Trends to watch in the international supplement market

Monitoring trends as they unfold across continents is key to a more successful business at home.

Ean Brandon, International Business Development Director

March 22, 2024

4 Min Read
Ean Brandon

In the dynamic landscape of international markets, trends often unfold with varying speed across different regions. By closely monitoring these trends and aligning with the demands of the global market, businesses can enhance their chances of success.

One example of this variance in market adoption is the spread of noni juice, During the late 2000s, noni juice was everywhere. Most supplement aficionados will vividly recall the distinctive pungent and somewhat cheesy aroma, along with the unmistakable taste of “properly” fermented noni. Even though this superfood is not commonly found on US shelves, during a 2018 trip to Malaysia I noticed noni juice’s memorable aroma. Samples were being gifted at a local supermarket for all to try. It seems even the “stinkers” have a second wind overseas.

Predicted 2024 Supplement Trends:

1. Quality Prioritization

Some bad actors in America have viewed international markets as dumping grounds for products that American markets have rejected. As increased globalization and innovation have led to more collaborative product design, demand for quality products is rising throughout the world. America is still viewed as having one the highest, if not the highest, standard for quality and purity. The “Made in USA” flag still means something, and American manufacturers need to ensure they hold themselves to high standards.

In the realm of supplements, this shift necessitates dedicating more time to ensuring the quality of the products before introducing them to the market. Keeping high operating standards regardless of where the final product will end up should be a practice all USA manufacturers implement. Global supplement purchasers are more aware than ever of the QC standards and audits that are done for top facilities. Certifications from trusted third parties such as NSF are going to play a larger role in international negotiations and expectations.

As consumers overseas are becoming increasingly concerned with receiving quality products, American manufacturers must be ready to meet this demand by keeping up on all relevant certifications and keeping detailed demonstrable adherence to SOPs.

2. Sustainable Product Design

When I was in Spain recently, I learned of a company that manufactures sustainable plastic bottles. These bottles are fully compostable and yet still have the same look and feel of our standard widely used HDPE bottles. These sorts of packaging products will be a massive area of growth in the international market. Why? People across the world are forced to see the effects of pollution, plastic-laden waters, and overflowing landfills more prominently than most of us do in the US.
The move away from plastic bottles in our industry is long overdue, and in this area, it may be international markets that leap ahead of US markets. Greater sustainability is a call that most consumers request the world over, and our industry should heed the call.

3. Probiotic Strains

We all know probiotics are very popular all over the world. This trend will certainly continue into 2024. However, cultivation of strain-specific probiotics is on the rise internationally. This trend aligns with the trajectory observed in the United States, where strain-specific probiotics have already gained prominence.

What sets these apart from more commonly sold probiotics is the presence of clinical trials tailored to individualized traits. Unlike generic probiotics used for a wide array of purposes, such as weight loss, sleep, gut health, and blood pressure, the emerging approach involves testing individual strains for specific traits. Strains such as DE111 have mountains of data behind them that show the difference between a strain-specific probiotic and a generic probiotic. This shift towards specialization implies a potential for more effective and targeted probiotics. From a scientific standpoint, conducting clinical trials on individual strains allows for more accurate and easily reproducible test results. While this advancement promises enhanced efficacy, there is usually a slight increase in price that can deter some people. The move towards specific probiotic strains represents a nuanced evolution in the industry, emphasizing precision and scientific rigor for improved consumer outcomes.

Meeting Demands of the Market in 2024

The word for 2024 is quality. Quality matters on the international market, and it is becoming even more important. In pursuit of quality, it’s crucial to recognize that unwavering commitment to science will be the key to reaping rewards. This involves a dual commitment: ensuring products are not only sustainable but also manufactured in scientific precision. In the evolving landscape of global commerce, aligning with the principles of quality through prioritization of sustainability and scientific integrity is paramount for sustained success.

Ean A. Brandon has been an international marketer, salesperson, and consultant in the dietary supplements space for over 12 years. He currently serves as director of international business development for Somafina.

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About the Author(s)

Ean Brandon

International Business Development Director, Somafina

Ean A. Brandon holds an MBA in Healthcare Administration and boasts a decade of experience in the global supplement industry. Over the years, he has served as a representative for multiple U.S. supplement manufacturers, playing a pivotal role in their endeavors to establish international distribution networks and strengthen brand presence around the world. When not traveling, Ean lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife and a beloved pug companion. He currently serves as International Business Development Director at Somafina.

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