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Hispanics are key opportunity for supplement marketers, Packaged Facts report says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Hispanics are key opportunity for supplement marketers, Packaged Facts report says

Related tags Dietary supplement Vitamin Dietary supplements

Hispanic consumers are an area of untapped growth potential for dietary supplement marketers, according to a report from market research firms Packaged Facts.

The report, which looks at the overall nutritional supplements market in the United States, found that while growth is slowly recovering from the recent setbacks of bad publicity brought on by several negative or equivocal study results, stronger growth is possible within niche markets such as Hispanics.  And these niche opportunities could serve to act as counterbalances for the ongoing maturation of the market.

“What we found was that doing the analysis was the Hispanic market was one of the fastest growing of all the ethnic groups,”​ Norman Deschamps, author of the report, told NutraIngredients-USA.

Cross-border messaging

One of the reasons Descamps gave for the strength of the Hispanic market was the close connection Hispanics in the US have with countries south of the border, particularly Mexico. The freer regime in Mexico as far as health claims for supplements is concerned affects what Hispanic consumers in the US know about the products.

“One of the things I found is that the market in Mexico seems much more dynamic to me, much more fluid. The health claims that are allowed there are much more concrete,” ​Deschamps said. “Consumers in that market would be hearing about products in a much different way than they would be hearing about them from North American retailers.”

The potential strength of the Hispanic market contrasts with some other sectors outlined in the report. Supplement use among Asian consumers in the US market and among consumers identifying themselves as white the growth curve was essentially flat. But supplement use among Hispanics was spotty, the report  (which uses data from 2009 to 2013) found, with many consumers in this group taking supplements one to three times a month instead of daily or more that once a day.   

In recent years, the U.S. dietary supplements market has faced various challenges, but still managed to experience moderate growth between 2009 and 2013. Sales rose from $9 billion in 2009 to $12 billion last year. Key factors limiting growth were negative media coverage and the rise in functional foods and beverages. Almost 90% of Americans now consume vitamin- or mineral-fortified foods, and as much as 20% of adults are cutting back on their use of supplements because of fortified food intake.

 Growth projection 

Despite the obstacles, the market is looking up, Deschamps said. 

“I think the market is still working though some issues and 2014 as a whole won’t be that great. But I think that  will likely be the worst of it,”​ he said.

Packaged Facts forecasts the U.S. nutritional supplements market will grow about 6% annually through 2018, hitting sales of $16 billion in that year.  With effective marketing, Hispanics will continue to be a bright spot going forward.  Other factors cited in the report that will facilitate sales growth will be America’s aging population, rising consumer involvement in personal health, and a growing expectation of personalization for virtually all services and products. 

 Declines currently seen among omega-3/fish oil and calcium/bone supplements will continue to be offset by encouraging gains by probiotic nutritional supplements marketed for digestive health. Vitamin D was  big winner, jumping from down on the list trailing other individual vitamin supplements and calcium supplements to the No. 3 position on the list of most-used supplements.  Multivitamins continue to lead that list, though their position has eroded slightly, and fish oil/omega-3 supplements held onto the No. 2 position.

Among other key takeaways in the report:

 • The continued insufficient intake of vitamins D and A in the typical American diet makes these supplements an excellent opportunity for increased market growth over the forecast period.

 • “Pill fatigue” will continue to drive gummy and other alternative format supplement sales.

 • Gut health and probiotics will remain the top condition-specific nutritional supplement category in 2014 and 2015, and will remain a fast growing market as it caters to an aging population.

 • The key opportunity for energy supplement marketers is to push into the non-traditional convenience store channel where energy drink and shot sales are largest.

 • Joint health and eye health supplements were the largest condition-specific supplement categories in 2013, comprising just over one-third of all condition-specific supplement sales.

 • Eye health and digestive health condition-specific supplements saw double digit growth in 2013, while bone health and women’s health supplement sales suffered double digit declines.

To read the full report, visit the Packaged Facts website​.

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