According to a newly released report, dietary supplement sales in the U.S. increased in 2008, reaching an estimated $4.8 billion.
The report, published in the nonprofit American Botanical Council’s quarterly journal HerbalGram, found the five top-selling herbal supplements of 2008 were flaxseed oil, wheat and barley grass, stevia, aloe vera and milk thistle.
Meanwhile, the top-selling herbal singles of 2008 were cranberry, soy, garlic, saw palmetto and ginkgo.
Mary Ellen Lynch, director of consumer insights for SPINS, a market research firm, and a co-author of the report, suggests there is an opportunity for herbal products to move outside the category and into the mainstream food and beverage market.
"For example, the antioxidant turmeric has this potential due to its link to multiple health benefits that align well to the mainstream consumer’s growing interest in health and wellness," she says.
Others have suggested the escalating costs of health insurance and deteriorating quality of mainstream healthcare are also prompting people to turn to nutritional supplements to manage their health.