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Sleep and stress, even more affected after COVID

Today, the ailments that French people suffer from the most are stress and sleep disorders. As a matter of fact, 45% of French people complain of fatigue, 40% are impacted by stress, and 40% by sleep disorders[1]. By 2040, it is estimated that 10.4 million French people will be affected by sleep disorders [2]. Consumer interest in a preventive approach is growing, and more and more people are turning to nutraceuticals to find products capable of supporting their mental well-being and sleep.

Sleep and stress in nutraceuticals : a rapidly growing market

The market focused on sleep and stress is on the rise, with a turnover of 327 million euros in France in 2022 and a growth rate of 11% compared to the year 2021.[2]
The share of food supplements in pharmacies for sleep and stress promises represents nearly 20% of food supplement sales, making it the top-selling promise in pharmacies, ahead of food supplements for vitality (16.2%) and digestive well-being (14.1%).[1] 

Key ingredients in food supplements for stress and sleep

Towards greener and more effective ingredients

Among the ingredients in food supplements for stress and sleep, melatonin is the flagship ingredient in the sleep market. In the context of consumers’ search for naturalness, it is increasingly found in its natural form, extracted from plants.
Driven by the trend of plant-based products, adaptogenic plants, which help reduce tiredness and stress, are being used more and more. Examples of these plants include saffron, rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and ginseng, which promote calmness and reduce stress.
Classic plant combinations such as valerian, hawthorn, lemon balm, passionflower, and chamomile are also used to improve sleep quality and aid relaxation.
In recent years, innovative products based on CBD have entered the sleep and stress market. On the other hand, PEA (palmitoylethanolamide), a naturally occurring saturated fatty acid amide produced by the body in response to stress, is positioned as an alternative to CBD.
Other more traditional and widely used ingredients form a prominent category in this segment. For example, magnesium, for which consumers are increasingly concerned about its effectiveness and the absence of undesirable side effects. Magnesium bisglycinate, malate, citrate, or glycerophosphate are preferred options.

A market dominated by traditional galenical forms, gradually introducing “foodified” concepts

Consumers remain convinced of the effectiveness of traditional galenical forms. Capsules and pills dominate the food supplement market in 2022 with 30% and 28% market shares, respectively.[3] Pills are particularly preferred for the sleep promise, as 19% of food supplements in tablet form are positioned for this promise.[3] Furthermore, the boom of gummies is particularly prominent in the sleep category, as 53% of the gummy market in France is related to this promise.[3] In this context of “foodification” of nutraceuticals, a part of the consumers are seeking more pleasure and convenience. Thus, other galenical forms can be relevant for the sleep promise, such as sprays, powders, or liquids to be integrated into herbal teas, etc.

Consumer expectations and behaviors in the sleep and stress segment

Sleep and stress, major concerns

More than a third of French consumers who take food supplements do so to improve their sleep or to relax.[4] This trend is shared globally, with 55% of consumers seeking foods and beverages that can enhance their mental well-being.[5]

Consumers who trust in nutraceuticals

In 2023, nearly 60% of French individuals reported having consumed food supplements in the past 24 months.[6] Consumers of food supplements recognize their benefits: as 92% of them acknowledge the health benefits of “sleep and stress” supplements.[1]

Consumer expectations

Product naturalness and the absence of additives are among the main criteria when purchasing food supplements.[4] Price also remains an important factor for 72% of French consumers. Other factors include ingredient familiarity (important for 69% of French consumers), advice from healthcare professionals/sellers (67%), and product form (63%).[4]

The importance of offering a holistic approach

However, it is important to convey to consumers that other factors influence stress and sleep disorders. Communicating about relaxation methods such as exercise and meditation, the importance of a healthy diet, and good lifestyle habits (e.g., avoiding screens before bedtime, listening to calming music) serve as valuable complements to the traditional product offer.

[1] NERES, Baromètre 2022 des produits de santé et de prévention de premier recours en pharmacie
[2] GERS, 2022, Marché CPAL Sommeil et stress
[3] GERSDATA pour les Nutriform’ Business Days, La Galénique sous toutes ses formes dans tous ses états, 2022
[4]Synadiet, Harris interactive 2022, Baromètre 2022 de la consommation des compléments alimentaires en France
[5] Actif’s Hors-Série 2022, Marché français stress sommeil humeur en 2020

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