Nutraceutical Industry

Nutraceuticals can be defined as any food product (or part thereof) which provides health benefits – including prevention and/or treatment of disease – in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foodstuff. Typically, nutraceutical products will be isolated from foods and subsequently sold in a medicinal form.

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The nutraceutical industry represents a dynamic and evolving entity that offers novel opportunities to merge scientific discovery with the growing consumer interest in health-enhancing foods. Nutraceuticals are of particular interest as a way to reduce the often expensive disease treatment approaches that are currently employed in developed countries.

The nutraceutical industry encompasses three main segments which include functional foods, dietary supplements, and herbal/natural products.

Global demand for nutraceuticals

Although the nutraceuticals industry first emerged in the early 1990s, the world witnessed its explosive growth during the first decade of this century. Between 1999 to 2002, the nutraceuticals industry grew at an annual average growth rate of 7.3 percent, whereas the growth rate of this industry over the past several years has doubled to 14.7 percent.

Today, the global nutraceutical market has an estimated worth of $117 billion USD. The development of more personalized and customizable products within the nutraceutical industry has gained increasing popularity, particularly in the more developed markets of the world. Some of the key strategies within the modern nutraceutical industry therefore involve increasing the investment in research and development projects to find innovative approaches, verifying health claims of the products and market research.

A primary impetus for the rapid growth of the nutraceutical industry is consumer demand. To this end, consumers are looking to follow healthy lifestyles and obtain optimum nutrition to keep diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity at bay. Although the United States, European Union and India are currently the world's largest nutraceuticals markets, China is likely to surpass them all by 2030.

What Is A Nutraceutical? Pharmaceuticals Containing Bioactive Compounds Obtained From Food

The global nutraceutical industry

The United States nutraceutical market still represents the largest nutraceutical market in the world. In fact, many American companies are looking to diversify their products and move towards incorporating a greater number of natural ingredients in their products. This change of approach is largely a consequence of the push from American consumers, many of whom are extremely health-conscious and demand specific ingredients to be present in the products they consume.

The market for nutraceuticals in Europe is witnessing heavy consolidation, with a focus on innovation and new product development. By the year 2025, it is estimated that the compound annual growth rate of the European nutraceutical industry will reach 7.5%. Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands have emerged as the key nutraceutical innovation hubs of Europe, whereas Spain and Great Britain act as decisive test markets for new products.

According to a recent report, the total market for nutraceuticals in India is growing at a rate of 21% per year. It is currently a nascent market that is trying to incorporate traditional herbal ingredients, many of which are ayurvedic, into the nutraceutical portfolio. Still, its growth has surpassed global rates in recent years, mostly driven by functional food and beverages categories.


Further Reading

Last Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Dr. Tomislav Meštrović

Written by

Dr. Tomislav Meštrović

Dr. Tomislav Meštrović is a medical doctor (MD) with a Ph.D. in biomedical and health sciences, specialist in the field of clinical microbiology, and an Assistant Professor at Croatia's youngest university - University North. In addition to his interest in clinical, research and lecturing activities, his immense passion for medical writing and scientific communication goes back to his student days. He enjoys contributing back to the community. In his spare time, Tomislav is a movie buff and an avid traveler.


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