The global health market is evolving at an unprecedented pace. Consumer needs are changing, and new technologies are coming to the forefront, bringing both opportunities and challenges for formulators worldwide.

To stay ahead in an expanding nutrition market, it’s vital that health brands can anticipate shifting demands ahead of time.

So, what trends does 2024 have in store for nutritional product development? How are consumer needs shaping the market and where might prebiotics fit into this equation?

Continued rise of synbiotics

As scientific research pushes the boundaries of health strategies, new opportunities emerge for combining prebiotics with other functional ingredients. Synbiotics, which combine prebiotics and probiotics, are taking centre stage in formulation agendas for 2024.

The key lies in selecting ingredients backed by robust scientific evidence – highlighted by our partnership with Probi AB. The collaboration has led to the creation of synbiotic combinations, Bimuno® GOS and Probi Digestis® and Bimuno GOS and Probi Defendum®, offering comprehensive benefits for gastrointestinal and immune health respectively.

By combining ingredients that share a focus on scientific evidence, it’s easier than ever for formulators to create synbiotic products that meet consumer needs around trust and credibility.

Click here to read our essential guide to synbiotics.

Exploratory ingredient combinations

In addition to the synbiotic combination of prebiotics and probiotics, there is a further opportunity to combine prebiotics with other functional ingredients. Prebiotic fibre is highly versatile which creates many new potential avenues of application exploration.

Moving forward, this could include the combination of prebiotics with other ‘biotics’ categories such as postbiotics, or in tandem with non-biotic ingredients, such as vitamins and minerals in sports nutrition based health-supporting products.

Gummy delivery formats

Supplements delivered in a gummy format are still proving a popular choice with consumers. Research firm Mordor Intelligence projects a robust 7.66% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the global gummy supplement market to 2028, underlining continued growth in demand. Findings in a Nutrition Business Journal report also found that gummies accounted for more than 20% of the total supplement market share in 2022.

When formulated with the purposeful functional ingredients, gummy supplements combine consumer convenience with targeted health outcomes. A prebiotic gummy, for example, could be a tasty way to tap into a demographic that are new to supplements yet are seeking digestive health benefits.

Health audience pragmatism and proactivity

The global health market, including the nutraceutical sector, is seeing a rise in the demographic of ‘health pragmatists’. These are defined as health product consumers that put a distinct focus on uncomplicated, effective, and proven solutions for everyday health. They are typically more sceptical of claims that are not substantiated with evidence, and more selective in their choice of nutritional products.

This pragmatism dovetails clearly with the rising proactivity of the modern health audience, where consumers are taking health matters into their own hands. This is largely seen as preventive health, where products are selected for supporting everyday wellness, rather than solving a specific challenge when health issues occur.

The key is simplicity and products that are backed by strong scientific principles that are clearly communicated to consumers. In terms of delivery formats, health pragmatists prize convenience. In turn, this creates further market space for everyday supplements designed to fit effortlessly into daily routines.

AI-driven health decisions

The growing competence of artificial intelligence (AI) is unlocking a new era of data-driven decision-making for both consumers and healthcare professionals. AI’s ability to analyse vast datasets is empowering individuals to take charge of their wellbeing through personalised insights and informed choices.

In line with the rising digitalisation of health and wellbeing, AI-driven applications and wearable devices are becoming indispensable tools for consumers seeking personalised health insights, including lifestyle patterns and real-time physiological metrics to provide tailored recommendations.

Similarly, for healthcare professionals, AI serves as a valuable tool in processing complex medical data and providing actionable insights. From diagnosis support to treatment planning, AI could augment the decision-making process, enabling more accurate and efficient healthcare delivery, lessening the pressure on healthcare facilities. Although naturally, improving accuracy is a priority here to be truly effective.

Personalised nutrition

No two human bodies are alike, and a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition is being revolutionised through 2024 and beyond. Due to growing proactivity in consumer health management and the proliferation of digital health technologies, the shift enables healthcare providers to tailor nutritional care strategies to specific needs, acknowledging the unique genetic, lifestyle, and health factors that influence an individual’s wellbeing.

With the dawn of data analytics and AI, healthcare professionals can use vast banks of information to create bespoke nutrition plans, optimising the effectiveness of dietary health interventions.

As the market trends toward simplicity, awareness of gut health, digitalisation of healthcare and innovative synbiotic formulations, businesses must seize the opportunity to contribute to the ever-expanding health and nutrition market. With consumers switching on to the benefits of better gut health, the prebiotic category is set to remain a central point of focus for formulators.

Looking to develop your next generation of health and nutrition product? Explore the benefits of prebiotic fibre, and the advantages of a better-supported gut microbiome. Click here to connect with our team and learn more.