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A Gut Feeling for Growth



Gut health is one of the most fastest moving areas of the FMCG market today.

Gut health is one of the most fastest moving areas of the FMCG market today.

Barely a day seems to go by at the moment without one academic study or another linking gut health to other issues including depression, cardiovascular disease and arthritis, to name but a few.

From the data we can see that spend on this category continues to grow year on year.  In the five years to 2018 spend had increased by £1.41 per shopper. It’s also a highly branded category, accounting for 83% sales compared to 72% across healthcare as a whole, and this is continuing to grow.

Looking more closely at the sub-categories of digestive health, anti-haemorrhoids have seen an additional 391 thousand shoppers buy this year, and anti-diarrhoeals have seen 403 thousand more.  This has driven the 9.4% and 17.2% growth experienced by each. All of these are particularly strong with the over 45s market.  

IBS is actually the fastest growing subcategory at +20.4%, this is coming through price and frequency which means that those already purchasing are happy to buy more and spend a higher amount.  However, there aren’t that many new shoppers joining which might suggest that people might be managing symptoms rather than treating them, perhaps with probiotic drinks and fashionable products like kefir and kombucha.

As to where people buy their digestive health products, bargain stores contribute the most to growth in the market having increased by 19%* and have overtaken Asda to become the fourth biggest retailer for the category (behind Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s). Indigestion and anti-diarrhoeals are the key drivers of Asda’s performance this year, although most products in the category are growing. Whilst hard discounters are experiencing strong growth at 46%, digestive health remains small for them as they only really have a presence in indigestion and anti-diarrhoeals.

Whether due to fad or because of the changing needs of an ageing population, gut health does seem to be an area that is poised for further growth in the future.

Source: *Kantar 52 w/e 21st April 2019


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Chris Evans
Client Manager - Health & Beauty

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