Last year was a popular year for nutraceuticals, and every indication is that this momentum will carry over into 2019. To prepare, we’ve compiled a list of the top five trends expected to shape the industry this year.
These trends reflect concerns and opportunities that reach beyond the influence of dietary supplements, but they are trends that still drastically affect this industry. Companies hoping to get ahead in the coming year need to embrace these trends in any way they can.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. With the recent passage of the Hemp Farm Bill, companies that use hemp in their products can now grow it themselves. And with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving a drug with cannabidiol (CBD), plenty of nutraceutical companies have jumped on board the CBD bandwagon or plan to in the near future. While this is certainly an area where companies can cash in, there are some risks involved. One of the biggest risks is the FDA’s statement that CBD can’t be included in food, drinks or supplements.1
For states that have legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana, these markets are booming. However, there are many regulations associated with these markets that companies need to master to do business in those states. For example, including marijuana in food products is legal in some states, but those states also have limits on how much can be included, and there are requirements for how that information has to be displayed on packaging.
A less controversial trend that’s picking up momentum is the “beauty from within” concept. The idea that a consumer can take a pill each morning and avoid wrinkles, age spots and gray hair is a popular one. The real opportunities here aren’t in new products, but in new markets. The first of these is millennials. It might seem like millennials are a little young for the anti-aging market, but some millennials are in their mid-thirties, and nutricosmetics are based on the idea of prevention, which needs to start early. This makes millennials an ideal market for companies to cater to.
Another much less expected market for these products is men. Men aren’t typically considered a target market for beauty products, but men’s grooming products have become unexpectedly popular. Men’s skin care products are increasing in popularity and, since nutricosmetics tend to be marketed for the same effects, a company that wants to specialize in nutricosmetics for men would likely be successful. One study found that about 84 percent of men ages 18-44 use facial skincare products,2 an encouraging number for nutricosmetics companies.
Pet supplements have been on shelves for a while, but the popularity of pet supplements will increase as pet owners continue to treat their furry friends as if they’re part of the family. Pets have become such an integral part of most people’s lives that owners concern themselves with the quality of food they feed their pets and with the pet’s quality of life. Fortunately for nutraceutical companies, this also means that owners are willing to purchase supplements, and, in many cases, they want to make sure that they’re getting high-quality supplements.
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Producing high-quality supplements means that companies have to spend a little more in research and development and for ingredients from reputable suppliers. This is especially important when dealing with the dosage of supplements, since companies need to conduct clinical trials to determine the proper dose for different species and breeds. When businesses put this kind of effort into their research and development, they can recoup the investment with premium pricing. The current trend of spending more on pet food that has no artificial flavors and colors, gluten or GMO ingredients indicates that these same owners would be willing to spend a little more on their pet’s supplements.
This is a trend that’s hitting many industries, not just nutraceuticals. Given how long it takes plastic to decompose and how much of it is polluting the environment, companies that want to seem environmentally conscious are turning away from plastic packaging. Deciding to eschew this material is one thing, doing it is another. With supplements, completely getting rid of plastic is difficult, considering that liquid supplements frequently come in plastic bottles and childproof caps tend to be made of plastic. If replacing all plastic with alternatives isn’t an option, there are other ways to embrace this trend.
Companies that can’t get around the plastic conundrum are finding creative ways to maintain or improve their image as sustainable. One example of this is NOW, which is collecting its consumers’ packaging and recycling it, since normal recycling processes can’t handle it.3 The company simply melts down the waste that it receives and uses it for new packaging. Even though the materials are still seen as not environmentally friendly, reusing the packing is helping the company’s image. Other companies may follow suit if they want to make themselves appear “greener.”
Sports nutrition in general is a pretty safe investment for any company looking to expand its offerings. No longer just a category for hardcore workout enthusiasts, the sports nutrition market now has customers all along the age and physical fitness spectrum. This widened market opens the door for businesses to design products specifically for niche groups. One of these is the seniors market. With such a large aging population and with health problems related to lost muscle mass and inactivity, encouraging seniors to exercise and providing them with supplements to help them do that pays off.
Another category that’s increased in popularity is sports nutrition for women. It’s important to note that entering this category involves more than slapping a picture of a woman on a supplement. The products should be specifically formulated for women, not just marketed to them. This group has several niches within it that companies can use as opportunities for unique formulations and marketing opportunities. For example, a nutraceutical company can make a sports nutrition supplement that also has folic acid for women in this market who are trying to get pregnant.
There is no shortage of opportunities in the nutraceutical industry. All indications point to 2019 being a good year for nutraceuticals, especially for those who embrace new opportunities to expand their product offerings and customer base. To learn more about these trends and how to take advantage of them, be sure to download the free white paper “Top Nutraceutical Trends of 2019.”