2024 Nutraceutical and Natural Product Industry Outlook: Insights from Nutritional Outlook’s Editorial Advisory Board, Part 1

Opinion
Article
Photo © AdobeStock.com/nicholashan

Photo © AdobeStock.com/nicholashan

Nutritional Outlook’s Editorial Advisory Board members highlight trends for the nutraceutical, natural product, and health and wellness industries in 2024.

What major market, industry, and/or consumer trends do you expect to see in 2024?

Judy Blatman
Judy Blatman Communications
Founder/President

Judy Blatman

Judy Blatman

One positive trend that should continue in 2024 is the full-on embrace by manufacturers and marketers to marry supplements with other healthy habits, like exercise, hydration, proper sleep hygiene, and more. By positioning supplements as one of the smart behaviors that lead to overall wellness, it not only mainstreams the products but also reinforces that achieving good health is a multifactorial approach of interconnected actions. It helps consumers understand that supplements are not drugs, but rather supplements to a healthy diet and an integral part—but not the sole solution—of living your healthiest life.

Along these lines, I envision more cross-pollination between category products and category consumers in 2024. The sports/active nutrition category has seen strong growth, rising from the early COVID ashes. Part of that success is due to the category’s ability to reinvent itself: to maintain its more traditional customers while expanding and embracing active lifestyle consumers with more protein, collagen, creatine, and energy drink offerings. On the flip side, traditional sports nutrition consumers are showing more interest in an array of more foundational health products that offer a fuller, holistic approach to overall wellness. These include products such as super-green powders, stress-support formulas, immunity products, and even multivitamins. Other categories, too, are taking a similar approach—understanding that one product can fit into different boxes, attracting different consumers for different reasons. Can this more inclusive approach, this blurring of categories, work to build expanded audiences and increased sales for the full industry? I’m watching as companies continue to build on these trends.

Scott Dicker
Market Insights Director
SPINS LLC

Scott Dicker, Market Insights Director

Scott Dicker, Market Insights Director

This year for supplement trends, I have a few things that I am looking for. 2023 finished up with active nutrition once again being the top growth category, growing at just under 40%YOY. All indicators are that this category will continue to have success in 2024 with the ever expanding demographics and use cases for the products. One area that I am closely watching within active nutrition is for powdered hydration brands to look to expand into the RTD market. We saw a similar transition happen from powdered pre-workouts to energy drinks over the past few years causing major disruption and I think that strategy can work well in the hydration set as well.

Beyond active nutrition, I think the major things to watch in 2024 are the rise in women’s health products. The environment is perfect for some of these successful DTC brands that focus on things like menopause, perimenopause, PCOS and libido, to expand their reach into retail and really send awareness to a new level, mainstreaming this category. I am also very bullish on ingredients like magnesium to have a big year, specifically in the mood support health focus. Overall, expect a return to high single digit growth for the entire supplements space after two years of limited growth from the recalibration of the pandemic highs.

John R. Endres, ND
Chief Scientific Officer
AIBMR Life Sciences Inc.

John R. Endres, ND

John R. Endres, ND

Food Security Solutions: As the population of the world continues to increase, solutions are needed to feed all of the people on the planet a healthy diet. Alternatives to animal protein sources for healthy nutritious foods have been with us for a very long time. Usually, these require good arable land and significant time to produce. In the future, global demand will extend far beyond what is possible with today's technologies. 2024 will find R&D expanding into alternatives to these needs such as: cultured meats (based on cell-culturing techniques that eliminate animal suffering), insect proteins, protein-rich algal and microorganism biomass—innovation that is not only good for our health, but good for planet earth.

David Foreman, RPh
Founder and President
Herbal Pharmacist

David Foreman, RPh

David Foreman, RPh

2024 will be a carryover year from 2023 with high consumer demand for “all things mental wellness.” Migrating from the mental health impact of COVID to concerns over the economy, wars, job security, and the future will push this market higher. Additionally, I see a trend towards more innovative technologies to be incorporated to help with formulation challenges. I believe that Ayurvedic solutions will be even hotter moving forward as the relationship between the U.S. and India appears to be growing and the added consumer exposure to ancient remedies.

Kimberly Kawa, BSc
Wellness Product Specialist
The Movitz Group

Kimberly Kawa, BSc

Kimberly Kawa, BSc

Given the expected decrease in inflation in line with Federal Reserve projections for this year, I’m still anticipating a cautious approach from dietary supplement buyers early on. The focus is likely to remain on essential yet trending supplements like magnesium and omega-3s. However, I foresee sustained growth in supplements targeting cognitive function, mood enhancement, and digestive support, aligning with the ongoing consumer trend towards a holistic wellness approach.

