US Herbal Sales Enjoy Record Rise

Annual sales of herbal dietary supplements in USA passed US$10bn for the first time in 2020, according to the American Botanical Council’s 2020 Herb Market Report, which is based on US retail sales data provided by SPINS and the Nutrition Business Journal. Consumers spent an estimated US$11.3bn, +17.3% vs 2019. This is more than double the annual growth reported that year and the first time the segment has experienced double-digit growth in at least two decades.

  • In mainstream US retail outlets, elderberry was the top-selling herbal supplement ingredient, with sales totalling US$275mn+
  • Ashwagandha root had the largest percentage sales growth (+185.2%) in the mainstream channel. Widely used in Ayurveda, the well-known adaptogen is believed to increase the body’s ability to adapt to different forms of stress
Source: SPINS (52 weeks ending 27th December 2020)
  • Apple cider vinegar supplements saw strong sales growth in both mainstream and natural retail channels, with those marketed for digestive health and “cleanse and detox” the top focus
  • Natural retail outlet shoppers also prioritised fungi supplements, including some marketed for immune and cognitive health such as Chaga, which made its first appearance among the Top 40 in the natural channel ingredients, although human clinical research is lacking

Comment from study co-author Tyler Smith: Consumer trends in herbal supplements have never been more pronounced – the pandemic’s effects on supplement purchases can be seen in almost every data point for 2020. Throughout the year, consumers sought out products commonly used for immune health, stress relief and digestive support, likely in response to pandemic-related stressors. However, sales of products for age-related concerns such as prostate and heart health also grew in 2020, which suggests that consumers were turning to herbal supplements for both acute and chronic conditions.

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