Current value sales within the US herbal products market grew by 3% through 2012, reaching a value of US$4.4 billion in 2012.
Intrinsic benefits including greater efficacy, little or no side effects, economical and increasing inclination towards healthier natural herbs and botanical derivatives promise animated growth in the burgeoning market.
Herbal medicine plays a major role in the healthcare and functional foods market, both in industrialised and developing nations.
Health claims for herbal supplements can be fairly unstable, with supporting scientific evidence continuously shifting.
The popularity of individual ingredients is increasingly subject to the whims of endorsements from ―medical celebrities‖ such as Dr.Oz, who do not hesitate to use ―miracle cure‖ verbiage in their descriptions of specific products. Thus, herbal supplement companies have to be alert and adaptable to new trends in the marketplace.
Herbal dietary supplements and herbal cough, cold, and allergy (hay fever) remedies accounted for a combined value share of 85% of all herbal/traditional products sales through 2012.
Although leading herbal/traditional cough, cold, and allergy (hay fever) remedies brands Halls, Ricola and Luden’s all increased their sales in 2012, the weak cold and flu season restricted overall growth potential.
Research findings questioning the efficacy and safety of supplement ingredients like St John’s Wort, saw palmetto, and ginkgo biloba continue to drag down sales, while greater awareness of healthy eating harmed fibre supplements.
Novartis Corp experienced the biggest losses in the US herbal products sector, with sales falling by 41% in 2012, mostly due to the inclusion of fibre supplement brand Benefiber in the company’s massive recalls and ongoing production problems. Conversely, Concepts in Health witnessed 41% increase in value sales in 2012 due to the corresponding performance of calming and sleeping brand MidNite.
One of the main factors that makes herbal products profitable, aside from the relatively low cost of constituent ingredients, research and development and production, is the minimal investment required to comply with regulatory requirements, as compared to standard products. More lenient regulation also allows for greater flexibility in the marketing of herbal supplements. Thus, supplement manufacturers will face distinct challenges if initial signs of greater regulatory activism, spurred by legislators and consumer groups alike, mark the start of a major shift in the industry.
For more information on the US herbal products market, see the latest research: US Herbal Products Market
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