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Exploring the Booming Market for Mental Health Supplements

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Mental health supplements have emerged from the COVID-19 era as the fastest-growing benefit within the global dietary supplements market. Led by the US and China, consumers across cultures are experimenting with ingredients and formats, although generally reporting dissatisfaction with treatment approaches so far.

An epidemic of stress

Euromonitor International has been studying consumers’ self-reported levels of stress for years within its Voice of the Industry Survey: Health and Nutrition.

Levels of stress have been elevated for years and have persisted since COVID-19

Source: Euromonitor International Voice of the Industry Survey: Health and Nutrition

15% of respondents in 2019 reported either “extreme” or “high” stress levels, with levels remaining consistently elevated through 2022. Additionally, across all years, a near-majority of respondents reported “moderate” levels of stress.

When consumers identify factors that contribute to a healthy life, they overwhelmingly rate good mental health highly. Four of the top five selections in Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry Survey: Health and Nutrition relate to mental health, either directly (“mental wellbeing”, “emotional wellbeing”, “feeling good”) or, as with “getting enough sleep”, as an effect of mental health. The implication of these responses is stark, as consumers, as well as public health systems, consistently invest more heavily in other determinants of health over mental health. Younger consumers are leading the charge for mental health solutions.

Respondents under the age of 44 are considerably more likely to participate in stress-reduction activities than their older counterparts

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry Survey: Health and Nutrition

These rates suggest that the movement towards mental health acceptance reflect active lifestyle choices from younger consumers that will prove sticky as they age; if true, this points to further destigmatisation of mental health and the likely introduction of more products and services that address these concerns over the course of this decade.

The rise of mental health supplements

Dietary supplements positioned around mood support, stress, or relaxation have seen accelerating growth since the onset of COVID-19. Growth of these supplements has been considerably more dramatic in the US, the leading market for mental health supplements, than anywhere else globally, with category growth reaching 62% in 2022, a 27% CAGR from 2017.Exploring the Booming Market for Mental Health Supplements Chart 1.svgSupplements positioned around mental health are meeting a restless consumer base; one that is actively looking for new treatment solutions to demands such as stress, anxiety and depression, while at the same time, considerably dissatisfied with their current treatment approaches.

Mental health supplement consumers are willing to experiment with new product options but have intrinsically low levels of loyalty and trust

These facts underpin both the considerable growth witnessed by the category as well as the constant churn of brands, established ingredients, and formats that have become prominent components of the marketplace.

The convergence of mental health and other supplement benefits

Stress, anxiety and mental health can considerably affect the severity of many other health considerations, and as a result, consumers suffering from mental health demands are much more likely to treat multiple health problems than consumers as a whole. Across age cohorts and genders, consumers with high/extreme stress are more likely to report sleeping problems than any other health issue. Since the onset of COVID-19, many consumers have made an additional connection between sleep, stress and immunity, making this a fertile area for combination supplements.

Consumers suffering from mental health demands are much more likely to treat multiple health problems than consumers as a whole

Innovative approaches and novel ingredients are allowing formulators to connect mental health with a range of other health concerns, from weight management to cognition to digestive health to sports nutrition. Digestive health, in particular, has proven a considerably popular benefit to combine with mental health in the last few years, as recent scientific advancements in mapping the gut microbiome have allowed for greater understanding of the interplay between the gut microbiome and mental health through the so-called gut-brain axis.

Examining the dynamic marketplace for mental health products

Euromonitor International’s Via e-commerce database of online stock keeping units (SKUs) can help to interpret the marketplace for mental health in 2023. At this stage of the category’s development, it is dominated by consumer health products (53% of all SKUs), overwhelmingly presented in the form of vitamins and dietary supplements. Functional beverages have seen the most movement towards adaptogenic benefits in recent years, with 23% of US SKUs captured by hot drinks and 11% by soft drinks. Beauty and personal care products are also increasingly marketing adaptogenic benefits in facial care, with face masks, anti-agers and other moisturisers, and toners furthest along.Exploring the Booming Market for Mental Health Supplements Chart 2.svg

Asian herbal/traditional ingredients dominate the US marketplace for adaptogenic supplements. These include turmeric, liquorice, bacopa, gotu kola, holy basil/tulsi, and especially ashwagandha, the most-used ingredient in US adaptogenic supplements. Combined, however, mushrooms represent an even larger segment than ashwagandha within adaptogenic supplements. Between reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, chaga, shiitake, maitake, turkey tail, agaricus and king trumpet, mushrooms represent 20% of all ingredients used in this category in the US market.

Read Euromonitor International’s briefing, The Evolution of the Mental Health Landscape in Consumer Health, for further analysis on the drivers of mental health products.


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