Asia’s ageing population: Immense opportunities and undoubted challenges for food and beverage firms

When it comes to Asia’s rapidly ageing population, it is all too easy to think of the short term business opportunities of creating new products for the older demographic.

But speak to policymakers, and they will tell you the challenge is in improving the health of today’s younger populations – the elderly of tomorrow.

These twin tracks will be under the spotlight at the Healthy Ageing APAC Summit, organised by FoodNavigator-Asia and NutraIngredients-Asia, taking place in Singapore in June.

The two-day event will assess the multitude of NPD opportunities and emerging consumer trends among the region’s ageing consumers.

But it will also address what industry needs to do today – through reformulation, education and creating healthier options – to ensure tomorrow’s ageing population is in better shape.

To provide some context, the Asia-Pacific region is currently home to about 60% of the world's population of older people, defined as those aged 60 and above.

However, the number of older people in the region is expected to more than double from 547 million to nearly 1.3 billion by 2050.

This will present unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the industry, and we have brought together an expert line-up of speakers to share their views.

Confirmed speakers include Yu Kai from Nestlé's China Research Centre, who will be revealing exclusive insights on the nation's ageing population and the business opportunities it presents.

The event will also hear from two speakers with expert understanding around diabetes and GI.

Kathy Usic, from the Glycemic Index Foundation, will reveal how the Glycemic Index Symbol Programme is enabling manufacturers to meet consumers’ health needs.

The Low GI Symbol is a world first font-of-pack labelling programme that helps consumers identify low GI foods when shopping, and awareness has increased rapidly since it was introduced in the Australian food environment. The symbol is now ready to be rolled-out as a global standard for GI labelling among regulatory authorities.

Dr Sumanto Halder, from Singapore's Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, will then take to the stage to reveal the latest findings on how functional ingredients can help tackle metabolic disorders.

He will discuss how functional ingredients – especially those native to Asia – can help tackle a wide range of metabolic disorders, with particular relevance to an ageing population.

Australian supplement giants Blackmores will also be represented, with a keynote address from the head of the Blackmores Institute, Dr Lesley Braun.

Additionally, Swisse Wellness, now owned by Chinese outfit Health & Happiness (formerly Biostime), will be present, with its head of government relations Justin Howden taking to the stage.

We’ll also be hearing from two speakers from the country at the forefront of healthy ageing innovation – Japan.

Firstly, Naomi Suzuki, from manufacturer NUTRI Co, will discuss ‘Engay’ food developments - a process where products can be reformulated and reshaped into their original form, but with the risk of choking eliminated.

And Dr Bejit Ideas, from the Japan Anti-Aging Society, will discuss how the microbiota make-up of centenarians can lead to new healthy ageing solutions.

He will reveal how studies on the microbiota of the centenarians of Okinawa and their signalling pathway revealed that they have particular gut bacteria profiles responsible for their longevity.

The event will take place at the Hilton Singapore, on June 12-13, and will be accompanied by a host of networking opportunities, including roundtable lunches and an evening cocktail reception.

To find out more about the event, visit
To register, go to

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