The American Botanical Council’s (ABC) HerbalGram recently released its 2020 Herb Market Report. The report, which analyzed US retail sales data provided by SPINS and NBJ as well herbal dietary supplement industry reports from Mintel Intelligence Services Incorporated (MIS), found that $10 billion of herb supplements were sold in America last year – a 17% increase over 2019 when they had previously peaked at 9%. This means it has not seen double-digit growth since 1998!
In addition to these findings being unprecedentedly high for this segmental industry according to conventional wisdom on trends among consumers who purchase them; there are also many other exciting developments worth noting about how Americans have chosen Nature’s Medicine.
The herbal ingredients driving sales growth in the mainstream retail channels were elderberry, apple cider vinegar, and ashwagandha. In both single-outlet stores as well as multi-outlet locations these items have shown increases of 150%. 133% for ACV and 185%, respectively!
Elderberry Extract supplements
The demand for elderberry has increased significantly in the last few years, most notably to support respiratory function. Sales have more than doubled since 2018 and by 2020 Ricola’s traditional horehound lozenges were overtaken by an herbal alternative made from this herb.
As the third highest-selling herb in 2019, elderberry took over from horehound and became number one for 2020. Echinacea fell to seven but still grew by 39%. Meanwhile, 11% fewer people bought horehound supplements while still ranked NO.2.
During the pandemic, elderberry became well recognized for its immune health benefits while horehound lozenges were typically used to manage symptoms like sore throat during illness. This could explain why consumers started incorporating more of this ingredient into their diets and saw double-digit growth in sales over time- so you can still enjoy these healthy treats without worrying about any negative impact on your body!
Elderberries also ranked second only behind cannabidiol (CBD) when it comes down to ingredients being sold at natural food stores across America – proving how popular they’ve become as people sought out ways to provide relief from flu or cold viruses without resorting to drugs if possible. You may also check the latest CBD alternatives, such as Palmitoylethanolamide powder (PEA) and bulk Anandamide in both powders and oils.
Despite CBD being the highest-grossing ingredient in its natural channel, it saw 36.9% fewer sales this year than last – only surpassed by 30 other ingredients that also experienced declines over 30%. This is a first for an entire category as far back as 2017 when we had seen such steep drops on both sides: from 40 top-selling items down to 872 or so; and then again after 2020 with its momentum halting due to shifting priorities during pandemic times.
Apple Cider Vinegar
In 2020, Apple cider vinegar (ACV) was the only other herbal supplement ingredient in the mainstream channel with an impressive sales increase of more than 100%. Consumers spent $79 million on ACV supplements last year-a a 133% leap from 2019 – making it one if not THE most popular health product on shelves today! The rise can largely be attributed to its use as a natural remedy for numerous ailments: ranging from everything from cholesterol levels or heart disease to stomach problems and allergies. Apple cider vinegar supplements saw a significant boost in sales last year, catapulting them from 12th to fifth place on this channel’s top 40 list. The ingredient also had strong results when sold at natural retail outlets and was the only one out of all forty-plus ingredients for which there were percentage increases greater than 100%.
The process of making apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a beautiful example of nature’s perfect harmony. Apples are first hydrated and then yeast particles convert their natural sugars into alcohol during alcoholic fermentation, which in turn produces acetic acid through bacterial action.
The cloudy mixture created from this double-fermentation process—known as “mother” or inoculated liquid—is said to contain probiotics that may offer potential health benefits due to its proximity with bacteria.
Since ancient times, apple cider vinegar has been used as a food and medicine. It can also be applied for weight loss in order to regulate blood sugar levels or cholesterol reduction among other things! Apple cider vinegar is a popular way to cleanse and detox your body, but did you know that there’s also some science behind it? According to SPINS (Science Publishing Company), mainstream apple cider supplements marketed for “cleanse and detox” had the greatest overall sales increases in 2020.
ACV supplements are available in capsules, tablets, and powders. More recently gummies have become popular with the top ten ACV search queries involving eight of them including a reference to this new product type on Google!
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, Indian Winter cherry, or Indian Ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb that has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine.
Ashwagandha is a well-known adaptogen that has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine. It’s an herb commonly associated with the “adaptive” qualities of being able to resist stress, and increase one’s resilience against it – which makes this seemingly therapeutic plant all the more compelling!
Since 2018, the sales of Ashwagandha supplements have grown by 185.2% to a total $31 million in 2020! The Indian herb made its way onto 40th place among mainstream herbs but has since skyrocketed up 12 spots bringing it near #34 ranking first appeared last year when many people were starting become more familiar with this powerful plant that can help treat anxiety and stress effectively without side effects like addiction or refill syndrome.”
Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used for many centuries in India to help with stress, anxiety and depression. Modern research also shows it can be an effective stimulant as well! A systematic review published last year showed how this ancient plant was better than placebo at improving physical performance variables such like work capacity or train efficiency among others when taken over time (which makes sense since we need our energy sources).
