Five key Expo West 2017 supplement trends

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/Tuomas_Lehtinen
© iStock/Tuomas_Lehtinen

Related tags Dietary supplement

We walked and we talked and we took photos, and here’s our list of 5 key trends for supplements from Expo West 2017 in Anaheim.

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, Kefir giant Lifeway extended its supplement range with the launch of Women’s Radiant Health, Traveler’s Defense + Immunity and Balance Gut Health, while SmartyPants showcased its new adult probiotic gummies, formulated with Bacillus subtilis​ DE111 and B. coagulans​ IS2 with Wellmune. LoveBug Probiotics launched its first ever probiotic blend created specifically for pregnant and nursing moms. The products, branded Labor of Love, also contains 250 micrograms of folate.

The trend was even more noticeable on the food and beverage aisles, although some probiotic experts questioned whether all of these were actually probiotic: for example, were the bacteria delivered in adequate amounts? In addition, not all fermented foods are necessarily packed with probiotics​.

2. Collagen

Beauty-from-within has been a sector with many false dawns, but could 2017 be its breakout year? Supplements containing collagen and promoting benefits for hair, skin and nails were more visible on the show floor than ever before (according to this correspondent’s memory).


BioSil (Natural Factors), Neocell, YouTheory​, and Reserveage were just some of the brands touting the benefits of collagen for boosting skin health.

The challenge with the sector is that seeing is believing for consumers: Speaking during the NutraIngredients-USA Anti-Aging Forum last year, Barry Ritz, PhD, VP of scientific and regulatory affairs at Atrium Innovations, ​explained: “Unlike many of our supplement products where we’re working towards wellness goals and assuming a lifelong outcome, a beauty protocol should produce tangible results in a reasonable period of time​. That’s one of the great opportunities in this category.”

3. Gummies, gummies, gummies

Gummies have been pegged at about 10% of the $39 billion dietary supplements market, but that figure will surely grow as more and more brands launch gummy products to cater to consumer demands and to counter pill fatigue.

New launches included Nordic Naturals’s new CoQ10 Gummies and Vitamin D3 + K2 Gummies, while SmartyPants Vitamins launched a Men’s Complete (multi-vitamin with omega-3s and CoQ10) and a Women’s Complete (multivitamin plus omega-3s and vitamin K2).  

4. Protein!

From plant protein to bone broth, protein was as ubiquitous as probiotics. Obviously, the major sports brands were offering numerous protein products, from whey to specific BCAAs (for example, NOW Sports was showcasing its recently launched BCAA Big 6 product, among other things).

Clean Machine announced a market first, with the launch of a “superfood” protein powder with Lentein, a brand of protein rich water lentils sustainably harvested by Parabel USA Inc.

“There is a lot of excitement surrounding this supplement because it is formulated with a proprietary blend of ProHydrolase to promote digestibility and actually allow the body to absorb more protein,” ​said Geoff Palmer, CEO of Clean Machine CEO. “But Clean Green Protein is also an unprecedented innovation in plant-based nutrition because it offers a superior source of protein, greens and Omega 3 fatty acids, all in one product.”


Bone broths were also highly visible, playing into the paleo space. Beyond the tubs and beverages, LonoLife has been experiencing fast growth in the stick-pack market and just expanded to put bone broth in a recyclable K-Cup.

“With our products they are portion controlled and portable, you can use them at home or take them to work or when you travel,”​ Brian Hoppe, national sales director told our sister site FoodNavigator-USA.

“We know that high protein snacking are a big trend, while the Paleo diet is the #1 diet that’s searched for on Google for the past three years, and we are making something really convenient and much more affordable, so we win on taste and price.”

But the picture hasn’t been rosy for all proteins, with soy a clear exception. From 2013 to 2015, total volume consumption of soy protein isolate declined from 90,539 to 89,826 tons, while soy protein concentrate declined from 45,592 to 45,392 tons.

Similar contractions have been seen on the food side, with IRI data showing that sales of soy snacks declined 24% last year.

5. Sleep and relaxation

“I cannot believe how big melatonin is,”​ one industry contact remarked. We flagged this category last year and it maintained its momentum in 2017. Data from SPINS shows that total sales of melatonin supplements in the natural, specialty gourmet and conventional multi outlet channels grew 10.6% from 2015 to 2016 to hit $225.9 million.

Sleep is not just about melatonin though, with ingredients like magnesium also are growing (magnesium sales are expected to surpass calcium by 2020).

Relaxation and calming supplements also featured heavily on the booths on many supplement brands, with ingredients like GABA, L-Theanine, Holy Basil and Bacopa (and many more) featuring on product labels. 

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