3 dietary supplement trends reveal a change in the 2024 market - video

From the Natural Products Expo East 2023 show floor, we spotted these three shifts in how brands are positioning dietary supplements.

Todd Runestad, Content Director, NaturalProductsInsider.com

December 11, 2023

5 Min View

At a Glance

  • Expo East 2023 featured scores of new supplements SKUs.
  • We looked for efficacious doses of functional ingredients.
  • Pre-workouts, reduced-sugar gummies, and sustainability concerns rose to the top.

Functional ingredients have always been the sine qua non of innovative dietary supplement finished products. That remains so today, as trends seen on the show floor of Natural Products Expo East demonstrate the value that natural bioactives can have on supplement brands.

Three trends in particular stood out at the show.

Pre-workout sports nutrition products is one such trend. These are not normally seen in abundance at Natural Products Expos because of the typical inclusion of caffeine — usually as the synthetic caffeine anhydrous.

“There is very little natural caffeine on the market,” said Hank Schultz, senior editor for Natural Products Insider. “There are some interesting choices in ingredients, especially with vasodilators focusing on L-citrulline, a nitric oxide precursor.”

L-citrulline is a precursor of nitric oxide with the ability to improve vascular function, which improves oxygen uptake, and muscle protein synthesis.

“You have this tension with pre-workouts in the sense that caffeine actually constricts blood vessels,” said Schultz. “It gives you mental focus — a mental high, if you will — but doesn’t do so much for the actual performance end. That’s what the vasodilators do.”

Other good news for supplement brands, said Schultz, is that L-citrulline is a fairly inexpensive ingredient.

Related:8 ingredients and product format trends driving the shift from sports to active nutrition

Children’s gummies is another trend. This has actually been going on as long as gummies have been on the market, what with the original gummies specifically used for children’s supplements — a take-off of kids’ favorite candy, gummy bears, only injected with nutrients to create the first “candyceuticals.”

One of the concerns with candyceuticals is the routine inclusion of sugar in formulations. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, as Mary Poppins counseled. Brands typically insert 1 or 2 grams of sugar for each gummy — sometimes as much as 5 grams per piece.

A U.K. brand called Tonic is using the prebiotic fiber FOS, which besides being a food source for beneficial bacteria in the gut is also a low-calorie sweetener source.

The upshot is each Tonic gummy contains only 0.33 grams of sugar per gummy.

“They are putting efficacious doses of vitamins and other bioactives into children’s gummies,” said Schultz. “They’re brand new and are a brand to watch.”

Sustainability concerns are increasingly the focus of brands.

“Younger consumers are really focused on this,” said Schultz. “Brand are responding and capital is responding.”

The question is, how are sustainability efforts verified?

Related:Are amino acids the future of hydration drinks?

One significant court case, albeit not in the natural products industry, is against Delta Airlines, which markets itself as a “carbon-neutral” airline. This is big news because airplanes are notorious for being an outsized culprit of carbon dioxide emissions. The lawsuit asserts that Delta’s carbon offsets are not doing what they are claiming to do.

The case, Berrin v. Delta Air Lines, alleges that Delta’s operations to offset carbon emissions are “manifestly and provably false” because of “foundational issues” with the market over whether the carbon offsets are really doing what they claim.

“If the court decides that you have to verify your projects, not just take the word of some consultant, that will have a huge effect on this industry,” said Schultz.

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director, NaturalProductsInsider.com, Natural Products Insider

Todd Runestad has been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. He is content director for NaturalProductsInsider.com and Natural Products Insider digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for NewHope.com, 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.


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