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                     NUTRITIONAL PRODUCTS
                    by Marnie Morrione
                    Pharmaceuticals and Nutritional Products, Trade Development

            As health care costs rise and preventative        regards to pricing. Europe, Canada,         June 18-20, 2003, and the DOC
            medicine becomes the new watchword,               and Japan are the strongest competitors     intends to represent interested U.S.
            consumers are looking toward another              for U.S. nutritional product compa-         companies again.
            sector: the nutritional products indus-           nies. Market research is essential to
            try. The interest in self-treatment has           make sure there is sufficient demand        Asia offers some of the best prospects.
            created new market opportunities for              for your product overseas and that you      Asia’s improving economy and living
            nutritional products around the world.            can offer competitive contracts.            standards have spurred rapid develop-
            The U.S. industry recently has suffered           Offering custom formulation, private        ment of the nutritional products mar-
            through market adjustments with                   labeling, distributorships, and bulk-       ket. The current nutritional products
            relatively low sales domestically, follow-        pricing contracts can often make the        market for China and Japan alone has
            ing the prosperous years immediately              difference, because many distributors       a value of approximately $30 billion
            after the enactment of the Dietary                or buyers are interested in putting their   and is forecast to increase to $40
            Supplement Health and Education                   own companies’ names on nutritional         billion by 2004. Now that China
            Act of 1994. However, the export                  products to utilize their existing          is a member of the World Trade
            potential for U.S. products is improv-            customer bases.                             Organization, it is expected that
            ing as demographics shift and living                                                          China’s State Drug Administration and
            standards rise.                                   To assist you in finding the best market    Ministry of Health will reevaluate the
                                                              for your products, the Department of        country’s regulatory standards for
            According to the Freedonia Group,                 Commerce (DOC) offers many pro-             health products within the next few
            world demand for nutritional products             grams and services, including market
            is currently at approximately $131 bil-           information by country and industry.
            lion and is expected to increase by over          In addition, we encourage companies
            8 percent annually to $162 billion in             to participate in international trade
            2004. Most of the impressive growth is            shows and missions to assess the level
            projected in fortified foods and bever-           of interest in your products in coun-
            ages followed by dietary supplements              tries or regions. For example, the DOC
            such as multivitamins and mineral                 provides a relatively inexpensive way to
            preparations. What is driving this                participate in trade shows through a
            demand? The two leading forces are                Product Literature Center whereby
            ageing populations and improving                  Commerce takes your product infor-
            standards of living. Consumers aged 50            mation to a trade show and represents
            years and older are the main market               your company while collecting poten-
                                                                                                                                                    Photo courtesy of Trade Development

            drivers; many of these consumers are              tial buyer and distributor information.
            seeking a better quality of life through          At the recent first annual Natural
            cheaper means.                                    Products Expo Asia in Hong Kong, the
                                                              DOC collected more than 700 trade
                 OBSTACLES TO CONSIDER                        leads for 14 U.S. companies. Expo Asia
                 AND HOW COMMERCE CAN                         was hailed as a success, attracting over
                 ASSIST                                       4,000 industry attendees with retail,
            Although many overseas markets are                manufacturing, and supply buyers
            ripe for U.S. nutritional products,               from more than 60 countries. Penton         Visitors to Expo Asia in Hong Kong
            there are several obstacles to consider.          Media has announced this trade show         peruse the displays of natural
            With a strong U.S. dollar, often U.S.             will return to the Hong Kong                products.
            companies are at a disadvantage with              Convention and Exhibition Center on
                                                                                                                                                  NEW OPPORTUNITIES

                                                                                                                                                                               T R A D E
                                                                                                                       SOME UPCOMING
                                                                                                                       TRADE EVENTS
                              WORLD DEMAND FOR                              consumers from unsafe, ineffective, or     American Association of Clinical Chemistry
                              NUTRITIONAL PRODUCTS 2004                     fraudulent substances that lack proven     Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Exposition
                                                               in percent   health or nutritional benefits. It is      July 28-August 1, 2002, Orlando, FL
                                                                            necessary for a company to consider        The AACC Clinical Lab Expo, the largest trade
                                              9.7%                          not only whether it can comply with        show for diagnostic products and services in the
                                    Adult &                                                                            United States, is expected to attract more than
                                    Pediatric                               the foreign country’s regulations, but
                                   Nutritionals                             also the cost and time lag associated      18,000 visitors from over 80 countries.
                                     13.5%                                                                             Contact: Meetings Department,
                                                                            with the approval process. To assist in
Source: The Freedonia Group

