Nestlé target elderly with high-dose drink

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Vitamin

Nestlé has launched a 200mL nutrient drink in Switzerland targeting the malnourished elderly – a segment of the population it says is deficient in key nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium and protein.

The product – Resource SeniorActiv – is being sold through Swiss pharmacies, principally via doctor and medical professional recommendation, with launches in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands to follow in 2010. Asian and North American debuts were also planned along with other European countries in an “ongoing roll-out”.

While there are many liquid nutrition products on the market – in Switerland and elsewhere - Nestlé Nutrition spokesperson Marie-Francoise Rutimeyer told this morning that SeniorActiv was different due to its high-dosage.

In the case of vitamin D and calcium, the dosages were sufficient to reduce likelihood of bone fractures and falls, Nestlé said. Other nutrients include prebiotics for digestive health, omega-3s and folate for cognitive health, and selenium and zinc to reduce inflammation.

A Mini Nutritonal Assessment Short Form has been revised to aid practitioners in their assessment of those of who may be suffering from malnutrition.

Screened and diagnosed

The product sells for about €16 for a pack of four bottles and Nestlé recommends the elderly consume two per day.

“We are targeting those who have been screened and diagnosed with malnutrition but the product is freely available in chemists – it does not require a prescription,” ​Rutimeyer said. “But it won’t be available in grocery/supermarket channels.”

Nestlé noted that high dose supplementation of vitamin D and calcium could reduce the chances of falls by 19 per cent and fractures by 20 per cent.

Fifty percent of older adults eat less protein than is recommended, more than 55 per cent do not meet calcium requirements, 90 per cent are Vitamin D deficient, and 30 per cent have inadequate zinc, selenium and Vitamin B9 (folate)intake,”​ Nestlé said.

The product is launched under the Nutrition division Nestlé established in 2004, and which forms a pillar in its stated ambition to become the biggest health and wellness operation in the world.

Many analysts have noted the underwhelming performance of the division including the last major release – a baby foods range called NatureNes that ING wholesale banking analyst, Marco Gulpers​, told Bloomberg news had gone “horribly wrong” ​because the range was too narrow.

Rutimeyer said the range – and the Nutrition division - was “performing fine”.

The Nutrition division grew two per cent in the first nine months of 2009.

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