Together, these four nations make up two thirds of the European nutraceuticals market, with the remaining third encompassing sales in ten smaller European markets. The data, which is based on figures from 2006, was drawn together from figures published by Euromonitor, Datamonitor, Mintel and Nutrition Business Journal, and presented by Capsugel's global business development manager for dietary supplements Peter Zambetti. Zambetti, who is also in the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Association's (IADSA) global market affairs department, was addressing attendees at the recent Supply Side East trade show in Secaucus, New Jersey, where he presented an overview of the global nutraceuticals market. Italy, Germany in the lead Included in Zambetti's definition of 'nutraceuticals' were vitamins, dietary supplements, botanicals, tonics and homeopathic remedies. The global market for these products was worth over $52bn in 2006 - the latest comprehensive figures available - with estimates suggesting that the market has since grown an additional 4-6 percent. Western Europe made up some 14.4 percent of global sales in 2006, in third place behind Asia Pacific (44.2 percent) and North America (32.2 percent). Italy was the largest market in Western Europe, valued at $1.6bn. This was around 23 percent of the total European market. Germany came in a close second, with $1.5bn sales and a 20 percent share of the market. The UK was the third largest market, accounting for 13 percent of overall European sales in 2006, or $1.1bn. France made up 11 percent of the market, with a market valued at $837m. Ten other European markets together made up the remaining third of overall European sales. These were led by Scandinavia at 10 percent, followed by Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, each accounting for 4 percent of European sales. Austria, Switzerland and Turkey each held 2 percent of the market, while Portugal, Ireland and Greece each held 1 percent. Italy - preferences Probiotics were the single most popular product in Italy, with sales of over $300m. Minerals and tonics were also popular, recording sales of over $100m each. Other products that made their mark - all with sales below $50m - included eye health products, fish oils, royal jelly, child specific products, ginseng, calcium, Gingko Biloba, Echinacea and garlic. However, the largest category in Italy was the 'others' category, which made up around $450m in sales and which included mixes of various ingredients as well as nutricosmetics. Germany - preferences The German market was led by minerals, which recorded sales of over $200m in 2006. Tonics were the next largest group, followed by Echinacea, each with sales of over $100m. An 'other' category, which included siliceous earth and mixes of various ingredients, also recorded sales of around $100m. Other popular products, which fell into the sales bracket of between $50 and $100m, were artichoke, calcium, Ginkgo Biloba, fish oils, combination products and hawthorn. St John's Wort and evening primrose oil were also popular, with sales of around $25m. UK - preferences Fish oils were the most popular product in the United Kingdom, with sales of over $225m. The country also had a large 'other' category, which recorded sales of almost $200m, and which included energy products, starflower oil, artichoke and mixes of various ingredients. Glucosamine saw sales of over $75m, while child-specific products sold over $50m. All other products fell under the $50m mark, and included minerals, garlic, evening primrose, ginseng, tonics, calcium, St John's Wort and eye health products. France - preferences France's 'other' category was its largest, with sales of just over $200m. This category included nutricosmetics, or products positioned for sun and beauty. Tonics saw sales of over $150m, or 23 percent of dietary supplement value sales in 2006. Multivitamins and vitamin C each had sales of over $100m. Together, these two products made up one third of total dietary supplement sales. Gingko Biloba was also popular in France, with sales of just under $100m. Minerals sold just over $50m. Other products that fell beneath the $50m mark included eye health products, calcium, child specific products, evening primrose and royal jelly. Western Europe - overview Despite the fact that the European market is currently dominated by these four major areas, Zambetti told industry members that "emerging markets will perform best". "Places like the Netherlands and Ireland are starting to grow fast from a small base," he said. Price competition in major markets is expected to continue, with 'niche' products expected to perform well - "but there's also a risk there".