Women are increasingly taking a proactive approach to supporting their overall health and wellbeing. This shift in consumer demand is influencing the food- and nutrition-related solutions available for women, as a wider range of products tailored to support their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing enter the market.
In this interview, MB Charpentier shares her insights into how the food and beverage industry is adapting to meet these evolving needs.
At this year’s much-awaited edition of the Women’s Networking Breakfast, taking place on 29 November in Frankfurt at Fi Europe 2023, MB Charpentier will give a short presentation exploring the evolving needs, roles, and accomplishments of women in the food system.
More women are taking control of their health
As awareness about the link between diet and health grows, a greater number of consumers are prioritising their health and wellness. Women are actively seeking new solutions that cater to their unique requirements.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of women worldwide are adopting a long-term approach to health, focusing on three key areas: general wellness, immune function, and digestive health, according to data from FMCG Gurus. The same research shows that women are consciously improving their dietary habits, with many taking proactive steps to reduce sugar intake and incorporate more protein, vitamins, and minerals into their diets, MB Charpentier explained.
“This consumer group is looking to a variety of foods, beverages, and food supplements that can provide the nutrients and support they seek. This opens the door for more health and wellness brands to deliver tailored products that meet women’s goals, whether that be prebiotics or probiotics to support gut health or a high protein snack bar for vitality,” MB Charpentier said.
Addressing women’s unique health needs at different life stages
Predicted by Euromonitor to reach a value of $2.7 billion by 2025, women’s health is a crucial and growing market. Each year, new solutions are emerging to support the unique wellness needs of women at various stages of life, from adolescence to menopause and beyond.
“With more product research and development focused on women’s health, women will have the opportunity to find what products or solutions work best for them, ultimately supporting the potential to reach their long-term wellness goals,” MB Charpentier said.
Menopause is one life stage that is often overlooked. With an estimated one billion women entering menopause by 2025, the need for solutions to support women during this critical period is growing, according to Grand View Research.
“At ADM, we’re leveraging our health and wellness solutions and wider ingredient portfolio, along with our formulation expertise, to help bring forth a new wave of women’s health products that put women’s needs at the forefront,” MB Charpentier said.
One solution is the use of plant oestrogens such as soy isoflavones.
“As selective oestrogen receptor modulators, soy isoflavones, like our Novasoy™, have shown through clinical research to reduce the number and frequency of hot flashes and help maintain bone health for women during this phase of life,” MB Charpentier said.
Increasing dietary fibre and protein intake, as well as microbiome-boosting solutions such as prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics, is also key in addressing women’s health needs throughout menopause and longer term.
“By bringing together soy isoflavones, plant proteins, dietary fibre and microbiome-supporting solutions, in addition to botanical extracts and other vitamins and minerals, we’re helping manufacturers innovate new ways to support women’s specific health and wellness needs, throughout any stage of life,” MB Charpentier explained.
Breaking barriers and supporting career development
Like many other industries, the food and nutrition sectors fail to equally represent women and other historically marginalised groups in C-suite positions. Various barriers, including gender bias and stereotypes, unattainable work-life balance, unequal access to progression opportunities, and pay disparities, prevent women from reaching their professional goals.
“These barriers are often complex and interrelated, and addressing them requires a multi-faceted approach,” said MB Charpentier.
“Addressing these barriers requires a comprehensive and sustained effort by organisations, leaders, and individuals at all levels.”
ADM is actively working to achieve gender parity within its senior leadership structure by 2030. The company has implemented various initiatives and policies aimed at supporting women in reaching and sustaining leadership roles, such as Women's Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), a mentoring programme, and a standard minimum benefit framework in Europe for maternal, paternal, parental, and care leave, MB Charpentier explained.
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