April 24, 2008

4 Min Read
Heart-health supplements crack $1B sales figure

Sales for heart-health supplements that address high cholesterol and hypertension exceed $1 billion in combined natural and conventional revenue. Conventional supermarkets sell the most dietary supplements targeting high cholesterol ($193.1 million worth in 2006), and drug stores move the most hypertension-related supplements, with sales of those products topping $290 million last year. In comparison, naturals supermarkets sold $54.6 million worth of supplements designed to manage high cholesterol and $153.2 million in supplements that address high blood pressure.

Fish oil is popular for heart health among naturals and conventional shoppers alike. In fact, it is the top fatty acid product within the supplement oils category. These oils are available in several forms, such as capsules, soft gels and liquids. Other popular supplement oils include flax, borage, evening primrose, wheat germ and hemp.

Consumers have embraced fish oil supplements as a convenient source of essential fatty acids. And, with the American Heart Association's recent recommendation that all women take a daily supplement containing the EFAs docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, this category is poised for further growth. Manufacturers have begun incorporating EFAs into an increasing array of finished products, including eggs, chocolate, mayonnaise, granola bars and waffles.

Fiber and plant sterol ingredients, which also address heart health, are making an appearance in functional foods as well. Fiber is showing up in products ranging from breakfast cereal and orange juice to pasta and graham crackers. With the exception of oat bran, products with fiber additives of all kinds are seeing 15 percent to 20 percent growth in naturals stores and up to 140 percent growth in the conventional food, drug and mass merchandise channel. Sales of functional foods with added plant sterols are declining in conventional stores, but growing nearly 430 percent in naturals supermarkets, most notably in the chocolate candy, snack bars and toaster pastries, and cheese alternatives categories.

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