Innovation is in the supplement market driving seat

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vitamin

Innovation is one of the biggest driving forces in the supplement
market and unique products are one way to get ahead in a
competitive market place, a report has said.

Business Insights' The Dietary Supplements Market Outlook:The impact of changes in regulation, demographics and consumer trends​ lists a number of areas which are likely to boost growth of the market - globally worth $60bn - over the next five years. According to the 198-page report, the European supplements market was worth $14.0bn (€9.6bn) in 2006, and the largest single market is the herbal and botanicals, worth over $5.7bn (€3.9bn) in 2006. Another factor which is shaping the market is changes in EU legislation. Innovation ​Author Mark Tallon said innovation can take the form of a new product or ingredient, or a new method of delivery or marketing angle that "changes buying patterns.​" "Beyond these issues the uniqueness of a product and the story surrounding it, is instrumental in securing shelf space in an increasingly crowded marketplace,"​ he said. Tallon says the share of specialty supplement new product launches has increased since 2004, and dominates with 34 per cent of all supplement releases in the category. The report notes that 2006 saw a large growth of products launched containing calcium, and very strong global presence with products containing glucosamine. ​Between 2004 and 2007 the percentage of launches in sports aids supplements increased by some 20 per cent and vitamin minerals by some 10 per cent. Launches in herbs and botanicals declined by more than 30 per cent. Dieting aids also declined by more than 10 per cent. Tallon added that recent studies on vitamin B6, vitamin C and D, and vitamin K, could help future new product development. Tough laws ​ When it comes to EU legislation the report says this has presented some major challenges to industry. He said: "Suggested regulatory harmonization within the dietary supplement industry seems to be adding more confusion, financial pressure and barriers to free trade for small and medium size business." ​ The Commission has two prominent pieces of legislation in effect, and is still finalizing some of the finer details. Under the health claims regulation companies who want to make a claim about what a product can do must have it supported by science. The European Food Safety Authority is evaluating thousands of dossiers before a final decision is taken in 2010. Tallon said this legislation will: "impact consumer buying, and for those manufacturers looking to remain innovative and make health claims, they must consider investing more heavily in the science behind products." ​Another vital piece of legislation for the industry is the setting of maximum levels for vitamins and minerals across the bloc. The exact method for how this will be done is still being hammered out, but groups fear a restrictive lower level will be the death knell for high dose supplements. ​Tallon suggests the constant threat of low maximum levels being imposed can be mitigated by new and novel ways to enhance bioavailability, which he says are going to become big business and nanotechnology "may just be the answer​".

Related topics: Suppliers, Supplements

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