                                                        Foods                                                                           ,
                                                                                                                       (202) 857-0717
                                      Dietary                               minimizing trade barriers including
                                    Supplements                             regulatory roadblocks for U.S. compa-
                                      22.8%                                                                            Supply Side Asia
                                                                            nies, the DOC staff identifies export-
                                                                                                                       September 4-6, 2002, Yokohama, Japan
                                                                            ing difficulties caused by foreign         This international trade show and conference will
                                                                            governments and works to achieve           highlight business opportunities for natural ingre-
                                                                            equal treatment for U.S. exporters.        dients, dietary supplements, and health foods.
                                                                                                                       Contact: Attendee Information,
                              years. Both developments make the             On a global scale in the nutritional       (480) 990-1               8;
                                                                                                                                    101, ext. 171 Exhibits, ext. 1171;
                              Chinese market even more promising.           products industry, the DOC is work-
                                                                            ing with the U.S. Department of
                              In the meantime, U.S. sales to Japan          Agriculture, the Food and Drug             Natural Products Expo East
                              have been increasing and were up              Administration, and other federal          October 3-6, 2002, Washington, DC
                              about six percent in 2001. Japan’s            agencies to represent the United States    Whether you’re a small retailer, a mid-sized raw
                              Ministry of Health recently established       at Codex Alimentarius meetings. The        ingredients supplier, or a large international manu-
                              four new categories (drugs, food for          United Nations established the Codex       facturer, Natural Products Expo East has the
                              specified health uses, nutritional food,      Alimentarius in 1961 to develop stan-      resources you need to develop your business in
                              and other food) to assist in classifying                                                 natural products.
                                                                            dards and guidelines for food products.
                              products and determining regulation.                                                     Contact: Customer Service, (866) 458-4935 or
                                                                            Its primary purpose is to improve the
                              Each category has a different level                                                      (303) 390-1776,
                                                                            quality of food products worldwide

                                                                                                                                                                               E V E T N S
                              of restriction or regulation to be            and to decrease trade barriers due to
                              followed. U.S. companies can now                                                         NNFA Northwest
                                                                            different sets of standards in different                 ,
                                                                                                                       October 25-27 2002, Seattle, WA
                              better determine the requirements for         countries. Currently, four key Codex       A trade show for the natural products industry.
                              imported products.                            initiatives directly affect the dietary    NNFA is the National Nutritional Foods
                                                                            supplements sector: the draft guideline    Association (, which represents
                              Classification of nutritional products        on vitamin and mineral supplements;        manufacturers and retailers.
                              can present another obstacle for U.S.         the draft standard on additives, includ-   Contact: NNFA WA, (360) 379-2805,
                              companies. Considering the cost and           ing those that may be used in supple-
                              time associated with foreign regulatory       ments; a draft guideline for health
                              requirements is imperative. In the            claims that can be used for foods,         Supply Side West
                              majority of overseas markets, nutri-          including supplements; and the princi-     December 4-6, 2002, Las Vegas, NV
                              tional products are classified in an          ples for assessing and managing risks.     This is another show for natural ingredients,
                              over-the-counter or medical category          The next meeting of the Codex              dietary supplements, and health foods (see Supply
                              with difficult regulatory requirements.       Committee on Nutrition and Foods           Side Asia, above).
                              Unlike the United States where dietary                                                   Contact: Attendee Information,
                                                                            for Special Dietary Uses will be held in
                              supplements are considered foods,                                                        (480) 990-1  101, ext. 1718; Exhibits, ext. 1171;
                                                                            Berlin, Germany, on November 4-8,
                              many foreign countries regulate                                                
                                                                            2002. The DOC continues to partici-
                              supplements through their ministries          pate in Codex to ensure a level playing    BioTechnica America
                              of health.                                    field for U.S. industry as well as to      April 28-30, 2003, Monterey, CA
                                                                            promote fair trade policies.               BioTechnica America will hold its first biotechnolo-
                              The regulation of nutritional products
                                                                                                                       gy exhibition, conference, and partnering event in
                              poses somewhat of a dilemma for gov-          Whether it is assistance in promoting      North America. It will also feature a financial forum
                              ernments throughout the world. Based          your nutritional product overseas or       for investors, a Bio Boot Camp to learn about
                              on cost-saving considerations, public         market access concerns and interest in     exporting and sources of capital, and BioBizNez to
                              authorities typically seek to make            international negotiations, the DOC        learn about funding programs to assist start-up
                              many of these products available.             can provide answers to help your           companies.
                              However, at the same time, regulators         company to succeed.                 ■      Contact: Hannover Fairs USA, (310) 410-9191,
                              believe that they must protect                                                 

                                                                                                                                              July 2002   EXPORT AMERICA 27

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