Medical Foods Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Medical Foods Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Route of Administration (Oral, Enteral), By Product (Pills, Powder), By Application, By Sales Channel (Online, Institutional, Retail), And Segment Forecasts, 2020 - 2027

  • Published Date: Feb, 2020
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2019
  • Report ID: GVR-1-68038-419-2
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2016 - 2018
  • Number of Pages: 150

Report Overview

The global medical foods market size was valued at USD 18.4 billion in 2019 and is projected to register a CAGR of 6.3% over the forecast period. Rise in the geriatric population, coupled with growing incidences of chronic diseases such as sarcopenia mainly among the geriatric population, and increasing awareness regarding clinical nutrition amongst patients and healthcare professionals are some of the factors driving the market. According to research conducted by the University of Liege in Europe, it has been estimated that the prevalence of sarcopenia in the geriatric population will increase from 11.1% in 2016 to 12.9% by 2045.

Consumer shift toward adopting healthy alternatives in their daily routines due to the increasing cost of medical services also drives the demand for medical foods in the market. Due to the adverse effects of various chronic diseases or the drugs used during treatment, chronically ill patients suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Medical foods are used to address these nutrient deficiencies. As a result, their demand is increasing in order to manage chronic health conditions. For instance, according to data published by ‘Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease’, in 2014, 42.0% of the adults in the U.S. had more than one chronic condition, while 60.0% had at least one chronic condition. 

U.S. medical foods market

Increasing prevalence of diabetes is also a key factor that drives the demand and consumption of medical foods globally. According to International Diabetic Federation, approximately 463 million adults were living with diabetes in 2019 and this number is expected to reach 700 million by 2045. Medical foods help improve the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, one of the most common problems among diabetic patients.

Various strategic initiatives taken in the area of clinical nutrition also have a positive impact on market growth. Some of these initiatives include new product launches, mergers, acquisitions, supportive initiatives to increase awareness regarding clinical nutrition, and distribution agreements with other companies. For instance, BASF Corporation entered into a distribution agreement with DIEM Labs, LLC for commercializing a BASF medical food product to manage nutritional deficiencies in patients suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In 2017, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. acquired Cambrooke Therapeutics, Inc. to enter the U.S. market.

In addition, Caret Group acquired Fiber Choice in order to enhance the product portfolio of IM HealthScience, a subsidiary of Caret which specializes in medical foods. This acquisition was aligned with the company’s goal of identifying dietary interventions for patients who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia. Moreover, in July 2017, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), an organization for dietary supplements and functional foods, included medical foods along with dietary supplements and functional foods in its nutrition portfolio. In January 2020, Nestlé entered into an asset purchase agreement (APA) to expand its business of medical nutrition by acquiring Zenpen. In February, Nestlé Health Science acquired Pamlab, a U.S.-based medical foods company that produces prescribed medical foods to support patients suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathy, dementia, depression, and high-risk pregnancies.

Route of Administration Insights

Orally administered medical foods dominated the market in 2019. The administration of vitamins and nutrients through oral route is commonly practiced. Oral supplements are commercially available in the form of pills, powder, pre-thickened products, and pudding. For instance, Metagenics introduced UltraInflamXPlus 360°, a medical food formulated for providing strategic micro- and macronutrient support to patients with compromised gut function owing to inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Availability of a range of oral products, supportive initiatives, and high preference for orally administered medical foods are the factors boosting the growth of this segment. According to the British Specialist Nutrition Association Ltd., oral delivery of prescribed nutrition supplements to patients suffering from malnutrition can reduce the risk of infection by 70.0% and mortality rate by 40.0%.

Enteral mode of the administration segment is expected to register the highest growth rate over the forecast period. The demand for medical foods to be administered enterally is increasing due to the rising prevalence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer, resulting in various metabolic disorders that lead to difficulty in diet consumption during treatment. Moreover, technological advancements in related markets such as enteral feeding devices is positively impacting the segment growth.

Product Insights

On the basis of product, the medical foods market has been segmented into pills, powder, and others, which include liquid, gel-based and semisolid formulations. The others segment dominated the market in 2019 and is also estimated to register the highest CAGR over the forecast period. High commercial availability of medical foods, increasing application areas, and easy administration of these products are the key factors driving the growth of this segment.

Owing to its ease of consumption, liquid formulations are highly preferred among the pediatric and geriatric population. Some examples of medical foods in these formulations are Nutrison MCT (Danone), Glucerna Therapeutic Nutrition Shake (Abbott), and Nutrini Peptisorb Energy (Danone). Moreover, several new products have been launched in the others segment; for instance, in 2016, Cambrooke Therapeutics launched a ketogenic formula called KetoVie Peptide for intractable epilepsy.

Powdered products was the second-largest segment in 2019 owing to constant product innovations. For instance, in 2016, Cambrooke Therapeutics, Inc. introduced Tylactin RESTORE Powder, a hydration beverage indicated for the dietary management of Tyrosinemia. In 2017, Danone India introduced its new brand Neocate, a hypoallergenic amino acid formula, in India. Furthermore, Nestlé Health Science launched BOOST Soothe Clear Nutritional Drink for cancer patients which help in fulfilling the required calories and proteins along with a cooling and soothing effect in order to provide the right nutrition while dealing with certain side effects related to the treatment of cancer, which includes oral discomfort and taste changes.

