Table of Contents
For 2014, growth in the supplement industry slowed to 5.1 percent. That’s not just down from 7.5 percent in 2013; it’s the slowest growth the industry has seen since 2010. Vitamins and specialty supplements seem to have taken the brunt of things. And that’s all before the New York Attorney General investigation hit herbs and botanicals so hard that anything with the word “supplement” anywhere in its description or business plan has felt the pain. Indications right now are for flat to negative growth for all segments of the industry in 2015—and that’s assuming things don’t get worse.
It won’t be news to anyone that recent times have been hard for the supplement industry. !e past couple of years have seen studies linking Omega 3s to cancer; Dr. Oz getting eviscerated before Congress, dismantled in the press, and attacked by fellow physicians calling for him to resign his teaching post at Columbia University; class-action lawsuits around protein adulteration; and a new scandal around BMPEA in sports supplements. For 2014, growth in the supplement industry slowed to 5.1 percent. !at’s not just down from 7.5 percent in 2013; it’s the slowest growth the industry has seen since 2010. Vitamins and specialty supplements seem to have taken the brunt of things. And that’s all before the New York Attorney General investigation hit herbs and botanicals so hard that anything with the word “supplement” anywhere in its description or business plan has felt the pain. Indications right now are for #at to negative growth for all segments of the industry in 2015—and that’s assuming things don’t get worse. According to our own consumer research, 11.7 percent of people say they trust supplements less now than they did a year ago. It’s gotten to the point that even industry insiders are talking about new regulations—and even a rethinking of DSHEA—in terms of when, not if.
Lousy media, negative research, government investigations, class-action lawsuits, and calls for more oversight: !at’s a brutal mix. And yet we’re talking about growth. After a 5.1 percent bump, the overall US supplements industry is worth $36.7 billion—the highest it’s ever been. We are very con%dent in both that number and our growth estimates. So far in 2015, and despite the NY AG investigation, we haven’t seen a negative impact on herbs and botanicals in the natural channel. Minerals actually grew at an even faster rate in 2014 than 2013, thanks both to calcium seeming to regain its footing and magnesium’s continued strength. An industry that can not just survive those headwinds but can continue to %nd growth opportunities despite them is indeed strong. In the specialty category, melatonin and probiotics saw growth rates in the mid teens. !at’s down from highs of over 20 percent, but those rates were unsustainable. !ese products are still booming, and the emerging science on the microbiome points to even more interest in the gut and digestion in coming years. Letter vitamins had another bad year, up just 3 percent, versus 6.3 percent in 2013. But vitamin A/Cartenoids (11.5 percent) were a particular bright spot, and vitamin D (8.1 percent) continues to show strength.
Still, there’s no denying that the overall industry is dealing with di&cult times and facing, at best, an uncertain future. Just the prospect of a regulatory overhaul or a class-action lawsuit or an attorney general investigation or a consumer trend toward whole foods and away from supplements would be enough to lose sleep over. Facing all of those simultaneously adds up to a transformative moment. To help industry not just ride out that change but actually steer it, NBJ has compiled the report you our now reading. In the pages that follow, we investigate the regulatory prospects facing the industry, take a look at consumer sentiment, and report on a special study to identify and understand the core supplement consumer. If the industry needs to %nd its center, that’s the place to start. Of course, that’s all in addition to deep, quantitative dives into all the segments that make up this industry.
This report includes:
- Sales and growth through 2014 and forecasts through 2020 for NBJ’s six supplement categories: vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals, specialty supplements, meal replacement, and sports nutrition supplements
- NBJ’s Top 100 Dietary Supplements in the US, ranked by sales
- Analysis and forecasts for every distribution channel (mass market, natural specialty, multilevel marketing, direct media, practitioner, and internet) for each product category
- Consumer surveys
- Deeply reported coverage of the top trends and events shaping the supplement industry
- SWOT analyses and pro%les for the top 50 companies in the industry
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