In addition, I anticipate a sustained emphasis on performance nutrition by active adults in 2024, particularly focusing on pre-workout supplements, protein powders, and hydration solutions such as electrolyte supplements. These segments appear poised for ongoing expansion, driven by consumer interest in improving fitness and overall well-being.

In light of the escalating emphasis on sustainability and carbon footprint reduction within the broader Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry, more VMS (Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements) brands are expected to shift focus towards exploring eco-friendly packaging innovations. Keeping both product efficacy and consumer safety at the forefront, brands may consider ways to incorporate biodegradable materials, water-soluble labels, post-consumer recycled packaging, and to consider local sourcing to reduce international transit emissions. These strategies align with the broader sustainability goals embraced by the industry and consumers.

Douglas “Duffy” MacKay, ND
Senior Vice President, Dietary Supplements
Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Douglas “Duffy” MacKay, ND

Douglas “Duffy” MacKay, ND

In 2024, the markets for pre, post, and probiotics are poised for significant growth, driven by a heightened awareness among consumers and healthcare practitioners about the crucial role gut health plays in overall well-being. The concept of leaky gut syndrome, a condition characterized by undigested food particles and toxins entering the bloodstream due to the compromised integrity of one’s intestinal lining, has been long discussed in alternative and complementary medicine. However, with growing recognition of leaky gut syndrome being a contributor to other various health issues, it is now gaining traction within the broader medical community.

As our understanding of leaky gut gains acceptance within the broader medical community, and as people are becoming increasingly proactive about self-managing their health needs, we’ve simultaneously seen in increase in consumers specifically seeking out products that support healthy digestion. Another interesting insight gained from this broader acceptance, is that the dynamic exploration of the gut-brain axis and its role in overall health is driving innovation in the dietary supplement industry.

Scientific research continues to identify specific evidence-based dietary supplements as beneficial for fortifying the intestinal barrier and mitigating the effects of leaky gut. Probiotics, renowned for promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria, contribute to maintaining intestinal integrity. Glutamine, an amino acid, nourishes cells lining the intestines, and is often used as a dietary supplement in the context of leaky gut for its role in the maintenance and repair of the intestinal barrier. Additionally, dietary fiber, acting as a prebiotic, provides nourishment for beneficial bacteria, supporting a thriving microbial community in the gut. Research only continues to build, showing that these and other dietary supplements positively contribute to a more resilient intestinal barrier.

As we usher in 2024, the proactive pursuit of gut health through evidence-based supplements aligns with the broader trend towards preventative healthcare through self-care, positioning these dietary supplements as integral components of consumer well-being.

Michael McGuffin
President
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)

Michael McGuffin

Michael McGuffin

As we move beyond the hyperfocus on immune support that we saw throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is exciting to see that consumer interest in dietary supplements, natural products, and functional foods to support personal health remains high. In fact, consumers appear to be more open to and actively seeking diverse ingredients and delivery methods, as we have seen with the boom in fungi-based products and probiotic sodas.

Our industry is dynamic, and trends can change based on everything from scientific advancements and regulatory developments to social media and pop culture trends, and every year will bring innovation and creativity that moves us forward. What I believe will continue in 2024, as it has since the pre-DSHEA era, is that our friends, family members, and neighbors care about safe, high quality dietary supplements and natural products, and AHPA remains dedicated to helping ensure access to them.

Susan H. Mitmesser, PhD
Senior Vice President, Chief Science Officer
Pharmavite

Susan H. Mitmesser, PhD

Susan H. Mitmesser, PhD

The VMS industry continues to thrive as consumers remain invested in their health and wellness and, as a pioneer in the industry and maker of Nature Made vitamins, Pharmavite is continually innovating to support ever-evolving vitamin and supplement routines by delivering on the latest trends.

As we look at the year ahead, we anticipate continued focus on supporting historically underserved categories, such as women’s health. This is a key priority for Pharmavite as we remain committed to bringing the gift of health to life for all and, in November of 2023, we acquired Bonafide Health, the women’s health company creating a new standard in managing the journey of menopause, for $425M. Through this acquisition, Pharmavite is expanding and complementing its existing women’s health business comprised of Uqora, a unique urinary tract health brand, and Equelle, the only supplement with S-equol that is clinically shown to naturally address the root cause of symptoms related to estrogen decline.

