The natural supplements industry has been experiencing healthy growth over the last few years, even during the recent recession. This is good news for the companies that market these products, as well as their investors -- and has even attracted the attention of big food purveyors and pharmaceutical companies, both of whom see an opportunity to bolster their bottom lines through mergers and acquisitions.
Recent market data shows that the worldwide market for herbal supplements and remedies is exploding due to factors such as consumer confidence in alternative health remedies like nutraceuticals and herbal preparations, as well as concern over pricey conventional medical treatments. Indeed, many consumers see these supplements as safer than standard medical care. Other factors, such as an aging population and heightened awareness of preventative health measures, are also helping to propel the market to an estimated $107 billion by 2017, up from a current value of $68 billion. Specific areas of growth are said to be fish oils, probiotics and detoxifiers, and functional foods.
Companies that stand to profit from this trend
A few business entities are poised to make good on this growth curve, and some are already doing so. Herbalife
Big players in the drug and food marketing sector have noticed the hearty profits being made in the supplement arena, too. Pfizer
Procter & Gamble
With all indications pointing to a rapid increase in market share for companies associated with natural supplements, expect fortunes to rise for companies like GNC and Herbalife. Also look for P&G to continue with its new investment trend, while I expect other pharmaceuticals will follow Pfizer's lead and use acquisitions of these types of businesses to fill in for lackluster pipeline offerings. Who knew that supplements could contribute so much to a healthy bottom line?
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Fool contributor Amanda Alix owns no shares in the companies mentioned above.
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