Christmas is coming and with it the inevitable gastrointestinal issues which the season brings with it – yet new research from Mintel highlights a distinct reluctance to treat ailments suffered.

mintellogoSome 64% of people who have suffered from a gastrointestinal ailment in the last 12 months prefer to let symptoms run their course naturally, whilst 30% have managed it with their diet. The research highlights a decline in value sales historically, driven by reluctance to buy gastrointestinal remedies as people took more interest in their diets. Indeed, some 38% of adults consider eliminating junk food from their diets as an important factor for leading a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, with the increase in the number of prescriptions related to gastrointestinal remedies (up by 22% from 2009-12), more people are seeking help from a health professional and so are more likely to get gastrointestinal remedies on prescription, this has hindered growth of the gastrointestinal category historically.

Valued at £266 million in 2013, the market is predicted to see growth of 0.9% in 2013. The biggest growth in 2013 is likely to come from diarrhoea treatments and products for IBS treatment, both of which are predicted to grow in value by 6% each in 2013. The rise in price per unit of diarrhoea treatment by 2% is partly responsible for the growth in value of this segment, as well as the increase in cases of norovirus recorded in 2013.

Finally, the research highlights  a lack of preparation in this category, with 30% of people agreeing that they only use non-prescription gastrointestinal remedies when absolutely necessary and only 23% agreeing that they always keep non-prescription gastrointestinal remedies on them in case of an emergency. Men and younger adults are less prepared, suggesting that they could be encouraged to take a more active approach to managing their digestive health. Men are more likely to seek medical advice (23% compared with 18% of women), whereas young people are more likely to let symptoms run their course naturally.

For more info visit www.mintel.com

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