Competition a barrier to Polish dietary supplements market development

For the first time since the survey began 10 years ago, manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements in Poland view competition in the market as the top barrier to business development, according to a new report from PMR “Dietary supplements market in Poland 2017. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2017-2022.” Vague regulations – notably pertaining to the introduction of new products on the market, labelling, or advertising – remain a major perceived hindrance as well.  

Market participants recognise the problem of dubious quality products

A multitude of players compete in the dietary supplements market in Poland, and while some responses to other survey questions suggested this is seen as a good thing, a big proportion of industry executives reckon the crowded nature of the marketplace is having a negative impact on their business, significantly reducing any advantages that can be gained from new product development and generally putting a downward pressure on prices.

When asked about specific areas or product categories in which they were experiencing competition, the respondents mentioned the following:

- the whole market (all segments)

- supplements of dubious quality,

- supplements from small, unknown firms

- supplements sold online

- supplements from large companies with vast marketing resources

- vitamins, immunity and general health supports

- body detox supplements

- dietetic preparations

- supplements based on natural ingredients.

Vague and inconsistent regulations were the second most-cited barrier. The respondents pointed to the following areas in particular:

- notification procedures for dietary supplements

- advertising

- health claims.

Deepening distribution problems

This year’s survey also shows a further big increase in the proportion of companies experiencing problems getting their products into the wholesale channel or into pharmacies (especially chain pharmacies). In 2015, only 2% of those surveyed reported such problems, but by 2016 the proportion had risen to 9%, and in the 2017 survey fully 19% of industry executives said they were encountering distribution difficulties.

Our respondents also mentioned the following as hindering their business:

- problems obtaining loans and grants (including EU grants), long procedures

- insufficient affluence of Polish society

- lack of capital for growth or innovation, high cost of clinical trials

- high import and distribution costs, import problems caused by Brexit

- high raw materials prices

- competition from private labels

- aggressive, unfair advertising

- lack of positive media attitude towards dietary supplements

- market consolidation

- shortage of appropriate staff.