Consumer Attitudes Toward Immunity
Globally, there has been an uptick in interest in immune system supplements, as well as foods to boost the immune system. FMCG Gurus1 reports that in the past year alone, 45% of consumers in Latin America are making changes to their diets and lifestyles to improve their immunity. The most common reason for making changes was the desire to be proactive about their health (as opposed to suffering from a health condition).
When LATAM consumers were asked to self-assess their immune health, more than half reported their immunity as good or very good — 55%.
According to a recent consumer study by Mintel2, 82% of adults who take supplements or are likely to take supplements show interest in products that strengthen the immune system (e.g. vitamin C, multivitamins).
Immune System Vitamins and Minerals
Nearly 9% of supplement products launched between 2015 and June 2020 in Latin America carried an immune health claim, according to Mintel3. The top vitamins for immune system support used in foods, beverages and supplements in LATAM were vitamins C and B, while zinc was the top mineral. The top 10 micronutrients included in new immune-boosting products in the five-year period were:
- Vitamin C (43%)
- Vitamin B9 (31%)
- Vitamin B2 (23%)
- Vitamin A (23%)
- Vitamin D3 (21%)
- Vitamin B1 (20%)
- Zinc (19%)
- Vitamin B3 (18%)
- Vitamin B6 (16%)
- Calcium (16%)
While numerous ingredients are showing up in products that boost the immune system, Mintel reports that the most recognized by consumers as providing immunity benefits are vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc. However, FMCG Gurus found that antioxidants and magnesium were highest rated micronutrients associated with immune health.
Botanicals and Foods to Boost the Immune System
While some consumer segments are drawn more to immune system vitamins and minerals, others tend to look to foods and botanicals for immunity support. These consumers want to know how to boost the immune system naturally but still expect ingredients with well-researched, evidence-based benefits (e.g., ginger, camu camu, elderberry and certain mushrooms).
Mintel identified a number of botanical ingredients that are being used more frequently in new products making immunity claims. From 2014 to 2019, increased use by functional food and supplement manufacturers were noted for:
- Green tea
- Korean ginseng extract
- Echinacea extract
- Reishi mushroom