absorption, which is good for bone health; Glucerna is suitable for diabetics; and Ensure High Protein is recommended for maintaining muscle mass.
“Adults aged 45 to 65 are feeling the physical signs of aging and are concerned about maintaining strength and energy,” says Richard Bond, general manager of Abbott Nutrition. As such, Bond says the baby-boomer segment will be a big focus for his company.
SunRype Products has also launched products with baby boomers in mind, particularly women.
Its new SunRype Slim, which launched in February, comes in three flavours: Cranberry Twist, Blueberry Burst and Tropical Mango. Each has only 10 calories, with no artificial flavours or colours.
“The insight behind them was that [boomers] are seeking to manage their weight and are looking for reduced-calorie options,” says Barb Grant, beverage group marketing manager at SunRype.
Last year, SunRype launched two shelf-stable smoothies, Berry Delicious and Tropical Sunrise. They contain two full servings of fruit and are high in fibre.
“Fibre is another ingredient that boomers are trying to get more of in their diet,” Grant says.
It’s important to keep in mind that boomers are pretty much set in their ways: If they’ve been drinking apple juice all their lives, they’re not suddenly going to switch to wheatgrass juice.
“The products that have been successful are the ones that don’t require consumers to make a wholesale change to the way they’ve been doing things,” says Graeme McVie, VP and GM of business development at LoyaltyOne US.
One solution: add benefits to products boomers already buy, such as calcium-enriched grape juice; or remove some of the unhealthier aspects, such as added sugar.
Laurie Jennings, owner of Masstown Market, in Masstown, N.S., says the number of beverages with added health benefits has increased significantly.
“It’s not just apple and orange juice, like there used to be,” he says. Now it’s pomegranate and acai and “other fancy things that are supposed to be healthy for you.” Masstown recently began stocking Nova Agri’s new Bloo Juice, a blueberry juice under the Country Magic brand.
“Blueberries have all the antioxidants and you drink it almost as much for the health benefits as you do for the refreshment,” says Jennings. “There are just so many products with added value, [such as] extra vitamins and antioxidants.”
Maybe that’s how baby boomers are living longer