Consumers continue searching for supplements that support more than physical well-being, prioritizing holistic health benefits and looking for solutions in new health areas, such as mental health, beauty, relaxation, healthy aging and natural weight management solutions. Though demand for natural ingredients is still growing, industry experts highlight the need to improve ingredient absorption for improved efficacy.
Yesterday, the professionals emphasized that enhancing efficacy and convenient formats are critical innovation drivers in the sector.
“There is a significant focus on overall wellness and mental health within this space,” says Isabel Gómez, global marketing manager of nutraceuticals at Lubrizol Life Science. “With higher stress levels and sleep concerns, consumers are looking for products that promote improved sleep and help reduce stress, to which brands need to respond.”
Moreover, she asserts that as the impact of the pandemic lingers, consumers continue to demonstrate a heightened level of concern about their immune health. “Also, many consumers indicate interest in supplements that help aid skin health. This is driven by the growing connection between beauty and nutrition, with supplements expanding the menu for well-being with skin benefits.”
Claudia Antenozio, scientific marketing executive at Giellepi, adds: “One rapidly growing area of focus for formulators is related to those multifunctional ingredients that can address more than one health concern at the time, thus supporting holistic well-being.”
“For instance, ingredients that promote immune and gut health or solutions designed to support sleep while boosting energy.”
Holistic health is a key trend right now, agrees Emily Navarro, global marketing manager at Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients.
“Consumers of all ages recognize the importance of overall health and well-being in realizing their personal health and wellness ambitions. As such, they’re looking for products that can support various health benefits — from joint and gut health to energy and endurance.”
She details that popular nutraceutical ingredients supporting some of these health goals include collagen, such as UC-II undenatured type-II collagen, and probiotics. “With interest in holistic well-being comes demand for nutraceuticals that can provide multiple health benefits in one convenient solution. The right delivery system is essential to achieve this,” Navarro continues.
For example, Lonza’s Capsugel Duocap capsule-in-capsule technology allows supplement brands to create innovative multi-benefit products that meet consumer health goals and deliver convenience. This technology consists of a smaller, pre-filled capsule inside of a larger, filled capsule.
Caroline Schroeder, marketing communications manager at Lycored, also sees an opportunity to lean into holistic solutions across all aspects of health and wellness, “including heart health, exercise recovery, eye health, skin protection, graceful aging and more.”
“As the wellness and beauty categories continue to grow, there is a parallel opportunity to bolster our offerings and expand on the body of evidence around our wellness portfolio to explore further and discover the efficacy of our solutions to deliver powerful health and wellness benefits that allow people to feel their best in their skin.”
From beauty to stress management
Along with a growing demand for holistic health solutions, industry experts see increased interest in ingredients for a wide range of benefits. For example, Schroeder points to a growing demand for solutions that “support beauty and overall health and wellness” over the last few years.
“This rise has set the foundation for growth in our wellness portfolio with products like Lumenato and Lycomato, made of phytonutrient carotenoid extracts from tomatoes, and non-tomato carotenoids like astaxanthin and lutein. These products deliver health and wellness benefits to enhance beauty from within and reflect in the body’s outward appearance.”
“We also expect to see more supplements that offer targeted nutrition for different life stages (like aging and menopause) and tackle the underlying causes of health concerns through hormone-support supplements.”
In addition to products for stress management, anxiety and mood improvement, Dr. Miguel Florido, medical affairs and scientific marketing director at Nektium, points to a growing demand for products considering other needs, “such as cognition, appetite control and sleep management.” “We also need to see more natural solutions to promote healthy aging and improved mobility.”
Natural weight loss and healthy aging
As the “Ozempic phenomenon” — a diabetes medicine increasingly used by people wanting to lose weight — has helped drive accelerated growth in the weight loss management category, Florido asserts that some natural ingredients are now suffering from the rise of the popular drug.
“That’s creating a need for natural supplements that support weight management from a metabolic perspective, focusing on better glucose control, fat reduction and overall body weight improvement.”
For example, Nektium’s Xanthigen ingredient is a blend of wakame and pomegranate seed oil that has been shown to increase metabolic efficiency, suppress lipid accumulation and reduce body and liver fat. “We’re now seeing robust growth in line with the increased interest in the weight management category, especially in Asia,” adds Florido.
Giellepi’s Antenozio highlights that the healthy aging space looks “very promising.” She adds that both younger and older consumers are no longer only focused on living longer but are actively searching for ways to live better.
“Therefore, innovative ingredients specifically developed to support mobility, flexibility and muscle recovery or those solutions validated to maintain cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar already within normal levels and even products for promoting brain health are much needed.”
Natural ingredient solutions
Antenozio states that there is a shift in consumer preferences toward natural and holistic solutions, as “several plant-based ingredients such as turmeric, ashwagandha, elderberry and omega-3 from algae are a staple in many markets.”
“On the other hand, other less known ingredients like Boswellia serrata, bioflavonoids from citrus or beetroot extracts are on the rise being included in products designed for joint support, vein health and sports performance, respectively.”
At the same time, Gómez from Lubrizol Life Science details a renewed interest in vitamins and minerals that have well-known health-validated claims and are expected to have increased demand in new product developments. “Examples could be vitamin C, iron and zinc, which support immune health while improving other health benefits.”
“There is also an increasing interest in botanical extracts such as Ayurvedic ingredients like curcumin or micro-algae extracts like astaxanthin. These ingredients are well known to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit overall health and reinforce the immune system.”
Furthermore, Gómez highlights that probiotics have emerged and tapped into an increased understanding of the importance of healthy gut microbiota on brain, skin and immune health.
Nektium’s Florido adds: “We’re seeing more functional beverages containing botanicals, adaptogens, nootropics and amino acids. These ingredients had been almost exclusively limited to conventional formats such as capsules and powders. Still, brands are adapting to meet consumer demand for convenient, tasty beverages with the same functional benefits.”
He also expects new endocannabinoids to emerge to “overtake the prominence of CBD and others.”
Improving ingredient absorption
Gómez expects wellness to become more holistic and increasingly integrated with science-backed, trusted ingredients. “For future nutraceuticals, this means delivering on promises with high-quality and bioavailable ingredients.”
“Without the absorption of nutrients by the human body through blood, the body would not be able to use the food material; therefore, the nutrients must be well absorbed for the repair of body cells, generation of energy and maintenance of osmoregulation, among others.”
She notes that micronutrient deficiencies affect people worldwide, underscoring that deficiencies such as iron, vitamin A, zinc, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D and iodine have severe consequences, including reduced immunity or cognitive impairment.
“Some of these nutrients are not very bioavailable; therefore, there is a big focus on solutions that aim to improve the stability and bioavailability of nutrients in nutraceutical formulations.”
“To achieve optimal nutrient absorption, the most important challenge to address is that the active ingredient remains intact to maintain its functionality until it reaches the target area,” Gómez continues. “Vitamins and botanicals, for example, are susceptible to external factors and, once destroyed, lose their beneficial effect.”
By Jolanda van Hal