While natural foods and beverages are the predominant focus at the Natural Products Expo West by New Hope Network each year, there were several trends Kline noted that are pertinent to natural OTCs and supplements.
The blurring of lines on health claims where foods and beverages are making claims of boosting health and immunity continues. Claims that were once reserved mainly for nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals, and probiotic supplements are now found on natural foods and beverages. For example, waters infused with alkaline benefits and vitamins and minerals, dairy-free yogurt drinks infused with probiotic cultures, and cold brewed teas and tonics infused with ingredients like ashwagandha which is said to promote stress relief, promote relaxation, and improve sleep were on display at the show. Other teas and extracts made from mushrooms were on display and also claim to boost overall health and immunity.
Common claims and ingredients being touted on new products at the show include non-GMO, vegan or plant-based, gluten-free, grain-free, meat and dairy alternatives, organic, and products that are “alive” including kombucha, fermented vegetables, kefir, and yogurts which all made probiotic claims. Hot ingredients include cauliflower which seems to be substituted for grains in many products, turmeric, protein, coconut, and bone broth/bone broth protein. “Upcycling” of normally discarded food byproducts such as rescued fruit or discarded coffee bean shells into chips and other snack foods was featured in several new products aiming to appeal to consumers who are environmentally conscious. Probiotic ingredients are added to many products with forms including drinks, shakes, chocolates, hot and cold foods, and gummies touting the benefits of boosting immunity and overall health.
Kline’s Digestive Health, Immunity, and Probiotics study published in June 2017 provides an extensive market assessment of these brands and companies. Kline’s upcoming 3rd edition of Natural OTCs: Impact of Non-drug Products on the U.S. OTC Market will be published September 2018 and provides market assessment and a large scale consumer attitudes and usage survey of this disruptive and rapidly growing market segment.