An educated customer base and loyalty to established, proven products keep the mineral market strong.
The consumption of minerals is essential to support a number of life-sustaining functions. Due to the busy lifestyles led by Americans and the changes in farming practices in the United States, there is a growing need for supplements to enhance the typical American diet.
“A paper written by the Nutrition Security Institute in 2006 describes that in the U.S. and throughout the world, topsoil mineral content has been depleted,” explained Jennifer Weinhardt, BS, MS, research and development specialist at Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation in Texas. The depletion, due to many factors including soil erosion and the lack of rotational cropping have led to an absence of minerals in topsoil and crops that are less nutrient-dense. “Unless farming practices change and growers replenish the mineral contents of their soils, harvested foods will continue to decrease in nutrient content,” said Weinhardt. “These are just a few of the many contributions to the ever-growing demand for mineral supplementation.”
Andreas Koch, vice president of public relations and marketing at Natural Vitality in Texas agreed. “According to medical doctor and agricultural expert Dr. Arden Andersen, the nutrient content of foods today compared to 50 years ago ranges from 15 to 75 percent less. This isn’t good news, considering that our bodies depend upon the things we eat.” He added that if our bodies aren’t being supplied with the key nutrients necessary to function, the body’s natural biological processes begin to slow down which can contribute to low energy and aging.
The State of the Minerals Market
According to Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA, senior education manager at Illinois-based NOW Foods, the minerals category is the smallest segment of the total U.S. supplement market, estimated at 7 percent. “Even as the smallest segment of the supplement market, minerals still represent $2.7 billion in sales,” he stated.
Matt Kilts, managing partner of Trace Minerals Research based in Utah, said that the market for minerals is a thriving one. “Consumers are realizing that minerals are as important—if not more important in some cases—as vitamins,” Kilts shared. “Minerals are the building blocks of our health and consumer are beginning to understand this.”
Kilts noted that Baby Boomers continue to be curious about their health and aging and are interested in staying active and healthy so they can enjoy life. Younger consumers, too, are becoming more interested in their health, as well as the health of their parents and grandparents. “They want to help the ones they love feel better and have a higher quality of life and they also don’t want to end up in the same health situation,” said Kilts.
“Magnesium is the biggest driver of the mineral category, though, as our expanding knowledge of the mineral’s role in literally hundreds of biochemical processes and pathways spur numerous consumer-friendly articles favorable of its use,” Levin said. “We see a general broadening of the mineral market, especially for specific populations. While magnesium leads this growth, sports endurance-recovery is another important and growing category. And research into specific mineral forms, such as magnesium-l-threonate for cognitive support, promises to drive additional markets in the future.”
Koch agreed. “More consumers are self-educating about general health and wellness and in particular, identifying the importance of magnesium balance,” he said. “People today are generally much more active both physically, mentally and emotionally and as a result are experiencing a higher rate of stress, anxiety and sleeplessness to name of few. These are signs that the body may likely be magnesium deficient.” People are looking for ways to address these concerns through healthier diets and supplementation which poises the market for further growth.
Levin said he believes that the recent uptick in magnesium sales could be the result of a more informed general public. “More people are discovering how important magnesium is and all the body functions where magnesium is involved, such as energy production and metabolism, muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission and bone mineralization. [Magnesium] is a required cofactor for an estimated 360 enzymes and is also important for regulation of calcium balance through its effects on the parathyroid gland.”
Kilts stated that although magnesium is in the spotlight right now, zinc, iodine, potassium, boron, copper and fulvic minerals are also strong in the category for his company. “These additional minerals, along with magnesium, are averaging 60 percent plus growth each month. We are seeing a collective increase in sales across our entire single minerals line.”
Best-selling Mineral Supplements
Bluebonnet’s best-selling mineral is Liquid Calcium Magnesium Plus Vitamin D3, which Weinhardt explained provides calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3 in the scientifically coveted potencies and ratios for optimal bone health. “Some of the most compelling and in-depth clinical research related to bone health have been conducted collectively on these three popular bone-support nutrients, which is why they are so highly regarded as the ‘trifecta’ or ‘winning ticket’ to bone health,” she said. “There is no substitute for what these three nutrients can do in the remodeling of bones, making them dense and strong for later years. What sets this formula apart and makes it such a great seller is the fact that it is in liquid form which allows for better assimilation into the body and also helps improve compliance for those individuals who cannot or do not prefer swallowing capsules or tablets.”
The bestseller for NOW is its 200 milligram magnesium citrate tablets (in 250 quantity). “This [product] is popular because only two tablets provide 400 milligrams of elemental magnesium that’s been fully reacted to citric acid (citrate). Many products only blend or partially react the magnesium to the citrate, offering inferior product quality.” Levin pointed out that these differences are not always adequately disclosed on product labels in order to allow consumers to make smart choices.
For Trace Minerals Research, the company’s ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops is its best-selling mineral product and has remained a top-seller for decades. “It is also the number one selling trace mineral supplement in the natural channel according to SPINS data,” Kilts shared. “ConcenTrace is a concentrated trace mineral complex that is harvested from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Water from the Great Salt Lake is harvested and naturally concentrated using only the heat from the sun through a proprietary harvesting process called ConcenFlo. Once it achieves the desired concentration, the final product contains more than 72 naturally occurring ionic trace minerals from the Great Salt Lake that is high in magnesium with 99 percent of the sodium naturally removed.”
