Vitamins and dietary supplements remains the largest selling nutritionals category in Egypt. Vitamins and dietary supplements are popular among all income groups in Egypt due to the fact that the majority of Egyptians suffer from a poor diet and consequently need to supplement their meals with vitamins and dietary supplements on a regular basis.
Although dietary supplements lead the sector in terms of sales; vitamins also recorded an increase in sales. Because of the spreading of malnutrition amongst lower-income families, symptoms such as dizziness, constant tiredness, and headaches occur. In such cases, pharmacists tend to encourage their clients using vitamins and dietary supplements on a regular basis.
Pregnant women tend to be more health conscious traditionally; therefore, they become heavy consumers of dietary supplements (usually prescribed by their doctors). The birth rate is relatively high in Egypt, which in turn leads to increasing sales of products for pregnant women, such as folic acid.
Multivitamins lead vitamins sales due to the fact that consumers prefer taking a single pill as opposed to many individual pills. Mineral supplements leads dietary supplements sales and is in high demand as a result of high rates of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in Egypt.
According to the Egyptian law, vitamins and dietary supplements are only distributed to consumers through chemists/pharmacies. Therefore, there are no direct selling or internet retailing sales of vitamins and dietary supplements products in Egypt.
Vitamin C sales increase during the winter season as it is becoming more popular among consumers with cold and flu type symptoms. Pharmacists encourage their patients to take at least 500g of vitamin C per day, especially if they are suffering from cold or flu symptoms.
GlaxoSmithKline Egypt is currently the leading manufacturer. The company’s most popular brand, Haemoton, is used by consumers with IDA. GlaxoSmithKline’s other leading brands, Vitamax and Supravit, are popular multivitamins and mineral supplements for consumers who do not have a balanced diet. Vitamins and dietary supplements are expected to continue to lead the nutritionals market for the foreseeable future. Dietary supplements will retain their importance due to the poor diet of low-income families in Egypt. In addition, due to the fact that a considerable number of children will continue to suffer from anemia, iron supplements will continue to increase in popularity.
Increasing sector unit prices is practically impossible due to government price controls. Before a product can be launched on the market, it must be registered with the Ministry of Health and its retail price fixed. Ministry of Health price controls are rigid and prices are not allowed to increase in-line with inflation. Increasing consumer health awareness amongst higher income consumers, who closely follow trends in the West, will lead to increased sales of imported brands, despite their higher price. Higher income consumers are also far more likely to visit their doctor due to minor health scares and will drive value growth of higher priced vitamins and dietary supplements during the forecast period.