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Estimated Herb-Sales Growth in 2010: Clarification
New information from the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ)—a source for The American Botanical Council’s annual Herb Market Report—has altered its estimated percentage of 2010 herb-sales growth published in HerbalGram 90 earlier this year.1 Based on information available at the time of publication, the estimated increase in sales of herbs in all channels initially reported by HerbalGram was 3.3%.1 However, subsequent to that issue’s release, more information has been procured by NBJ that decreased the estimated growth of herb sales in 2010 to just 0.2%, the figure published in NBJ’s June/July issue.

“Our models are very dynamic and the numbers we provide earlier in the year are estimates,” said Patrick Rea, NBJ publisher and editorial director (oral communication, September 9, 2011). “If we get better information, we will change.”

According to Carla Ooyen, NBJ’s director of market research, the publication gathers data throughout the year from public sources and through interviews with industry insiders (oral communication, September 9, 2011). NBJ ultimately received evidence that the Food, Drug, and Mass Market channel—specifically WalMart—and the Network (or Multi-Level) Marketing channel—specifically superfruit juice distributor MonaVie—did not perform at projected levels, according to Ooyen.

“NBJ uses a variety of primary and secondary sources to gauge the size and growth of the industry,” said Ooyen. “We consider scanner data from sources such as SPINS, IRI, and Nielsen, public company filings, conduct various interviews with company executives, and conduct online surveys. We also use our 15-year analysis of the industry for a basis of our data” (e-mail communication, September 12, 2011).

Because of the probable reason for the remarkable growth of herb sales in 2009 (an increase of almost 5%), the fact that the figure for 2010 remained positive is still significant. Concern about H1N1—or the “swine flu”—likely contributed to the boost in overall herb sales in ’09, but the fervor of that concern had ceased by the following year, suggesting that Americans continued to integrate herbs in their healthcare and nutrition regimens.

Ashley Lindstrom


1. Blumenthal M, Lindstrom A, Lynch ME, Rea P. Herb sales continue growth – up 3.3% in 2010. HerbalGram. 2011;90:64-67.