The American Dietetic Association defines a vegetarian diet as one that “does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods." In its position on vegetarian diets, published in 2009 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the organization supported “appropriately planned vegetarian diets" by saying they’re “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."
According to a 2008 study, “Vegetarianism in America," conducted by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau on behalf of Vegetarian Times, it appears many vegetarians agree; of the 7.3 million Americans that reported following a vegetarian-based diet, more than half (53 percent) claimed to do so to improve overall health.
While research does support a vegetarian diet for certain health benefits, including a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity, a vegetarian diet can also lead to deficiencies of certain nutrients commonly acquired via meat products or animal sources. For this reason, it’s especially important for vegetarians to supplement their diets with nutrients and vitamins essential for good health.
For manufacturers and marketers of dietary supplements, vegetarian consumers can provide a unique market opportunity. However, the development of vegetarian supplements comes with its own set of unique challenges; ensuring all ingredients, including inactive ingredients, are not animal-sourced and developing an appropriate marketing strategy is critical to product success in the vegetarian supplement sector.
Importantly, to reach consumers in today’s vegetarian segment, manufacturers may need more than a vegetarian label. These already health-conscious and label-reading consumers are looking for more; trends such as non-GMO and clean label are particularly important.
According to Missy Lowery, senior manager, marketing, Capsugel, “Manufacturers should first be mindful that consumers are hungry for ‘clean label’ products as well as vegetarian products; supplement users command this category as well as overlap into other healthy lifestyle markets that power the health and nutrition industry. By understanding what is important to the segments, manufacturers can create vegetarian products to satisfy and capitalize on all aspects of this growing consumer movement."
To read more about formulating and marketing vegetarian supplements, visit INSIDER’s Content Library to download the complete article, “Vegetarian-friendly Supplements."