Joint health takeaways: Where some perish, others prosper

In a flat joint health category, there’s still plenty of opportunity for growth. Here’s the secret to that sauce.

Todd Runestad, Content Director,

December 20, 2019

2 Min Read
Takeaways on the joint health supplement market.jpg

Joint health supplements grew at an anemic 2.1% in 2018, according to data from Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ). But that top-line headline is not actually the story. That’s because almost one-third of the market is comprised of glucosamine, and that joint kingpin’s bloom is off the rose.

Joint health overall is a US$2 billion category and is seeing its best overall growth in a decade, according to NBJ data.

For that, we can thank nouveau ingredients such as curcumin and collagen. The phenomenon highlights the need (or shall we say opportunity?) for innovation around alternative ingredients and science to support—if not outright supplant—the category-defining ingredients of glucosamine and chondroitin.

The supplements segment is, of course, the biggest driver for joint health solutions. But that’s not the entire story. Anyone remember Joint Juice? Those tin cans are still here, having evolved to “weekly packs” in plastic bottles, with hip flavors like blueberry-acai and cranberry-pomegranate. Sports drinks also sweep up joint-health ingredients into its broadening category that includes energy, protein and muscle-recovery drinks.

According to data by the NEXT Data & Insights division at New Hope Network, which tracks the pre-shelf data by looking at product launches at the Natural Products Expo West and East trade shows, comparing Expo West 2016 to Expo West 2019 showed joint health claims are crossing over from supplements to other categories such as pet care and food and beverages.

Be on the lookout for joint health claims in the food and beverage space as claims are starting to emerge in teas and baking goods–like Tempt’s Hemp Pancake Mix leveraging the many health benefits of hemp.

New ingredients can freshen old categories that, even while flat overall, reveal much chub, churning and competition among different ingredients under the surface. Same goes for product formats: Supplements are not the only way to healthy living. The next generation of consumers is upon us, and that means everyone old may feel new again with the right ingredient mix, product format and branding story. Formulators and innovators, get up to the starting line and get busy.

Check out INSIDER'S full joint health digital magazine here.

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director,, Natural Products Insider

Todd Runestad has been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. He is content director for and Natural Products Insider digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for, Delicious Living!, and Natural Foods Merchandiser. Former editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine and still covers raw material innovations and ingredient science.

Connect with me here on LinkedIn.


Todd writes about nutrition science news such as this story on mitochondrial nutrients, innovative ingredients such as this story about 12 trendy new ingredient launches from SupplySide West 2023, and is a judge for the NEXTY awards honoring innovation, integrity and inspiration in natural products including his specialty — dietary supplements. He extensively covered the rise and rise and rise and fall of cannabis hemp CBD. He helps produce in-person events at SupplySide West and SupplySide East trade shows and conferences, including the wildly popular Ingredient Idol game show, as well as Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East and the NBJ Summit. He was a board member for the Hemp Industries Association.

Education / Past Lives

In previous lives Todd was on the other side of nature from natural products — natural history — as managing editor at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He's sojourned to Burning Man and Mount Everest. He graduated many moons ago from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.


"There is not a colds-and-flu season. There is a vitamin D-deficiency season."

"There is no such thing as inclement weather. Only improper attire."

Link answers question, "When taking magnesium, should you also take vitamin D3 2,000 IU?"

"Cannabis is nature's most nearly perfect plant."

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like