Eye health concern to drive global lutein market to $125m

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Eye health concern to drive global lutein market to $125m

Related tags: Eye health, Eye, Macular degeneration, Us

The global human nutrition market for lutein is set to reach $125m within three years, according to the latest report from market analyst, Frost & Sullivan.

Its report, Strategic Analysis of the Global Markets for Lutein in Human Nutrition, ​attributes the growth to growing scientific evidence supporting lutein's eye health benefits.

Growth is underpinned by rising demand for eye health supplements from the aging US population, increasing healthcare costs, more research efforts backing ingredient benefits, and improvements in technology for methods of ingredient extraction, said the report.

The lutein market earned revenues of $105m in 2006.

Last year, the total US eye health ingredients market was worth $138m with an annual growth rate of 5 percent. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the total market from 2008 to 2015 is estimated to be 5.3 percent.

The report identified eye health as one of the fastest growing US markets along with the heart health, bone health, weight management, digestive health, and immune health markets.

It lists the main eye diseases are cataracts, glaucoma, Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. The chronic eye disorder AMD, which accounts for about 54 percent of all blindness cases among white Americans, is said to be the most responsive to nutritional treatments.

Nearing maturity

The report’s authors note that growth potential varies for different market segments.

Lutein is identified as an established eye health ingredient; the market for which is nearing maturity. That means geographical expansion, particularly into emerging countries, could become a profitable strategy. The report highlights Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific as representing “a feasible business option​,” for lutein manufacturers.

The growth of astaxanthin and bilberry extracts for the eye health markets will depend upon the ability of research studies to corroborate scientific evidence of their eye health-supporting benefits.

Also, quality assurance concerns about most generic bilberry extracts in the market should be answered as soon as possible to regain consumer trust in such products, said the report’s authors.

Although companies marketing astaxanthin are promoting its multiple health benefits, the report warns that strategy might hinder the carotenoid reaching its full potential in the eye health ingredients market.

Zeaxanthin is identified as a fast-growing segment that would benefit particularly from branding and promotion. “Currently, the market for emerging segments such as zeaxanthin is in a product development and differentiation phase,” ​according to the report. “Branding is extremely important in such markets, as product identity becomes imperative for a good consumer mind share. This market has the strongest potential to advance during the forecast period, as there is an ongoing requirement for innovations and focused eye health ingredients with multi-application profiles​.”

But growth will depend on the promotion of zeaxanthin as an eye health beneficial fortification tool, it added.

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