By Jim Wagner
There once was a time when food was food and supplements were supplements, and the twain hardly ever met. No longer.
In 2011, the market for healthy foods and dietary supplements will mature. Both segments will see significant growth as consumers strive to adopt behaviors that steer them toward prevention. Single-digit growth is almost certain: double digits are not out of the question.
What will be new is the gravitation pull exerted by international markets. Demand for natural products is up in countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia. Their nascent middle classes have discretionary income and investors have noticed. One T. Rowe Price analyst discussion actually mentioned Nestlé and Tesco in the same sentence as Richemont, owners of luxury brands such as Cartier and Piaget. Watch for astute multinationals to tap this revenue stream with new product offerings and if necessary, acquisitions in local markets.
What might happen – and the emphasis is on might – is a movement toward eclectic management strategies. It's worth noting that NBTY recently named Jeffrey Nagel chief executive officer. Nagel's resume includes senior positions in GE's consumer electronics, aircraft engine and inspection technology groups. Nagel may take supplements, but his expertise isn't selling them. What he does possess is a wealth of international management experience that clearly is what NBTY considers essential.
Companies can prepare for these changes with a variety of tools, including events, trade shows, conferences, online media and print magazines. Yes, there still is a place for the information found in print as long as the information is current, relevant and supported by science.
My daily supps: Multivitamin, omega-3 capsules, green tea and the occasional use of echinacea.
Jim Wagner is the business development director of the New Hope Supply Network.