Sustainability Is Still Important
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, staying healthy has been a priority for consumers around the globe. Many consumers have been turning to foods, including functional food and beverage products, and dietary supplements for immunity support. And while practical concerns like product cost, shelf stability, and bulk packaging options have all become key considerations during pandemic shopping, they’ve been balanced by consumers’ continued interest in healthy and sustainable products.
Some products, such as plant-based or natural products, can address both health and sustainability concerns at once. Plant-based lifestyles are associated with higher intakes of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients for overall health and immunity support, as well as environmental sustainability benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and resource use. Natural products may be viewed as safer—for both consumers and the environment—than products made with artificial ingredients.
Sustainability Claims Resonating with Today’s Consumers
The balanced approach that many consumers are taking means that food and supplement companies can rest assured that their efforts to source responsibly still matter. Here’s a look at some claims that are still important to consumers during the pandemic:
Recent surveys indicate that vegan appeal is on the rise, with 19% of U.S. consumers surveyed at the end of 2020 reporting an interest in the vegan diet heading into 20211 and 28% planning to include more plant-based foods in their diets as a result of COVID.2 In addition, 12% of supplement consumers say vegan claims are important to them when purchasing nutritional supplements.3 Younger consumers may be driving this interest: for example, while 16% of UK supplement users are interested in seeing more vegan vitamins, minerals, or dietary supplements, the number jumps to 24% for those aged 16-24.4
The number of natural and green claims in new supplement launches showed steady growth from 2015 to 2019,5 and recent data shows clean label ingredients continue to be relevant during the pandemic. 100% natural/free from artificial ingredients is considered an important supplement claim by 76% of nutritional supplement users, ahead of non-GMO, low/free from sugar, and gluten-free.6 Clean label ingredients are being featured in immunity support products and multivitamin formulations, as well as natural energy and sleep support supplements.