Worldwide demand for dietetic foods, beverages and supplements will continue to grow unabated for at least the next few years, according to a report by market analysts Euromonitor.
While the dietetic foods market is moving from a relatively small base, the growth potential is enormous as people's health awareness grows.
Factors playing a major role in the growth of this sector include:
- Longer life expectancy combined with an ageing population profile—particularly in developed economies.
- Increased obesity—leading to increased risk of major diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular disease.
- Sedentary lifestyles—especially in developed countries where people do little exercise, eat an unbalanced diet and lead stressful lives.
- Growing consumer awareness, and medical diagnosis, of food intolerances.
Sports nutrition, slimming foods, products for food intolerances and medical foods are the sectors that will provide the bulk of the growth, according to the report. Sports nutrition categories include re-hydration drinks, energy drinks, high-nutrition supplements, protein concentrates and whole sportsfoods. The food intolerance area includes lactose-free and lactose-reduced products, diabetic and gluten-free products while medical foods are those aimed at people with chronic disease.
"Cross-over product usage will increase, as with the consumption of sports drinks by non-athletes or the use of lactose-free products for general health benefits. Developing markets for dietetic foods in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe will rapidly become more sophisticated, particularly as global manufacturer participation increases," the report forecasts, adding, "Global or multinational branding will become an increasingly important feature."