woman holding supplement

Global Immune Supplement Trends for 2021 and Beyond

Last year’s COVID-19 outbreak triggered surging interest in immunity supplements across the globe. Now one year later, we explore global consumers' perceptions around immunity and how they'll impact 2021's immune supplement trends.

Growing Consumer Awareness of Immune Health Globally

The pandemic has spurred global interest in immune health, with record numbers of consumers reaching for dietary supplements as well as functional food and beverage products that have immunity claims or associations. Data from FMCG Gurus’ recent COVID-19 survey1 gives us a chance to see what consumers are thinking about immunity right now, a full year after the pandemic began.

One positive outcome of COVID-19 has been an increased awareness by consumers of their overall health, and evidence shows this may have staying power. In all countries surveyed, at least three out of ten consumers that increased their supplement use for either overall health or immune health plan to continue the habit.

Here’s a look at what consumers are thinking about immune health in three regions across the country—North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe:

North America

In North America, 69% of U.S. consumers who are concerned about COVID-19 are concerned about the impact on their health and wellbeing, compared to 66% of Mexican and 56% of Canadian consumers—a difference that may be due to the higher transmission rates in the U.S. and Mexico. Of those concerned, similar numbers of Americans and Canadians are concerned about developing serious health problems as a result of catching the coronavirus (68% vs. 69%) and about their immune system, in general, being impacted (38% and 39%). Those numbers are higher in Mexico, with 77% of consumers concerned about developing health problems as a result of the virus and 43% are concerned with of their immune system in general being impacted. In addition, COVID-19 has made 67% of Americans, 63% of Mexicans, and 60% of Canadians more conscious of their overall immunity.

A large number of North Americans have also become more conscious of their mental wellbeing (67% of Americans, 65% of Canadians and 59% of Mexicans)—more than any other countries surveyed, indicating an opportunity to include functional ingredients for mental wellbeing in supplements for North America. While essential fatty acids, vitamins, probiotics, and proteins/amino acids are popular supplements in North America, U.S. consumers are nearly three times more likely than Canadians to take herbs/botanicals and prebiotics. Meanwhile, 85% of Canadian supplement users take vitamins—the highest rate of all countries surveyed.

immune webinar

Asia Pacific

Across the countries surveyed, Chinese and Japanese consumers show the lowest concern levels about COVID-19 (with 48% and 46% concerned, respectively) compared to Vietnam and Australia (both at 51%). Overall, the majority of Asia Pacific consumers have become more conscious of their immunity due to the COVID-19 outbreak including 66% of South Koreans, 64% of Chinese, 61% of Japanese and 55% of Australians.  Protein/amino acids, vitamins, probiotics, and essential fatty acids are the most common supplements taken in Australia, China, South Korea and Japan. 

cup with lemon honey and ginger

While the Asia Pacific consumers are equally likely as those in the other regions to associate the usual ingredients with immunity support (such as vitamins C, A, and D, the minerals iron and zinc, and protein), some are far more likely to associate bone broth with helping boost the immune system. Those consumers include 33% of Chinese, 29% of Japanese, and 26% South Korean consumers. In addition, Chinese consumers are the most likely of all consumers surveyed to associate ginger and honey with immune support (at 54% and 45%, respectively), while twice as many Japanese as Chinese consumers associate elderberry with immunity.

Europe

In Europe, of consumers concerned about COVID-19, 64% of French and Spanish, 63% of German and 59% of British consumers are concerned about their health and wellbeing. Concerns about immunity are at similar levels to those in North America and Asia Pacific. The proportion of European consumers who have become more conscious of their mental health since COVID-19 began is rather high (63% of British, 59% of Spanish, 50% of German, and 38% of French consumers), though not as high as in North America.

Among European supplement users, the majority are taking vitamins, essential fatty acids, proteins/amino acids, and probiotics. While vitamins, proteins/amino acids, and minerals are more popular in France, herbs/botanicals and prebiotics are far more popular in Germany. Of the European consumers who have increased their supplement usage to boost overall or immune health, more Germans and Spanish consumers than French and British consumer plan to continue post-COVID, whereas more French consumers who have turned to food and beverage for immunity plan to continue the habit.

spoon of supplements

Collaborate with Us to Meet Global Supplement Trends

A lot has changed in the past year, with consumer awareness of health (both physical and mental) increasing and—for many—a lifestyle reevaluation resulting in new commitments to healthier living. Manufacturers can help keep this momentum going by listening to the needs and preferences of consumers in each region and supporting them with the right type of products.

From our health beneficial bioactive ingredients portfolio to our functionally optimized dairy-based proteins and our expertise in custom premix solutions, we have the knowledge and know how to help you develop your next immune health product formulation. Get in touch and let’s discuss how we can help you meet the needs of today’s consumers.

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References

1. FMCG Gurus. COVID-19 Survey – February 2021.

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