Herbal/traditional products was the most dynamic in health category in the Philippines in 2015 with current value growth of 8%, reaching Ps7.4 billion. Herbal/traditional products are seen by consumers as providing adequate treatments, prevention alternatives and supplements to the growing demands of Filipinos. Its strong and fast growth can be attributed to the high value that Filipino consumers place on herbal/ traditional remedies that dates back in its history. Passed from generation to generation, the knowledge of its effectiveness has been proven not through science but via personal experiences that are shared through word-of–mouth long before pharmaceutical industries ventured into processing herbal remedies into recognised medicines. Therefore, these remedies have a very significant role in the lives of Filipino consumers, especially those who live in far-flung rural areas of the country.
The use of herbal/traditional products not only appeals to lower income groups of consumers. In fact, communities, especially with the majority of poor families, are encouraged by the government to grow their own herbal remedies to save them from having to buy costly medicines for treating minor ailments such as fever, coughs and wounds. The growth of herbal/traditional products can be explained by the growing demands of middle-high income consumers who opt to use natural-based products due to awareness of their effectiveness and of the increasing trend towards “going green” or being pro-environment. Some consumer health products that are herbal/traditional in nature are actually targeted towards middle-high income consumers such as Cheong-Kwan-Jang and C-LiumFiber, both ranking first in their respective categories of ginseng and herbal/traditional dietary supplements. This growing trend is not taken for granted by the government, which sees it as an opportunity for local pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers to succeed. Further research and development studies are being planned and funded to be able to discover or prove the effectiveness of some of the most famous herbal remedies used by Filipinos. This way, herbal/traditional remedies need not be grown by those who demand them, as they will be made into a more marketable product to reach a larger consumer base and nourish increasing demand.
Support for herbal/traditional products is expected to grow immensely as new product developments are predicted to stimulate consumer purchases. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers are perceived to invest in herbal/traditional products to take advantage of the growing demands of Filipino consumers and compete with the leading brands that are hauling in the majority of the value shares. International companies are also likely to participate in this competition, as they perceive the Philippines as abundant in demand for natural or organic-based products. Furthermore, the outstanding success of the brand Ascof, a lagundi-based cough syrup, will remain to inspire private and public organisations to invest in research and developments towards new discoveries and possibilities of creating such a pervasive consumer health product.
Promotional activities such as campaigns towards “going green” and educative events will continue to be utilised by the leading companies to reach out to consumers who have not yet discovered herbal/traditional products. This is seen to be a very effective marketing strategy to convince Filipino consumers and alleviate their doubts with herbal/traditional remedies. The use of brand ambassadors in the form of famous local celebrities with popular healthy lifestyles will be maintained over the forecast period due to its appealing power to haul in massive attention and consumer activity. Overall, herbal/traditional products will prevail to be a very dynamic and vibrant category with a value CAGR of 6% at constant 2015 prices over the forecast period, with possibilities of further growth due to advancements in technology, robust economic status and increasing consumer demands.