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Asia Pacific: Nutraceuticals vital in preventive healthcare, says Frost & Sullivan

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Besides the increasing number of consumers taking a proactive approach towards their health, the prevalence of chronic diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease) has also increased the demand for nutraceuticals, says Frost and Sullivan.

Nutraceuticals products can be used across a wide segment of the population, targeting various health conditions and is playing a large role in the ‘wellness’ movement, empowering consumers to manage their health proactively.

Amidst the rising costs of healthcare, there is a shift from treatment to prevention via health and wellness achieved through proper nutrition and usage of nutraceuticals.

Globally, the nutraceuticals market earned US$155 billion in revenue in 2013 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.0% to reach US$211 billion by 2018.

Nutraceuticals are products that provide nutrients through various formats including dietary supplements and functional beverages and fortified foods.

The research company says the world is moving to condition based nutrition where nutraceuticals play a large role.

Nutraceuticals are moving away from traditional formats to very focused products addressing specific conditions.

This will help customers select the right nutraceutical product based on their demographics, health benefits and purpose.

The company says heart health, children and ageing nutrition are growth opportunities for nutraceuticals.

Heart health

Cardiovascular disease is acknowledged to be the most costly non-communicable disease globally in terms of medical spending and mortality, with more than 12 million deaths annually across both developed and developing countries.

This is mainly due to increasing cholesterol, obesity, aging and smoking.

Heart health concerns among consumers differs from region to region based on genetics, level of economic development and awareness. This translates into demand for nutraceutical products.

Asia Pacific is the quickest growing Omega-3 product market with increased demand from the infant nutrition fortification sector.

The overall health ingredient market is growing at 15% year on year in Asia Pacific with demand being driven primarily by China. Most product development in Asia will be focused on Omega-3 in the foreseeable future with popular food products such as Beta-glucan oat beverages and Omega-3 infused water.

Children’s nutrition

In developing countries, 43 million children under the age of five are obese or overweight whereas in Africa, 40% of children are chronically undernourished.

Globally, 45% of child deaths are due to malnutrition, with 30% in Asia Pacific.

With the unique needs of children’s nutrition, nutraceuticals have to balance their needs and wants against a background of changing demographics and decision makers.

Ageing Nutrition

According to Frost & Sullivan analysis, up to 3% of the gross domestic product for most countries will be channeled towards ageing related costs by 2020 (excluding pensions, health and long term care).

It is expected that 1.2 billion people will be over the age of 65 by 2020.

Baby boomers are expected to be the largest group expected to make up the bulk of the ageing population, with their nutraceutical interests to include heart health, weight management and digestive health.

On the other end of the spectrum, the nutraceutical interests of the ageing population living in extreme poverty are focused on ethnic medicine, immune health and digestive health.

As consumer demands change across the world, the demand from nutraceuticals will become increasingly lifestyle-related and condition-specific. Although growth is expected be positive, there is a need for caution, says Tyagarajan.

“Education and clear messaging to consumers will be a priority to avoid confusing the consumers in cases of too many products with little or no validation of their claims. Products that build loyalty have proven ingredients with clear benefits and positioning,” she added.

Future growth opportunities for nutraceuticals will depend on successfully addressing the key market needs in areas such as cultural awareness, product differentiation, competitive pricing and scientific validation.