As 2019 comes to an end, we’ve identified several current supplement trends that are likely to impact the industry throughout the next 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 is defined as “the quality of being done in an open way without secrets”. (4) 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, (22) and industry experts have been advising dietary supplement companies to prioritize transparency. (8)
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. (11)(18)
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.” (10)
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)
Consumer reports suggest that individuals are willing to pay more for dietary supplements from brands that follow sustainability practices. According to a 2019 study of 21,000 U.S. households, 33.5% of households would pay more for products that are environmentally friendly and 33% would pay more for products produced via organic farming practices. (27)
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%. (9)
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).
Trending health supplement ingredients
Next, let’s explore some trending health supplement ingredients, including cannabidiol (CBD), collagen, medicinal mushrooms, and medium-chain triglycerides.
CBD is a major phytocannabinoid naturally occurring in the cannabis plant that does not produce psychoactive effects. CBD can affect body processes and induce health effects through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. (20) According to a 2019 consumer survey report from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 13% of adults aged 18 to 34 and 9% of adults overall take CBD in the United States. (7)
An essential structural component of the body, collagen is found in connective tissues, such as skin, bone, cartilage, ligaments, hair, and blood vessels. (23) As a dietary supplement, collagen is derived from fish, eggshell membrane, or various animal sources. Collagen is commonly used in conditions involving joint pain (2) and to support skin health. (23) A 2019 consumer report identified collagen as one of the top three selling dietary supplement ingredients, with approximately $105.9 million in sales in the U.S. (24)
Medicinal mushrooms are edible fungi with therapeutic effects. (15) While there are numerous varieties, reishi and cordyceps are expected to be the two largest growing mushroom supplements in the coming years. In addition to traditional supplement forms such as capsules and liquid tinctures, mushrooms are now being manufactured as functional foods and beverages, and even being used in the cosmetics industry for their anti-aging and moisturizing effects. (13)
Another growing supplement trend in 2019, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) saw an increase of nearly 80% in sales growth at natural and specialty stores. (24) Derived from coconut oil or palm oil, MCTs are a type of fatty acid that has been shown to support weight management and reduce inflammation. (26) MCTs may also be used with exogenous ketones to support the effects of a ketogenic diet.
A type of dietary fiber, 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. (5)
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. (3)
Treatment trends refer to popular therapeutic approaches used to target certain health conditions or physiological processes in the body. Examples of growing treatment trends that involve the use of dietary supplements include peptide therapy, mitochondrial therapy, and sleep support.
Peptides are a type of dietary supplement consisting of several amino acids linked together that have demonstrated effects on health. (21) The health effects of peptides that have been identified include antihypertensive, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects. (6) Peptide therapy may benefit individuals with certain health conditions, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and inflammatory conditions. (21) Peptide supplements may be produced from animal proteins (e.g., dairy, eggs, meat, seafood) or plant sources (e.g., oats, flaxseed, certain legumes). (6)
According to a global consumer report, the North American market for peptide therapy was $8.7 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow to $16.4 billion by 2024. Currently, intravenous peptide products are most common, but oral products are expected to have the highest growth rate over the next four years. (12)
Commonly referred to as the body’s “powerhouses”, mitochondria are organelles found in our cells that are involved in energy production. (28) Mitochondrial dysfunction has been associated with several chronic health conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and autoimmune conditions. Mitochondrial therapy involves the use of dietary supplements that may support mitochondrial integrity and function, including alpha lipoic acid (ALA), coenzyme Q10, l-carnitine, n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), vitamin C, B complex vitamins, and magnesium. (14) Certain products provide a combination of several of these ingredients to support mitochondrial health.
In 2016, mitochondrial therapy had an estimated share of $9 million in the North American market. Sales are expected to grow to approximately $14.8 million in 2020, making this a rapidly expanding supplement type. (16)(17)
Sleep support supplements encompass a variety of ingredients, such as melatonin, certain botanical herbs, l-theanine, and magnesium. The TABS Analytics 2019 Vitamin Study found that melatonin, commonly known as the “sleep hormone”, was the fastest growing supplement type in terms of sales. Sales of melatonin increased from 9% to 13% year-over-year. (25) Sales of sleep supplements have increased more than 30% this year over 2018. (1)
The bottom line
While trends may come and go, it’s important to consider the evidence supporting the use of any dietary supplements, as well as how they fit within your needs and preferences. We recommend working with your integrative healthcare practitioner to determine which ingredients and products are right for your wellness plan.
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- Sibilla, S., Godfrey, M., Brewer, S., Budh-Raja, A., & Genovese, L. (2015). An overview of the beneficial effects of hydrolysed collagen as a nutraceutical on skin properties: Scientific background and clinical studies. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 8(1), 29–42.
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- Wang, Y., Liu, Z., Han, Y., Xu, J., Huang, W., & Li, Z. (2018). Medium chain triglycerides enhances exercise endurance through the increased mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism. PloS one, 13(2), e0191182.
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