Expo East: top trends in supplements and personal care

Natural Products Expo East 2010 could easily have turned into a rehashing of Expo West with the same ol' products spun as something new. To my pleasant surprise, this was far from the case. Although many trends repeated themselves—they are trends and not fads, after all—I saw a surprising number of new, innovative products in the supplements and personal-care aisles. Here's what caught my eye.

Kids’nutrition. Children are in. Sales of children’s vitamins and minerals were up 21 percent from 2008 to 2009 to $64 million in the combined conventional and natural channels, according to Schaumburg, Ill.-based SPINS. At Expo East, Oxylent presented a Children’s Daily Multivitamin Drink, an effervescent powder sweetened with stevia and a touch of organic cane sugar. Nordic Naturals introduced Baby’s DHA with 500 mg of DHA per serving. And Enzymatic Therapy showed a kids’ version of its popular Pearls probiotics. These tiny orange beads are for children ages 4 and up.

Immunity. This broad category took many forms. For example, mushrooms became the star of Rainbow Light’s Certified Organic Mushroom Therapy, which includes the five most-studied mushrooms, according to Sandra Klein, the company’s vice president of sales, marketing and research and development. It’s for “the person interested in long-term immunity,” she said. And for a short-term boost, Heel’s Engystol may the answer. This homeopathic combination product is meant to be a value purchase for the entire family. Now that gut health is linked to immune health, probiotics may count as immune supporters too. Enzymatic Therapy introduced a higher-potency probiotic product in Pearls Elite, which delivers 5 billion probiotics per serving compared to just 1 billion in its flagship product.

Liquid vitamin D3. Finally, companies are taking the lead and offering vitamin-D doses higher than the low-ball Institute of Medicine recommendation of 200 IU per day. Bluebonnet’s new Liquid Vitamin D3 drops come in three dose options: 400 IU, 1,000 IU and 2,000 IU.

Short ingredients lists and third-party certifications. New brands dominated the personal-care aisles, and many were keen on keeping ingredients lists short and simple (Chocolat, All Things Pure) and embracing third-party certifications, such as NSF/ANSI 305, NPA Natural, COSMOS and even USDA Organic when possible. And if a product didn’t have a third-party seal of approval yet, the manufacturer was considering this path. Amarjit Sahota, director of the UK-based research company Organic Monitor, “expects third-party standards to become the norm for natural and organic food retailers. It will become very rare to find non-certified personal care products in these retailers in a few years.”

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