1. Probiotics everywhere
Supplement manufacturers cannot get enough of the beneficial bugs, and there were new products containing probiotics as far as the eye could see in Anaheim. For example, Jarrow Formulas launched Jarro-Dophilus for Women claiming to promote a health vaginal microflora ecosystem. The company also launched an Oral Probiotic product containing a “synergistic probiotic combination” of L. plantarum CECT 7481 and L. brevis CECT 7480.
Kefir giant Lifeway launched Lifeway Probiotics Pills for adults (formulated with either 10 or 11 strains with 20, 30 or 50 billion live organisms per capsule) and Lifeway ProBugs Chewables for Children (with B. bifidum, B. breve and B. longum at doses of 2 billion CFUs per tablet).
Nordic Naturals launched Probiotic Gummies for kids, formulated with Bacillus coagulans and a prebiotic fiber.
And the product launches were not limited to the supplement aisles. A number of food and beverage products launched containing probiotics, including Uncle Matt’s organic probiotic waters.
And supplier Ganeden is trying to get their ingredient into even more products with its JumpStart program, which it describes as “an industry-first entrepreneurial program designed to help companies launch new probiotic products”. Three finalists will be chosen from the entries to present their ideas in-person to a panel of esteemed judges during the IFT show in Chicago in July.
2. Turmeric/curcumin continues to be hot
If there’s one hot botanical ingredient right now it’s turmeric/curcumin. Dr Oz talked about the potential anti-cancer benefits of the ingredient in 2011, in a segment that did a lot to get curcumin on consumer’s radar, and turmeric/curcumin tipped over into the mainstream 2 years ago (sales have been reported to be growing by an eye watering 25%+ per year (HerbalGram 103)).
And walking the floor at Expo West shows that industry interest in turmeric/curcumin products is equally as hot. Solgar was heavily promoting its Full Spectrum Curcumin product boasting 185 times the bioavailability of curcumin (launched in June 2015). Himalaya launched a curcumin + Boswellia product for joint health at the show. MegaFood extended its Kids Nutrient Booster Powders with the Kids Daily Multi featuring Kauai Organic Farms Turmeric Root product, while Nordic Naturals launched an Omega Curcumin product (more of that shortly).
Europharma’s Terry Naturally brand also announced a number of new curcumin products with their proprietary BCM-95 curcumin extract, including Curamin Headache, Curamin Athletic Pain, CuraMed Brain, and CuraMed Breast.
As with probiotics, turmeric was also highly visible in the food and beverage aisles with the Tu Me Beverage Co expanding its turmeric-infused water range, Tu Me Water, with two new flavors (Turmeric Coconut Water and Turmeric Water Pomegranate).
3. Omega-3 blends
With sales in the omega-3 category reportedly flat, companies are exploring innovative ways to add other key ingredients to their formulations. For example, Wiley’s Finest launched two products for children, one with additional multivitamins and MenaQ7 vitamin K2 (the Beginner’s DHA product), the other with additional multivitamins and FloraGlo lutein (the Elementary EPA product).
Nordic Naturals launched its Omega Curcumin product offering 1,000 mg doses of omega-3s DHA and EPA along with Longvida curcumin, L-glutathione, and NAC for “cellular stress recovery”.
Monique Wellisse, manager of education and professional sales at Nordic Naturals, told us that the product was “the most elegant formula we’ve ever launched. This is the product that has excited us the most in company history.”
Chaga, Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake… the list is pretty long, and the potential health benefits for mushrooms are intriguing.
Sandra Carter, CEO of OM (formerly Mushroom Matrix), told us that interest in mushrooms is rising exponentially, with cognitive health, sports nutrition, and immune support among the key categories driving growth.
The products are not new (Mushroom Wisdom, for example, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year) but data from SPINS shows surging sales of products with various types of mushrooms as primary ingredients in the Natural Channel in recent months, with Chaga up 46%, Cordyceps up 21%, Reishi up 89%, and Shiitake up 55%.
According to a recent Trend report from SPINS, mushrooms are joining their plant cousins in becoming a popular ingredient for beverages. “In prior years, medicinal mushrooms were found mainly in dietary supplement form but are now commanding consumer attention in ready-to-drink tea,” said a recent report.
“Another reason for piqued interest in mushrooms is an uptick in wild mushroom foraging. Plant-based eaters looking for a good alternative to the established bone broth trend can now turn to mushroom broths. As more people search for ways to reduce animal-based choices, attention towards mushrooms’ sustainable, hearty nourishment shows no signs of subsiding.”
Om’s Carter is seeing similar trends. “We’re doing some supplements but superfoods and functional foods are really taking off.”
5. Relaxation & sleep
Promoting sleep and relaxation products at an event infamous for leaving you exhausted may have been marketing genius, but it also represents an increasing sector in the supplements sector. Key ingredients like melatonin and magnesium are growing (magnesium sales are expected to surpass calcium by 2020), and products promoting sleep were highly visible in Anaheim, with melatonin leading the way.
NutraClick saw potential in the sleep category in late 2010, Daniel Wallace the company’s CEO told us, and the company’s Somnapure Natural Sleep Aid product now commands the largest store retail footprint of any of its other products.
Linked to sleep is ‘relaxation’, and some companies are seeing this as a category of growth and opportunity. Carl Hendrickson, senior brand manager at Traditional Medicinals, told us last year: “There is significant opportunity for relaxation beverages, and particularly for tea, which is associated with helping people relax … due to the ritual experience of the hot beverage and steam.”
Seeking to seize this market opportunity and hoping to help more Americans cope with their mounting stress, Hendrickson said Traditional Medicinals recently expanded its line of relaxation teas, sold as supplements, with the launch of Stress Ease Cinnamon.
The new tea differs from existing teas in Traditional Medicinals’ relaxation line and other calming teas sold by competitors because it uses skullcap as the active ingredient.