Urinary tract wellness is one area of health where supplements have shown to offer consumers an effective alternative compared to drugs—and the space is lucrative. Major pharmaceutical players such as STADA, Pierre Fabre, Bausch Health and Novartis are all present in the market with supplements.
Market research also supports the growth. For example, cranberry supplements alone are projected to surpass US$400 million in 2025, and grow 5.4% in 2021, according to proprietary Euromonitor data. In several developed markets, cranberry supplements exploded in year-over-year (YoY) growth in 2020—around 19% in Mexico, 16% in Canada and 13% in the U.K. One can only speculate about the reason, but according to PharmaLinea’s clients who have launched the company’s urinary tract infection (UTI) supplements, the difficulty of accessing doctors in 2020 increased the trend of proactive prevention and self-care, boosting supplement sales in consumers with recurrent urinary tract issues.
Upon our analysis of the available CPGs in global markets, we found several common denominators of the most successful products. When formulating or choosing new products to launch in the urinary tract health space, we would advise consideration of the following trends.
Showcasing branded ingredients
Not only is a developing premium segment of supplements moving into the direction of formulating with branded ingredients because of the perception of better efficacy and quality control (QC) compared to some unbranded ingredients, but branded ingredients are also increasingly showcased on the front of packages with sizeable colorful logos, clearly alerting consumers to the potential added value the products bring. Branded cranberry, hibiscus, probiotics, pumpkin seeds and pine bark can be commonly found.
Several studies reported that D-mannose supplementation significantly reduces the risk of recurrent UTIs1,2,3 and supplement brands have picked up on the research. A D-mannose-based product that entered the German market in 2018 caught on extremely well, saw a 61% three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR), and claimed the No. 2 place in the market with 16% market share in 2021, per proprietary IQVIA data. According to Euromonitor, the globally leading urinary tract health supplement brand now features a D-mannose product, and the No. 1 Canadian product contains a combination of cranberry and D-mannose.
While tablets and capsules are still the prevailing supplement forms—and urinary tract health is no exception—we noticed a growing trend of non-standard, user-friendly forms. Water-dispersible powder sachets, direct sticks, chewables and gummies appear to be the way of the future, as consumers increasingly expect health benefits to be delivered with a pleasant experience. This is even more important for products with preventive positioning, where good taste and form are crucial contributors to compliance and subsequent health benefits.
Diverse positioning options
Supplements in general tend to follow a long-term consumption model with the aim of supporting prevention of health issues—leaving curative positioning to the domain of drugs. However, due to the efficacy of substances such as proanthocyanidins (PACs) and D-mannose,4 commonly eligible for registration in the supplement class, urinary tract health supplements also thrive when positioned for short-term consumption during problematic periods and/or as support to conventional treatment.
Apart from different variations of specific positionings, we also see an increasing number of more holistically positioned products, addressing two or more connected health areas, such as UTIs, vaginal health and incontinence. Such products cater to the health-conscious consumer who is proactively seeking to support well-being and might, and upon browsing for products, opts for a supplement supporting several systems at once. Not uncommon are products including cranberry, D-mannose, prebiotics and probiotics together in a single dose. If a brand’s main promotion channel is medical detailing, such products might be less suitable, as they cover the expertise areas of several medical specialists at once.
The chosen product must, in any case, fit the brand’s strongest promotion and sales channels, as well as the most loyal consumer base.
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Matevž Ambrožič is the marketing and public relations (PR) director at PharmaLinea Ltd.
1 Altarac S and Papeš D. “Use of d-mannose in prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.” BJU Int. 2014;113:9-10.
2 Kranjcec B et al. “D-mannose powder for prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections in women: a randomized clinical trial.” World J Urol. 2014;32:79-84.
3 Porru D et al. “Oral D-mannose in recurrent urinary tract infections in women: A pilot study.” J Clin Urol. 2014;7(3):208-213.
4. Salinas-Casado J et al. “Large study (283 women) on the effectiveness of Manosar: 2 g of d-mannose + 140 mg of proanthocyanidins (PAC), of prolonged release.” Arch Esp Urol. 2020;73(6):491-498.