Elderberry sales grow as demand increases for superfruits and functional ingredients

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images

Related tags elderberry botanical extracts Immune health Herbal dietary supplements

With the flu making its rounds, consumers are stocking up on different supplements to keep seasonal illnesses at bay.

One emerging ingredient is Elderberry (Sambucus nigra​, Adoxaceae), which is rich in antioxidants and packed with zinc to fight off colds. The superfruit may even relieve flu symptoms four days earlier than placebo, according to a NBCI study.

Superfruits such as elderberry are fruits rich in nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Elderberry is also considered a medicinal plant and used in folk medicine across the globe. A 100 g serving of elderberry contains 73 g calories, 1840 g carbohydrate, 0.66 g protein, 0.50 g fat, calcium 38 mg, and 7 g of dietary fiber, according to Technavio. 

Market: beyond flu season 

While the immunity boost is a bonus, Elderberry offers many health advantages beyond flu season, such as enhancing heart and skin health. This array of applications is only expected to bolster the market. 

According to a recent Herb Market Report from ABC​, elderberry supplements posted impressive growth rates in the natural channel with 94% growth and $25 million in sales to take the number three spot on the top-selling herbal supplement list.

The global elderberry market is only anticipated to grow, with a CAGR of over 7% expected during the 2018-2022 period, according to the latest market research report by Technavio. The report​ noted the increasing demand for superfruits and functional ingredients as one of the key emerging trends in the global elderberry market. Technavio classifies an emerging trend as a major factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.

The report identified Gaia Herbs, General Nutrition Centers, Nature's Way Product, Pharmacare US and Pukka Herbs as key players in the concentrated market, with the health and wellness segment making up the highest market share in 2017. On the supply side players include Norm's Farms​ ​and Artemis International.

In general, consumers may be suffering from “pill fatigue,” and prefer ingredients with general wellness and nutrition benefits in alternative delivery forms. 

As the superfruit trend continues, manufacturers of food and beverages have been launching new superfruit products. The use of elderberry is also increasing in the supplement and beverage industries due to its rising popularity as a medicinal and a flavorsome fruit. In addition, new vendors are launching products with elderberry as an ingredient in a variety of delivery systems. For instance, in 2018, AG Barr launched Strathmore Botanics water that contains Elderberry flavors. Last month Swiss Wellness debuted their elderberry flavored ‘Jelly line’  they call a ‘portable alternative to tablets and gummies.’ And Most recently, INS Farms announced the release of their Elder Pure Elderberry Prebiotic Juice Powder.  Artemis will showcase its elderberry ingredients at Supply Side West.

A senior analyst at Technavio credits the demand to heightened interest in health and wellness, saying “The inclusion of dietary and herbal supplements in an individual's diet is increasing due to the rising awareness toward the benefits of regular intake of nutrients as well as health consciousness. The demand for various herbs and botanicals is increasing as many people are opting for natural, environment-friendly products. Thus, the growing consumption of herbal supplements is expected to increase the demand for elderberry.”

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