Consumer demand and sustainability fuelling the growth of plant-based vitamins and supplements
Vitamin and supplement manufacturers are starting to look to plant-based options when formulating their products.
Plant-based eating is big business. Australian consumers spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on plant-based meat, and while only around two per cent of Australians identify as vegan, one in three people are already vegetarian or actively reducing the amount of meat they eat.
For some, it’s driven by a concern for the environment or animal welfare. For others it’s simply because of the increasing variety of plant-based options available. But the main reason more Australians are choosing to eat less meat is ‘health’.
Growing market for plant-based supplements
The latest sector to experience a surge in plant-based offerings is supplements. The worldwide market for plant-based supplements is projected to reach more than $18 billion (US$13.6 billion) by 2028, and the big players in the segment are continuing to jump on board. In May 2021, nutrition giant H&H Group announced it was developing and launching more vegan supplements under a few of its brands, including Swisse, to add to its plant-based line-up. It cites Australia as one of the key markets for plant-based opportunities.
While there’s a desire to keep up with consumer demand – whether that’s driven by ethical or health-based ambitions, including the need to accommodate allergies to seafood, dairy or wheat – some brands also want to satisfy their own sustainability goals.
For wellness practitioner Debbie Dickson, founder of Australian-owned and manufactured supplement brand Regul8, going plant based was less about capitalising on a trend and more about delivering a product with maximum efficacy.
“When formulating the Regul8 range, I wanted to design results-orientated supplements using plant-based, all-natural herbal ingredients containing concentrated extracts that were bioavailable and recognisable in the body,” says Dickson.
Herbs feature heavily in Regul8’s products, which are designed to support digestive health. In part, this is because they contain polyphenols – plant compounds with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. “While synthetic supplements are cheap to make, synthetic vitamins are difficult to absorb and aren’t recognised by the body, so can cause adverse side effects and other health issues,” she says. “I wanted to use all the multi-medicinal properties that herbs can provide.”
Regardless of whether a plant-based supplement comes from a determination to produce a superior product or to reformulate an animal-based offering into a vegan one, Dickson offers advice for new brands. “Don’t cheap out,” she says. “Invest in good quality ingredients and make great formulations that will really help people be as healthy as possible and get results. For me, having the right intention is of utmost importance when it comes to our wellbeing.”
To discover more plant-based supplements and products to stock on your shelves, browse the Naturally Good Product Directory here.