Condition-specific supplement sales soar

Experts credit ageing population and media focus on obesity

Condition-specific supplements accounted for more than a quarter of all dietary-supplement sales last year, up by a third from 2003, according to figures contained in a new report.

Packaged Facts' Nutritional Supplements in the US report says overall sales of supplements rose eight per cent last year to reach a value of $6.1 billion.

Helping to boost growth were condition-specific products, which saw their share of supplements sales rise from 21 per cent in 2003 to 28 per cent last year.

Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts, said increasing concern about health issues was driving consumers to buy condition-specific supplements.

"During the past decade, with the massive growth of highly fortified foods, nutraceuticals and functional foods, supplements have been competing directly with foods and beverages. But increased media attention on obesity and other diet-related health problems have prompted consumers to take more aggressive steps to avert health problems before they occur, and this includes renewed attention to taking their vitamins."

One company benefiting from this boom is California-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals, which markets a range of ingredients that targets certain health issues. It includes Super CitriMax for weight management, and L-OptiZinc, which promises to help the immune system and digestion, among other things.

Company CEO Paul Dijkstra said the ageing population was driving the popularity of condition-specific supplements. "The average age for a US head of household is 49 and a half, and the first boomers will soon turn 65," he said. "With age comes many of the typical health concerns and the need to manage them."

For more information, see Functional Ingredients' online condition-specific directory.

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