Food supplements: an expanding market, increasingly focused on quality

21 Ottobre 21

In recent years, nutraceuticals have established themselves as a Made in Italy excellence, with a constantly increasing market. Italy now ranks first in Europe for the consumption of food supplements and eighth in the list of world exporters. Quality of raw materials, sustainability and research are the basis of this expanding market, which relies on the balance between tradition and innovation to win over new groups of consumers who are more and more demanding and mindful of their well-being.

Dietary supplements: the Italian market

From 2014 to 2020, the value of sales of food supplements in Italy rose from 2,358 to 3,789 million euros. According to a recent survey conducted by FederSalus, the consumption of products dedicated to food nutrition had a real surge with the pandemic, which prompted many consumers to take better care of their health and strengthen their immune system.

Today, 58.4% of Italians say they are regular users of food supplements. In the two-year period 2020-2021, the most popular were immune stimulants (+30.2%), vitamin supplements (+30%) and products that promote sleep and night-time rest (+21%). The main sales channel is still the pharmacy, with a share of around 80%, followed by large-scale distribution, parapharmacy and e-commerce.

Traceability and informed consumption

The boom in food supplements has once again put the spotlight on the issue of traceability and the informed use of these valuable wellness allies.

The Directive 2002/46/EC defines food supplements as “food products which are intended to supplement the normal diet and constitute a concentrated source of nutrients or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect”. In order to protect health and correctly inform consumers, the legislation requires the following information to be included on the label:

  • the name of the categories of substances that characterise the product or an indication of the nature of these components;
  • the recommended daily intake;
  • a warning not to exceed the recommended dose;
  • a statement that the product is not intended as a substitute for a varied diet;
  • a statement that the product should be kept out of the reach of children.
    It is also forbidden to claim on the label that the products have therapeutic properties or the ability to prevent or cure illness.

A sector focused on sustainability and innovation

In June, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group’s Studies and Research Department presented the Territorial Focus on the food supplements sector. The document analyses, among other things, the reasons that have made Italian companies leading players in the sector. “Behind the successes achieved on international markets, there is a nucleus of highly competitive companies. […] These companies are far more dynamic than the rest of the Italian economy and have excellent margins […] a high propensity to invest in intangible levers (innovation above all) and to enhance human capital”.

The 6th Sector Survey, The Italian dietary supplement supply chain, conducted by the Federsalus Research Centre, traces innovation as an element of strength and resilience. Among the main factors that have allowed Italian companies in the sector to positively face the effects of Covid-19, investments in digital technologies started before the pandemic (47%) stood out.

Tecnomaco at the heart of the nutraceutical community

For several years now, our company has taken part in Vitafoods Europe, the global event that brings together buyers, suppliers, manufacturers and distributors from the nutraceutical community.

Vitafoods Europe 2021 showcased some of Tecnomaco’s most innovative primary and secondary packaging solutions that ensure efficiency and quality throughout the nutraceutical production chain:

  • GMSmart (extremely compact and customisable blister machine, suitable for packaging tablets, capsules in blisters);
  • FC trio (filling and capping machine for liquids, designed for easy format changeover, quick cleaning operations and, above all, for processing all types of closures: spray pumps, pipettes, droppers, screw caps with integrated dropper, dosing cups, etc.);
  • CH1 (linear counter, 100% accurate, suitable for counting tablets, operculated capsules, transparent and opaque soft gels);
  • FX 30 (printer for flexible materials, designed to allow the customer to print at any time of the day and to eliminate waste).