Sports Nutrition for Seniors: Is Anyone Paying Attention?

by Matt Weik

With so many different trends lately, it got me wondering about the next step in the sports nutrition game. Supplement companies have forever been targeting a certain demographic (18-35 year old’s) and it made me wonder if anyone is paying attention to those consumers? What I mean is, what happens after those consumers turn 36? If you have loyal customers, they are going to want to remain loyal but what if your brand no longer resonates with their needs? Have brands thought about sports nutrition for seniors?

Getting Old Sucks

I’m 36 and I can tell you first hand and my body is WAY different than it was back in my 20s. Putting on muscle is a little more difficult. Losing weight is a little more difficult. And the aches and pains from years of athletics and competitive sports are now catching up to me (for instance my back and knees are shot).

As a business owner, I look at the lifetime value of a customer. How long can I service that customer before they either no longer need me or they’ll need something different? When I worked for a supplement company, I kept bringing up the lifetime value of a customer and how you can engage with a customer at the age of 18 and then potentially have them turn into a 60-year customer (or longer). Yet, they kept their blinders on and said to stay in my lane.

Now, I’m not saying brands need to drop what they are doing to focus on sports nutrition for seniors and get away from their bread and butter products, but I do believe it is worth sitting down and talking about the opportunities.

Yes, there are brands out there who cater to seniors. Primarily, for those brands, that’s their only demographic though. So, while they are waiting for people to get old(er), they aren’t looking to sell to them earlier which I feel is the inverse problem that sports nutrition and supplement companies are having – they’ve flip-flopped on their thinking.

There are some brands out there who have products that would fit into the sports nutrition for seniors portfolio. You have protein powders, joint products, fish oil, testosterone boosters, etc. However, brands are only catering them towards their 18-35 target demographic. With a simple change of their copy, they could help those same customers understand that the products suit their needs even as they age. Which could have them purchasing the products for a longer period of time.

Obviously, as we age it would be wise to speak with a medical professional to ensure the products being used are fine and wouldn’t have any effect on medications being taken for any health concerns.

We Aren’t Getting Any Younger

The fact of the matter is, we aren’t getting any younger. And as we age our needs change. For many, they are no longer looking to be a 260-pound gorilla with massive musculature. Instead, they are simply looking to age gracefully while still maintaining their health and somewhat of a decent physique – without being tagged as having a “dad bod.”

As mentioned earlier, adding a few extra products would be a good idea to cater towards the sports nutrition for seniors market. But for the time being, brands should at least be educating their consumers on the products that can carry a lifetime value. Just because you’re 60 doesn’t mean you don’t need protein. Just because you’re 55 doesn’t mean you should stop using omega 3’s and healthy fats. And just because your testosterone levels and joint health are fine currently doesn’t mean that will continue with the years to come.

Sure, at 60 you probably aren’t going to be taking the pre-workouts you did in your 20s and 30s – so brands aren’t going to want to market those products towards seniors. But supplements as a whole can be extremely beneficial as we all age to help fill in any nutritional gaps we may have in our diet as well as help mitigate any health issues we have such as worn down and beat up joints.

Why are brands losing focus on consumers they already service? Why should they allow “senior citizen-focused” brands to take their customers? As much as the sports nutrition market is growing for a younger demographic, so is the sports nutrition for seniors market. Seniors are researching online on how to stay healthy and fit. They don’t want to become sick or frail as they age. Health and fitness become important as does the food they put in their mouth. The things they got away with when they were younger are now causing weight gain and poor health. Their lifestyle and habits will need to change.

Speaking with some experts in the industry further validates my thinking as they too are saying that healthy aging ingredients and products are going to be focused on more in the coming years. Therefore, sports nutrition for seniors is a real and viable options for brands to be considering. Anti-aging food and drinks are going to be one of the next big crazes and trends if I were a betting man. Brands can either sit back and miss out or they can be strategic about their line of products in the coming years to align with this next big trend.

Have you thought about your long-term health? Have you thought about your supplemental needs as you age? Do you plan on continuing to take supplements well into your 50s and 60s? Let us know in the comments if supplements are going to be a part of your health and fitness routine.