Food industry targets health functional food market for aging population

2024. 3. 5. 11:48
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BEAUTICK. [Courtesy of Dongwon F&B]
In response to demographic shifts, such as the aging population, South Korea’s food industry is witnessing an intense competition in the market for health functional foods targeting middle-aged and elderly consumers.

According to industry sources on Monday, Dongwon F&B filed a new trademark, ‘BEAUTICK Bacillus SOD,’ on February 21, indicating an expansion of its existing health functional food brand. Launched in 2020, BEAUTICK primarily caters to female consumers interested in inner beauty.

Dongwon F&B, known for operating various health functional food brands since launching global brand GNC in 2003, has not disclosed details about the new product’s ingredients, concept, or release date, according to a company spokesperson.

The company has grown to operate a variety of health functional food brands, starting with the introduction of global brand GNC in 2003. However, a spokesperson for the company said that nothing has been decided about the product ingredients, concept, or launch timing of the new brand.

The food industry is witnessing a trend where companies are investing more in the health functional food sector to overcome business growth challenges due to low birth rates and an aging population, thereby diversifying their business portfolios.

According to the Korea Health Functional Food Association, the Korean health functional food market grew to 6.2 trillion won ($4.65 billion) in 2022, more than doubling from 2019. Projections suggest that by 2030, the market could expand to 25 trillion won due to factors driven by an aging population.

Specialized companies such as Korea Ginseng Corporation (KGC) and pharmaceutical and biotech firms dominate this market in South Korea. However, major food corporations are also showing rapid growth by leveraging their existing infrastructures and R&D capabilities. For instance, Dongwon F&B reported about 10 percent growth in health functional food sales, reaching around 120 billion won last year.

Daesang Wellife, which surpassed 2 trillion won in sales last year, has applied for several trademarks related to hangover remedy, sports drink, and probiotics this year. After its separation from Daesang in 2018, Wellife focuses on selling balanced nutritional foods and protein-based products.

CJ Wellcare last month introduced trademarks for nutritional supplements, while Pulmuone Health & Living also filed related trademarks.

Even in the dairy industry, facing the impact from declining birth rates and a decreasing young population, companies are actively entering this market. Maeil Daires plans to add the manufacturing and sale of health functional foods as a new business purpose during its regular shareholders’ meeting scheduled for March 29.

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