Aging World Creates Dairy Opportunity

July 19, 2011 01:32 PM

Dairy’s nutritional benefits dovetail perfectly with aging-related health concerns, creating fertile ground for U.S. dairy sales both in at home and abroad.

If you think the emphasis placed on diet’s role in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is significant now, just wait a few years, says Vikki Nicholson of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).
“The spotlight on how the foods and beverages we consume help to reduce the risk of adverse conditions as we age—or help ensure ‘healthy aging’—will brighten substantially, and that could be a good thing for the U.S. dairy business,” says Nicholson, USDEC’s vice president of U.S. manufacturing and ingredients marketing.
Writing in the July 8 issue of USDEC’s Cheese Market News, Nicholson says we are seeing an unprecedented demographic shift in age throughout the globe—“without parallel in the history of humanity,” in the words of the U.N.’s “World Population Aging” report.
By 2050, for the first time ever, the number of people over 60 will exceed the number of those under 15, the report says. A full 21 of the projected population—nearly 2 billion people—will be over 60 at mid-century. That’s up from about 600 million today.
The shift will impact almost all nations—developed and developing alike, notes Nicholson. It will stress economies, health care systems, employment and productivity, and social structures. It will have, according to the U.N., “major consequences and implications for all facets of human life.”
To minimize costs and economic and social disruption while not bankrupting a nation, “we need to succeed in having healthy aging,” Armin Fidler, World Bank lead advisor for health policy, told the Global Health Forum in Washington, D.C., last October. “We have to focus not just on aging, but on the quality of aging and . . . the health status of the elderly.”
One of the key planks in any healthy aging platform is nutrition—a sector in which dairy excels, Nicholson says. The nutritional benefits of dairy products and ingredients dovetail perfectly with aging-related health concerns, creating fertile ground in which to grow U.S. dairy sales both in the U.S. and abroad.

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