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German Consumers Turn to Supplements for Immunity Support

The German supplement market is feeling the impact of consumers’ growing interest in immunity support due to COVID-19. Here’s a look at German consumers’ shifting preferences and behaviors around supplements—plus how manufacturers can use a supplement premix to meet these new needs.

Snapshot of Germany’s Supplement Market

The German vitamin, mineral, and supplement market reached $2.1 billion in retail sales, according to Euromonitor, with an estimated growth of 6% between 2020 and 2024.1 The top five companies in the space hold 34% of the market share, while 16% of retail sales in vitamins, minerals, and supplements are private label.2

Increased Focus on Immune System Health

To better understand how German consumers’ preferences and behaviors regarding vitamins, minerals, and supplements might have changed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Mintel asked consumers directly. According to Mintel, 35% of German users of vitamins, minerals, or supplements used those products to support their immune system as a result of COVID-19.3 In addition, 14% of German users have increased the number of vitamins, minerals, or supplements they’re taking, with immune health being the biggest driver.4

senior couple looking at supplement bottle

Most Popular Vitamins

Mintel also did a deep dive on vitamin usage in the German market and found the most commonly used vitamins are vitamin D, vitamin C, and multivitamins.5 In Germany, vitamin D is especially recommended for the winter months when low levels of sunlight can lead to deficiency, whereas vitamin C is associated with a healthy immune system. There’s a high awareness of this benefit of vitamin C, with 65% of Germans agreeing that vitamin C helps support the immune system; for younger consumers ages 16 to 24, the number reaches 76%.6

Physical + Mental Wellbeing

There is also evidence that German consumers are taking a holistic approach to wellness, thinking beyond just staving off illness to consider ways they can support overall wellbeing. According to Mintel, while 60% of German vitamin, mineral, or supplement users are reaching for these products to support overall physical health, 27% report mental wellbeing as a motivator.7 This number rises to 32% for German users in the 25-to-34 and 35-to-44 age brackets.

woman on yoga mat doing home workout

With the popularity of vitamin D supplementation among German consumers, it may be likely consumers are aware of the research linking vitamin D deficiency and depression. This could indicate German consumers may be receptive to using other types of supplements that offer mental wellbeing benefits. When asked about the supplement benefits (besides strengthening the immune system) they’re seeking, males ages 16 to 34 stood out as being especially interested in also taking products that can improve mood and combat stress.9

Choosing the Right Ingredients

These findings point to an opportunity to offer German consumers products that contain the exact combination of ingredients they’re looking for. For example, a supplement company could use a premix containing vitamins C and D to create a single product that delivers the two most in-demand vitamins. Or a company might develop an immune support supplement from a premix that contains a blend of ingredients associated with immunity, beyond just vitamin C.

Another key opportunity is to include ingredients consumers associate with mental wellbeing. This might include functional botanicals like ashwagandha or other adaptogens that are gaining popularity for their potential in combating stress or adding ingredients under research for potential effects on mood (such as L-theanine, GABA, and St. John’s wort) or quality of sleep (such as melatonin, valerian, and magnesium). Using a custom premix is a simple way to give consumers a product that can meet all their needs.

From our health beneficial bioactives like Bioferrin® to our extensive experience formulating custom premixes, we have the solutions to help you in the development of immune supporting products. Get in touch to find out how we can collaborate with you on your next product formulation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Nutrient premixes are pre-blended nutrient powders that can include a variety of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, healthy fats, fibers, and bioactives, depending on the need. They can even include gums and flavors. Nutrient premixes are designed to be easy for manufacturers to add to foods, beverages, and supplements, with good flowability and uniform particle size to prevent the different nutrients from separating out.

There are vitamin-mineral blends, electrolyte blends, energy blends, keto blends, and oftentimes custom blends for companies that have a unique idea in mind for their fortified or functional products. Formulating with a nutrient premix instead of several individual ingredients saves a company time and simplifies purchasing, warehousing, and production. 

Bioactives are compounds that produce a biological effect in the body. Foods and beverages fortified with bioactive ingredients are becoming increasingly popular as more people focus on their health and wellness. Important benefits people are looking for in functional beverages and foods include support for weight management, sports performance, sleep, cognition, digestion, and healthy aging.

Wellness bioactives, which encompass immune system support and preventive health, are meeting a big need right now, while bioactives for active women is an emerging area that addresses the unique needs of women. This includes an emphasis on optimizing iron and calcium absorption, healthy body composition, and daily energy.

The essential micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals the body can’t make enough of, or at all, to support its essential functions. For humans, the essential water-soluble vitamins are vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folate), vitamin B12 (cobalamin), and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The essential fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

The essential minerals are categorized as macrominerals or trace minerals, with the latter required by the body in only tiny amounts. The essential macrominerals are calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, and sulfur, while the essential trace minerals are iron, manganese, copper, zinc, iodine, and selenium.


1-2. Euromonitor. Vitamins & Dietary Supplements. 2020.
3-9. Mintel. Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements – Germany. November 2020.

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