World demand for nutraceutical chemicals will expand by 6 per cent per year to $8.6 billion (€8.7bn) in 2006 to supply a $155 billion nutritional products industry, declares a new report from US market analysts Freedonia Group.
According to the report, herbal and non-herbal extracts will post the strongest gains as several compounds, including ginkgo biloba, glucosamine and saw palmetto, establish strong clinical evidence of efficacy and replace more expensive ethical drugs.
Functional additives, particularly soy isoflavones, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and lycopene, will also fare well in the marketplace based on health benefits and broad adaptability to fortified foods and beverages, speciality nutritionals and dietary supplements.
It comes as no surprise to learn that China is set to witness the fastest sales gains among nutraceutical markets. By 2006, the report continues, the developing nations of Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa/Mideast will provide the fastest growth opportunities for nutraceutical chemicals, reflecting rising consumer income levels, increasing investment in bulk and end-use product industries, and expanding per capita consumption of nutritional preparations and natural medicines.
However, the US, Japan and major Western European countries will remain the largest global producers and consumers of nutraceutical chemicals.
The Freedonia report claims that world demand for nutrients and minerals, the largest segment, will reach $4.4 billion in 2006, up 5.5 per cent annually from 2001.
Soy proteins and isoflavones, psyllium fibres, polyunsaturated fatty acids and lycopene will generate the fastest gains based on applications in meal substitutes, energy-boosting shakes, sports beverages and fortified foods.
Natural forms of vitamins A and E will provide the best growth opportunities among bulk vitamins due to performance and cost-effectiveness advantages over synthetic versions. As a result of widespread deficiencies throughout the world, potassium, calcium and magnesium will continue to hold the largest share of nutraceutical demand among minerals.
Controversies notwithstanding, widely perceived health and wellness benefits among consumers will drive world demand for herbal and non-herbal extracts up ten per cent annually between now and 2006, the report continues.
Ginkgo biloba for enhanced cognitive properties, saw palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia, ginseng for energy boosting and black cohosh for post-menopausal symptoms will provide the best growth prospects among herbs. Glucosamine (in combination with chondroitin) will generate the fastest sales gains among non-herbal compounds.