Medical foods are specialty food items that are designed to fulfil the unique nutritional requirements of people with particular illnesses or conditions. These items are meant to be used as a component of dietary therapy of a particular disease or medical condition and are intended to be ingested or given under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.
Medical foods, as opposed to dietary supplements, need a prescription and are overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order to give focused nutritional support for particular medical disorders, they are often manufactured from natural components and frequently fortified with particular nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids.
A number of medical diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic disorders, and neurological disorders, are managed with the use of medicinal meals. To control symptoms and enhance patient outcomes, they can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies, such drugs.
The Medical Foods Market is anticipated to reach US $34,935.4 million by the end of 2030 expanding at CAGR of 5.3% from 2022-2030 (forecast period).
The rise in chronic illness prevalence, rising consumer desire for individualised nutrition, and advancements in food science and technology have all contributed to the market for medical foods seeing tremendous expansion in recent years. There are many participants active in the industry, including both huge international corporations and smaller, specialised producers, making it extremely competitive.
In general, it is anticipated that the market for medical foods would expand over the upcoming years due to rising demand for tailored nutrition and expanding understanding of the importance of nutrition in illness treatment. The market is confronted with a variety of obstacles, including legal restrictions, a lack of insurance company reimbursement, and doubts about the efficacy and safety of specific medicines.
Medical Foods Market to Amid COVID-19 Pandemic:
The market for medicinal foods has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. The pandemic has disrupted supply chains and manufacturing processes, which has made it difficult to produce and distribute medicinal foods even while demand has grown due to the growth in chronic illnesses and the expanding elderly population.
The epidemic has also changed consumer habits, causing many individuals to choose home-cooked meals over processed ones, which has had an impact on the demand for medicinal foods. Lockdowns and other limitations on mobility have also made it harder for patients to get medical meals, which has lowered the market’s size.
The market for medicinal foods has persevered in the face of these obstacles and is predicted to develop over the next several years. The demand for medical meals is anticipated to be driven by the rising prevalence of chronic illnesses and the growing elderly population.
Additionally, it is anticipated that rising consumer awareness of the value of individualised nutrition and the advantages of medical foods would spur market expansion.
Companies in the medical food industry are adjusting to the shifting market dynamics by looking into new distribution channels and spending money on online platforms to connect with consumers. In order to meet the evolving demands of customers, they are also concentrating on creating new goods and formulas.
Factors responsible for the boost in the Medical Food Market:
The growth of the medical food industry is caused by a number of causes, including:
- Increasing Prevalence of Chronic Diseases: Chronic illnesses are becoming more common, and medical meals are designed specifically to fulfil the nutritional requirements of people with conditions including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. The need for medicinal foods is rising as these disorders become more prevalent. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that chronic illnesses caused 71 percent of deaths worldwide in 2019. The research also notes that, with 41 million fatalities globally, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes were the main killers. The demand for medical meals is anticipated to rise as chronic disease prevalence rises since these foods are made to specifically suit the nutritional requirements of people with chronic illnesses.
- Rising Healthcare Costs: Medical foods provide a cost-effective substitute for conventional medical interventions like prescription medications and hospitalisation, which are becoming more and more expensive. Patients and healthcare professionals are increasingly turning to medicinal foods as a solution to treat chronic illnesses as healthcare expenses grow.
- Growing Understanding of The Significance Of Nutrition: There is an increasing understanding of the significance of nutrition for general health and wellbeing. As a result, rather than depending entirely on medicine, more customers are turning for food-based alternatives to manage their health concerns.
- Increasing Demand for Personalized Nutrition: Demand for personalised nutrition is rising as people look for specialised nutritional solutions based on their particular requirements and health concerns. Medical meals provide a means to provide individualised nourishment that is catered to each patient’s unique needs.
- Technological Developments: The invention of more advanced medical meals that are better suited to fulfil the unique nutritional requirements of patients with chronic diseases has been made possible by the development of new technologies. This has increased the number of illnesses that medicinal foods may efficiently treat, fostering future market expansion.
Emerging Markets for Medical Foods Market:
In addition to industrialised regions, the medical food industry is expanding significantly in emerging areas including Asia Pacific and Latin America. The following are some of the factors driving the medical food business in these areas:
- Ageing Population: People who are older are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases that need medical nutrition. According to the UN, the world’s ageing population is anticipated to expand by 3% annually to 1.5 billion people by 2050. In emerging nations, the demand for medicinal meals is anticipated to increase due to the growing elderly population.
- Rising Healthcare Expenditure and Disposable Income: As the middle-class population in emerging nations spends more on healthcare, consumers are learning more about the advantages of medicinal foods. As a result, these areas now have a greater demand for medicinal meals.
- Chronic Diseases Are Becoming More Common: Chronic diseases are becoming more common in emerging markets as well. Non-communicable illnesses including diabetes and cardiovascular conditions are the main cause of death in low- and middle-income nations, according to the World Health Organization. The need for medicinal meals that can assist manage certain illnesses has surged as a result of this.
- Technology Advancements: Medical foods are now more readily available to customers in emerging nations thanks to easier manufacturing and distribution. This has also prompted the creation of novel goods and formulas, which has accelerated the expansion of the market.
Overall, a variety of reasons, such as shifting demographics, growing consumer awareness, and government assistance, are fuelling the expansion of the medical foods industry in emerging nations. The medical foods market is projected to grow in significance as these markets expand, contributing significantly to the healthcare sector.
The market for medicinal foods is fiercely competitive, and a few major companies dominate the sector. Nestle Health Science, Danone, Abbott Laboratories, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Primus Pharmaceuticals are a few of the market’s key participants.
These businesses are making significant investments in R&D to create novel products that specifically address the dietary requirements of people with chronic conditions. In order to improve their market position and obtain a competitive edge, they are also growing their distribution networks and establishing strategic alliances.
- Partnerships and Collaborations: In the medical food business, partnerships and collaborations are frequent tactics to take use of various firms’ experience and advance the creation and marketing of medical food products. For instance, in 2021, a cooperation between Epitomee Medical and Nestlé Health Science was announced to provide medical nutrition products for those with gastrointestinal illnesses. While Epitomee Medical provides its understanding of digestive issues, Nestlé Health Research brings its experience in nutritional science and product development.
- Product Launches and Innovations: Product releases and developments are essential for businesses to maintain their competitiveness in the market for medical foods. For instance, Abbott Laboratories introduced Pedialyte with Immune Strengthen in 2021 as a medical meal intended to support children’s immune systems. Prebiotics, zinc, and vitamins C and E are included in the product’s formulation to assist strengthen the immune system.
- Expansion: Companies in the medical food industry use expansion as a strategy to grow their geographic reach and market share. For instance, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. stated in 2020 that its medical food company will be expanding to Europe. Ajinomoto Cambrooke Europe, a new subsidiary of the corporation, was created to increase the range of medicinal foods available to people with uncommon metabolic conditions.
- Acquisitions and Mergers: To grow market share and obtain access to new technology and experience, acquisitions and mergers are often used techniques in the medical food industry. For instance, in order to increase the variety of medical food items available to patients with rare disorders, Nestlé Health Science purchased the medical food firm Vital Foods in 2018. Nestlé Health Science was able to acquire Vital Meals’ exclusive technology for creating medicinal foods as a result of the acquisition.
Overall, it is anticipated that the medical food industry’s competitive environment will remain fierce in the years to come as businesses continue to spend in R&D and grow their market presence through strategic alliances and acquisitions.