Unlocking the Potential of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is one of the fastest-growing herbs in terms of natural channel sales, and there is still massive untapped potential, particularly as U.S. consumers become more familiar with the beneficial botanical.

Jon Benninger

November 21, 2017

2 Min Read
Unlocking the Potential of Ashwagandha

Since we first entered the health and nutrition market more than 20 years ago, I have been interested in the incredible potential traditional herbs and ingredients from Ayurveda have to offer. One of the most exciting and fastest-growing is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), one of the most important botanicals from Ayurveda. Even with the rapid market growth we have seen with this ingredient over the last few years, there is still massive untapped potential. This is the reason for the launch of Ashwagandha Advantage.

If you are not yet familiar with this botanical, you will be. Consider this:

  • According to American Botanical Council's Herbalgram in its 2015 Herb Market Report, sales of ashwagandha grew by 40 percent year over year. This makes it the fastest-growing herb in terms of sales in the natural channel, outpacing both turmeric and cranberry.

  • Our colleagues at New Hope Network reported SPINS data showed a 57 percent increase in ashwagandha sales during 2015.

  • As we know, ingredients that grow rapidly in the natural channel then often see rapid growth in the other channels, such as food/drug/mass.

  • Export data on ashwagandha from India shows significant growth over the last several years.

From my view, this botanical is still in the early stages of its growth. First, the ingredient is still very new or even unknown to many people in the United States. That said, it is natural and has both a long history of safe use and a well-developed body of science. It is a perfect answer for the consumer demand for healthy, natural products.

Ashwagandha also offers benefits in a range of key areas:

  • Stress and fatigue;

  • Mental clarity, concentration and alertness; and

  • Energy and performance.

In addition to the growth in ingredient sales over the last few years, we have also been seeing a wider variety of products with ashwagandha. Certainly dietary supplements—including capsules and tablets—make up a lot of the market, but now we are seeing beverage and food applications. For example, REBBL offers Ashwagandha Chai elixir, available nationwide. Ashwagandha can also be found in baked goods, confectionery, snack bars and other interesting consumer products. That's not to mention its use in pet products and even personal care items.

Throughout this year, we will be providing you with the latest science and research, formulation strategies and approaches to this burgeoning market. Look for regular expert columns, videos, reports and infographics, all focused on helping you take advantage of the opportunity in ashwagandha.

Finally, I must say that after more than two decades of working to help develop the global market for ashwagandha and other herbs from Ayurveda, it is very exciting to see this come to fruition. We believe this is just the beginning of the market potential for this botanical, and we are here to help you understand and capitalize on the opportunity. Namaste.

About the Author(s)

Jon Benninger


Jon Benninger is vice president and market leader at Informa Markets. He focuses on the strategic direction and growth of the SupplySide portfolio, which includes SupplySide West, SupplySide East, Natural Products Insider and Food & Beverage Insider. He coordinates with leaders of the other Informa health and nutrition events and brands, including Natural Products Expo West, Vitafoods, Food ingredients, Nutrition Capital Network, Nutrition Business Journal and MarketReady Insights.

Benninger joined the company in 1995 as the founding editor of the company’s first trade magazine for the nutrition industry. In his free time, Jon loves to cook for family and friends; if you are ever in Phoenix and want to enjoy a meal, all you must do is choose a country, region, or city, and Jon will cook it for you.

Jon Benninger

VP & Market Leader – SupplySide


  • Helped launch the SupplySide business in 1995.

  • Active in industry associations and initiatives and leads strategic partnerships for SupplySide.

  • Cares deeply about supply chain, quality, and innovation issues that drive industry growth and success.


  • ABC Mark Blumenthal Community Builder Award, 2018

  • Vitamin Angels Grateful Acknowledgement for Supporting Global Children’s Health, 2018

  • AHPA Visionary Award, 2014

  • NPA Industry Champion Award, 2014

  • CRN Crystal Apple Award for Industry Leadership, 2010

Current Volunteer Positions

  • Board Chair and Board Trustee, Sonoran University of Health Sciences (formerly Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine)

  • Founder and Board Representative, Nutrition Advisory Council, Sonoran University of Health Sciences

  • Director’s Circle, American Botanical Council (ABC)

  • Communications Committee, American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)

  • Communications & Media Outreach Committee, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)

  • Company Council, International Association of Dietary Supplement Associations (IADSA)

  • Mentor, Women In Nutraceuticals

Past Volunteer Positions

  • President, Dietary Supplement Education Alliance, 2006 – 2008

  • Board of Directors, Dietary Supplement Education Alliance, 2001 – 2006

  • Board of Directors, Citizens for Health, 1999 – 2001

Speaker Credentials

  • "Trends in the US Market for Healthy and Functional Foods and Ingredients, Hi-Japan, Tokyo, 2019

  • “Trends Overview for Japanese Delegation to Natural Products Expo West” Anaheim, CA, 2019

  • “China: Impossible to Ignore” UNPA Member Retreat, Charleston SC, 2019

  • “Trends Overview for Japanese Delegation to Natural Products Expo West” Anaheim, CA, 2018

  • “Nutrition Industry Overview” US-China Business Exchange Dinner, Anaheim CA, 2018

  • “Industry Outlook: Market & Key Factors” National Enzyme Annual Meeting, Branson, MO, 2017

  • “State of the Human Dietary Supplement Industry” NASC Annual Conference, Austin, TX, 2016

  • “Consumer Concerns of Safety & Efficacy in Supplements” UNPA Member Retreat, Hawaii, 2016

  • “Nutrition, Health and Wellness Trends” Cactus IFT Meeting, Phoenix AZ, 2013

  • “Key Industry Events & Media in the US Market” World Ayurveda Congress, Bangalore, India, 2010

  • “Trends in the Dietary Supplement Industry” Pacific Technology Exchange, Los Angeles, 2010

  • “Succeeding in the US Market for Healthy Products” 4th Nutraceutical Summit, Mumbai, India, 2008

  • “Selling to the US Health Food Industry” Keynote Address, ANIPRON, Mexico City, 2007

  • 1997 – present: moderator/host at SupplySide events

  • 1997 – present: Frequent host/moderator of industry conference sessions, panel discussions & town halls

Resides in

  • Phoenix, AZ


  • Arizona State University, B.A Journalism, 1991


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