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Supplement Trends by Generation: How Different Age Groups are Shaping the Industry

Posted by CapsCanada on 28-Apr-2023 12:31:57 AM

Across the generations, attitudes about aging, health and wellness are shifting. Consumers are embracing the idea that their choices and habits can have a big impact on both their current health and how they experience the aging process. From taking dietary supplements and eating functional foods to pursuing personalized nutrition and focusing on natural products, they are actively taking steps to maximize their health.


One of the things currently driving this is the way that the COVID-19 pandemic served as a wake-up call for many people. Multiple surveys have shown that consumers reacted to the pandemic by taking more vitamins and supplements than they did before. Health and wellness are now very much top of mind.


Needless to say, changing attitudes impact supplement trends. To best capitalize on these trends, the nutraceutical industry should pay attention to the nuances of how different age groups are approaching dietary supplements.


Supplement trends for the baby boom generation


Across the globe, members of the baby boom generation are the biggest users of dietary supplements. Whether they are approaching retirement age or have already retired, they want to age with grace and continue to enjoy active lifestyles for as many years as possible. The supplement trends for this age group include a focus on natural products that can improve quality of life, reduce the physical signs of aging and reduce the risk and impact of age-related diseases. Heart, joint and cognitive health as well as boosting immunity to disease in general are all important.

In the active aging arena, some of the ingredients being highlighted include: 1  

  • Collagen – For immunity, overall health and wellness, and skin, bone and muscle health.
  • Curcumin – For joint and cognitive health.
  • Krill oil – To potentially help slow the aging process.
  • Prebiotics – To support gut health, which in turn can improve cognitive health.
  • Pycnogenol – To support healthy aging.
  • And more


    One of the ironies of aging is that just when your metabolism slows, your caloric needs go down and your body’s ability to absorb and use nutrients decrease, your need for certain nutrients can actually increase to a higher level than when you were younger. This, of course, makes it difficult to get enough of key nutrients from diet alone. As they age, baby boomers are turning to dietary supplements to address this issue.


When marketing dietary supplements and personalized nutrition to this generation, whether it’s in the form of capsules or functional foods, keep in mind that baby boomers tend to make buying decisions quickly. Be sure that your product’s health benefits are clearly called out on the label, including reference to any clinical research regarding the product’s efficacy.


If you choose to use social media in your marketing campaign, choose relatable images that will resonate, make use of testimonials and be sure to use text overlay in any videos you create. Plus, keep in mind that baby boomers are now 58 to 77 years old – which means your messaging should still be targeted to them, not to caregivers.


Supplement trends for Generation X


With the younger members of Generation X now in their mid-forties, people in this age group are also extremely interested in active aging. However, the focus here is more on “healthy aging” versus “anti-aging.” Members of Generation X aren’t looking for a magic potion that will stop the aging process completely. They want to take control of their own health and wellness, so they can continue to live life to the fullest for years to come.


Generation X tends to take a preventive vs. treatment-oriented approach to dietary supplements. Moreover, this generation is known to be distrusting of traditional western medicine. This makes them more open to the alternative options that the nutraceutical industry provides. Plus, seeing how others in their age group are already impacted by the results of unhealthy lifestyle choices, many are motivated to make healthier choices in their own lives.


Supplement trends for millennials


According to a recent study by Mintel, 66% of millennials take dietary supplements to support their overall physical health and 62% use dietary supplements for immune system support. This generation also has a strong interest in mental health, with 43% using dietary supplements to support their mental well-being.


Due to their strong interest in mental health, capsules or functional foods that contain ingredients such as magnesium, vitamin D, curcumin and L-theanine – all of which are used for boosting cognitive function and/or regulating moods – can do well with this cohort.


From the marketing standpoint, millennials are generally willing to try new things, and many are willing to try health and wellness products after seeing them advertised on social media.


Supplement trends for Generation Z


Born between roughly 1997 and 2012, many members of Gen Z are still children or teens. In general, members of Gen Z tend to look to social media influencers in order to follow new trends. For those who have reached adulthood, this tendency is also playing out in their use of dietary supplements.


The extreme popularity of social media amongst members of this generation has made product and packaging appearance more important than ever. If you want to market to Gen Z, it’s not enough to have a product that works. Your product and product packaging also need to be photogenic, so they will look good in social media posts.


For this reason, brands within the nutraceutical industry should work with producers that can help them create highly customized products with an attractive, branded look. For example, if you are encapsulating your formulation in empty capsules, be sure to work with a capsule supplier that provides a full range of customization options. This includes colors, opacities (i.e. fully opaque, colored but somewhat translucent, clear), sizes, printing options and the ability to encapsulate a wide range of fill materials or combinations of different fill materials – especially if, for aesthetic reasons, you want that fill material to be seen.


A recent study of members of Generation Z in China showed a preference for products that are tasty and convenient, such as gummy vitamins, which were preferred over real fruit. China’s youngest consumers also care about the origin and quality of ingredients as well as sustainability and environmental responsibility, and are known for taking the time to research and evaluate products.


What about natural products?


The demand for natural products is an ongoing supplement trend impacting all generations. For capsule-based products, capsules such as K-CAPS® vegetarian capsules made with a choice of natural colorants can go a long ways towards supporting your “clean label” goals. In addition to being completely free of all animal products, these capsules are Vegan Registered with the Vegan Society and free of synthetic coloring, titanium dioxide, preservatives, starches and common allergens.


HPMC capsules




Whether you are developing a new product line or updating an existing one, if you are unsure which capsule is most appropriate for your market and formulation, please contact us for a consultation or to request a sample. Our experts are here to help you succeed.


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1. Fox, Marissa, “Active Aging for Everyone,” WholeFoodsMagazine.com. December 22, 2022. 

Topics: Trends