Supplements are big business.
New and novel ways to get vitamins, whole foods and minerals into our bodies is rapidly creating market opportunity in the supplement space, evidenced by both increasing revenue growth, and an average supplement spend per transaction of just over $95 in the U.S.
Heightened awareness for preventative wellness stemming from the pandemic has resulted in renewed demand for new and innovative supplement delivery formats. People want more palatable and personalized supplement products, and they want new ways to consume them.
Take for example the gummy market. Just about every vitamin, mineral and whole food has been “gummified”, creating rapid growth and new products, but also making gummy formats more of a mainstream supplement form.
According to the Nutrition Business Journal, the gummy/jelly category grew at a stunning 75% clip in 2021, to a whopping 23% of total supplement sales. NBJ expects the gummy market to be four times larger than 2016, reaching $17 Billion by 2024.
Gummy formats will continue to grow faster than the total market as new ingredient categories emerge. But looking ahead, a growing amount of share in the supplement market may feature entirely new formats like mouth sprays, beverage shots, stick packs and topicals. Think mushroom mouth sprays and gel packs, or tinctures for sea vegetables like Irish moss for example.
Supplement Forms Matter
According to the 2020 Council for Responsible Nutrition Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, the top three factors that influence supplement delivery preferences are: ease of swallowing, price, and form.5
New forms can help consumers overcome challenges with taking pills, and even help with “pill fatigue”, as they want a better experience for their spend in terms of appearance, taste, and texture.
Other important consumer characteristics include factors like flavor, palatability, and the supplement’s effect on the gastrointestinal environment.3
Bioavailability is also increasingly important, which refers to how much of the beneficial ingredient is absorbed and used by the body.
Either way, the once nascent space of personalized nutrition is creating new product innovation opportunities relative to delivery forms that can meet the increased consumer demand for personalization.
Given the above considerations, liquid supplements in multiple forms (e.g. vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and even liquid meal replacement products) are becoming an increasingly popular due to their multi-sensory experience.3
Taste, texture and bioavailability play into the major benefits of liquid delivery formats. Oil drops, syrups, shots, sprays and water-based forms are popular for various ingredient types and with differing markets, and suggests liquid forms will continue to rise in popularity with consumers as more palatable options come on line.3,4
Liquid energy shots are still popular with no sign of abating, and there are more functional formats being developed for liquid shots that include ingredients for immunity, sleep, brain health, and even for beauty supplements.4
Soft Candies and Gels
This format is increasingly popular as consumer demand shifts toward the benefits of traditional supplements but with a tastier, and more ‘confection-inspired’ format.
And well, let’s admit it, we all would like for our supplements to taste like candy!
Today’s busy consumers are looking for snack-like products they can take on the go that are more palatable. Gummies often get lumped in here, but new formats are emerging in gels, chocolate soft candies, chewing gum and sticks that dissolve quickly.4
Multivitamin and mineral supplements comprise the bulk of the market for soft gels, but a rise in niche, higher-end products are surging. Phytochemical and cacao-containing chocolates and botanical extract jellies are just a few examples.
Edible jellies containing marine collagen and Manuka honey bring both beauty and immune-boosting benefits in one shot. Product trends using this format often combine functional health ingredients with beauty benefits.
Functional beverages have expanded over the past few years to incorporate multiple health-focused ingredients. Companies are incorporating nutrients and bioactive compounds like antioxidants, adaptogens, fiber, phenols, flavonoids, prebiotics, peptides, healthy fats and more. Sparkling waters that incorporate health benefits are part of the larger functional beverage industry, and have specifically enjoyed double-digit growth rates for the past few years.
Brands are hopping aboard and taking advantage of this trend, appealing to new consumer segments with functional-focused multi-ingredient products that contain amino acids like L-theanine, vitamins like B12, and vitamin C, and even hyaluronic acid, to help with skin hydration and texture. Hyaluronic acid is also being used in other countries in different forms like soft candies for example.
Bars and Bites
Protein and energy bars have been around for years. But more functional formulations are on the rise.4 These tap into the appeal of a healthy snack with functional benefits that improve mood, sleep, digestive health and increased energy.
Products may include multiple ingredients like adaptogens, beneficial mushrooms CBD, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, sea vegetables and other whole foods.
There are a number of impactful and standout formats currently trending in the supplement industry. While mainstream supplements (e.g. calcium and vitamin C) will always appeal to the masses, new and novel supplement delivery formats containing beneficial functional ingredients may shift market choice and create new opportunities for aspiring and agile brands that are keen to consumer demand for more personalized supplement products.
The supplement industry is growing faster than ever. We’re here to help you stay on top of the latest trends and help your company stand out. Whether you want to start your brand or simply need guidance with an existing one, we can help.
- Understanding Dietary Supplement Forms: From Softgel to Tincture and More! Fullscript. Published February 6, 2019. Accessed March 29, 2022. https://fullscript.com/blog/supplement-forms
- Saldanha LG, Dwyer JT, Bailen RA, et al. Characteristics and Challenges of Dietary Supplement Databases Derived from Label Information. J Nutr. 2018;148(Suppl 2):1422S-1427S. doi:10.1093/jn/nxy103
- New supplement delivery formats drive market change | Natural Products INSIDER. Accessed March 29, 2022. https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/contract-manufacturing/supplement-manufacturing-delivery-forms
- Beyond Pills: Innovation in Supplement Delivery Formats. Accessed March 29, 2022. https://www.glanbianutritionals.com/en/nutri-knowledge-center/insights/beyond-pills-innovation-supplement-delivery-formats
- nutraingredients-usa.com. CRN survey: 80% of Americans are now using dietary supplements. nutraingredients-usa.com. Accessed April 6, 2022. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2021/10/22/CRN-survey-80-of-Americans-are-now-using-dietary-supplements