We also continue to experience significant growth with new and unique VMS forms, such as gummy vitamins, which were the #1 VMS form in 2022 and continue to be the fastest growing segment in the VMS space, doubling in size since 2019. With approximately 45% of households using gummies, we anticipate they’ll be a third of the category by 2025. As such, Pharmavite recently broke ground on a new facility that will manufacture this form for its Nature Made and MegaFood brands and be the site of our Gummy Innovation Center of Excellence, which focuses on product research and development.

Scientifically speaking, I am also keeping a close eye on the off-label use of drugs, such as those being used for weight loss, and how this could impact the food and dietary supplement industries. That, coupled with the change in FDA leadership and restricted supplement access, is something the industry must continue to monitor closely.

George Paraskevakos, MBA
Executive Director
International Probiotics Association

George Paraskevakos, MBA

George Paraskevakos, MBA

The dynamic landscape of probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics, and synbiotics within the wellness industry have shown remarkable growth and innovation, reflecting an evolving consumer demand for products that promote gut health and overall well-being.

Major markets in the near future are expected to witness continued expansion, driven by increased consumer awareness of the crucial role these elements play in digestive health and beyond the gut. The industry is poised for further diversification, with a surge in novel applications across various sectors, including food and beverages, and dietary supplements.

In terms of trends, here is a glimpse of what IPA anticipates:

1. Health and Wellness Awareness: The emphasis on preventive health measures and holistic wellness is driving the demand for products that support gut health and beyond, including immune function, mental well-being, and overall vitality. This trend is likely to steer the development of multifaceted solutions combining various beneficial elements. Key trends may include a focus on seniors (gero-science) women’s health and metabolic support.

2. Functional Foods and Beverages: The integration of probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics into functional foods and beverages is projected to soar. Consumers seek convenient ways to incorporate these products into their daily routines, leading to an expansion of markets for these products beyond traditional supplements. The demand for these products, whether as supplements or as fortified foods and beverages, is driven by consumer recognition that it is very difficult to consume adequate amounts of probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics from food alone.

3. Personalized Nutrition: A growing focus on personalized health solutions is expected to drive the development of tailored probiotic and synbiotic formulations and intake of personalized blends of prebiotics that are best suited to the individual. Advances in technology, such as microbiome testing, will likely enable more customized products catering to individual needs. The key will be how quickly the tools such as wearables will develop to catch up to the science currently being published for health and the microbiome from the biotic segments.

4. Scientific Research Advancements: Ongoing research into the human microbiome will uncover new strains, products and sources, along with combinations and formulations, enhancing the efficacy of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics. Scientific progress will continue to fuel further innovation in the industry.

5. Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices: Consumer preferences for eco-friendly products and sustainable practices are extending into the health and wellness industry. Companies are further prioritizing environmentally conscious sourcing, packaging, and production methods for products.

6. Biotics to Support Health in Companion Animals: Pet parents are looking to support the health of their companion animals. This is driving increased demand for pre-, pro-, post-, and synbiotics in supplements, treats, and in pet food.

Irfan Qureshi, ND

Irfan Qureshi, ND

Irfan Qureshi, ND

The onset of the new year is expected to bring us growth in several unique health trends, which would be a continuation of some of the trends we’ve seen in the last half of 2023. Consumer interest, as well as ingredient offerings and research, indicate that several categories will be fueled in the next year. These include women’s health, cardiometabolic wellness (specifically in supporting blood sugar and weight management), and microbiome support for impacting health outside the digestive tract.

The women’s health category is seeing significant momentum among consumers looking for products that are customized specifically for addressing the needs of female consumers. Several up-and-coming brands as well as legacy product lines are formulating products to address women’s needs across the age spectrum, while ingredient suppliers are creating and researching unique solutions that cater to this demographic. There has been increased research attention focused on existing ingredient offerings that support aspects of women’s health (think about well-known botanicals used to support menopause) as well as on broadening the benefit platforms of ingredients that haven’t been marketed exclusively to women in the past (ashwagandha is an example, with recent studies showing clinical benefits for menopause, mood, cognition, and other women-specific health areas). Furthermore, ingredients that are not as well known in the US market are now being researched in clinical trials for their unique women-specific benefits (shatavari, a botanical commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine is an example of a newer offering). Strong demand in the category is likely to stimulate additional research into ingredients that can provide support for women’s wellbeing.

