Frost valued the market for ‘Immune and Antihypertensive Health’ at €421m in 2009, and set to grow to €611 in 2016 – a 45% surge.
A good space to be in
“Ingredients manufacturers in this space are cashing in on the growing awareness of the potential of immune health ingredients in preventing flu-like symptoms and respiratory infection,” Frost said.
“In particular, health ingredients that offer cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering benefits are poised to pick up traction. Although blood pressure lowering ingredients are not currently very popular, they are expected to slowly catch up due to improving consumer awareness.”
Senior research analyst Sneha Pasricha added: “The sheer extent at which cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects the population in Europe, including those with hypertension, offers significant opportunities for ingredient manufacturers.”
Complex and vague
However, regulatory challenges in the European Union were presenting a potential brake on innovation, Pasricha said, and market growth.
“Regulatory issues pertaining to health claims are limiting innovation and growth in the European market for nutritional solutions in immune and antihypertensive health, like any other health ingredient market in the region,” Pasricha said.
“Health claim regulations in Europe are getting increasingly complex and vague with the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation [NHCR] adopted in 2006.”
Multiple health benefits for ingredients like prebiotics and probiotics were also confusing consumers to a degree.
“For instance, probiotics and prebiotics are projected primarily as providers of digestive health benefits rather than positive immune health advantages. Such a scenario creates confusion in the minds of consumers and dissuades them from buying such ingredients.”
Traditional methods for lowering blood pressure were also still popular and acted to slow the rise of functional nutritional solutions.
Such methods included, “exercise, weight management, salt reduction, and drugs such as diuretics, beta-blockers, angiotensive converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers or vasodilators”.
Pasricha said despite the regulatory challenges around claims, manufacturers needed to boost consumer education about scientific backing for nutrients.
“Proactive research initiatives by manufacturers supporting their ingredients efficacy, empowered with apt promotional efforts could prove instrumental in increasing consumer/customer trust and acceptance.”