In 2012, the UK herbal products market increased by a healthy 3% in current value terms, to reach £485 million.
Similar to the trends affecting the vitamin and dietary supplements industry, herbal products benefited from an increasingly educated consumer base, which uses herbal remedies to complement other medicines or vitamins and dietary supplements to prevent health conditions and to improve their general health.
New European Union rules have come into force banning hundreds of traditional herbal remedies.
The EU law aims to protect consumers from possible damaging side-effects of over-the-counter herbal medicines. For the first time, new regulations will allow only long-established and quality-controlled medicines to be sold.
From now on only products that have been assessed by the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will be allowed to go on sale.
Manufacturers will have to prove that their products have been made to strict standards and contain a consistent and clearly marked dose.
The UK herbal products market remained fragmented in 2012, with many small- and medium-sized companies operating in the category.
However, the impact of the EU Directive is a challenge to the survival of smaller manufacturers and less popular products, as the required registration and the marketing authorisation by the MHRA may result in an unviable cost for producers, leading to theincreasing concentration of the category.
The impact of the EU Directive is expected to lead to the decline of the herbal products industry, with several small players expected to exit the market, as the cost to obtain registration and marketing authorisation will not be sustainable for small companies, and will simply be unviable for smaller and less popular brands.
For more information on the UK herbal products market, see the latest research: UK Herbal Products Market
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