Content of the study:
The food supplements market - Italy

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1.1 Definition and presentation

Food supplements include any type of product whose aim is to integrate one’s diet by providing necessary and additional nutrients. Under the European Directive - 2002/46/EC – the supplements are defined as “foodstuff which comes under the form of capsules, pastilles, tablets, pills and similar”.

Among the most popular categories:

  • Vitamins, such as D and E
  • Minerals, such as calcium and iron
  • Specialty products, such as probiotics and glucosamine

Dietary supplements present indeed attributes that can relate the product to nutritional and physiological benefits. They do not identify with pharmaceuticals, because their positive impact on the body and mind does not act as therapeutic [Camera di Commercio].

Dietary supplements have showed an outstanding growth worldwide, leveraging especially on progressive consumers’ attention to health and a global rising senior population.

Western Europe is among the top performers in the industry, with Italy standing in a leading position, counting a double-digit value growth from 2009 to 2019, attributable especially to changes in demographics, consumers’ health awareness and availability of nutritional information. 

Italy is the biggest market in Europe and one of the biggest in the world, with the ageing population being a huge driver of this market. During the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals started watching out more for their personal health, and had more time to rebalance and calibrate their diets, leading to exponential growth in certain segments of this market.

1.2 A well-focused global market with good growth prospects

Synadiet estimates the size of the global market at $***.* billion in ****, up *.*% from ****.

More optimistic forecasts predict a CAGR (***) of *.*% per year between **** and **** with a market expected to generate approximately $***.* billion globally by ****, an increase of **% in * years.

Size of the global dietary supplements market World, ****-*****, in billions of ...

1.3 The Italian market, European leader

Western Europe is the third largest region within the dietary supplement market, following Asia and North America. The most considerable share lays though exclusively in the hands of four players: in **** Italy being the leader with a **% share, followed by Germany (***) [***].

Breakdown of the European food supplement market, by market share Europe, ...

1.4 Imports & exports

By using the United Nations Comtrade database, it is complicated to study food supplements as a whole because this segment includes a wide variety of products classified under different customs codes. However, it is possible to analyse part of it and observe, for example, the trade in vitamins and provitamins which ...

1.5 Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-** pandemic had devastating effects on many markets and industries. Due to the nature of the virus (***) sanitary measures were put in place, the most significant of which were the mandatory, government enforced lockdowns that kept people at home and put a halt to most economic activity. Italy, being the ...


2.1 Demand overview

Dietary supplements are recommended substances to accompany one’s diet, therefore, do not identify specifically neither with food nor with medicine. Demand for the product categories is thus correlated to one’s personal understanding or available information (***) of the associated effects and one’s weight to an equilibrated diet.

The main ...

2.2 Lifestyle and new habits change consumption

Rising stress levels

Dietary supplements intake is strictly correlated to one’s perceived and actual health and wellbeing. Therefore, the progressively higher percentage of stressed Italians can play a major part in shifting demand. The number of males who have declared to be stressed is extremely large, * out of **, according to ...

2.3 Italian consumption habits

**% of the Italian adult population (***) uses food and dietary supplements [***]. The reasons for their use can be broadly divided in * broad categories:

Prevention (***)  Well-being (***) Tonality, reinforcement and energy (***) Specific cures/care (***)

Well over half of Italians use dietary supplements for reasons that fall under the categories of 'tonality, reinforcement and energy' ...

2.4 Why use food supplements

Regarding the reasons to purchase and use food supplements, three quarters of Italians cite advice from a medical professional or a pharmacist/pharmacy. Only one in ten Italians cite advertisements to have been the reason for the purchase and consumption of food supplements

Reasons for purchase and use of food supplements Italy, ...

2.5 New trends in demand

The growth of the sports segment

The sports nutrition supplements market is a segment of the dietary supplements market, but also a segment of the sports nutrition market. The latter has particularly developed in recent years, driven by the democratisation of food supplements, which were previously mainly consumed by professional sportsmen ...


