Botanical Society Talks Trends in Plant Extracts

plant extract raw material

Under the epidemic, consumers' demand for plant extract dietary supplements has accelerated. According to the American Botanical Council's (ABC) 2020 Herbal Market Report, during the 2020 global pandemic, sales of dietary supplements exceeded $11 billion as people sought stress relief and immune support, This is a 17.3% increase over 2019.

Stefan Gafner, chief scientific officer of the American Botanical Council (ABC), pointed out that looking back over the past 25 years, the US plant extract market has grown considerably, and there are more raw materials and dietary supplement brands on the market. During this period, product formulations have continued to evolve and become more complex, including combinations of botanical extracts and other dietary ingredients, while botanical extracts have shifted from liquid formulations to capsules, chewing gum, and other new dosage forms in increasingly diverse forms.

Another important factor in the development of the plant extracts market over the past 25-30 years is the increase in regulations, plant extracts are required and regulated by DSHEA, Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) and other laws, especially in good production Specification (GMP) regulations and quality control areas.

Quality and Adulteration

With the development of the market, the adulteration of plant extract products has increased significantly. The "insufficient quality" of some products is the biggest threat to the botanical extracts market, Gafner said. “That’s why ABC, in partnership with the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi, launched the Botanical Adulteration Prevention Program (BAPP), which aims to educate the dietary supplement industry about the adulteration of botanical ingredients. Knowledge.

BAPP is committed to researching and educating the industry about fraud in the plant market. Since 2011, BAPP has published more than 70 peer-reviewed documents detailing and confirming adulteration in the global phytoextracts market. BAPP publications are freely accessible on the BAPP home page on the American Botanical Society's ABC website.

The CEO of Ethical Naturals Inc. agrees that quality control is and is the biggest challenge facing the industry, both before and now. "Manufacturers are looking for more ways to incorporate herbal extracts to reduce costs." He said BAPP found that a large percentage of elderberry products on the market contained ingredients not found in elderberry, "and these findings apply to the Most of the herbal remedies such as saw palmetto, ginkgo and others."

Economic uncertainty

One of the biggest concerns today is "rising commodity prices," Gafner said. With inflation starting to pick up, "companies are trying to keep prices low and margins tight, but prices for finished dietary supplements have increased in recent months, and that doesn't look like it will end in the future."

Inflation is a "harder puzzle to crack". Many high-quality Chinese herbal medicines in China are also facing "price increases".

In addition, the United States imposes tariffs of 7.5%-25% on plant extracts from China. This has forced suppliers to squeeze profits and face global inflationary pressures.

Environmental and Social Impact

The success of the plant extract dietary supplement industry may, in some respects, represent the long-term threat of supply shortages and the risk of overfishing of some wild medicinal plants.

"Sustainability and better agricultural practices (i.e. regenerative agriculture) are indeed necessary if the industry is to have a future, but not all companies are focusing on these important aspects," Gafner said. "The market is very competitive and the biggest selling argument is that companies with low-cost products may pay less for wild-harvested plants, even if it means they are not sourced sustainably."

Gafner noted that how companies should consider their environmental and social impacts is front and center for ABC’s Sustainable Herbal Medicine Program (SHP). "I believe that assessing the environmental and social impact of producing phytoextract dietary supplements must be a top priority for every company if the industry is to survive for generations to come."

Hot trend

Judging from consumer purchasing patterns, immune healthcare products remain a persistent trend and will continue to do so. "There are many herbal ingredients and blends that can support the immune system. Natural and organic forms of vitamin C, such as conifers, are very hot right now, especially when combined with other nutrients and antioxidant plant extracts.

Mushrooms have a rich tradition of use and trends, and they also have great benefits for immune health. Meanwhile, product categories that support sleep, stress and mood, prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics are all “exploding.”

COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on consumer behavior. Post-COVID-19 consumers are buying products for prevention and functional subdivisions or stacked functions such as sleep and immune support. They understand the value of natural functional products, "especially for issues highlighted by the pandemic, such as immune health, stress, sleep.

Herbal Extract Ingredients

Looking to the future

As a scientist, Gafner says, the most exciting things about new technologies or applications of existing technologies that will further our understanding of plant extracts. "In the field of herbal analysis, I am very interested in the possibility of studying multiple plant metabolites simultaneously, which experts call 'metabolomics'. Since plants are complex mixtures of molecules that readily interact, new technologies allow us to better It's really exciting to me to understand these interactions and how multiple molecules function in human tissue."

The use of supplements by the younger generation is growing rapidly, which is the hope for the future. People are not only concerned about health issues, but also recognize that health issues affect their quality of life, so it starts at a young age. In the current market, improving the quality of life has become as important as preventing recession. "