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NbJ Supplement Business Report 2017 cover

2017 supplement business report: The new (not-so) normal

Nutrition Business Journal's Supplement Business Report reveals market size and growth in dietary supplements.

There is a lot of talk these days about “the new normal.” We could see the expression as the catch-phrase equivalent of throwing up our arms and surrendering to a new set of rules and realities that we may not like but we have to work with anyway. Most of the “new normal” talk echoes off of Washington politics, where the new normal is a rebranding of chaos as the like-it-or-not order of affairs, but in the supplement industry it means something different.

For companies in the nutrition industry, the “new normal” may be very different, less desperate, less exasperating, more hopeful. For us, the new normal includes the $41.1 billion in sales on 6 percent growth Nutrition Business Journal estimates for 2016. This is a notch up from 5.9 percent in 2015, suggesting the industry has settled in to what feels like a modest pace, after recovering from the historic slowdown in 2014 (when the industry, reeling from a spate of negative headlines, slowed to 5.1 percent from 7.5 percent the year before).

So “the new normal” starts to sound like the good times are over but the industry has found its footing. Omega 3s, a major target of the negative headlines circa 2013, have crawled out of negative growth to find increasing sales that suggest a turnaround. While 1.9 percent might not sound like a lot in the supplement world, it’s a vast improvement over the negative .5 percent in 2015, or, the plunge to negative 5.4 percent in 2013.

The new normal is sounding better all the time.

The NBJ Supplement Business Report is the guide to that new normal—the numbers and the nuance, the qualitative and the quantitative squeezed into more than 300 pages with 123 charts and commentary from the most thoughtful voices in the industry.

In this new normal, those voices and perspectives, are more important than ever.

Industry reform that takes fraud out of the equation—and a public ready to shrug off sideline shots at efficacy, as surveys suggest—could bring the industry back to a place that’s less about crisis and more about confidence in the business plan. Today, success in the supplement industry is less about reading tea leaves and hedging against external events and more about following trends—seeing where competitors are winning so you can win there too. We might debate whether the playing field is level or not, but at least you can see the goal posts now. The smoke, most of it, has cleared.

But to win on that field, you need a playbook. We recommend the NBJ Supplement Business Report.

In this year’s report, you will see growth across categories and channels. Look at the big numbers to get a sense of where the wind is blowing and then dip into sales ingredient-by-ingredient to see where the air is still or swirling. With the NBJ Supplement Business Report on your desk, marketing and product development teams know where to coordinate in ways that grow sales and create new customers. Executives can know where to deploy those teams and use industry connections to make sure the supply chain is anchored in the right places for the right products.

With growth steadier, and the regulatory tumult toned down, now is the time to make those solid decisions based on solid data.

So maybe the new normal is marked by fewer pendulum swings and growth that’s steadier and less spectacular. Less turbulence would be welcome, and industry reform focused on transparency and ingredient integrity could be calming the storms. We imagine many CEOs are welcoming calmer waters and something that’s more like a breeze and less like a gale.

Consider this report your navigational charts. Welcome to the new normal. We think you’re going to like it.

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