08 Nov 2018 --- General statements concerning human health and nutrition are being swept aside to make room for more personalized considerations, advice and approaches. Lifestyle, age and gender are all differentiations that can spawn different health recommendations, and consumers are increasingly seeking such information. Lallemand is seeking to tap into this space by offering health solutions specifically for women, utilizing formulations with probiotics from the Lactobacillus species.
“Women have specific needs and well-being issues which are linked to their biological make up and lifestyle, hence we are seeing a real market need for tailored solutions adapted to different women’s profiles such as active women, seniors, teenagers and mothers-to-be,” Elodie Aragon, Product Manager, Lallemand Health Solutions Canada, tells NutritionInsight.
Woman’s delicate, intimate health
Vaginal discomfort in women is prevalent and urinary tract discomfort is 30 times more likely to occur in women than in men.
Over half of women will experience urinary tract discomfort at least once in their lives. For those women who do experience the discomfort of an infection, the rate of recurrence in high – four in ten will experience another urinary tract discomfort within the following six months.
“Vaginal microflora imbalance is caused by changes in the amount of certain types of microorganisms in the vaginal environment. It is the most common reason for occasional vaginal discomfort in women aged 15 to 44,” notes Aragon.
A common reason for vaginal microfloral issues is an imbalance in Proper Candida Albicans – which is an indicator of healthy vaginal microbiota. Consumers increasingly understand the necessity for a healthy balance of urogenital microbiota; hence the demand for holistic supplement approaches to help maintain the balance, Aragon explains.
Another sex-specific health concern lies within the gut. Women are more likely to experience gastrointestinal discomfort, due to women’s susceptibility to experiencing more constipation than men, Aragon notes.
“Teenagers and menopausal women also experience particular concerns. Skin imperfection, for example, is experienced in 80 percent of preteens and teens, while occasional bone and joint discomfort, imbalanced vaginal microbiota and urinary tract discomfort are often experienced in older women,” she adds.
Using probiotics to encourage balance
Lallemand’s range targeting women’s health utilizes Lactobacillus probiotics to answer specific needs, such as urogenital microbiota imbalance, but also in relation to everyday life’s troubles, such as gut health, natural defenses and stress.
“In the case of probiotics, we are focusing on intimate health, gut health, stress, natural defenses, beauty from within, healthy pregnancy and healthy aging with probiotics based formulations and documented strains,” she says.
“Combining probiotics with selected vitamins and minerals that are keys to women’s well-being in relation to specific needs allows [formulators] to best answer each woman,” she adds.
A range of delivery formats have been used, including orodispersible sticks that can be taken at any time of the day without water, chewing tablets – both containing Probicap protected probiotic strains, as well as the classic capsule form containing probiotics and vitamins.
Considerations in marketing to women
The world is undergoing a noticeable shift – semantics around gender and sex are shifting and often facing increased scrutiny. For this reason, nutritional products that tout sex-specific benefits must, arguably, be grounded in science and necessity to warrant its marketing.
So-called “women’s” products have a background of unnecessary marketing, such as the “pink and shrink” approaches of the 1990s, which essentially meant marketers would take (often) gender-neutral products and shrink them – make them smaller – and color them pink to make them “female friendly.”
As Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, points out, the food industry spends close to US$20 billion a year convincing the public that its products are delicious and nutritious. She tells NutritionInsight that much of the gendered marketing that goes on is merely marketing aimed at expanding sales and profits.
However, personalized, women-centric products that are rooted in science are much needed on the market.
“Marketing woman’s health ingredients requires a focus on women’s specific concerns. It is essential to go back to the fundamentals of women’s health and design solutions adapted to each woman,” says Aragon.
“A woman is not only a woman, but also a businesswoman, a globetrotter, an influencer or a mum. Solutions to improve her wellbeing and everyday health are going to make her a stronger woman ready to enjoy every moment in life,” she concludes.
By Laxmi Haigh and Lucy Gunn
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