What the Supplements Industry Will Look Like in 2022 and Beyond
"Take your vitamins!”
A phrase we so often heard as children, and now reminders we tell ourselves as adults. While the effectiveness of consuming multivitamins or mineral supplements is still widely debated, for many of us, the ritual of taking them is a big part of our healthy daily habits.
Vitamins are a 20th-century discovery. People understood that the properties of food were essential to one’s health, but it wasn’t until after the turn of the century that these minerals were identified and manufactured. Since then, more nutrients have been discovered and fortified foods created, so vitamin trends and beliefs have continued to evolve.
An interesting phenomenon within the supplement industry was the rise of the "cool-girl" vitamin startups in the mid-2010s.
Recently, there’s been a growing holistic wellness movement taking place, which highlights clarity, simplicity, and ease as key drivers of consumers’ purchases.
Instagram post by Persona Nutrition shows vitamin pairings and the purpose it serves, which highlights how consumers expect their brands to go above and beyond in the information they provide.
According to a Bloomberg report, the vitamin supplement market size is expected to reach USD 71.37 billion by 2028, and to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.2% from 2021 to 2028. Therefore, with the industry continuing to grow and more players entering the market than ever before, understanding consumers’ needs and wants is key in the vitamin business.
Using keywords relating to vitamins and supplements on Instagram and TikTok, we identified some distinct trends that we are seeing within the industry and predict future trends that we believe may evolve from them.
We cross-checked quantitatively our research by using search volume data from Google. Growth across two years was calculated to understand if there have been increasing discussions within each trend.
Our pets are our babies, and over the past few years, they’ve been treated more as such. Our pets’ nutrition has become almost just as important as our own and pet parents are becoming increasingly discerning about the things they feed their pets.
Companies have capitalized on this by offering a wide range of goods and services, with pet supplements becoming a hugely popular alternative to traditional pet food. There are a lot of opportunities for brands to offer options to the owners of different types of pets. Dog and cat owners, for example, tend to look for supplements to increase longevity, joint health, and skin and coat problems. While bird owners look for ones that will help with good feather growth, calming supplements, and calcium deficiencies.
Some opportunities we’ve identified as well have been an increased interest in more natural and organic ingredients, as well as the use of cannabis in pet supplements for its calming physical and mental effects.
Food trend forecasters have highlighted mushrooms as the ingredient of the year for 2022, and the supplements industry has also been taking notice. While different species of mushrooms provide different nutritional benefits, mushroom-infused additives have been lauded for increasing energy, improving muscle recovery, immune support, and its anti-inflammatory properties.
Consumers appreciate the simplicity of mushroom supplements as they are exactly what they sound like, a mixture of mushrooms, and have few side effects, making it safe to consume. Some of the current best-selling mushroom species include Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps and Chaga, but many other types are gaining ground as well. While fungi has long been harnessed in Eastern medicine, the Western market is just catching on and realizing the potential of this slept-on ingredient.
The Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably had a huge impact on health and there are two main types of products that have grown in direct correlation. There has been strong interest in immune-support ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc products, just to name a few. Alternative health remedies have also been trending, including elderberry, ginger and turmeric, as well as traditional Chinese medicine like Lianhua Qingwen.
Worries stemming from the virus and its effects have also had an adverse effect on peoples’ mental health. Anxiety levels have increased, and many have admitted that they struggle to sleep (“COVID-somnia”) and focus on their daily tasks. Hence, ingredients encouraging better sleep like melatonin and magnesium, as well as supplements that are believed to alleviate one’s mood like Omega 3, B Complex vitamins, and CBD products (in some countries) have also seen a spike.
Technology in healthcare has meant a world of possibilities for the supplement industry. It’s also aided in increasing demand for personalized vitamins. There are already a number of players in the vitamin subscription services, giving out advice on what foods to eat and supplements to take for optimal health via a quick survey or diet tracker. However, companies are taking that a step further by utilizing more advanced technology. Some companies have incorporated lifestyle and health information tracked from everyday digital devices like smart watches and fitness trackers to make recommendations, while others have created more complex at-home kits for collecting stool or blood samples to be mailed back for testing.
“Pill fatigue” is a recent phenomenon where the habit of taking multiple pills becomes exhausting and tedious. As a result, consumers have turned towards alternative, more enjoyable supplement formats, like gummies and chews. These formats are popular with customers for their taste, appearance, mouthfeel and the experience of receiving a little reward every time they carry out this routine.
Olly, is one such brand who has successfully made this a crucial identifier of their brands. Amazon reviews cite the products’ taste as a major reason as to why customers continue to purchase from them, as well as it being so enjoyable that they never forget to take their supplements.
Aside from gummies and chews, we believe that we will see bites, jellies, liquid shots as supplements grow as well. Similarly, the idea that food is medicine is here to stay, so we will be seeing a lot more collaborations with food companies taking place. This could be seen in the form of fortified foods, or for marketing purposes to encourage the association of their products to tastiness.
The increase in health awareness and openness to new products since the pandemic has made it an exciting time for the vitamin supplements industry. Gen Z is emerging as an important consumer market and they will inevitably have a different perspective towards supplements than the generation before them. There are endless opportunities in this sector, so our advice for brands is to ensure that they understand their markets, and continue to innovate and harness technology in order to engage and retain consumers.
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