Taiwan's most popular health foods: Lactobacillus and stout camphor fungus top the list
The report, commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, showed that Taiwan's health food market was worth NT$129.2bn (US$4.1bn) in 2017, representing a 6.43% rise from 2016.
Lactobacillus products were found to enjoy the lion's share of the health food market, with a market worth of NT$4.3bn (US$136m). The second place was a tie between stout camphor fungus — a product native to Taiwan — and enzymatic products, each with a worth of NT$2.1bn (US$66.7m).
Plant-extract and collagen took the third place, hitting NTD$2bn (US$63.5m).
Squeezing into the remaining top five position include the fungus ganoderma, multi-vitamins, and glucosamine, each with a market worth of NTD$1.8bn (US$57.2m), and NTD$1.7bn (US$54m).
Top five functions
On the other hand, the top five health functions are regulating blood lipid level, improving gut health, regulating the immune system, liver protection, and bone supplements.
Most of the products are made from micro-organisms, followed by plants.
As for dosage forms, dietary supplement foods are becoming more popular than functional foods.
Kantar Worldpanel Taiwan also found similar trends.
The top three most consumed health products are those that confer joint health, eye health, and beauty.
Last year, the per capita consumption on nutricosmetics is about NTD$2,250 (US$71), which showed that beauty-from-within is a growing trend in taiwan.
As for the major players in this sector, Uni-President Enterprises, Standard Foods and Vitalon Foods remained the top players in Taiwan last year, according to a Euromonitor report published last month
"The leading players have a long-standing presence in the country with well-recognised and trusted brands and have extensive product portfolios and wide distribution networks," said the report.
Taiwan Health Food Industry Development Association was formed in 2017, which will help to promote the development of the industry, said the FIRDI report.
Further studies and R&D on ingredients, technologies, functions, dosage forms, and different commercial models are also needed to help the industry advance to the next level, it said.