Panel discussion on...

Natural ingredients

Botanical trends in 2023


Eleanor Johnson

Data Analyst

FMCG Gurus, United Kingdom


Botanical ingredients which are derived from plants and are associated with holding multiple benefits, are of particular interest to brands and consumers in recent times due to their naturalness and being associated with aiding many aspects of health and wellbeing. However, some consumers can be sceptical of claims made by products containing such ingredients, the safety and effectiveness of botanical ingredients is also being put in the spotlight.

Green and clean

Across the food, drinks and supplement market, there is an established trend for products that are 100% natural. This can be related to consumers wishing to improve their long-term health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim to live a long and healthy life with fewer health complications. Our recent consumer research finds that across the globe, three quarters of consumers say that it is important that the food and drink they consume is 100% natural, highlighting how consumers are attentive to the ingredient listing in products. Our research shows that consumers associate natural products with being healthier and better for the environment, two thirds of global consumers associate botanicals with being sustainable.

Botanical ingredients are deemed to be green and clean, appealing to consumers as they address consumers concerns around sustainability and health. Consumers are modifying their diets to lead a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, driving demand for products containing botanical ingredients. In addition, botanical ingredients are perceived to be more premium, the unique and exciting flavors they offer can add a touch of elegance and individuality to a product.

General wellness and the proactive consumer

Our consumer research additionally finds that consumers are becoming increasingly proactive in addressing their health and wellness, by incorporating more functional and natural ingredients into their diet. Furthermore, consumers are actively seeking out food, drinks and supplements that help address health problems, even if not suffering from specific symptoms.

Botanical ingredients have the opportunity to positioned into food, drinks and supplements aimed at general wellbeing, which will appeal to the proactive consumer. Our research finds that nearly 7 in 10 global consumers want to improve their immunity over the next 12 months, this can be due to consumers wishing to boost their energy and the feeling of being tired and run down is often associated with a weaker immune system. Botanical ingredients such as hibiscus, ginger, goji and green tea are associated with aiding immunity. In addition, consumers may enjoy these botanical flavors as a way to boost their mood and offer them a sense of doing food for themselves.

Convenient and safe formats

When it comes to enhancing the diet through the use of botanicals and supplements, consumers want reassurance that what they are consuming is safe. We found that over 80% of global consumers state that clinically proven claims are important when purchasing supplements, therefore consumers want to be reassured to know that the botanical supplements they are consuming have undergone clinically testing to ensure they are safe.

A major barrier to the use of nutritional supplements is that consumers feel they would prefer to get their nutrition through regular food and drink, 70% of consumers who have never used nutritional supplements state this as a reason. When it comes to consuming products aimed at improving health, our research finds that nearly 90% of consumers prefer functional food and drink over nutritional supplements. Because of this, preferred formats for those wishing to use botanicals in an easily accessible manner include drinks, foods, and ingredients which can be easily added into cooking. Our research finds that there is a growing desire for consumers to cook in the home, nearly half of global consumers say they are making greater efforts to cook from scratch.

Despite this, botanical ingredients are also suited to supplement form, our consumer research finds that the preferred supplement format is capsules, with 67% of global nutritional supplement users stating capsules as their preferred format, and gummies being the least preferred format. Consumers are keen to see nutritional supplements which offer a variety of benefits as this is associated with maximum efficacy and value.

Botanical benefits

Due to the variety of botanical ingredients, it is difficult to pinpoint one main health benefit. Botanicals can be associated with many areas of health and wellbeing including sleep, skin health, mental health and physical health. Consumers often seek products with multiple benefits, as this is related to maximum efficacy and convenience. Consumers are often seeking botanicals for multiple purposes, for example someone may be interested in chamomile tea because of its sleep aiding benefits but also because it is associated with digestive health and reducing anxiety.

It is important to note how some consumers may be seeking the medical benefits of botanical ingredients such as sumac for gut health or ginger for digestive issues, whereas many consumers like botanicals as they offer unique and exciting flavors. For example, botanical flavors such as ginger, dandelion, chai and spearmint would increase consumers consumption of non-alcoholic beverages. Our research finds that 42% of global consumers state that the use of botanical ingredients would increase their intake of beverages, such as functional water, chilled juice and bottled water. In the instance of botanicals being used to enhance taste and flavor, it is not always necessary to monitor the dosage of such ingredients, unless carrying a medical or health claim.


Vincenzo Zaccaria

R&D Manager - Bionap

Giovanna Nicotra

Scientific and Marketing Director - EPO

Andrea Zangara 

Head of Scientific Communications & Marketing - Euromed

Benoit Daems

CEO - Fermedix

Lucia Ferron 

R&D Coordinator - FLANAT Research Italia

Eleanor Johnson

Data Analyst - FMCG Gurus

Julien Cases 

CSO - Flytexia

Cindy Romain 

Scientific Manager - Flytexia

Antonella Riva

Product Innovation and Development Manager - INDENA

Giovanna Petrangolini 

Senior Research Manager - INDENA

Domenico Avenoso 

Junior Product Scientist - INDENA

Chris Kilham

Medicine Hunter - KSM-66 Ashwagandha

Alessandro Giuseppe Tricomi 

Food Supplement Manufacturing - Natural Ingredients Solution

Raffaella Pignatiello 

Quality Control - Natural Ingredients Solution

Federica Zanzottera 

Market Manager, Nutraceutical – ROELMI HPC

Marco Biagi 

General Secretary – S.I.Fit. (Italian Society of Phytotherapy)

Cristina Airoldi 

Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry - University of Milano-Bicocca

Alessandro Palmioli 

Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry - University of Milano-Bicocca