The overall nutraceuticals market is growing at a higher rate than pharmaceuticals. However, the growth in the nutraceutical market does not entirely translate to excipients market growth for nutraceutical OSDFs. The reason: Excipients are mainly used in the nutraceutical oral solid forms of tablets and capsules and not in forms such as protein powders or other functional foods that are growing at a slightly higher rate. While the United States is the largest market, the European market will be growing more quickly, with some segments, such as functional coatings for nutraceuticals, still developing.
Here are the 10 biggest trends in excipients for the nutraceutical oral solid dosage forms market:
1. Within nutraceutical OSDFs, tablets consume the majority of the volume of excipients; however, the capsule form is expected to grow at a higher rate.
2. Despite the growing popularity of clean-label supplements, there is no definition or regulations provided by the FDA; the meaning of clean label is usually defined by individual brand owners or manufacturers. Usually, the definition is used on products that are gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan, Kosher and Halal, non-GMO, organic, and free of artificial colors/preservatives.
3. Nutraceuticals are more easily available than they were over a decade ago, with a substantial presence in both online stores and physical stores. Online is the most preferred nutraceutical channel, especially among younger consumers, due to the improved online shopping experience and easy access to information.
4. Personalized interactive tools offered for free by online retailers help create a customized list of nutraceuticals based on the condition and needs of the consumer. For example, at the end of 2019, GNC announced the launch of its new personalized wellness program, GNC4U. The online tool creates customized supplement plans for consumers.
5. Personalized nutrition is also an emerging trend in the nutraceutical market, particularly in Europe. In most cases, it is related to offering select micronutrient combinations with individual dosages according to various needs.
6. Demand for cannabidiol (CBD) has increased since 2017. The major benefits of CBD include relief from anxiety and insomnia.
7. In the United States, certain actives being used in oral solids formulation—such as curcumin and vitamin E—have poor solubility, leading to low bioavailability. The use of solubility-enhancing excipients is increasing to improve the bioavailability of these actives.
8. Because extensive studies are required to prove the functionality of tablets, sustained/extended release technology is not prominent in the nutraceutical industry. Therefore, instant-release tablets will continue to drive market demand for coating excipients such as HPMC and PVA, used widely for tablet coatings.
9. In the United States, a significant amount of nutraceutical ingredients is outsourced and brought from overseas locations such as China, India, Malaysia, and Japan. In some cases, such as those for mineral excipients like calcium carbonate and dicalcium phosphate, this is due to a lower cost of manufacturing and workforce in the export countries. In other cases, raw materials for excipients are limited to a certain geography. For instance, magnesium stearate, which is used as a lubricant, is manufactured from palm oil, and most of the imports in the United States are from the major palm oil-producing countries, Malaysia and Indonesia. In 2019, it is estimated that around 60% of excipients (by volume) was being imported into the United States from overseas manufacturing facilities with partnerships via Joint Venture (JV) or acquisitions.
10. New nutraceutical dosage formats, such as chewables and gummies, may demand new and different types of excipients. Also, there are new dosage forms, such as nutraceutical chocolates and coffee, that contain natural active ingredients; however, these formats are expected to remain restricted to specific consumer segments.