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Vitamins and mineral supplements

Market outlook and trends: Vitamins and mineral supplements

Global market outlook

The vitamins and mineral supplements market consists of sales of vitamins and minerals that promote people’s health and well-being. Vitamins and mineral supplements are available without a prescription and come in the form of tablets, powders, or liquids. They supply adequate essential nutrients and minerals to maintain or improve an individual’s health.

The Vitamins and Minerals segment comprises over-the-counter natural and synthetic food supplements like multivitamin preparations, minerals, vitamins, tonics and cod liver oil. These supplements include preparations in the form of capsules, dragees, pills, granules, ampoules, solutions, powders, syrups for oral use.

vitamins, mineral supplements, health
Source: Statista

According to Statista, the Vitamins & Minerals segment revenue amounted to US$20.2 billion in 2019 globally, which accounted for 18% of the OTC Pharmaceuticals market revenue during this year. Vitamins & Minerals sales are also expected to increase at a CAGR of 2.5% from 2019 to 2025.

Key growth factors and challenges

Key factors that support this growth that were identified in a 2020 PwC industry report are related to consumer preferences. Consumers are becoming more attentive to their health, and their awareness of the importance of well-being and prevention is growing. Many are turning to vitamins and mineral supplements as a proactive approach to taking care of their health. The adoption of a sedentary lifestyle is another one of the main drivers of the demand for food supplements. The supplements are in fact able to mitigate any problems related to the sedentary lifestyle and the adoption of non-optimal eating habits. An aging population is also a key factor for increased demand in this market, as it is driving the need for products that supplement the intake of vitamins, calcium and other supplements, in order to delay the effects and disorders related to aging.

The regulatory environment for the vitamins and mineral market remains challenging. The growth of this market has pushed for greater governmental intervention and strengthening of regulations pertaining to the production, distribution, safety testing, and claims regarding the effectiveness of food supplements. The increase in the consumption of these supplements has simultaneously led to an increase in the influx of counterfeit and fake supplements into the market. Counterfeiting refers to the branding and sale of non-authorized products and represents a major challenge for the genuine vendors of vitamins and mineral supplements. There is also an increasing consumer distrust of these products due to the use of deceptive advertising and communication strategies by some companies, aimed at claiming the supposed health benefits of their products. This has led to a growing distrust towards the entire sector, which is placing challenges even for genuine producers in terms of their reputation.

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wrote several letters in 2019 to supplement companies in response to false advertisements claiming that components of their products could prevent COVID-19 infection or even cure it. Some companies and individuals enticed customers to purchase herbal supplements, essential oils, exotic extracts, multivitamins, etc., all parading various fraudulent claims. Some products touted, such as oleandrin, were even potentially toxic if consumed. Almost 200 other products with fraudulent claims relating to COVID-19 can be viewed on the FDA website. Similar issues have been documented by Health Canada and the State Administration for Market Regulation in China.

Considering the consumption of dietary supplements is on the rise globally, it is not surprising that regulatory authorities are scrutinizing the industry further. Indeed, the United Kingdom government has been considering new laws to deal with oversight gaps in the nutraceutical industry according to a 2021 report published by TIGRR (Task force on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform). It is likely that other international regulatory authorities will also move to re-evaluate current regulations.

Major markets globally

Market revenue share by region
Source: Statista

Asia is the biggest regional market globally for vitamins and mineral supplements with a market share of 43% of worldwide sales. The Americas and Europe follow behind. However, it is Australians and Swedes that spend the most on vitamins and minerals on a per capita basis. Developed and high-income countries are the biggest consumers for these supplements.

vitamins, mineral supplements, health
Source: Statista

The Chinese vitamins and mineral market has the biggest per country revenue in the world, generating a revenue of around 4.9 billion U.S. dollars. This put them ahead of the U.S. market which generated around 4.6 billion. The third biggest market by revenue was Japan which generated a revenue of not even half of the United States.

Major industry players

vitamins, mineral supplements, health
Source: UN Comtrade

The major exporters of vitamins and provitamin supplements are China, the USA, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and France. China is the biggest exporter of vitamins and provitamin supplements, as a lot of manufacturing activity for this segment is based there. China exported a total of 3 246 million USD in 2020, ahead of the USA which exported around 894 million USD during the same year.  There was a dip of exports for these products for most countries during 2019, mainly due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply chain issues it caused globally. China saw the strongest decrease during this year as it was the first country to witness the negative impact of the pandemic.

Major players in the food supplements market identified by Xerfi and by Research And Markets include Salus Haus, Pfizer, Daiichi Sankyo, Amway, Eisai, Sanofi, Herbalife, Omega Pharma, PROCTER & GAMBLE, GNC, CSPC Pharmaceutical Group, DSM, and Otsuka Holdings.

COVID-19 impact

Numerous reports from various sources (U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information, Pharma Intelligence, LEK, PwC) have confirmed that the global intake of vitamins and minerals has received a significant boost in the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic. People are stocking up on various supplements owing to their immunity-boosting characteristics.

The effects of the pandemic on this market don’t seem to be completely positive. The disruptions in supply chains for the production of supplements are a key factor hampering the growth of the vitamins and mineral supplement market. 

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has gathered evidence of major disruptions to livestock production in China, and vegetables and fruits in Ethiopia. Whereas Indian news reported a full-blown collapse in the production of dairy products, which is especially worrying the countries where milk and milk products remain key sources of primary nutrients for young children. Therefore, disruptions in supply chains for nutrient-rich foods are expected to hinder the growth of the vitamins and mineral supplement market. 

The entire supply chain from production to international trade has been impacted. The economic crisis due to COVID-19 is also impacting dietary supplements by disrupting distribution networks. The supplements, which are economically important, have a fragile supply chain and failure in any stage of the supply chain from farms to dealers, haulers and distributors to manufacturers-can disrupt the entire chain. 

The consumer preference moving towards organic supplements is a key trend in the vitamins and mineral supplements market. There was a suggested transition towards organic food in 2020 as reported by Food Navigator, a leading industry news and analysis source for the food sector. This trend could become a lifestyle for many people. In an 2020 report, Ecovia Intelligence has noted that previous food and health scares caused an initial sales spike followed by sustained demand for organic products. For instance, the BSE (mad cow disease) crisis in 2000 escalated demand for organic meat products in Europe; sales remained buoyant in the following years. Similarly, SARS led to a spike in demand for organic foods in China (and Asia) in 2004. The melamine scandal (Chinese milk scandal) in 2008 bolstered demand for organic baby food in China, which subsequently became the largest market globally for organic baby formula.

As people are becoming more cautious of the food they consume, many small and medium enterprises have started to promote plant-based goods and diets in the product space. Which is in turn accelerating the trend for organic food supplements.

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