OPINION: Why multivitamin sales continue to rocket in Australia

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The industry will continue to move towards tailored or personalised vitamin programmes. ©iStock
The industry will continue to move towards tailored or personalised vitamin programmes. ©iStock

Related tags Nutrition

Data shows that vitamins, minerals and supplement sales in Australia recorded almost 70% growth since 2013, while multivitamins excluding minerals grew by 34% in 2017 alone. Complementary Medicines Australia’s health economist Aiden Essery explains why.

Australians are living busier and busier lives, they have a diet of tea, toast and takeaways, and have been looking at ways to supplement their lifestyles and insure against illness.

We have seen a rise in the use of multivitamins as people are becoming more and more health conscious. Many people know that processed and fast-foods just make you sicker quicker so aim to supplement their busy lifestyles with additional nutrition and exercise. 

CMA Aiden Essery
Aiden Essery

Another potential concern for consumers is the falling nutritional value of fruit and vegetables. A 2004 study by the University of Texas found evidence that our fruit and vegetables are becoming less nutritious over time due to poorer soil quality and genetic modifications.

These findings reinforce Dr Mayer’s 1997 article in British Food Journal as well the study conducted by the Kushi Institute in Massachusetts​, both of which used robust longitude datasets. Consumers wanting to meet their nutrition goals must now consumer greater quantities of the more expensive food.

Consumers find it much more convenient to meet their daily micronutrient needs through a supplement. Daily multivitamin use gives consumers peace of mind that their body is not lacking nutrients.

Having enough nutrients in your body is proven to lower your risk of several illnesses and with clever innovation, consumers are able to avoid the risk of consuming unhealthy amounts.

Two Harvard University longitudinal studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Male Physician trial spanning over 30 years has found that those who supplement with a multivitamin over ten years have an 8% reduction in common cancers while men who supplement with a multivitamin over 20 years saw a 44% reduction in cardiovascular disease.

Personal approach

Companies are also helping by researching the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals to meet the needs of a  particular age or lifestyle.

Babies and children require different micronutrients at different amounts compared to the elderly. Some vitamins are better at promoting body development while others help fight off the effects of aging.

Sports multivitamins can be tailored to help with energy levels and recovery while pregnancy multivitamins focus on vitamins such as folic acid to lower the risk of birth defects and studies are now showing autism.

Normally around four or five ingredients are approved for use in Australia a year – but in the last three years over 100 new ingredients and herbals extracts have become available. This allows the vitamin companies to formulate new products and bring high quality supplements to market. 

To get a sense of the pace of innovation, over 1,581 products were registered as listed medicines last year according to the TGA annual report. This gives consumers a wide range of choice to make sure they get the right product to match their lifestyle.

In the future, the industry will continue to move towards tailored or personalised vitamin programmes to meet the needs of the individual.

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