Supporting Women’s Health Needs with the Right Ingredients

Monday, August 7th, 2023


Women are at the heart of families and communities. This gap in addressing their complex health needs is not just a problem for women, it can turn into a societal issue. A woman’s health needs evolve over a lifetime. With age, she will not only face changes in her physical state, but also undergo hormonal changes and require different needs to ensure general wellbeing. Yet, though women make up about half of the global population, a recent survey by Hologic and Gallup found a large percentage believe women’s health needs aren’t being met. Contributed by Claire Sullivan, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa.


An Overview of Women’s Health Concerns


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Women make up about half of the world’s population, but a recent survey by Hologic and Gallup found a large percentage believe their health needs aren’t being met. 


A recent study review in the journal PLoS found that “Societies that prioritise women’s health will likely have better population health overall and will remain more productive for generations to come.”


Euromonitor reports that 50% of women globally are concerned with women’s health issues.  According to The World Health Organization (WHO), women’s health needs range from female-specific ones such breast and cervical cancers, to fertility, pregnancy and menopause, and common concerns like stress management, sleep, skin/hair/nail health, to sexual health, depending on which life stage they are at.


However, efforts to improve women’s health must be multifaceted. It should include more women-centric medical research; ensure better access to various types of care; and wider public education and new, targeted technologies, treatments and support should be made available for women.


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Botanicals are popular ingredients in women’s health supplements.


For example, while both breast and cervical cancers each result in as many as half a million women’s deaths annually, preventive measures such as screenings and vaccines against known causes, like the HPV virus, have helped prevent even more deaths. Today, more women than ever are taking charge of their health as they become more aware of the connection between a healthy lifestyle — such as a balanced diet and regular exercise and better health, including a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.


In fact, FMCG Gurus reports that 75% of women surveyed say they are adopting a long-term approach to health maintenance, including preventive care.This is where the food and beverage industry can support women in managing their health. Supplements, too, can play a big role. 


A GrandView Research report revealed that in Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, the women’s health supplements market is worth US$9.2 billion, higher than North America’s US$7.8 billion. In 2021, the global supplements market for women’s health stood at more than US$23 billion, with a projected 5.3% CAGR between 2023–2030. Popular ingredients in women’s health supplements include botanicals (47%), followed by minerals and probiotics.


But brands need to achieve the right balance between speaking to women’s unique health concerns without over-generalising or stereotyping. Besides reformulating products to contain less sugar, salt and fat, creating products with carefully selected ingredients can help women address some of their specific concerns. 



What Are the Main Concerns Among Women?


What, then, are some common health challenges facing women, and more importantly, what clinically-backed ingredients can enable women do more for their health? Here are some suggestions.


Fertility, Maternal Health and Menopause are Top Concerns for Women’s Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that women’s top concerns include balancing levels of vital hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which can influence a woman’s health throughout her life. Caronositol Fertility supports the hormonal and metabolic balance in a woman’s reproductive cycle, and can be added to women’s specific supplements, as can Luprenol, an ingredient which supports menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms.


Stress Reduction, Sleep Support and Immune Health

Studies suggest women take on most of the caregiving responsibilities. Oxfam reports that globally, women undertake more than 75% of unpaid care work, which can lead to too much stress and compromise their immune system. Stress can also affect the quality of sleep, and in turn affect women’s wellbeing. To counter this, try including Sensoril Ashwagandha for stress support and Wellmune for immune health and stress, to a calming herbal beverage such as lavender tea.


Digestive and Immune Health

Kerry’s 2022 proprietary consumer research report, Functional Forecasting, indicates that digestive health is a priority for nearly half of global consumers surveyed, with women ranking it more highly than men. This shows that digestive and immune health rank high among concerns for women’s wellbeing Maintaining a healthy digestive system can aid nutrient absorption, but supporting it provides immune health benefits too. Probiotics such as Sporevia, which was designed for supplements, and BC30, which can be incorporated into foods and beverages, can offer digestive and immune health benefits for all ages. 


Joint Health and Mobility Affect Women’s Wellbeing

The Osteoarthritis Foundation reports that 7 in 10 women over age 35 suffer from joint pain, including discomfort from wear-and-tear as well as autoimmune diseases. Supplements or beverages with AyuFlex can provide comfort both in joints and the soft tissues that surround them.


Heart Health

Heart disease is the top cause of death among women, according to the Go Red for Women foundation. While maintaining a healthy diet is critical, Omega-3s can further boost brain and eye health. Dairy beverages or yoghurts with Eupoly-3 Omega-3s for heart health benefits deliver a stable, science-backed solution with no unpleasant taste for foods, beverages and supplements.


Explore KerryDigest for more leading food research, insights and innovations from our experts.

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