Medical Foods Market: Introduction

According to the report, the global medical foods market was valued at US$ 18 Bn in 2018 and is projected to grow at a rapid pace from 2019 to 2027. Medical foods are a special group of FDA-regulated products that meet the distinctive dietary needs or metabolic defects of a medical illness. The current opinion among the public is that medical foods have the therapeutic potential to prevent and treat a long list of disorders. However, a significant gap has been observed between that assumption and the current evidence in the medical literature. The prevailing belief is that it is mainly young people that use medical food products. Nevertheless, older adults are increasingly using medical foods, and studies show varying incidence, depending on the region, from about 7% to more than one-third. The distinctive nutritional requirements associated with a disease reflect the overall amount a healthy person requires to sustain life or preserve homeostasis, modified for the distinctive changes in the patient's nutritional needs as a result of the disease process's effects on absorption, metabolism, and excretion.

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Shift to Enteral Nutrition to Drive Medical Foods Market

The nutrition administration has seen a change in the trend from parenteral feed absorption to enteral feeding (absorption through the gastrointestinal tract) methods such as intravenous administration. Enteral administration is better than parenteral administration due to low chance of contamination and physiological advantages such as retaining small intestine mass and pancreatic function. Nutrients or medical foods can be delivered to the body in various formats such as capsules or tablets instead of sterile liquids or rehydratable powders, owing to technological advances such as the availability of chemical constituents to allow microencapsulation.

Powder Type to Lead Global Market

In terms of product type, the global medical foods market has been classified into pills, powder, liquids, and others. The powder segment is anticipated to dominate the global medical foods market during the forecast period. The availability of a large number of powdered medical foods and new product developments such as nutraceuticals for cancer and diabetes patients to address unmet medical needs drive the segment. Moreover, usage of powdered medical foods as clinical nutrition supplement of various medical conditions such as neurological and psychological disorders, metabolic disorder, pain management, gastrointestinal disorders, and ophthalmology is expected to fuel the growth of the segment.

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Diabetes to Offer Lucrative Opportunities to Global Market

Based on application, the global medical foods market has been categorized into diabetes, cancer, neurological & psychological disorders, metabolic disorder, pain management, gastrointestinal disorders, ophthalmology, and others. The diabetes segment is likely to dominate the global medical foods market during the forecast period. High prevalence of diabetes and growing research activities for development of medical foods for management of sugar levels in cancer patients are expected to propel the segment.

Retail Pharmacies to Dominate Global Market

In terms of distribution channel, the global medical foods market has been segregated into pharmacies & drug stores, online channels, supermarkets & hypermarkets, and others. High rate of establishment of retail pharmacies drives the pharmacies & drug stores segment. Increase in approvals for sale of medical foods at pharmacies & drug stores and added benefits provided by the products surely affect sales. These factors are likely to augment the segment during the forecast period.

Medical Foods Market: Prominent Regions

In terms of region, the global medical foods market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America dominated the global medical foods market in 2018, followed by Europe. The U.S. holds the largest market in North America. Increase in customer awareness about health and well-being paired with rise in healthcare cost is driving the demand for medical foods in the region. Additionally, high birth rate is one of the major drivers in the region. In 2017, the birth rate in the U.S. was 13 per thousand people compared to less than 10 per thousand people in several countries in Europe. Moreover, malnutrition is a common problem affecting the lives of millions of people globally, including North America. Malnutrition is a condition that occurs due to the deficiency of essential nutrients in the body. Clinical nutrition is considered the most effective way to treat malnutrition, thereby reducing the overall healthcare cost.

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Launch of Innovative Products and M&A by Key Players to Augment Global Market

The global medical foods market is highly fragmented, with a large number of players holding a majority share of the domestic market. Development and commercialization of medical food products is one of the key trends in the global medical foods market. Moreover, companies are engaged in broadening product offerings in medical foods and strengthening positions in the global market. Prominent players operating in the global medical foods market include Nestlé S.A., Danone S.A., Abbott Laboratories, Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, Targeted Medical Pharma, Inc., Primus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc., Meiji Holdings and Co., Ltd., Cerecin Inc., and  Metagenics, Inc.

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