Longer life expectancies and soaring medical costs are leading more European consumers to seek out dietary supplements that protect their eyes, according to a new report.
'European Eye Health Ingredients Market', published by Frost & Sullivan, says that extended life spans as a result of rising standards of living have increased the threat of age-related eye illnesses, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.
The ability of supplements to alleviate these diseases has opened up lucrative growth avenues: the market earned revenues of $43.4 million in 2007, but this is expected to double in 2014 to $87.4 million.
However, the report also warns that future growth of this market will ultimately depend on overcoming the challenges presented by regulation. It points out that eye health ingredients such as lutein and astaxanthin are not currently covered in the positive list of the food supplement directive. This is a setback for the smaller companies that populate a large portion of this market, says Frost & Sullivan.
Another potential problem identified in the report is low consumer awareness of eye health ingredients. Frost & Sullivan suggests that companies should consider consulting with industry associations such as the Alliance for Natural Health, the National Eye Institute and the Royal Institute of the Blind to counter this.
Frost & Sullivan research analyst Natasha Telles said: "The market for eye health ingredient products is in its infancy, and the timing is right to initiate the successful development of this market. Strategically positioned brands and rising consumer awareness will push participants in the eye health ingredients market into the right commercial arena."