1. CBD brings both opportunity and confusion
With sales growth of over 50 percent in 2018 for hemp-derived CBD supplements alone, there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm surrounding this ingredient. However, while excitement is building within the industry, a lot of questions remain. Is it legal? Will it become legal? Will I get high? In a study of 2,739 consumers, NBJ found that 47 percent of consumers are currently familiar with CBD, and knowledge of science and legality within this CBD-familiar audience is mixed. Still, our research suggest consumers are not waiting around for clarity on these details to purchase. These early adopters are bought-in, but gaining traction with a mainstream audience may require more clarity and education.
2. Gut Health is still hot but the interest is shifting
Coming off nearly 15 years of double-digit growth of probiotic supplements, we are entering a new phase of interest in gut health and the microbiome and a few key factors are at play. Growth of probiotic supplements slowed to an estimated 9.5 percent in 2018 (which is still stronger than the industry as a whole). Continued innovation and expansion of probiotic food and beverage products has led to growth outpacing that of probiotic supplements. We have also seen explosive growth of prebiotic supplements, which are doubling year-over-year, and synbiotic supplements (containing both pre- and probiotics) which grew at 16 percent in 2018. Consumers are also approaching probiotics with a more personalized lens, looking to address specific conditions and identify specific strains. It is safe to say that interest in gut health has not waned, but the landscape has certainly shifted.
3. Consumer approach to weight management is affecting multiple categories
Nearly half of all Americans are trying to lose weight, according to the most recent results from the Centers for Disease Control’s annual health survey. This comes as no surprise, as the obesity rate in the U.S. continues to grow–reaching 40 percent in the same report. But even with 49 percent of the U.S. trying to lose weight, NBJ has seen a slowing of growth across weight management and weight loss supplements in 2017 and 2018. Fewer consumers seem to be turning to magic pills to manage their weight. Meal supplements have had strong growth over the past decade, peaking at 15 percent growth in 2012, but this category also took a hit in 2017. Weight loss is an area that has always been driven by fads, but we see this slowing interest in weight management and loss formulas a sign of something larger, and representing a shift toward more holistic approaches to managing weight.
4. E-commerce continues to disrupt
E-commerce in natural and organic continues to drive sales, with estimated 20 percent growth in 2018, creating new opportunity but causing some concern in brick and mortar. In a 2017 study of 299 natural and organic product manufacturers, NBJ found that over half of companies launched within the last 4 years are beginning by selling their products online directly to consumers. And while 86 percent of sales still happen in brick and mortar, the rise of e-commerce is disrupting the industry, driving innovation in both mass market and natural and specialty retail.
Find more data and insights from Nutrition Business Journal here.