Supplements market records double-digit gains

Despite a slow recovery from an overall economic slowdown, Japan recorded double-digit growth in its supplements market in 2004, coming in at 12 per cent after two years where its growth dipped to five per cent, according to a report by Paul Yamaguchi and Associates. Between 1994 and 2004, the market grew from $5 billion to $11 billion — an average of 11 per cent a year.

About 35 per cent of Japanese adults are regular users of nutritional supplements.

The report noted women over 40 are the highest percentage of regular supplements users among all age groups, with women over 60 spending the most on supplements, at $150 a year.

About 75 per cent of nutritional supplements-users complain about the high price of supplements, while vitamins and minerals are the most commonly consumed supplements. Maintaining good health was the main reason for taking supplements.

Yamaguchi noted amino acids, lutein, glucosamine, co-enzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, L-carnitine and MSM were among the leading growth ingredients in 2004.

Japanese ingredients like plum extract, mulberry leaf, turmeric (Curcuma longa L) and angelica (Angelica archangelica) were also growing strongly.

Nonherbal, speciality ingredients lead the category with sales of $4.1 billion, up 19 per cent from a year ago. Botanicals notched up sales of $2.3 billion, up 10 per cent on the previous year.

More than 30 ingredients were deregulated as medicines, being reclassified as food additives and foods that can be formulated into supplements.

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