Men need joint health products, says report

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Joint health, Chondroitin sulfate

Targeting men with products for bone and joint health could be a way to grow market share in an increasingly competitive environment, suggests new research from market analyst Frost & Sullivan.

The group’s new analysis US Bone and Joint Health Ingredients Market ​reveals​sales of these ingredients are set to grow almost 40 percent by 2015.

However, as threats and challenges to the market increase, the importance of finding ways of differentiating products and reaching new consumer groups also grows. One area of focus moving forward could be the men’s market, says Frost & Sullivan.

"Traditionally, bone health supplements were predominantly targeted to women and individuals above 60 years of age,”​ said an analyst for the researcher.

“However, this target group is widening, with an increasing number of men and younger adults being diagnosed with osteoporosis or at high risk due to low bone mass."

According to the National Institute on Aging, more than two million men in the US have osteoporosis, with over three million at high risk of developing the condition.

Overall, in the US osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are thought to affect almost 44m and 34m people respectively. The estimated cost of osteoporosis-related fractures was $19bn in 2005, and is projected to reach $25.3bn in 2025.

Ingredients and sales

The new report from Frost & Sullivan valued the US market for bone and joint health ingredients at $178.4m in 2008. By 2015, it is expected to reach $246.4m.

The main ingredients used in dietary supplements, foods or beverages positioned for bone and joint health include calcium, prebiotics, soy isoflavones, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate.

Other ingredients covered in the report include vitamin D, methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM), hyaluronic acid, collagen, and other botanicals positioned for bone and joint health benefits.

Market threats

Despite the healthy forecast for the market, Frost & Sullivan highlights a number of threats to the category, led by price pressures and increased competition.

Both ingredients makers and end-product manufacturers are reducing spending on innovation due to tight financial resources, said Frost.

“Furthermore, the US bone and joint health ingredients market faces stiff competition from Asianmanufacturers in certain market segments such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and isoflavones.”

“These low-cost alternatives have narrowed the margins for local manufacturers. The US market is already highly price sensitive, and competition from Asian manufacturers amplifies this price sensitivity.”

Other challenges include threats from alternative ingredients, particularly in the joint care segment, as well as issues with product purity and quality.

However, this also provides the opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate their products by ensuring consistent quality, said Frost.

"Maintaining high quality standards will enable manufacturers to gain consumer confidence and loyalty. This will also guarantee the steady demand for existing ingredients despite the widening array of alternatives in the market."

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