Although the economic downturn pummeled new product development in the U.S. nutrition industry last year, the tide may be turning. Wellington Foods, a long-time contract manufacturer of liquid and powder nutritional supplements recently reported to Nutrition Business Journal that the company is seeing a resurgence in new product investment in 2010. “We are optimistic that we will be able to recover from the sales dip we took in 2009 and be back to 2008 levels by the end of the year,” said Tony Harnack II, president of Wellington Foods.
But business isn’t totally back to normal. The recession weeded out those companies that were willing to make riskier investments in faddish products, Harnack noted. As a result, the product categories generating the most interest from supplement marketers are those that will provide the most proven benefits to consumers. “The categories that have great science behind them—such as calcium and vitamin D—are most in demand,” Harnack said.
As the economy slowly improves, companies are also once again willing to develop new products that may have been viewed as more discretionary during the recession—such as liquid energy or nutricosmetic products, Harnack said. Growing consumer interest in liquid and powder form supplements is adding to the growth of Wellington Foods, which is in the process of moving into a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Corona, California.
Preliminary findings from NBJ’s survey of supplement manufacturers and marketers shows that most companies continue to take a cautious approach to new product development, with the majority of respondents reporting that their plan is to only slightly increase or keep their product development activity the same in 2010 as it was in 2009.
NBJ’s 2010 Nutrition Industry Overview issue will include more from our interview with Wellington Foods, as well as a detailed view into the complete findings from our latest supplement survey. We’ll also publish the opinions of a wide range of nutrition industry leaders on the current state of the economy and what is expected for the second half of 2010. If you would like to weigh in, e-mail your answers to the following three questions to [email protected] by June 21.
• Based on what you are seeing in your business, how do you feel the economy in 2010 is faring versus 2009?
• What specific signs are you seeing in your business that indicate economic recovery is either picking up or stalling?
• How is the economy currently affecting your business today, and what are you expecting for the second half of 2010?
If you are a supplement manufacturer or marketer, please consider taking NBJ's survey. We are using the results of this survey to support research for our annual Nutrition Industry Overview issue, which assesses market performance in 2009 and provides NBJ's forecast for 2010 and beyond. In addition, we will use responses to help update our list of the top 100 supplement wholesalers in the United States. Respondents who complete the survey will receive a summary of the survey results in PowerPoint format.
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