CoQ10 market seen as stable, but quality assurance, commitment to science can spur future growth

By By Scott Steinford, Founder and President, CoQ10 Association

- Last updated on GMT

Over the years CoQ10 has become a standard heart health ingredient. ©Getty Images - santoelia
Over the years CoQ10 has become a standard heart health ingredient. ©Getty Images - santoelia

Related tags: Enzyme, Coq10, Heart health, cardiovascular health

Very few ingredients have enjoyed the consistent growth that CoQ10 has experienced in the past 20 years. In 2000, the global market for ubiquinone had just surpassed 35 metric tons of CoQ10 demand and ubiquinol had yet to be introduced.

Market growth was supported and fueled primarily by science conducted prior to 2005. And, today the global CoQ10 market exceeds 1,000 Mts and coenzyme Q10 is recognized by most supplement consumers, despite limited category supporting research reaching the peer-review process.

Signs of a maturing market?

The past fifteen years hves also seen dramatic changes and consolidation of supply. The growth of the CoQ10 market since 2000 was also enabled by decreased raw material cost which has seen a high of $5,000/kg and a low approaching $200/kg. In 2002, Walmart realized, by examining category economics, that they could provide 100 mg per dose at the same consumer price point that natural retail stores were offering 30 mg dosing.

That same year an FDA Citizens’ Petition filed by a group of cardiologists demonstrated CoQ10 depletion caused by an emerging class of drugs called statins. This depletion led to the muscle aches that are one of the main side effects of statin use. Although only a factor for a minority of consumers and longer periods of statin use, this observation paved the way for CoQ10 to become a core cardiovascular support supplement and enjoy growth and credibility in several channels including with healthcare practitioners. 

However, CoQ10 never ‘mainstreamed’ like omega-3 and probiotics, and the factors that supported its growth in that period years ago are no longer market drivers. In fact, 2020 saw its first demand decline for CoQ10 in North America. However multiple brands are predicting ongoing stability in the market, but not an overwhelming demand surge for both ubiquinone and ubiquinol.

Reasons to anticipate future growth

But, the market for CoQ10 in 2021 and going forward does look promising for four distinct reasons:

  1. Recently, the CoQ10 Association continued a project to catalog and test every CoQ10 retail product in the United States to identify those products meeting label claim. Approximately 200 tests have been completed to date providing evidence of serious inconsistencies in products in the market, especially products sold through the Amazon platform. Both the first and second rounds of testing indicate the label claims are misrepresented about 20% of the time. Major recognized brands are typically responsible in their offerings and claims and the CoQ10 Association intends to contact all brand-holders whose products fail in upcoming weeks. This is the first comprehensive retail analysis of an ingredient category with the expectation that this testing will extend to other ingredients. 
  2. Kingdomway, the Chinese firm that is by far the largest supplier of CoQ10, has agreed, in principle, to support scientific research of CoQ10. The reality is that the CoQ10 market is entirely controlled by key Chinese manufacturers. The only major non-Chinese manufacturer, Kaneka, signed a distribution agreement with a Chinese manufacturer (Shenzhou) in December 2017 to supply and distribute their CoQ10. The major Chinese manufacturers are looking to improve the market through science and marketing support in 2021 which is promising for the category and should lead to new opportunities and applications. 
  3. CoQ10 remains one of the most studied and understood supplements with a known mechanism of action, and it is a molecule that provides consistent, demonstrable results.
  4. CoQ10 has proven to be beneficial for heart, cognitive and other indications. In response to the ITC Insights – Consumer Survey 2020 of 2,004 dietary supplement consumers in the US, UK and Germany, CoQ10 users reported a wide range of benefits as shown in the below table. While heart health continues to top the list in the US alongside doctor recommendation, those in the UK primarily take CoQ10 to improve blood pressure and those in Germany primarily take it to help with fatigue/tiredness, indicating that there’s still a lot of opportunity for education globally. 

We expect additional research will show CoQ10 benefits in our increasingly intense and stressful lives as we put 2020 behind us. I for one, remain optimistic.

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