Rising numbers of baby boomers with eye-ailments and soaring medical costs are causing European consumers to demand innovative diet supplements to protect their eyes and curb any potential eye care-related expenses. The ability of supplements to alleviate blinding diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma has opened up lucrative growth avenues in the market.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (food.frost.com), European Eye Health Ingredients Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $43.4 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $87.4 million in 2014. In this research, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following markets: lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, bilberry and others.
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"The rising prevalence of lifestyle-linked eye diseases has caused the global food ingredients market to leverage the consumer's need to protect their eyes through enhanced nutrition," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Natasha Telles. "The focus on eye health has become a primary concern in today's health conscious food industry."
"The market for eye health ingredient products is in its infancy and the timing is right to initiate the successful development of this market," notes Telles. "Strategically positioned brands and rising consumer awareness will push participants in the eye health ingredients market into the right commercial arena, while focusing on their health benefits."
The sustained development of world economies in the last few decades has raised current standards of living and average life expectancy significantly, particularly in Europe. However, extended life spans have brought with it the threat of age-related illnesses, such as dementia, cardiovascular disease and blindness.
Eye health is a key component of a healthy life and the market for eye health ingredients witnessed growth in 2007, spurred by the incidence of eye-diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and childhood blindness.
As a result of the scale of visual impairment problems, many consumers are making lifestyle changes, switching to nutrient-rich diets that will aid in protecting visual acuity, preventing cataract and blindness and safeguarding their eyesight from harmful exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Since 2007, the European market for eye health ingredients has been dominated by antioxidants. Key eye health ingredients in use in 2007 included lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin.
However, the market is faced with obstacles such as varying regulations that are hampering eye health claims, threats of substitution and the lack of market credibility. Fluctuating prices and constant price erosion due to competition from Asian manufacturers are further constraining the market. Asian manufacturers offer economical raw material sources and lower exchange rates, with their European counterparts unable to compete in terms of pricing.
Growth of this market ultimately depends on overcoming obstacles such as variant regulation, substitution threats and the impact of fluctuating economies and prices. Legislation, in particular, is a pertinent challenge for manufacturers as such a scenario results in ambiguous legislative requirements. For instance, eye health ingredients such as lutein and astaxanthin are not covered in the positive list of the food supplement directive and are awaiting the results in 2010. This presents a setback for smaller companies populating a large portion of this market. The situation is uncertain due to the framework for ingredients being in various modes of commercialisation. Low consumer awareness remains a major challenge for manufacturers attempting to do business in the European eye health ingredients market. Moreover, European legislation regarding supplement ingredients remains mired in uncertainty as the region awaits the 2010 decision.
One strategy to counter low consumer awareness will be to consult with industry associations such as the Alliance for Natural Health, the National Eye Institute and the Royal institute of the Blind. Such associations would view these ingredients from a public perspective and form an impartial ledge in the supply chain. Additionally, in an increasingly competitive industry, it is imperative to have valid proof of the mechanism of action of the natural ingredients being supplied and their beneficial effects on the eyes. Such differentiation can only be achieved through validated research studies.
"European consumers are generally well-informed, as nutrition plays a big role in the purchasing behaviour of end users," notes Telles. "European manufacturers should focus on educating consumers, which will be an essential criterion in this market, especially for emerging extracts such as zeaxanthin, where greater consumer demand results in a rise in supply."
European Eye Health Ingredients Market is part of the Food & Beverage Ingredients Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: European Functional Beverages Market, European Heart Health Ingredients Market, and the European Infant Nutrition Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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European Eye Health Ingredients Market / M2E4