NMI Reports 2008 Health & Wellness Industry Sales at More Than $112 Billion

Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) announced today that retail sales within the U.S. consumer packaged goods health and wellness industry reached more than $112 billion in 2008, representing growth of 9% over 2007. This figure includes sales across all retail and direct-to-consumer channels for the six categories detailed below. These findings are part of NMI's annual Health & Wellness Trends Database™ (HWTD) research study, conducted in Q4 of 2008 among 5,709 U.S. households.

According to NMI President Maryellen Molyneaux, "NMI research clearly shows that the current economic downturn is changing consumer behavior on many levels, including spending related to health and wellness. So while sales in each category continue to grow, consumers are becoming more discerning and are looking for real value in their purchases and not just the perceived value. This shift in behavior will impact manufacturers and retailers not just short-term but also in the future."

While functional foods and beverages continue to represent the largest category with 2008 sales of $40.5 billion, the second largest category saw a slight shift in the past year, from vitamins/minerals/herbal supplements to organic foods and beverages. The category with the largest growth over the past year also shifted in 2008. Natural/organic general merchandise (including pet products, clothing and household cleaning products) saw growth of 32% over 2007. This is likely due to the mainstreaming of these products and greater availability in a number of shopping channels.

Based on consumer spending by product segment, consumer penetration/usage trends, and projected data, industry retail dollars in billions for 2008 (and growth versus 2007) are as follows:

Functional/Fortified Foods & Beverages : $40.5 (5%)
Organic Foods/Beverages: $23.6 (18%)
Vitamins, Minerals, Herbal & Dietary Supplements: $23.3 (7%)
Natural Foods/Beverages: $14.6 (4%)
Natural/Organic Personal Care: $8.4 (7%)
Natural/Organic General Merchandise: $2.0 (32%)
With the economic future unclear, NMI projects that the health and wellness industry as a whole will remain relatively stable over the next five years at approximately 7% growth each year.

More information can be found in NMI's newest consumer insights report entitled "Shopping for Wellness in a Tight Economy". This 125-page report examines how the current economic crisis is changing consumer behavior on every level. Consumption is being replaced with sustainability, possessions with purpose and perceived value with real value. Current indicators show that impact of these changes will not be temporary adjustments but rather a total realignment of consumer behavior based on a reevaluation of priorities. More information is available at http://www.nmisolutions.com/r_shopping_for_wellness.html.

NMI is an international strategic consulting, market research, and business development company specializing in the health, wellness, and sustainable marketplace. For more information on NMI’s proprietary research reports and services, visit NMI's web site at www.NMIsolutions.com.

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