Polish supplement sales slow but stay strong

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food supplements Omega-3 fatty acid Fatty acid Nutrition

The global economic slump has hit the buoyant Polish food supplements market that has shown rampant recent growth of more than 20 per cent annually, according to Polish market analyst, PMR.

It put the market at €484m in 2008, 24 per cent greater than in 2007, but said future growth until 2011 was likely to slow to between 12 and 15 per cent per annum, still at levels much higher than most markets.

Recent Nutrition Business Journal​ figures put global growth for the food supplements market at around 7-8 per cent.

PMR head pharmaceutical market Analyst,​Monika Stefańczyk, said the downturn was directly related to the economic slide in fortunes, although implementation of European Union supplements regulations that meant a host of food-pharma “borderline products”​ required medicinal registrations was also having a cooling effect on the market.

This was because some products previously available as food supplements would now require registration as drugs, but mostly remain available over-the-counter.

However some products were moving the other way from medicines to food supplements classification – having a moderating effect on overall availability.

Food supplements accounted for about 21 per cent of total Polish pharmacy and non-pharmacy OTC sales. In the Czech republic the figure rose above 40 per cent in 2007.


“The economic situation is affecting the market quite severely,”​ she told NutraIngredients.com. “But the market remains strong and the trend for greater numbers of Poles to seek beauty and health benefits from food supplements continues to boom.”

The Polish economy grew by more than six per cent in 2006 and 2007, but has slowed dramatically.

Poland’s booming food supplements market has been driven by increasing consumer incomes and uptake of “western lifestyles” ​that include a greater emphasis on healthy living and better nutrition.

In a statement Stefańczyk said: “The trends apparent in previous years which powered sales in the segment will continue to hold: ageing of society, greater interest in self-medication, healthy lifestyle and healthy appearance, natural and herbal preparations, in addition to the trend of the registration as dietary supplements of vitamins and minerals as well as other similar products.”

She noted that the Polish market remains relatively “unsaturated” ​but was following development paths forged by the likes of the US and western Europe.

Food supplements growth had been similarly buoyant in other central and eastern European (CEE) countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.


PMR highlighted omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid products as those that demonstrated the greatest potential, “especially preparations for the heart and the cardiovascular system.”

“In recent years, ever more manufacturers have chosen to enlarge their portfolios for the Polish market by products manufactured from omega fatty acids,”​ it said. “However, the products of leading global manufacturers of this type of dietary supplements are still not available in Poland.”

It noted high rates of heart disease in Poland as well as a driving factor and predicted double digit annual growth for the sector.

In a previous report PMR valued the CEE OTC (including drugs) market at €7.4bn and set to grow at 15-18 per cent to reach €12bn in 2010. Russia, Romania and the Ukraine were set to grow at the fastest rate.

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