Glucosamine still limited to three major markets

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: New products, Chondroitin sulfate

Global launches of glucosamine products have risen just over 50 percent in the past five years, with the top markets remaining Asia Pacific, Europe and North America.

The slow but steady increase is reflected in the latest figures from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), provided to NutraIngredients.com.

The database recorded 61 new products containing glucosamine launched around the world in 2008. This compares to 40 product launches tracked in 2003. Out of these, the majority of launches occurred in Asia Pacific, North America and Europe, with only a handful of launches recorded in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Glucosamine, which is primarily derived from shellfish, has been shown to help rebuild and repair human cartilage, and is used as a base ingredient in joint health dietary supplements. It is often used in conjunction with chondroitin, which gives cartilage elasticity.

Mintel’s data records all food, beverage and supplement launches. However, although the ingredient has started to be included in limited amounts in some foods and beverages in the US, the largest glucosamine category remains dietary supplements.

Global glucosamine launches

In Europe, GNPD tracked 22 new products in 2008, compared to 16 in 2007 and nine in 2006. In 2009 to date, there have been eight new launches.

Asia Pacific also recorded 22 new products in 2008, compared to 21 in 2007 and 26 in 2006. In 2009 to date, there have been 13 new product launches.

New glucosamine products in North America came in at 15 in 2008, compared to 21 in 2007 and 13 in 2006. To date in 2009 there have been 10 new launches.

Market size

According to figures provided by Euromonitor International, worldwide year-on-year sales of the joint health supplements have increased 10 percent per year since 2003.

Global sales stood at almost $2bn last year, which represents a massive 62 percent increase since 2003, when sales came in at $1.2bn.

The data provided to NutraIngredients-USA.com reveals a forecast of continued growth through 2013, when the global market is expected to increase around 14 percent in the next five years, with sales reaching $2.3bn.

Benefits and awareness

The joint health benefits of glucosamine have been reported in numerous clinical trials, most notably the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT), sponsored by the US National Institute of Health.

This studied the effect of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements on 1583 people with osteoarthritis and found that the combination supplement was highly efficacious in reducing moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis pain (New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 354, pp. 795-808).

The scientific backing has prompted a growth in consumer awareness of the ingredient’s benefits, which in turn has led the industry to expand the category. Two major developments in the glucosamine market over the past few years are that the ingredient has turned vegetarian, and it has also started appearing in foods and beverages.

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