Kilts said that the product continues to do so well in sales simply because it works. “People notice a difference in their overall health and wellbeing when they use it on a daily basis. Plus, it’s an ionic mineral complex that is water soluble, so it’s bioavailable and can be easily absorbed by the body.”
Koch shared that Natural Calm by Natural Vitality ranks as the first, third and fifth best-selling products amongst more than 7,600 vitamin and mineral products in the natural products industry. Natural Calm has been a best seller for 10 consecutive years.
“Natural Calm is the top-selling product because of its easy absorption and effectively supports stress reduction, heart, bone health, better sleep and natural energy production to name a few,” said Koch. “The variety of delicious flavors are organically sweetened, vegan, gluten free and verified by the Non-GMO (genetically modified organism) Project.” Natural Calm has earned multiple awards by leading health magazines and recently earned a perfect three-star quality seal of approval by Healthy Living.
The best seller from Nevada-based Coral Calcium LLC is its Coral Complex, with 74 trace minerals that are easy to digest and absorb. Other big sellers for the company include its Coral White toothpaste for adults and Coral Kids fluoride-free toothpaste, both formulated with ionic calcium from above-sea coral.
Ioniplex, the best-selling product from Mineral BioSciences based in Arizona is a patented fulvic ionic mineral complex, which consists of up to 65 plus macro, micro and trace minerals. “Ioniplex is highly bioavailable and, as a fulvic acid, penetrates membranes and cellular barriers,” said business development manager Rich Hunsaker. “Ioniplex carries those minerals and any nutrient combined with it directly into the cells. The ionic nature of those minerals enable them to feed and enhance our cells. Studies have shown a 50 percent increase in mitochondrial metabolism, which converts to improved energy and performance, with Ioniplex.”
New Products and Formulations
New to Natural Vitality’s product line is their Natural Calm Cream, a non-greasy, transdermal magnesium cream formulated by leading magnesium researcher Andrea Rosanoff, PhD. Koch explained that this laboratory-tested Natural Calm Cream can be applied to any area that is tense, stiff, inflamed or in pain and used in lieu of magnesium oil. While the product was initially only distributed to health professionals, the award-winning formula is now available to retailers.
Natural Vitality also recently launched its Calm Kids line in May of this year. In addition to magnesium, Calm Kids also provides soothing effects from Suntheanine, a patented, premium form of the relaxing amino acid L-theanine, as well as choline, an easily-absorbable form of vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin D3 and vitamin C.
NOW had a few new entries into the mineral category: Magtein (magnesium L-threonate) for cognitive support, Calcium D-Glucarate for detoxification support as well as prostate and breast health, and Magnesium Inositol Relax, a powder formulation that promotes relaxation. Additionally, NOW has reformulated its magnesium citrate products and is now using fully reacted magnesium citrate in the formulas.
Trace Minerals Research has a new product in the mineral category called VitaStraw that contains flavored mineral powder pellets in an enclosed straw. “The idea is to make consuming your minerals more effective because of increased water consumption, as well as fun,” said Kilts. “As water is sucked through the straw, the flavored mineral pellets dissolve and pass through the straw. The straws can make it easy for young and old alike to increase their mineral intake and begin to feel the difference minerals make.”
Totála Cellular Health is a new liquid dietary supplement from Mineral Biosciences containing Ioniplex. “One ounce per day will assist in enhancing and protecting cells from damage to create a cellular foundation to a healthy lifestyle,” said Hunsaker.
Mineral Biosciences also has a new capsule product, IoniCell, for The coIoniCell is enhancement, cellular protection and healthy blood sugar management. Hunsaker explained that taking one to two capsules daily after a meal helps manage blood sugar spikes by protecting cells from the damage caused by excess glucose in the body.
According to Neal Smoller, pharmacist-owner of Village Apothecary and Village Vitality in Woodstock, NY, the biggest challenge for retailers is that most practitioners don’t make recommendations based on what is best for the patient. “Most practitioners make recommendations on what is ubiquitous and/or cheap,” he said. “They’ll recommend magnesium oxide, calcium carbonate, and forms of minerals that may be high dose, but have lots of liabilities.” He considered the role of the retailer as one to educate and bridge the knowledge gap.
To help with customer education in this category, NOW offers retailers a minerals brochure that provides a basic overview of minerals and their function in the body to give to customers. “The intent is to help educate the consumer so they can decide which minerals would be best for their personal needs,” said Levin.
Trace Minerals Research offers a number of training options for retailers. “Dr. Darrin Starkey, manager of training and education, is a dedicated, full-time employee who trains and educates our retailers,” explained Kilts. “He does staff trainings on the phone as well as in-person in stores.”
For retailers who find mineral sales challenging, Natural Vitality has created new, free in-store tools to help turn bottles. “Most popular are the Natural Calm sample packs, which are available upon request,” said Koch. Other retailer tools offered by Natural Vitality include shelf talkers, coupon pads, six- and 12-unit counter displays, floor displays and passive demo beverage dispenser kits. VR
For More Information:
Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation, (281) 240-3332
Coral LLC, (800) 678-9884
Mineral BioSciences, (623) 932-1522
Natural Vitality, (866) 416-9216
NOW, (800) 999-8069
Trace Minerals Research, (801) 731-6051