Mental health, digital monitoring and planetary health: What’s next for the supplements industry?
06 Feb 2023 --- Major ingredients suppliers are expecting a wave of innovation in the supplements industry in the next five years, spurred by new digital technologies, emerging market opportunities, environmental sustainability demands and ultra-convenient delivery formats.
We established in Part One of our deep dive into supplements that the market has expanded rapidly around the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, Innova Market Insights found that supplement launches have doubled since 2017, with 26% average annual growth.
In our second part, we speak with industry experts to understand how the supplements industry might evolve after the COVID-19 pandemic – an event Sophie Zillinger, global marketing lead for Biotis at FrieslandCampina Ingredients, says had “a profound and prolonged effect on how we think about health.”
Mind over matter boosts
The supplements market’s proliferation has been partly driven by consumer demand for holistic well-being, including mental health solutions – a trend suppliers expect will continue to gather pace.
“Areas of health such as immunity, cognitive health and mental stress were particularly relevant during the pandemic and will continue to be so for consumers,” says Isabel Gómez, global marketing manager at Lubrizol Life Science.
“Consumers are increasingly interested in products that help improve sleep quality and reduce stress and anxiety levels. Over the next five years, we expect to see products with claims referring to stress and sleep support and skin health have a steady growth in supplements launch activity.”
“When seeking out such products, consumers will emphasize products having shortened ingredient lists, containing only trusted ingredients and product claims that are trustworthy and clinically substantiated.”
According to Innova Market Insights, the fastest-growing supplement claims are mental acuity (81%), insomnia (54%), lung health (49%), energy and stamina (44%) and skin health (41%) (CAGR 2017-2022).
Carlos Rodriguez, communication manager at Pharmactive, adds: “Due to changes in lifestyles, diet, work and our daily environment, the development of new supplements related to cognitive health and emotional balance will be massive.”
“Also, given that many people who have had COVID-19 have cardiovascular problems after the disease has passed, this therapeutic area will be a major player in the coming years.”
“This emergence of new products will lead to a tightening of regulations around the world to ensure market safety.”
Personalization through digitization
The supplement market’s expansion will also create opportunities for new digital technologies, including wearable devices, to track and monitor product effectiveness.
“Digital tools are already paving the way for the adoption of exciting new data gathering methods, helping brands assess a product’s impact in real-time to optimize specifically targeted solutions,” Florencia Moreno Torres, health and nutrition global business development manager at Rousselot, tells us.
Rousselot explored the potential of decentralized and digitally-focused consumer studies through its GutMe! research project. Recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the study investigated the impact of collagen peptides on gastrointestinal symptoms in a real-life environment.
“Participant feedback was extremely positive, making this new approach a cost-effective and accessible way to engage consumers in a real-world setting that may otherwise be hard to reach,” says Moreno Torres.
Moreover, the supplements industry is moving toward personalized nutrition in order to offer what Jaume Reguant, healthcare director at Bioiberica, refers to as “total well-being.”
“To keep pace with consumer demand for holistic and personalized offerings, supplements need to evolve. This evolution will require robust data, cutting-edge technologies and strong collaboration across the industry,” he says.
Pushing past pills
Supplement producers are also increasingly recognizing more convenient delivery formats as pivotal to brand differentiation and product efficacy. Innova Market Insights found that powders (30%) and capsules (28%) remain the top formats for new supplement products globally (2021/22), but new formats are on the rise.
“We will see more and more delivery formats other than pills, such as gummies, soft chews, sachets and shots,” says Lior Rigler, head of global sales at Solabia-Algatech. “The supplement industry will also likely be regulated more as governments and consumers become more concerned about safety and efficacy.”
The gummy space is gaining particular traction, with Innova Market Insights recording 54% average annual growth in global supplement launches tracked in gummy format between 2017-2022.
Meanwhile, dosage form improvements will remain a key focus over the coming years as consumers seek out more effective and enjoyable delivery formats, notes Lindsey Toth, associate director for global marketing at Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients.
“Lonza’s lipid multi-particulate technology encapsulates ingredients in a lipid-based microsphere that expands application versatility beyond the capsule, while flavor and aroma coating technology is another example of how brands can elevate the consumer experience,” she says.
Ethical and conscious choices
The global trend toward greater planetary health is also impacting the supplements industry, as more stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) and waste reduction targets come into play. Consumers are increasingly looking to support brands that make meaningful commitments, including more sustainable packaging, manufacturing and sourcing of eco-friendly ingredients.
“Lonza is always working to minimize its carbon footprint, whether through our state-of-the-art manufacturing practices or working with like-minded partners to procure high-quality ingredients in a way that helps us reduce landfill waste,” exemplifies Toth.
Moreover, as the scientific link between climate change and the meat industry’s unsustainable GHG emissions becomes more prevalent, supplement brands are finding favor with plant-based ingredients and delivery formats.
Lonza offers its Capsugel Plantcaps pullulan vegetarian capsule and Vcaps HPMC vegetarian capsule to brands looking to innovate plant-based and clean-label formulas.
“The market for vegetarian and plant-based supplements is likely to grow, as consumers are favoring flexitarian diets – this trend will be a driving force in new supplement innovation,” says Zillinger at FrieslandCampina Ingredients.
Make way for Big Pharma
Finally, some industry insiders are expecting the divide between the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries to become increasingly blurred over the next five years.
According to Reguant at Bioiberica, longer lifespans coupled with the conscious movement toward “prevention over cure” means that more consumers recognize the importance of nutrition for good foundational health and the role of supplements in bridging any nutrient gaps.
“To meet this need, consumers are increasingly looking for more holistic solutions, not just disease care – they rely on pharmaceutical companies for drugs, but also want to combine that treatment with a food supplement for a full-spectrum approach,” he explains.
“The development of over-the-counter products that go beyond problem-solving to becoming part of consumers’ day-to-day welfare could be exceptionally appealing for consumers seeking the ultimate wellness product.”
“Big pharmaceutical companies are taking note – with some of the leading global businesses becoming more active in the nutraceutical space.”
By Joshua Poole
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