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Predictions for the nutraceutical industry in 2022
29th December 2021 • The Vitafoods Insights Podcast • Informa Markets
00:00:00 00:11:55

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Mental wellbeing, sustainability, and increased demand for personalisation of supplements and nutraceuticals will drive industry growth in the year ahead.

Whatever the market, wherever folks are based, there’s a great sense of relief to put 2021 in the rearview mirror and turn to the opportunities and adventures that lie ahead. The nutraceuticals community saw tremendous growth with consumers turning to natural solutions for health and wellness, and communities around the world addressing challenges around sustainability, supply chain sourcing, and delivering efficacious products to market. But how will that impact the road ahead? In this year-end wrap-up, Heather Granato, vice president of content at Vitafoods, offers insights on the whitespace opportunities that will foster growth in the nutraceutical industry in the coming year, with predictions from across the global community.

Tune in to hear more about:

  • Personalised nutrition
  • Sustainability and the supply chain
  • Connecting directly with consumers
  • Gut health at the core of preventive nutrition

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Vitafoods Insights:

Welcome to the Vitafoods Insights Podcast. Join us as we explore the latest science innovation, helping the global health and nutrition industry connect, develop and progress. Today's host is Heather Granato, vice president, content.


Greetings, I’m Heather Granato and I’m pleased you’ve tuned in for some predictions about what to expect in the nutraceutical industry in 2022 and beyond. Of course, given the continued impact of COVID-19, nothing is certain. But there is a definite feeling of this ‘new normal,’ as we settle into patterns and approaches that might have been considered far out just a few years ago, but are now truly transforming our lives.

Consider the disruptions to the global supply chain. Expect these to continue well into next year, but with a more transparent view and a greater push by consumers to get the story of their ingredients back to the field. Companies must be prepared to secure their materials, while ‘trust but verify’ has never been more critical. Anton Orazem of Pharmalinea, captured this sentiment.


In 2022, the area to watch is certainly supply chain security. With all the rising costs and scarcity of the material, the threat we see is companies compromising the quality of raw materials just to be able to secure supply. This could jeopardise the quality, and with that reputation of the whole industry. 


GOED’s Ellen Schutt also raised concerns about supply, which could impact growth opportunities.


We heard consistently from members that sales exceeded expectations throughout the last 12 months. As we look ahead to 2022, we are hopeful that there will be more of the same. But, of course, there are challenges around shipping and other logistics for encapsulation services, etc.


Fortunately, there are solutions. Combining technology with transparency will help brands tell their story and build trust with consumers, particularly around sustainable sourcing. Nicole Jansen from Innova Market Insights summarized the opportunity:


What I expect to see a lot more next year is really actions of brands and companies together with consumers that are taken to build trust in claims for instance of positive climate impact, but also to get faith in brand actions to ensure acceptance of certifications. For instance, this will probably be done through quick clear, tangible information, and also product life stories that can really stand up to scrutiny. It’s going to be really interesting to see how brands will start working at eye level with consumers in 2022.


Consumers are prepared to build relationships with brands they trust, a step that Gillian Fish of the 6am agency considers moving from business to business, to business to human.


During the time of lockdown, the lines became blurred between our personal lives and our professional lives. And with that came the need for marketers to understand their audiences, previously known as consumers, in a more holistic way. We need in order to be effective in our connection to drive sales is ultimately we need to understand their hopes, their fears, the challenges that they're facing.


These challenges consumers are facing are evolving over time. Instead of a focus on a single ‘condition’, there’s a move toward integrative, preventive health actions. Martin Oxley of Buzzback commented:


The area to watch out for in 2022, I think, is health in terms of maintenance and prevention, rather than just focusing on problem fixing. I’m thinking next year is going to be about healthy equilibrium. 


This affords brands the opportunity to support a preventive, long-term approach to health. FMCG Gurus’ Mike Hughes also sees this shift from cure to prevention among consumers.


They've re-evaluated their diets, and their lifestyles, and taken a long-term approach to wellness. This is something that we'll see in 2022 and beyond, both because of the continued uncertainty around COVID-19, but also has consumers become more conscious about their health. This will drive demand for functional and fortified food and drink products. As consumers seek out groceries that blur the boundaries between traditional grocery items and medicine. 


Expect to see more unique delivery formats both in the food supplement space and on those grocery shelves. The sheer number of gummies that were released in 2021 illustrate the consumer desire for different ways to meet their nutritional needs. As we head into 2022, expect to see more food and beverage products with probiotics and prebiotics, not just for ‘digestion’, but for every way the gut microbiome can be affected. Alwine Kardinaal from NIZO is seeing more research taking place around the connection between gut and immune, gut and brain, and more.


For 2022, we expect the interest in immune function to last, and, in particular, in the role of our gut microbiome as mediator of immune effects. Another trend to watch is how food ingredients such as probiotics can modulate the gut microbiome to affect feelings of anxiety and stress as well as sleep quality. 


Similar sentiments were expressed by IFF’s Chris Schneider:


A top area to watch for in 2022 is the consumers quest for backed by science botanicals and ingredients in association with probiotics to deliver personalised, natural solutions for supplementation. 


Botanicals were, perhaps unsurprisingly, top of the list for the Herbal Pharmacist, David Foreman, who also called out some similar health areas of focus.


Botanicals are back, stronger than ever, and we're gonna see a lot of movement moving forward. And for 2022 I predict the mental wellness category of stress, sleep and cognitive health to be the boom that we're all looking for and driving our market forward.


This ‘mental wellbeing’ discussion is one to watch. Where the ‘brain health’ category used to be about older populations, there is now even more emphasis on cognitive performance, executive function and responsiveness. The little grey cells need extra support, without taxing them out. Expect to see adaptogens at the top of the list for their ability to support not only focus, but to bring the body and mind into harmony. Instead of a vicious circle with lack of sleep, increased stress, decreased concentration, we can move into a restful night, directed efforts and positive focus. Helping consumers find the products that work best for them in this category is an opportunity not just at ‘retail’, but into the tech space. Meditation? Focus? There’s an app for that.

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We currently have a vast number of personalised nutrition solutions in the marketplace. And moving into next year, we see an increased number of collaborations and ecosystem partnerships to increase and improve the consumer experience.


Finally, expect to see even more around the connections between nutrition, activity and general health. As consumers tailor their personal experiences and gather more data, they’ll also be making decisions around their diet patterns and activity. It’s about getting and staying active as part of a healthy lifestyle, and the positive effects it has. As Adam Carey, the chairman of ESSNA, put it,


The sports and active nutrition role, the sector now has an opportunity to show policymakers the significant social impact it can make, the contribution it can make to promoting healthy diets and active lifestyle, and the role it can play in the sustainable transformation.


This idea of sustainable transformation is something I discussed with Simon Pettman of IADSA, as the organization developed sustainability principles for the supplement sector. What could this mean to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and how can we all support the movement?


The role of nutrition in helping build resilient populations will be an increasing focus of governments all over the world. The seeds have been sown in the minds of many officials during the pandemic, but can this now be developed further?


It's worth considering what each of us can do to make the world a healthier place. Expect to see more discussions around sustainability—not just as a buzzword, but realistically what does it mean to people, planet and profit. What are the steps that we could take to support small businesses in the nutrition space around the globe, like GAIN’s Sustainable Business Network is doing? Or to not only talk about the importance of diversity, but to create a culture of belonging that goes beyond the stereotypical ‘health food’ shopper to help make healthy foods more available, and creates organizations in the industry that reflect the changing face of that demographic.

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From all of us here at Vitafoods, it’s time to shape the future of the nutraceutical industry … together!

Vitafoods Insights:

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