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Trending in nutraceuticals: science meets sustainability Listen with ReadSpeaker

Like many other important aspects of our health in these somewhat muddled times, nutraceuticals are transforming as well. The ingredients of the future must combine sustainability with scientific data on the function and value of the ingredients.

Going forward, we will see ingredients targeting very important indications like bone and joint health, immune support, weight management, treatment of inflammations, cardiovascular health and gastrointestinal health.

The following are among the key trends that we believe will drive innovations and formulations for nutraceuticals development around the globe.

Now that countries around the world are rolling out vaccines to the their populations, manufacturers are starting to support consumers and work alongside prescription offerings that boost their immune systems and fight off the illness.


New products will target those most at risks such as seniors, pregnant women and diabetic patients. They will expand and help support those who are not only fearful of catching the COVID-19 virus but who are also worried about related financial issues and have reduced access to support networks like friends and relatives. We will also see more focus on stress relief using adaptogens and nervines, and eye health as people spend more time online.

The current choppy global economy will spur greater demand for private-label innovations while branded products must play to their key strengths around experience and longevity in the market.


Even before the pandemic, the price was already an important purchase driver for over-the-counter (OTC) medications. It will become even more important if recession kicks in and private labels can better meet the expected increased demand for affordable OTC medications. They can strongly convey efficacy and value-for-money to appeal to those who may be reluctant to switch to unfamiliar labels.

Ingredient makers will develop more engaging formats, packaging, product design and collaborations to liven up the OTC pharmaceutical products. Ease of use claims in the OTC medications market are in demand and will continue to drive new products. These include innovative spiral-shape heat patches that enhance free movement, hands-free or no-mess applicator sticks and nose clips for easier breathing beneath face masks.


To speed up the shopping experience, brands are offering convenience beyond the product with user-friendly websites, virtual consultations and free delivery services. Online, home delivery and bespoke services are poised for growth, simplifying the vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) selection process and making it easy for people to buy and receive their VMS during lockdowns.


In reaching out to the younger demographics, some brands have started OTC partnerships with TikTok and social media influencers to promote these products.

Riding on benefits around pain and ailment relief will remain crucial as OTC medication brands put immunity support, stress and sleep benefits at the forefront. In the UK for example, 36 percent of adults who have recently experienced head or body pain indicate that stress triggers pain for them. This rises to 52 percent for those aged 16 to 24.


Brands are looking beyond melatonin as a key sleep aid substance, to address dependency concerns and explore the viability of on-trend stress-relieving natural plants and botanicals like adaptogens and nervines. They are incorporating immune-support benefits into OTC medications to harness the immune system boosting benefits of renowned vitamins, minerals, botanicals, on-trend adaptogens and probiotics.


There is also increased demand for more eye relief innovations that can help care for sore and tired eyes exposed to blue light as people spend more time on electronic devices during lockdowns and home quarantine periods.

Now is the right time to boost trust in the VMS market by being more transparent about ingredients, supply chains and benefits. As natural and sustainable claims are the fastest-growing areas, we will see the renewed focus on sustainability and safety post-COVID-19 as clean, plastic-free and upcycling become the themes to align with consumers.


It is time to reassure consumers about safety by touting natural formulas and by showcasing plant-based ingredients like adaptogens and nootropics such as ashwagandha, banana blossom for maternal nutrition and konjac root for weight and diabetes management. Natural formulas can also better align with clean themes, link with real food ingredients and be more traceable.

As consumers start to recover from the pandemic and seek out ways to heal, they are turning to more sustainable, natural and healthier ingredients. As a product manufacturer or a health product owner, it is important to know what these markets are asking for and where to source these functional ingredients for your nutraceutical products.

This is where DKSH can help businesses in the sourcing and development of innovative formulations. Talk to us to find out how we can help to meet your target market’s demands and requirements.



About the author

Zeljko is Vice President, Global Pharmaceutical Industry and is based in Zurich, Switzerland.