Menopause is the new vegan

Fresh off the back of her insightful talk at NOPEX Heather Jackson, co-founder of GenM, pens her thoughts on the menopause and the significant market opportunity it represents

With 15.5 million menopausal people in the UK, set to hit one billion globally by 2025, the menopause market offers a purposeful opportunity for forward-thinking brands and organizations.

However, research from GenM – the menopause partner for 70 brands such as Boots, Holland & Barrett and Co-op – reveals that 87% of midlife women feel overlooked by brands and society, while 90% want brands do more to cater to the menopause.

The natural products industry has long been a champion of this vital audience, but in recent years we have seen a long-awaited mainstream embracing of the menopause. This presents an opportunity to create lasting change for menopausal consumers through purposeful collaboration across the industry.

Let’s take the vegan market as an example: making up less than 4% of the population, look how much time, money and effort has (rightly) been invested into understanding and catering to this lifestyle choice. In contrast, 20% of the UK is in menopause at any one time, and it is a life stage that half of us are guaranteed to experience. Think how much more this market needs improved signposting, consumer experience, product development and marketing.

Catering to the menopause is as much a commercial opportunity as it is the right thing to do. Done successfully, it empowers consumers with more choice and control over their menopause and its 48 symptoms, whilst driving purposeful growth for businesses.

The scope for brands and organizations is massive

The Invisibility Report states that 91% of midlife women have never seen specific menopause marketing or advertising, while 78% say they would buy products labelled ‘menopause-friendly’. Clearly, there is a need for more visual signage to help brands meet the overwhelming consumer demand for better support.

We launched GenM to help brands better serve this booming market and make it a priority across every part of the business. As part of our commitment to transforming the menopause experience, we recently released the M-Tick – the world’s first independent symbol for menopause-friendly products. After a successful trial across hundreds of Boots stores and, we have now made the M-tick widely available and are in conversations with a variety of manufacturers and retailers who are working to implement the symbol across their product ranges imminently.

Our objective over the five years is to make the M-Tick as globally recognizable as the vegan V, symbolizing momentous change for both the lived experience and with the global menopause marketplace.

When it comes to the menopause, the scope for brands and organizations is massive. ‘The change’ changes everything – from what you might eat, to the beauty products you might use, to the clothes you might wear. It’s also important to remember that, while HRT is a great option for some, it is not a silver bullet for menopause, and it doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, GenM’s Opportunity Report revealed that 49% of menopausal women have no intention of taking HRT at all, so it is vital that those who don’t use it (for whatever reason) are also able to easily access products and services that support any of the 48 potential menopause symptoms.

With rising life expectancy, we are living longer than ever. People think about menopause as something that comes towards the end of life. But for many, perimenopause can start around 40 years old. You’ve still got another 40 years, on average – and menopause can last up to 15 of them. Who wouldn’t want the best quality of life for their second act?

Most women in our research said their menopause wasn’t that bad but could be better. And in the 21st century, don’t women deserve better? We want to encourage women to embrace the menopause – treat it like a marathon. You wouldn’t run a marathon in a pair of slippers, so why are we allowing so many to enter the biggest marathon of their lives physically, mentally and emotionally unprepared?

The menopause isn’t an illness to fix, it’s a life stage to be embraced and supported

Food and nutrition play a massive role in improving the menopause experience; we can’t underestimate the power of women having the right food and supplements in their diet. Again, brands have the opportunity to use their platforms to educate consumers on this.

The menopause isn’t an illness to fix, it’s a life stage to be embraced and supported. Our research shows that 78% of women would buy well-signposted menopause-friendly products that relieve, support and ease their symptoms. Nutrition is one of the most important ways to support the menopause and we need brands in the natural industry to step up to the challenge. We don’t want to just survive the menopause; we deserve to thrive!

Working together with intentional collaboration across the industry and supply chain, we can and will see purposeful change for the menopause. Whether you are a retailer, manufacturer or a distributor, all brands have a role to play. Will you join GenM and help us make a difference for the menopause, improving how consumers source and shop for products that support their experience?