The 2020 COVID-19 Consumer Survey shows that over four out of ten respondents increased their supplement intake since the beginning of 2019. In response to why they did this, nearly one quarter cited mental health reasons including stress and anxiety the pandemic has had a significant impact on many lives across North America.
Beta-sitosterol is similar to cholesterol and can be found in many plants, including rice (Oryza sativa), wheat (Triticum aestivum) soybeans (Glycine max Fabaceae) along with other food sources. It’s commonly marketed for BPH treatment as well as heart health promotion–although it has been shown not only to improve these aspects but also to protect against several types of cancer!
Beta-sitosterol supplements had the fourth-highest sales increase in 2020 as a result of their popularity with consumers. Consumers spent $24,827,065 on beta sitosterols this past year and it is now one of the most abundant plant steroids (phytosterols) found within the human diet–making them an increasingly popular choice for people seeking natural remedies or just wanting to supplement those nutrients that may not be present enough due to our modern lifestyles.
Plant sterols are famous for their cholesterol-lowering abilities, but they also have benefits that may be unique to this class. For example, SPINS lists plant stanol as one of the top 40 mainstream ingredients since 2013 (except 2018).
With the aging population and increased interest in health concerns related to age, it’s no wonder that more people are turning towards supplementing their diet with beta-sitosterol. According to CRN, stats from 2010 – 2020 show an increase of over 12 million Americans 65+ years old which corresponds perfectly with a whopping 36% growth among this demographic group! Not only does research suggest these ingredients may help maintain heart function or prostate tissue strength but they also have been shown as having anti-inflammatory effects on joints making them ideal additions if you’re looking for natural relief without any side effects at all.
Quercetin is a plant pigment called flavonol occurring naturally at high concentrations in apples (Macaes indica), strawberries (Fragaria vesca) as well onions(Allium cepa). There are more plants that contain this nutrient including grapes (Vitis Viniferous) and tea Camellia Sinensis Theaceae.
Quercetin was one of the most successful natural products in 2020, ranking 19th with sales totaling $6.415M from 2017 and more than doubling last year’s total by 74%. Quercetin has been making waves in the natural products industry. In 2020, Quercetin ranked 19th in sales. Though it first appeared on the natural channel’s top 40 list at 26 last year and its popularity is increasing with time as people learn about the benefits of supplements like these for their health!
Quercetin supplements for cardiovascular health and prostate support in particular experienced significant overall sales increases of 233.1% and 132.2%, respectively, due to their use by athletes as well a growing consumer interest in quinoa products from immune system supporting properties. Quercetin supplements for immune health have seen a 59% increase in sales over the last year, and this is being driven by more people looking to boost their immunity.
Mushrooms supplements are a category that includes sales of multiple fungal species, including Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor), Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris), Maitake (Grifola frondosa), Black Hoof (Phellinus linteus), Poria (Wolfiporia extensa), Red Reishi (Lingzhi), and White Jelly (Tremella fuciformis).
Consumers spent $2,730,506 on Chaga mushroom supplements in natural retail stores in 2020 which earned it a first-time spot among the top 40 list. These amorphous tree parasites live on various species including birch (Betula spp.), alder or Alnus(Betulaceae), and beech Fagus. (Fagaceae).
SPINS reports that the top health focuses of mushrooms (other) in 2020 were immune and cognitive, with energy support coming in third. This data has been consistent since 2018 when those two ailments topped all others by a wide margin. In 2019 “non-specific uses” was also ranked highly as an issue for consumers looking to buy supplements related but not limited specifically be one thing like memory enhancement or mood care.” But just last year we saw total sales nearly double from what they had previously been at between these two categories – so there’s clearly some interest out there!
Fungus supplements performed well overall in 2020. Of the 20 ingredients that saw sales increases, 20% were mushrooms: Chaga, Cordyceps spp., and reishi (Ganoderma lucidum). The so-called “shroom boom” of 2019 seems to have continued into 2020 with these fungi being one category experiencing huge growth rates for this past year according to stats from Natural Channel Tracking Data.
Despite the global health crisis, US consumers spent more than ever on herbal dietary supplements for immune health and stress relief in 2020. Herbs commonly used to support cardiovascular, digestive or prostate issues also performed well this year suggesting that people are not only using these products as they tend to make up an important part of our wellbeing but sending them out into stores so we can be prepared if needed at any time.
As the pandemic stretches into its 20th month at this time, 2021 may have been marked by chaos and exhaustion as well. However, many consumers seem to be taking control of their own health with fungi-based dietary supplements following 2020’s record-breaking sales for such products. Overuse or misuse can lead you down a path towards illness but there is always an option when things get tough – take care of yourself!
Download the herbal supplement market report below: