By Monica Hollifield, MSDN, RDN
The pandemic has brought about changes to the way consumers shop and what they’re choosing to put into their cart. Concern over the Coronavirus has pushed consumers to seek immune-boosting products and to turn towards foods that claim to strengthen the immune system. A survey conducted in 2020 by Innova Market Insights showed that six out of ten global consumers are increasingly seeking immune-supporting products, and that one in three consumers claim their concern for the health of their immune system increased from 2019 to 2020.1 The survey also showed that nearly 54% of global consumers claim they’ve spent time educating themselves on ingredients and regimens that can bolster their immune health since the pandemic began.1
These same trends have accelerated into 2021 with consumers continuing to seek products that claim to boost immunity and companies adding products to the mix with known immune-boosting ingredients to meet consumer needs. Nearly 1.7% of global product launches between January 2020 to November 2020 in the food and beverage industry used immune health positionings, up from just 1% for the previous five years.1
In addition to food and beverage products, consumers are also increasingly turning to supplements for immune health. The Nutrition Business Journal’s 2020 Supplement Business Report predicted a 12.1% growth in the supplement market in 2020, it’s highest growth since 1997.2 This trend is expected to continue into 2021 as anxiety over the pandemic still dominates consumer purchase decisions. The Council for Responsible Nutrition reported that 57% of survey respondents listed “supporting overall immune health” as their top reason for purchasing supplements in 2020.3 Supplement suppliers have seen a boost in sales for Vitamin C, multivitamins, elderberry, zinc, echinacea, turmeric, and selenium since the pandemic began even though no nutritional supplement has yet been definitively proven to prevent or treat COVID-19 infection.2,3 Vitamin D has shown promise as a nutrient important to the prevention of COVID-19 infection severity and ranks among the top supplement sales since the pandemic began with a projected 7.2% growth by 2025.2
The trend in consumer purchasing habits has continued throughout 2021, and manufacturers and suppliers are doing everything they can to keep up with the increased demand despite COVID-19 restrictions and the effects the pandemic has had on the supply chain.4 Companies are continuing to put immune- and health-boosting claims forward on new and existing products to draw consumers despite the lack of evidence that any of these products protect against COVID-19 infection or severity.3.4 While some of these supplements or foods may give short-term stimulation to the immune system, consumers should be weary of these claims and should discuss any changes to their diet or supplement usage with a healthcare provider before implementing any changes.
Consumer awareness of the importance of immune health and overall health will outlast the pandemic. The best thing a person can do for their immune health is to ensure they are getting the proper nutrition their body needs to function optimally. Choose whole, fresh foods like those found in DeliverLean’s GRBNGO and Craft’d Meals lines and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Rest and physical activity are also important to keeping the body and the immune system healthy and happy. To find out where you can purchase our fine products, contact a representative today.
- COVID-19 Drives Prioritization of Immune Health. Innova Market Insights Web Site. https://www.innovamarketinsights.com/covid-19-drives-prioritization-of-immune-health/ . Published December 9, 2020. Accessed May 2021.
- The Top 7 Vitamin and Supplement Trends of 2021. Davidson KA. Healthline Web Site. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-supplement-trends. Published March 2, 2021. Accessed May 2021.
- Americans confident in dietary supplement effectiveness and quality in 2020, including during COVID-19 pandemic, CRN surveys show. Grebow JE. Nutritional Outlook Web Site. https://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/view/americans-confident-in-dietary-supplement-effectiveness-and-quality-in-2020-including-during-covid-19-pandemic-crn-surveys-show . Published October 20, 2020. Accessed May 2021.
- Has COVID-19 changed the immune-health product landscape forever? Krawiec SE. Nutritional Outlook Web Site. https://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/view/has-covid-19-changed-the-immune-health-product-landscape-forever. Published February 17, 2021. Accessed May 2021.