Application Insights

In 2019, diabetic neuropathy held the largest share in 2019. Diabetes is a growing global health concern. Hence, increasing focus on nutritional management and the rising prevalence of diabetes drive the segment growth. Some of the medical foods for diabetic neuropathy are METANX, Foltanx, and Percura capsules.

Chronic kidney disease is anticipated to be the fastest-growing segment over the forecast period. According to data published by the National Kidney Foundation, around 10.0% of the global population suffers from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and more than 2 million patients receive a kidney transplant or dialysis treatment globally. Diet-related factors have an important impact on disease progression and its further complications. During the progression of chronic kidney disorder, nutritional requirements also change. Therefore, the dietary management of CKD drives the demand for medical foods, providing profitable growth opportunities.

Moreover, increasing investments in medical foods by key market participants, such as Danone, Abbott, and Nestlé are driving the segment growth over the forecast period. Currently, there is low commercial availability of medical foods exclusively designed for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and apraxia patients. For instance, AuRx, a product of Tesseract Medical Research, is designed specifically for ASD patients. Rising demand for medical foods that cater specifically to ASD patients provides growth opportunities to market participants.

Sales Channel Insights

Key sales channels include retail, institutional, and online sales. The institutional sales channel, which further includes hospitals, home care settings, and disability facilities, accounted for the largest share in 2019. These institutions enter into long-term contracts with companies. High product demand in inpatient facilities is the key factor responsible for the large share of institutional sales. Shifting trends toward e-commerce platform for procuring medical foods provides a range of alternative products and affordable prices to customers. This can hamper the growth of the institutional sales segment.

Global medical foods market

In 2019, retail sales channel held the second-largest share. The presence of clinical nutrition products at supermarkets and grocery stores is growing significantly and the products sold via retail pharmacies has increased in the last few years. Initiatives undertaken by grocery stores to promote individual health is anticipated to positively impact the growth and development of the retail sales channel segment.

Regional Insights

In 2019, Asia Pacific dominated the global market and is anticipated to register a significant CAGR of 7.2% over the forecast period. Increasing target disease cases, such as obesity, malnutrition, CVDs, and cancer in the region is the key factor driving the demand for medical foods. Rising geriatric and pediatric population base is also contributing to the market growth. Moreover, the presence of companies such as Nestlé and Abbott and high revenue generation by these companies is boosting the regional market.

China dominated the Asia Pacific market in 2019. According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, cancer and CVDs accounted for the maximum number of deaths in the country. Regulatory changes regarding clinical nutrition is also expected to have a positive impact on market growth. According to Chemical Inspection and Regulation Service (CIRS), a notice was issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation regarding the registration information about Abbott’s food for special medical purposes in July 2018. The increasing rate of diabetic and cancer patients along with several initiatives taken by the government in the healthcare segment drives the market growth in China. 

Medical Foods Market Share Insights

The market is highly consolidated in nature with Danone, Nestlé, Abbott, Mead Fresenius Kabi, and Johnsons accounting for a majority of the share of the market. Several strategies such as geographic expansions and investments for new product development have been adopted by these players to increase their market share. Abbott held the largest share owing to its extensive product portfolio of enteral feeding formula and high cost of some of its specialized products, such as ELECARE (Pediatric), ELECARE JR (Pediatric), Oxepa Therapeutic Nutrition, and ProMod Liquid Protein.

New product launches and constant innovations by manufacturers play a significant role in driving the demand for medical foods. For instance, in 2019, Ironshore pharmaceuticals launched Jornay PM extended-release capsule, a CNS stimulant approved by the FDA for treating ADHD patients aged six and above. In June 2018, VAYA Pharma, Inc. expanded its medical food product offerings with the introduction of an extra-strength formula called Vayarin Plus, which caters to the clinical dietary management of ADHD in adolescents as well as adults weighing more than 97 lbs. Cambrooke Therapeutics Inc., on the other hand, launched two hydration beverages including Glytactin RESTORE Powder Glytactin RESTORE Lite Powder for the dietary management of phenylketonuria.

Report Scope



Base year for estimation


Actual estimates/Historical data

2016 - 2018

Forecast period

2020 - 2027

Market representation

Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2020 to 2027

Regional scope

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Japan, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, UAE, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

15% free customization scope (equivalent to 5-analyst working days)

If you need specific information, which is not currently within the scope of the report, we will provide it to you as a part of customization

Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2016 to 2027. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research, Inc. has segmented the global medical foods market report on the basis of route of administration, product, application, sales channel, and region:

  • Route of Administration Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • Oral

    • Enteral

  • Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • Pills

    • Powder

    • Others

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • Chronic kidney disease

    • Minimal hepatic encephalopathy

    • Chemotherapy-induced diarrhea

    • Pathogen-related infections

    • Diabetic neuropathy

    • ADHD

    • Depression

    • Alzheimer's disease

    • Nutritional deficiency

    • Orphan diseases

      • Phenylketonuria

      • Eosinophilic esophagitis

      • FPIES

      • Others

    • Other

  • Sales Channel Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • Online Sales

    • Institutional Sales

    • Retail Sales

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

    • Europe

      • U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

      • Spain

      • Italy

      • Russia

    • Asia Pacific

      • Japan

      • China

      • India

      • Australia

      • New Zealand

      • Singapore

      • South Korea

    • Latin America

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

      • Argentina

    • Middle East & Africa

      • South Africa

      • Saudi Arabia

      • UAE

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