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January 10, 2024
Members of the Natural Products Insider editorial advisory board were asked to share predictions for what 2024 holds in store for the natural products industry.
As an herbalist, in 2024 I’m hoping to see a new herb take the crown from powerhouse Ashwagandha and share the herbal love. In the running I feel we have blood sugar supportive Berberine, inflammation balancer Boswellia and a resurgence of the Panax family of Ginsengs.
Hot TikTok influencers seem to be guiding the trends, so I’m hoping for a full court press from the industry for truth in education from reputable sources. And for me personally, I’m going to start taking Annatto Tocotrienols, say cheers to the New Year with a hoppy non-alcoholic bevy and have a long hike with my new rescue dog, Lady.
Charlotte Trass, VP sales, North America, TopGum Industries
I am hopeful that 2024 will see the advancement of many initiatives that improve our industry. This includes progress in areas such as gender equity (Women in Nutraceuticals), diversity and inclusion (Naturally Proud Network, Naturally Network, Black Women In Food), quality and transparency (Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program), and research (Sonoran University of Health Sciences).
I also see more energy and resources around mentorship and professional development, which will help ensure we can attract and inspire talent. Each of these plays a role in setting our industry up for a future of growth and innovation. 2024 should also see an acceleration of digital and technological transformation that improves supply chain efficiency and resilience, time to market, product quality and safety, research and discovery, profitability, and product innovation.
Jon Benninger, vice president and market leader at Informa Markets
Last spring the FDA quietly approved Vowst—basically a fecal microbiome transplant in a capsule—as a prescription oral therapy for uncontrolled life-threatening C. difficile infection.
In so doing, the agency opened up a new, weird, and not yet fully-defined category of products: Rx microbiome modulation therapies. Vowst has a very tight clinical indication, but very broad implications. Why? Because it sets the stage for a gold-rush on microbiome-based drugs, or drug-like products for a wide range of disorders. Currently, there are more than 130 companies (including Nestle) across the pharma, biotech, and food/bev sectors working on microbiome-based treatments of one sort or another.
Vowst, and the products that will follow in its wake, are not “probiotics” in the traditional dietary supps sense. Nor are they “pharmaceuticals” in the traditional pill-for-an-ill sense. They’re a new weird chimera---“live biotherapeutics.”
As this develops, it could rock the probiotic supps world, which has grown vigorously over the last decade. Will we see someone launch a prescription probiotic? Will new Rx Live Biotherapeutics backed by robust clinical trials push old-school probiotics back into the margins? Will the FDA have to create a new regulatory category around live biotherapeutics and microbiome modulation therapies?
All big and as yet unanswered questions. But they’re important to ask. In terms of drug discovery, the microbiome is today what the rainforests were a century ago. And the pharma/biotech companies are going at it with a similar rapacious hunger.
And of course, this also begs the question of applying AI analytics and gene-editing tech to the microbiome to, basically, get it to produce the happy healthy metabolites we want. This is not sci-fi. It’s in the works.
So I’m very interested to see how this will all play out in 2024 and in the years to come.
Another area of interest is tissue culture meat. Who’s gonna be the first company to come out with an affordable, market-ready cell-burger? Will it taste good? Will it be healthy? Will tissue cultured meat really deliver on its eco-promises? Or is this just another corporate wolf in green clothing? Personally, as someone who enjoys eating meat but is revolted by all the cruelty involved in livestock agriculture, I love the idea(l) of Frankenmeat…er…I mean cultured meat. But knowing what we know about Big Ag and Wall Street, and the ways that good concepts lead to bad outcomes once they’re pressed into the service of corporate imperatives, we do have reasons to be skeptical.
Anyway, I’m very interested to see how that story will play out.
Erik Goldman, Editor & Co-Founder, Holistic Primary Care News for Health & Healing
I am most excited to see how the fast-moving gummy market evolves as the speed of cranking out similar high-sugar SKU hopefully shifts toward differentiation into a market-driven focus on better-for-you gummies. I would like to geek out with more articles on what is trending in the global supplement market that is different from the USA, especially in countries the USA tends to follow trends for, like S. Korean beauty, how collagen formulations and health targets differ between markets etc. I know functional mushrooms are everywhere, but I would love to continue seeing coverage on new clinically backed ingredients, testing considerations, & best in practice labeling while we wait on that FDA response. Also, psychedelic mushrooms! How is our industry dipping their toes in and how?!
Crystal D. Webber, Niche Nutrition, founder
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