Consumers Seek Immunity Ingredients in Foods, Beverages, and Supplements
Across the globe, vitamins and minerals are popular in products promoting immunity. For global new products launched between 2014 and 2019 with immune health claims, 58% included vitamins, and 48% included minerals.1 The most frequently used vitamins were vitamins C (38%), D (31%), B6 (27%), and A (26%), while the most commonly used mineral was zinc (25%).2
These products include supplements, as well as functional foods and beverages —all formats in high demand today as consumers seek ways to bolster their health since COVID-19. While there is a high awareness of certain vitamins and minerals among consumers, relying only on these can make it challenging for a brand to differentiate itself in the market. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of functional ingredients consumers associate with healthy immunity.
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Bioactive ingredients are defined as substances that produce an effect on cells, organs, or overall body function and include protein fractions like lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is an iron-rich protein that has shown an enhanced immune response in some clinical trials. In fact, protein, in general, has a health halo when it comes to consumer perceptions of immunity, with 81% of U.S. consumers associating protein with helping to support immune health.3
Probiotics are another popular ingredient choice since 82% of U.S. consumers associate probiotics with helping to support immunity.4 While the effect of probiotics on the immune system is still under study, some research areas include the production of bioactives and antimicrobial proteins by probiotic organisms that may produce immunity benefits.