The nutraceutical market includes vitamins and supplements, as well as functional foods and beverages. The report, ”2019 Nutraceuticals Market Assessment,” says consumers around the world are seeking alternatives to better health, suffer from pill fatigue, and look for more innovative foods and drinks that supply all their nutritional needs for exercise, weight management, digestive health, and general well-being.
Packaging is evolving with this consumer trend, away from rigid containers to pouches and stick packs with innovative delivery, but glass still performs best with certain products, especially for amber vials of CBD oil—another big growth driver.
In Europe, regulations are more strict than in the U.S., and in Asia it’s all about gift giving and the unboxing experience.
Processors selling into both U.S. and European market are challenged to meet stringent guidelines as outlined in The Food Supplements Directive (FSD), 2002/46/EC. This directive establishes a definition for food supplements and a list of allowable vitamins and minerals and sets labeling requirements. Producers can sell 13 vitamins from 45 allowable sources, and 17 minerals from 136 allowable sources.
“Europe is big on functional foods based on probiotics - like yogurts and juices - those are the delivery methods of choice for probiotics, not pills,” says a Plant Manager for a probiotic company.
Europeans prefer their nutraceuticals as functional foods and beverages, rather than pill supplements. They also want to see the data behind the nutraceutical product’s effectiveness. The science behind the claims is not as sought out, in general, in the U.S. And the U.S. has not made significant changes to nutraceutical processing regulations in the last seven years.
The nutraceutical market in Asia is well established. The major markets – China and Japan – have unique preferences regarding nutraceutical packaging. Chinese consumers especially prize nutraceutical products imported from the U.S., however, tariffs and other governmental policies are driving them to buy more local nutraceutical products.
Tariffs may affect nutraceutical sales in the future, but the premium placed on U.S. products outweighs any price increase.
Chinese consumers often want their supplements to come with a box around the pill bottle: supplements are often given as gifts, and a box makes the pills easier to wrap and give as gifts.
“In Asia, you really need to have a box around a bottle of pills. They do a lot of gifting in Asia…they want a nice box around it,” says a Director of R & D for a supplements company.
In Japan, pouches are more prevalent packaging for supplements. Consumers prefer the portability of single-serve pouches as opposed to larger and clunkier bottles.
Asia has long recognized beauty supplements as being part of the nutraceuticals market, a trend that may grow throughout the rest of the world as growing middle class incomes support brands that deliver on non-medical healthy lifestyle choices.
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