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Supplement trends: products and trends to watch

This article first appeared on Fullscript.

We have identified several current supplement trends that are likely to impact the industry throughout the year, including industry trends, trending health supplement ingredients, and treatment approaches.

Here are the top dietary supplement market trends to look out for in 2020.

Nutritional supplement industry trends

General nutritional supplement industry trends include the values, principles, or business standards observed in the industry. Industry trends expected to be seen in 2020 include transparency, sustainability, naturally sourced supplements, and plant-based products.


Transparency

Transparency is defined as “the quality of being done in an open way without secrets”. In the dietary supplement industry, transparency refers to increasing awareness of issues relating to supplement quality and business operations. This includes providing information regarding the quality of supplements, including ingredient sourcing, product manufacturing, allergen claims, excipient content (inactive ingredients), storage, and distribution. An estimated 20% of individuals choose transparent supplement brands first, and industry experts have been advising dietary supplement companies to prioritize transparency.

Increasingly, supplement manufacturers are using innovative ways to improve the transparency of their products. For example, certain manufacturers offer product or lot traceability, which allows you to search their database by lot number to view testing the product has undergone, as well as how it compares to the brand standards.

Sustainability

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines sustainable diets as: “those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.”

When this concept is applied to the supplement industry, sustainable practices may be implemented at different stages of the supply chain. These include:

  • Sourcing sustainable ingredients (e.g., organic farming methods, sustainable wild harvesting)

  • Processing and manufacturing products without the use of chemicals (e.g., solvents, emulsifiers, additives)

  • Processing and manufacturing products using renewable or clean energy

  • Using recycled or environmentally friendly product packaging

  • Using environmentally friendly shipping materials (e.g., minimizing plastic and Styrofoam packing supplies)

Naturally sourced supplements

Naturally sourced or naturally-derived dietary supplements do not contain synthetically produced ingredients (e.g., synthetic vitamins, artificial flavorings, preservatives). In recent years, this sector of the supplement market has seen an estimated annual growth rate of up to 5%.

Plant-based products

The Natural Products Insider reported that the plant-based retail market grew by 11% from April 2018 to April 2019. Key areas of this market include plant-based proteins and dietary supplements. (19) Individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet seek out plant-based products, which are made without the use of any animal ingredients. The dietary supplement trend towards plant-based products may reflect consumers’ individual values or requirements, such as the desire for cruelty-free or allergen-free supplements (e.g., dairy-free, shellfish-free).

Prebiotics

A type of dietary fibre, a prebiotic is defined as “a nondigestible compound that, through its metabolization by microorganisms in the gut, modulates composition and/or activity of the gut microbiota, thus conferring a beneficial physiologic effect on the host”. Examples of prebiotics include inulin, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), galactooligosaccharide (GOS), and beta-glucans.

According to the Natural Products Insider, sales of prebiotic supplements have doubled each year since 2016. By 2020, the total sales of prebiotics and synbiotics (products that combine prebiotics and probiotics) are projected to exceed $1 billion.

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