Herb Supplement Sales Show Growth in Multiple Market Channels

Herbal dietary supplement sales in the United States demonstrated growth in multiple market channels during both 2006 and 2007. A report, published in the latest issue of the nonprofit American Botanical Council’s (ABC) quarterly journal HerbalGram, indicates that total herb supplement sales rose over 4% each year within the US market.

The report features herb supplement sales statistics from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) and supplement industry market research firm Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ).

According to the article, total sales of herbal dietary supplements within all sales channels of the US market reached approximately $4,791,000,000 in 2007. This figure represents a 4.4% increase in total herb supplement sales from 2006 and indicates a continued trend of steady growth over the past few years. NBJ made this estimate from data derived from surveys of supplement companies, interviews with major retailers and industry experts, and various published and unpublished secondary material. The sales data for supplements does not include sales for herbal teas.

IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, has calculated herb supplement sales in the mainstream market channel (i.e., from food, drug, and mass market retailers, FDM) as being $267,757,500 for 2007. The IRI data is considered by many industry experts as some of the most reliable econometric sales data available on herbal supplements for this specific market channel, although it does not include sales from Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, other large warehouse buying clubs, or convenience stores. IRI’s 2007 herb supplement sales statistic represents an increase of 7.6% over its 2006 figure for herb supplement sales and represents approximately 5.6% of the total estimated market. (If Wal-Mart and other sales were included, the total for the FDM channel would be at least 15% of total herb supplement sales.

“These statistics reflect increased consumer interest in taking more responsibility for their health,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC, and a co-author of the market report. “Many Americans take herbs, other dietary supplements, herbal teas and related products as part of their daily dietary and health routines. These products are becoming more mainstream and less ‘alternative’ for millions of people,” he added.

Herbal dietary supplements are sold in the United States through a variety of market channels, including mainstream retail stores, health and natural food stores, convenience stores, warehouse stores, mail order catalogs and Internet sites, radio and television direct sales outlets, multi-level marketing firms that sell directly to the consumer, health professionals who sell supplements from their offices, and other channels.

“The HerbalGram herb market report is one of the most often-cited articles ABC publishes each year,” said Blumenthal. “It is referenced in medical, pharmacy, and nutrition journals, as well as in many other professional, trade and consumer publications. It is usually difficult to estimate the size of the total herb market in the United States and the ABC report is considered by many as one of the most accurate and inclusive.”

The HerbalGram market report includes multiple tables showing herbal supplement sales statistics in various market channels, as estimated by NBJ, a division of New Hope Natural Media. It also has a table featuring the 25 top-selling single herb supplements in the mainstream market channel as determined by IRI. HerbalGram, a peer reviewed publication, is available at some bookstores and natural food stores and is mailed to members of ABC. The market report article is posted on the ABC website, accessible here.

About the American Botanical Council

Founded in 1988 the American Botanical Council is the leading nonprofit organization in the United States addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs, medicinal plants, phytomedicines, and related plant-based ingredients. ABC’s members include academic researchers and educators, universities and libraries, health professionals and medical institutions, botanical gardens and arboreta, government agencies, members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries, journalists, consumers, and other interested parties from over 70 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas, where it publishes HerbalGram, a peer-reviewed journal on herbal medicine; HerbalEGram, a monthly e-publication; HerbClip, a twice-monthly series of summaries and reviews of recent research; plus reference books for researchers and health professionals and other educational materials, including a guide to the identification of medicinal plants to be used by industry for quality control purposes. Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900. Website: http://www.herbalgram.org/.

About Nutrition Business Journal

NBJ is a monthly executive journal focusing primarily on the nutrition industry. NBJ also addresses how this industry impacts the larger food, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Each issue discusses business activities, market size/growth, trends, and opportunities in the nutrition industry, which NBJ defines as dietary supplements, herbs, natural foods, and natural personal care products. NBJ provides market size and growth projections, profiles of major companies & new entrants, case studies of industry leaders, and lists and revenues of top companies in key segments. Information: Contact Nutrition Business Journal at 1401 Pearl Street, Suite 200, Boulder, CO 80304, Phone: 303-998-9399. Website: http://www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com/.


Cavaliere C, Rea P, Blumenthal M. Herbal supplement sales in United States show growth in all channels. HerbalGram 2008;78:60-63

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