The cardiometabolic wellness category is also one that is poised for sustained growth. There are several factors behind why this category could take off in 2024. First and foremost, cardiometabolic health issues continue to increase in prevalence, including metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Poor diet and lifestyle choices are a major factor here and, despite increased public education in these areas, we haven’t seen a perceptible difference among consumer behavior. Second, the growing popularity of new drug therapies, and particularly the GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic and others, have increased overall awareness of metabolic health as an issue that needs to be addressed. More doctors are prescribing these drugs to patients for blood sugar dysregulation, but more often for weight loss. The challenge is that these drugs often have side effects so severe that patients are unable to continue therapy. This opens up new opportunities for natural products to fill this gap. The spike in berberine sales seen earlier in 2023 offered some insight into the potential opportunity for natural alternatives in this space. Another untapped potential opportunity, however, is to formulate products that work in conjunction with these drugs to highlight benefits that the drugs provide or to target benefit areas that are complementary and additive to those of the drugs. Thus, this is a category that holds major potential for growth.

In terms of the microbiome, consumers now have the awareness that the balance of bacteria and other organisms in our GI tract impact health in a significant way. While they understand that GI health is directly impacted by this microbial balance, many consumers now understand that the benefits of the microbiome extend to systemic areas of health. Companies are also conducting research in this area and further educating consumers about the connection between the microbiome and other health challenges. These connections are currently being highlighted in areas such as the gut-skin axis, the gut-brain axis, and the gut-hair axis. This offers a new paradigm through which the health of these areas outside of the gut are impacted by therapies targeting the microbiome and represents a unique option for consumers to explore. As research into these connections continues, it is likely that consumers will gravitate toward these options and see the microbiome as a critical target to address when contemplating natural alternatives for addressing these challenges.

Harry B. Rice, PhD
Vice President, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs
Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED)

Harry B. Rice, PhD

Harry B. Rice, PhD

In recent years, GOED has seen a rising interest in microbial (i.e. algal) omega-3 oils. While this has been driven in part by the increased cost of fish oil due to the supply situation in Peru, we don’t anticipate the interest in algal oils to wane.

In fact, the interest in algal oils has grown so much that last June GOED submitted a proposal for new work to the Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) to consider the creation of a Standard for Microbial (i.e. algae) Omega-3 Oils. In February, GOED will discuss the proposal with the CCFO and a decision will be made on whether or not to proceed with the creation of such standard.

For those not familiar with Codex, which is short for Codex Alimentarius Commission, it is the body established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), both organizations of the United Nations, to develop food standards under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program. While Codex is not a regulatory body, there are governments that adopt Codex Standards, either in part or in full, as regulation(s). Having a standard in place should dissuade a country from adopting one that creates a trade barrier.

Kantha Shelke, PhD, CFS
Principal, Corvus Blue LLC
Senior Lecturer, Food Safety Regulations, Johns Hopkins University

Kantha Shelke, PhD, CFS

Kantha Shelke, PhD, CFS

  1. Advanced Personalization: Consumers are increasingly seeking health solutions on their own because of the prevailing ignorance of the medical profession about preventive care and general wellbeing matters. In 2024, savvy dietary supplement trends will have the opportunity to grow in personalized nutrition and supplementation by incorporating technologies like AI and genetic testing along with nutrition and physiology fundamentals to tailor products to individual health needs, genetic factors, and lifestyle preferences.
  2. Digital Health Integration: In 2024, wearable technology and health apps could show an increased interest in dietary supplements that integrate with digital health platforms. This integration may include features like tracking and monitoring, allowing consumers to measure the impact of supplements on their health.
  3. Gut health and immune support: Dietary supplements offering immune support, gut health, and overall wellness are likely to continue soaring in 2024. Every demographic has demonstrated interest in gut health and immune support and will continue to do so.
  4. Cognitive Health Supplements: In addition to a growing aging population, gamers and parents of children are increasingly aware of the role of diets and dietary supplements in mental health. Supplements targeting cognitive health, memory, alertness, and focus will likely become more prevalent.
  5. Regulatory Compliance and Quality Assurance: Heightened consumer scrutiny of quality to ensure the safety and efficacy of their supplement choices will raise the bar for stringent quality control and regulatory compliance in manufacturing and labeling of dietary supplements. Prioritizing transparency and demonstrating regulatory compliance will be the only way to gain consumer trust in 2024.

