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The UK Dietary Supplements Industry Overview
By Themedica on March 30, 2009 11:54 AM |
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As people in the UK have increasingly become aware of the benefits of a healthy diet, the demand for health foods, vitamins and dietary supplements has risen for the last two decades.

dietary-supplements-store.jpg In addition to a better informed populace, an aging population, increasing income levels has also contributed to an expanding consumer base for vitamins, minerals, and supplements (VMS). By the year 2006, the UK VMS market was valued at $827 million.

The UK Dietary Supplements Industry Overview

VMS or dietary supplements are generally sold by retail at drugstores, grocery chains, and health-food stores. But today, an increasing number of buyers preferring purchases through the Internet and direct mail.

To begin with, drugstores were the primary outlets for VMS products sales, however, with time a lot of general grocery stores have taken away the market share from drugstores. The reason for this transition is attributed to a legislation passed in 2001, following which grocery stores were able to decrease their costs and pass on the benefits to consumers through discounts.

The UK VMS Market Size

Growing at an annual rate of 2 percent, the VMS market in the UK amounted to a total value of $827 million in 2006. Within the sector, the largest market shares were held by multivitamins and fish  oils that were 21 percent and 20 percent respectively. Following the top performers were vitamins, glucosamine, plant oils and minerals.

uk-vms-market-share.jpgAt the same time the UK VMS market is expected to grow slowly in value terms over the next few years, with a growth rate of about 1 percent. By 2011, its expected to be worth $868 million.

annual-uk-vms-sales-figures.jpgOpportunities within the VMS Market

There are ample opportunities for vitamins, minerals, and supplement products that are  meant to be consumed for particular ailments, life stages, and lifestyles.  At the same time, due to the market being highly competitive, products with heavy discounts and novel offerings stand a better chance to perform.

Some factors influencing VMS demand include:

  • The UK population being close 60 million people, of which 15% are 65 years of age or older. And as the aging trend progresses, more and more seniors will consume VMS products for ailments, often linked with age such as those affecting the eyes, the brain, the heart, and joints e.g. arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Other special groups that contribute to the demand include those suffering from chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, vegetarians, and the health conscious.
  • Also, a general sentiment to maintain health, protect against illness , tackle specific health problems, up vitality levels and live healthier  are driving up the demand.

Other UK Dietary Supplement Market Facts & Issues

  • Market data suggests that prospects are especially bright for multivitamins, fish oils, glucosamine supplements within the UK market.
  • The six major players who hold a major share (approx. 78 percent) within the vitamins, minerals, and supplements (VMS) market in the UK are Holland & Barrett, Bayer, Seven Seas,  Boots Healthcare, SuperDrug, and Tesco.
  • In the UK, VMS products making a medical claim will be classified as medical products  or a drug and thus require a medicines license.
  • Periodic publications of research studies concluding that consuming VMS products is unnecessary has held back the market. However, there's agreement that certain groups of  people benefit from VMS consumption. At the same time there a lack of scientific evidence that consuming extra vitamins or minerals  is beneficial, and that the risk of overconsumption is always there.
  • Some directives affecting the VMS market include "The EU Food Supplements Directive (FSD)," as also those pertaining to alternative medicines viz. "Tradition Herbal Medicinal Products Directive," and "Restricted or Prohibited Herbal Ingredients."
  • To achieve competitiveness and survivability within the VMS market, companies will need to protect their products via intellectual property regulations. Intellectual property protection is more likely to attract more venture capital.
  • The global nutraceuticals industry sales are forecast to touch $187 billion by 2010, owing to increasing sales in the U.S. and the European Union (EU), as also within the emerging markets like China and India.

Though still reeling under the burden of the 2009 financial crisis, the market prospects would lighten up with more opportunities within the dietary supplements market as the recession eases.


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