Dietary supplement sector inspires confidence

When multiple multinational companies start investing their acquisition monies into one particular category, it’s a good bet that category is poised for some pretty significant growth.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

Right now, that category is dietary supplements. “Over the past 10 years, the industry has gone from $20 billion to $32.5 billion,” Council for Responsible Nutrition president and CEO Steve Mister recently told an audience of supplement suppliers. “During that period, the growth of dietary supplements has been the envy of other sectors of the economy.”

According to CRN consumer surveys, 85% of Americans — including those who don’t take supplements on a regular basis — are somewhat or very confident in the industry.

And the sales figures back it up. In total U.S. multi-outlets, which doesn’t include such specialty retailers as GNC or health food stores, sales of all vitamins totaled $6.4 billion, up 5.8% for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 11, according to IRI. Almost $350 million more vitamin sales were generated this year versus the year-ago period.

And now — with the likes of Reckitt Benckiser managing a considerable portfolio featuring both Schiff and Airborne; with Church and Dwight getting excited over the opportunities within adult gummy vitamins; and with Procter and Gamble’s acquisition of a full line of supplements that it has yet to introduce into mass — that $350 million in annual growth dollars may represent just the beginning of a prolonged winning streak for health-and-wellness purveyors.

Beyond the aging of the baby boomer, an escalating emphasis on consumer-driven healthcare ought to serve as growth catalysts. Three hot trends include the gummy format for adults, probiotics and an immune boosting adjacency to cough-cold.

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