COVID-19 has prioritised immune health for consumers

COVID-19 is creating new opportunities for immune health solutions, such as ingredients for food, supplement and healthcare products that support consumers’ immune health.

COVID-19 is creating new opportunities for immune health solutions, such as ingredients for food, supplement and healthcare products that support consumers’ immune health. When asked about how the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak impacted their food and drink habits, in July 2020, 47% of US consumers, 67% of Indonesian consumers, and 64% of Indian consumers agreed they regularly include immune-boosting foods into their diet (eg fresh fruit, zinc-rich foods), as examples1. Similarly, in Europe, 33% of French consumers and 37% of German consumers agreed the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak had prompted them to add more nutrients that support the immune system into their diet2.

 

COVID-19 highlights the need for a preventative approach to health

In addition to ingredients like vitamin C that many consumers already link directly to immune health, under a preventative approach to health, consumers may approach their immune health more holistically, linking their diet and lifestyle with their immune health. Indeed, consumer concern about COVID-19 is driving consumers to prioritise healthy eating, and in May 2020, 30% UK consumers agreed that eating healthily was a higher priority for them since the outbreak began3.

Research is emerging to suggest that dietary-related disease like obesity, diabetes and heart-disease increase the risks of health complications in COVID-19 sufferers. Consequently, consumers may look to support their immune health by adopting healthy eating patterns that help to reverse or protect against dietary-related diseases. For example, 47% of Chinese consumers, 51% of Colombian consumers, 27% of Swedish consumers, and 41% of Thai consumers agree that their post-COVID-19 food and drink aspiration is to eat a diet that reduces the risk of "lifestyle diseases" (eg hypertension, diabetes)4.

Ingredients for immune health can help consumers to proactively safe guard their health

COVID-19 is encouraging consumers to seek products like supplements or healthcare products that act as a nutritional safety net, enabling consumers to proactively safe guarding their health. For example, in September 2020, 18% of Polish consumers expected to spend more on healthcare products in the forthcoming month5. When asked about how the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak impacted their food and drink habits, 47% of Canadian consumers agree they take vitamins/minerals/supplements regularly now (July 2020), compared to just 27% before January 20206.

Consumers’ have long sought supplements that support their immune health, and COVID-19 may encourage new consumers to seek supplements for immune support. For example, 42% of Irish consumers agree they take vitamins/supplements to benefit their immune system15. 82% of Brazilian consumers are interested in vitamins and supplements for immune strength16

Ingredients and nutrients that consumers already link with immune health should thrive in the ‘next normal’ under the shadow of COVID-19. 86% of Polish consumers and 72% of Italian consumers agree that consuming vitamin C helps support your immune system, for example7.

COVID-19 may open opportunities for ingredients that support immune health to grow outside of healthcare and supplements, into ‘new’ food and drink spaces. In July 2019 when asked about appealing benefits of food and drink, 47% of Thai consumers reported that they find immunity-improving functional benefits appealing8. In India, 30% of consumers would find ‘improving immunity’ an appealing aspect of biscuits and cookies9, as examples.

Consumers including immune-boosting foods in their diet
 

47%

US consumers

67%

Indonesian consumers

64%

Indian consumers

Consumer interest in natural nutrition will open opportunities for botanical ingredients that support immune health

Consumer interest in natural nutrition may drive demand for botanical ingredients that deliver health benefits like immune health, naturally. 37% of Indian consumers look for natural/botanical ingredients in vitamins, minerals and supplements, for example10. 11% of US consumers agree they have taken elderberry supplements since the beginning of the year (ie January 2020)11.

 

Botanical ingredients often form the basis of traditional medicine systems, which are sought after by many consumers. For example, 57% of Chinese consumers, 38% of Saudi Arabian consumers and 46% of Mexican consumers somewhat agreeing that traditional medicine (eg made from natural ingredients) is an effective remedy against illness12


51% of UK adults agree that plant/botanical ingredients (eg herbs, spices) can have medicinal benefits (eg treat ailments)13. 17% of Spanish consumers have been more interested in learning about medicinal plant ingredients since the start of COVID-1914.

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1 Base: US/Indonesia/India 1,000 internet users age 18+ in each country. Source: India/Indonesia: Dynata/Mintel, US: Lightspeed/Mintel
2 Base:  France/Germany: 2,000 internet users aged 16+ in each country, Source: Lightspeed/Mintel
3 Base: UK: internet users age 16+; Source: Lightspeed/Mintel
4 Base: China/Colombia/Thailand: 1,000 internet users aged 18+ in each country, Sweden: 1,000 internet users aged 16+. Source: China: KuRunData/Mintel, Colombia: Offerwise/Mintel, Sweden: Lightspeed/Mintel, Thailand: Dynata/Mintel.
5 Base: Poland: 1000 internet users aged 16+; Source: Lightspeed/Mintel.
6 Base: Canada: 1000 internet users aged 16+; Source: Lightspeed/Mintel.
7 Base: Italy/Poland: 2,000 internet users aged 16+ in each country, Source: Lightspeed/Mintel.
8 Base: Thailand: 1500 internet users aged 18+, Source: Dynata/Mintel
9 Base: India: 3,000 adults aged 18+, Source: IpsosMori/Mintel
10 Base: 1,119 Indian adults aged 18+ who have taken VMS products in the last 12 months, Source: Ipsos Observer/Mintel
11 Base: 1,677 internet users aged 18+ who currently use any VMS products, Source: Lightspeed/Mintel
12 Base: China/Saudi Arabia/Mexico: 1,000 internet users aged 18+ in each country. Source: China: KuRunData/Mintel, Mexico: Offerwise/Mintel, Saudi Arabia: Lightspeed/Mintel
13 Base: UK: 2000 internet users aged 16+, Source: Lightspeed/Mintel
14 Base: Spain: 2000 internet users aged 16+, Source: Lightspeed/Mintel
15 Base: 891 RoI internet users aged 16+ who have taken vitamins and/or supplements in the last 12 months. Source: Toluna/Mintel
16 Base: Brazil: 1,500 internet users aged 16+, Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

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