3.1 Organization and dynamics of the market

Until the beginning of the XXI century, the dietary supplement market had a well-defined image. The biggest share laid in the hands of few international players - e.g. Pfizer, Bayer, Sanofi - although a considerable portion was kept by Italian manufacturers – e.g. Aboca, Alfasigma. Recently, radical transformations in the ...

3.2 The Made-in- Italy manufacturing

CDMO (***) is an organizational model company, which enables to handle production, development and manufacturing activities of medical products on behalf of third parties.

The two sides are therefore:

Companies authorized distributing pharmaceutics – generally pharma multinationals, that outsource functions to CDMO companies. Companies following CDMO to produce and manufacture pharmaceutics, that act ...

3.3 Distribution

Despite increasing proliferation of distribution channels, the leadership seems to remain in the hands of the health and beauty specialist retailers – e.g. pharmacies. The latter continue to represent an extremely relevant market share, equal to approximately **% [***].

Business to Business

Production and manufacturing take place in a different company, which in ...

3.4 The dominance of pharmacies

As we have seen above, pharmacies hold an absolute majority in terms of distribution in this market, both in terms of value and volume. 

However, it is interesting to observe a deeper and more detailed breakdown of this market by segment (***). Pharmacies hold a majority share in terms of value for ...

3.5 Value chain and production

Source: ****

In the first instance, ingredient suppliers produce raw materials, i.e. the nutrients, but also the flavours or colourings that will make up the food supplements.

Producers use these ingredients to make dietary supplements. There are two types of producers: processors who supply supplements to several companies that will market ...


4.1 A number of product categories

A variable one can take into consideration when sub segmenting the dietary supplement market is the product function.  

According to Unife, there are five identifiable categories based on product function:

Sport Health and wellness Diet Against aging Beauty care

An additional available distinction concerns the ingredients contained in the dietary supplements. ...

4.2 Supply Trends

Personalized nutrition

An increasingly large number of companies are moving away from the concept of “one size fits all” in order to enhance customer’s experience through a highly personalized offering. In the health sector the trend is largely visible, with many existing companies as well as innovative startups addressing this ...

4.3 Increasing prices

    Dietary supplements price by distribution channel Italy, ****-****, in € Source: Federsalus  

Average pricing for dietary supplement has experienced an increase of €*.* in the biennium ****-****. The rise was led by the pharmacy segment - whose weight within the distribution channels is considerable - where the price increase was even larger (***).\ ...

4.4 Research is at the heart of the offer

The role of innovation To stand out, many companies launch their research programs to innovate and create new products. The research therefore concerns not only ingredients, but also formulations and containers. The innovation of natural, organic, vegan products is particularly growing. Among the innovations in the dietary supplement market are the ...


5.1 Three levels of legislations

There are three different levels of legislative procedures to follow:

EU regulations Italian legislation Ministry of Health (***)

EU regulations exist for vitamins, minerals and substances used as their sources. Moreover, rules concerning the use of potentially damaging substances to consumers’ health are also harmonized at EU level.

According to Regulation (***) No ...


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Reviews (4)

Reviews (4)

The food supplements market - United States

Publicado en 26/08/2022 by Stephane Thurmes

Well organized studies. Good choice of areas for reflection. Suggestions: suggest updates when they are done.

Businesscoot Response:

Dear Stephane, thank you very much for your feedback and your proposal. We often come back to our customers to propose them the updates of the studies when we produce them. Moreover, we have recently set up a monthly newsletter dedicated to our subscriber clients and which includes all the updates of the month!

The food supplements market - France

Publicado en 16/08/2022 by A Marin - LPB Inc

very clear

The food supplements market - United States

Publicado en 07/03/2021 by R G

"Your study gives very good information in the field of dietary supplements that I have cross-checked with other sources I also like the fact that each of your data is referenced, which proves the seriousness of this study Gérard RUMPLER"

The food supplements market - France

Publicado en 18/11/2021 by Kevin Gressus

Very good, clear and detailed report. It helped me a lot in my market research

Businesscoot Response:

Hi Kevin, Thank you for your feedback. We are happy to read that the content and structure of the study has completely met your expectations. :)

Customer cases and references

Customer cases and references
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