The sales value of over-the-counter vitamins and minerals in Great Britain was over 427 million British pounds in 2018. This was the highest value in the provided time interval and represented a 3.3 percent increase on the previous year. The sales value of OTC vitamins and minerals has generally increased since 2009. OTC medicine market in Great Britain Vitamins and minerals had the third highest sales value in 2018, when broken down by drug categories. Pain relief medication was the category with the highest sales value, at approximately 565 million British pounds. Cough, cold and sore throat medication followed with a sales value of around 460 million British pounds. Overall, the sales value of OTC drugs has increased from 1.65 billion British pounds in the year 2000 to being worth approximately 2.6 billion British pounds in 2018. Growth of other OTC categories At almost seven percent, the cough, cold and sore throat medication classification had the highest growth of sales value in Great Britain between 2017 and 2018. This was closely followed by OTC eye care medication which grew by 6.8 percent between 2017 to 2018.
Increased numbers of individuals are taking a proactive approach to their health and the wellbeing trend is sweeping the nation.
This presents businesses in vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) with an opportunity to take full advantage of this shift in mainstream consumer behaviour.
Resulting from increased levels of investment in new product development and advertising spend, the UK VMS market enjoyed strong growth in 2015, with overall category sales worth an estimated £421 million by September 2016.
Considering the combination of an ageing population, a rise in lifestyle related diseases and increasing engagement among men within the category, the sector is forecast to see an uplift of 8.6% over the next five years. Sales values are expected to hit £457 million in 2021. 
The debate over the use of VMS as part of a healthy lifestyle continues. Critics argue that individuals should get all of the nutrients they need from a healthy balanced diet.
Investment appetite in the sector is reflecting consumer uptake, with food and healthcare companies showing significant interest in acquiring wellbeing assets.
The attraction lies in diversifying into a growth category that ticks all the natural health and nutrition boxes that are increasingly important to consumers. This is key for businesses whose existing product offering is dominated by less healthy or manufactured foods and medicines.
In November 2016, the German healthcare company Stada acquired UK VMS business Natures Aid for its high quality branded products and complimentary fit with Thornton & Ross, its UK based OTC business. The acquisition moved them firmly into the natural health space. Likewise, Samworth Brothers acquired sports nutrition business Sci-MX in June 2015 with the intention of using their brand expertise to reinforce Sci-MX’s market share and providing them with an entry point into the sports nutrition market.
However, it isn’t just the food and healthcare branded players that are active in this space – it’s also of particular interest to the ingredients and powders industry as they look to acquire products complimentary to their offering that will utilise their by-products and provide them with a value-add product portfolio. Glanbia, formerly a dairy co-operative is an obvious example. Glanbia Performance Nutrition is currently the number one global performance nutrition brand portfolio, comprising Optimum Nutrition, BSN, Isopure, thinkThin, Nutramino, ABB and trusource. Other examples include County Milk, a dairy ingredients supplier, which acquired CNP Professional, a sports nutrition and supplements provider in October 2016 and previous to that, in March 2015, Irish agrifood business Aurivo Cooperative acquired My Goodness, the producers of For Goodness Shakes nutritional drinks.
The sector also continues to be of interest to private equity, looking for branded businesses with strong product USPs, capable of delivering robust returns on investment. Grovepoint Capital, Carlyle Group and Lonsdale Capital currently have investments in the VMS and nutrition sector.