Paula Simpson, BSc (Nutritional Sciences), RNCP, R. Herbalist
Founder
Nutribloom

Paula Simpson, BSc (Nutritional Sciences), RNCP, R. Herbalist

Paula Simpson, BSc (Nutritional Sciences), RNCP, R. Herbalist

Ongoing clinical studies are progressively uncovering the distinctive mechanisms through which nutricosmetics bolster natural beauty and promote healthy aging. In the year 2024, I anticipate a convergence of ethnobotany, microbiome research, biotechnology advancements, sustainability initiatives, and personalized approaches to significantly impact the evolution of ingredients and consumer brands within the "beauty from within" industry.


Ashish R. Talati
Partner
Amin Talati Wasserman

Ashish R. Talati

Ashish R. Talati

I am seeing more and more people using health monitoring apps for their diet and lifestyle. So, the personalized nutrition trend will continue in 2024 and beyond. Also, sellers are using AI to develop new products and buyers are using AI to make purchasing decisions. It’s not hype anymore.

Brian Tanzer
Sr. Manager, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs
The Vitamin Shoppe

Brian Tanzer

Brian Tanzer

The obesity epidemic continues to grow and has led to a significant amount of investment in R&D by the pharmaceutical industry. We have seen the approval of several obesity medications and there will be more to come. With this trend I believe we will start to see an increased need for dietary supplements in those using these medications.The data we have now shows a significant percentage of people are not meeting their daily requirements for several nutrients including vitamin C, D, and magnesium. This problem will be exacerbated by a decrease in overall food intake. Our industry has the opportunity to be there to support these people as they try to help manage their weight and improve their overall health. As much as some of us might not like this approach to weight management we can’t deny that there are many folks that have significant risk factors and can benefit from it. We are perfectly positioned to use our platform to educate and provide the support and products such as multivitamins, omega-3’s, protein, healthy snacks, etc. that can help these people achieve their health and wellness goals.

John E. Villafranco
Partner
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

John E. Villafranco

John E. Villafranco

There will be plenty of chatter around ratings and reviews. As they have become central to marketing plans and consumers’ purchase decisions, the fake review industry has popped up, which is valued at more than $1 billion dollars. That is a lot of money being directed to bump up the reputations of products and businesses. Both government and tech companies understand the value of ratings and reviews, but struggle to prevent rampant fraud. Many consider the problem unsolvable and likely to get worse as artificial intelligence makes the reviews easier to write and the writers harder to detect. How effective can the FTC and State regulators be in policing ratings and reviews? And how committed will review platforms and tech companies be toward that objective given the potential for massive earnings? Expect this problem to get worse and the response more targeted in 2024.

We should also continue to see Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) claims, as well as more government regulation in this area. Everyone agrees that it is a good thing for corporations to embrace worthy environmental, social, and governance initiatives and most also believe that companies should be permitted to inform consumers about the choices they make. Those choices, after all, may be highly material to the consumer purchase decision. It is also a good thing that the EU, the SEC, and California are requiring companies to convey truthful and accurate information to those same consumers, and that may require specific disclosures and independent third-party verification. These laws, along with the FTC’s revisions to the Green Guides and National Advertising Division decisions, send a signal to companies that ESG claims are fair game for marketers and regulators alike, so those claims better be supported and transparent. It will take a while to clean things up, but ultimately, increased scrutiny of ESG claims will be good for consumers and for competition.

Lu Ann Williams
Global Insights Director
Innova Market Insights

Lu Ann Williams

Lu Ann Williams

The big unknown is still inflation. The rate of inflation is slowing down but there is still inflation. We will have to see how this impacts consumer focus and spending, but I think consumers are over the sticker shock and now living with reality.

I think the biggest impact of the past 4 years – COVID, supply chain issues, inflation – is that consumers are desperate for a sense of control. So what does that mean?

  • A focus on things that have a benefit for them like ingredients. That’s our number one trend. It’s something to focus on because if consumers can learn about single ingredients that offer something beneficial like better skin, more energy, it helps them to feel like they are doing something to help themselves. It gives a feeling of more control over something that one needs or benefits from.
  • The continued consumer interest in natural/clean label/transparency and local [products] is driven by the same things. These are positive attributes and if it’s local, one feels more in control because there is an understanding of how it’s made or grown and where it’s from.
  • Consumers want to take more control over their health and try hard not to get sick. Prevention will be very much on people’s mind. One can do that through eating better and seeking out ingredients that promote immunity, for example.

Read Part 2 here!

Updated January 15, 2024 at 10:50 AM

Related Videos
woman working on laptop computer by window
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.