As regular readers of NBN know (and if you’re not a regular reader get with it!) ongoing reports over the inefficacy of Vitamin E and one whopper a losing study on Echinacea have been widely overstated and misreported. If it sounds like we’re conspiracy theorists we’re not. The math is pretty simple: mediocre science plus lousy science reporting and the results speak for themselves.
Meanwhile data provided to NBN by SPINS shows that sales of both supplements have are to put it politely, sucking wind! For sales ending February 25, 2006 sales of Vitamin E continued a nearly two year decline, losing 26% from year ago dollars in Mainstream FDM channels. Even in the stronger, natural product supermarket channel where shoppers are more knowledgeable about supplements, Vitamin E sales declined 6%. The good news, if you can call it that, is that the steady decline is getting less steep.
Echinacea and Echinacea goldenseal combinations have suffered dramatic drops since mid-2005. FDM sales for Echinacea singles lost 20.8% over the same time period while combination Echinacea goldenseal products declined 41.2% in mainstream sales. Natural product supermarket sales saw a similar plummet with Echinacea herbal single dropping 15.1% and Echinacea goldenseal products losing 33.2%. This decline comes after steady growth for both products prior to the mismanaged NIH study.
And while the media has much to answer for misinformed consumers the supplement industry is about as proactive as a sleeping drunk. Stay tuned!