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Who’s afraid of the big bad pharma? Not the Millennials

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+

Last updated on 07-May-2014 at 15:43 GMT2014-05-07T15:43:03Z

Baby Boomers and Millennials approach health with a totally different mind-set, according to a nutrition marketing expert.

Jeff Hilton, partner and chief marketing officer for Brand Hive, told NutraIngredients that when it comes to functional foods the two generations have distinct priorities, meaning their reception of the same product may differ completely. He said the younger Millennials want functional food to play a facilitation role in their lives, whereas the older Baby Boomers focus more on prevention.

“Millennials are very much looking for products that help facilitate their chosen lifestyle. They know how they want to live and they’re looking for products that facilitate that, that help them to be their best and achieve what they want to.

Boomers take a bit more of a preventative attitude of trying to stay healthy, to not get ill and have to go to the doctor,” he told us today at the nutraceutical event Vita Foods in Geneva.

Hilton said that within this there was a different attitude towards big, pharmaceutical companies and the role they play within nutrition as well as where each generation get their information from.

Savvy and sensible 

He said that Millennials take a more integrated approach to nutrition. “They definitely like smaller, niche brand companies, they shy away from big companies – they are big brand averse. But the thing about Millennials is that pharma doesn’t really scare them. They’re okay mixing pharma and natural – I mean natural doesn’t really mean anything to Millennials, but they’re okay mixing natural herbals with pharmaceuticals. They really don’t see as much of a dichotomy there as Boomers see.”

“It’s really more about their lifestyles – whatever it takes to live their lifestyle the way they want to. Whether it’s a pharma drug or it’s a supplement it’s okay. They’re not that particular.”

He said this meant for a “more sensible” approach to nutrition, informed by both the internet and experience of seeing their parents ageing badly.

“I think Millennials have a unique perspective, because they have watched it and they’ve seen the pitfalls. So they’re smarter about nutrition,” he said.

Same product, different significance

He said a difference in both attitudes and ailments meant the two generations were likely to look at the same products in very different ways, giving the examples of protein and a cognitive beverage on show at Vita Foods. 

"Protein has applications for Boomers because of wasting as you age, and muscle loss and energy as you age. But for Millennials it’s about building muscle and body building and those kinds of things. So the same ingredients has multiple aplications for each of the audiences," he said. 

"You’ve got memory ingredients and things like that which would have a certain implication to an older audience, so we don’t forget where our keys are, or forget facts. But the thing that’s important for a young person, a Millennial, might be focusing on a video game or being able to study for a college exam all night and being able to keep engaged. So similar ingredients but totally different applications depending on the age group."




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