Euromonitor analyst Bettina Kurnick highlighted these trends at trade body Complementary Medicines Australia’s (CMA) innovation summit in Sydney.
She said the region had enjoyed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 10% from 2010 to 2016, and there were no signs to suggest sales were slowing.
China leads the market with 45% of retail value, followed by Japan with around 25% and South Korea with 10%.
Kurnick also said demand was being driven across the generations.
“We often hear a lot about how millennials are shaping demand, but the ageing population is a huge opportunity as well.
“Life expectancy is increasing and health awareness is growing, too.”
However, she cautioned that there was a danger of “pill fatigue”, meaning nutrition firms will need to innovate around delivery systems.
Kurnick said, “Fortified and functional foods are rivalling vitamin and dietary supplements, if not in terms of efficacy, at least for consumer attention.”
Fortified and functional foods accounted for 46% of retail value sales in the health and wellness food product category, she added.
“I think we will see opportunities around healthier, snack-like and more customised products, along with more clean-label and natural ingredients in supplements.
“Membership schemes will also continue to develop, and this can be as simple as a subscription model, through to consumers self-testing,” she added.
She pointed to growth for gummies, drink shots, sticks and powders, and said single-serve pod systems could well become popular.
“We will also see more digital packaging, with interactive codes linked to apps containing ingredient lists, content or e-commerce sites.”
The summit also heard that in Australia alone, complementary medicine sales had more than doubled in just three years, from $2.3bn to $4.7bn.
Exports have also doubled over the last three years, on the back of huge demand from China.