Post-pandemic immunity trends: Experts predict boom in e-commerce and healthy eating
27 Nov 2020 --- Continuing the conversation about trending immunity ingredients, industry experts speak to NutritionInsight about how the sector will evolve in a post-COVID-19 era. They predict that the pandemic’s aftermath will see a pronounced focus on healthy eating and connectivity, with e-commerce thriving.
“We expect COVID-19 to have profound, long-lasting effects on consumer behavior globally, including people’s interest in immune-boosting nutritional solutions,” says Geetika Saraswat, global marketing manager, dietary supplements for DSM Nutritional Products.
“The pandemic has altered many parts of life, with a rising number of consumers adopting a proactive, selfcare-centric approach to health and wellbeing at an accelerated pace,” Saraswat adds.
Even though COVID-19 has heightened people’s consciousness of immunity, it has realistically always been a top health concern, according to NZMP.
“This is because consumers associate poor immunity with a range of prevalent health concerns such as fatigue, allergies and digestive issues. These are important to people when perceived as impacting their ability to live how they want,” notes Victoria Lam, NZMP global marketing manager, sports & active lifestyle.
According to Rita Mateus, business development at Allmicroalgae, one of the most important trends in a post-pandemic era will be “shopstreaming.” This will impact both real-time online shopping and social connections.
Shopstreaming is explained as “livestreaming meets shopping.” This novel e-commerce experience combines entertainment, interactivity and community to create the closest thing to a real-life shopping experience.
“Social media and e-commerce will trigger big digital waves of consumption behavior faster than it has over the past few years,” she notes.
“Another likely outcome will be assisted development, as people will spend more time at home. They will need more remote assistance with product purchasing, returning items or with asking for help related to a service or purchase.”
Holistic approach to health
Consumers will also be looking to eat more nutritious foods, Mateus says. “To support individuals and families in eating healthily, the food industry will be more focused on natural products that will allow a better nutrition status and consequently strengthen the immune system.”
The pandemic has shifted consumers’ focus to overall health and well-being, including both physical and mental well-being, says Solli Brawer, chief scientific officer, Solabia, Algatech Nutrition.
“As there is a greater recognition of the importance of maintaining a balanced immune system, even after the world becomes COVID-free, consumers will keep on seeking products that support a resilient immune system,” she adds.
DSM research on COVID-19 and consumer behavior
DSM surveyed 12,000 consumers across 24 countries globally to evaluate their attitudes to immune health and nutrition in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey found that immunity is one of the top three health concerns for 65 percent of people worldwide. While this is relatively consistent across age groups, the survey revealed that people over 30 worry the most about their vulnerability to disease and illness.
This is driving consumer interest in dietary supplements with people reporting that they now consume more of these solutions (26 percent), have added new products to their diet (18 percent) and started taking dietary supplements as a result of COVID-19 (10 percent).
“These findings clearly indicate that demand for immune-boosting nutritional solutions is unlikely to slow down any time soon,” DSM’s Saraswat says.
“Also, the traction of this trend is further elevated by the world’s aging population, as elderly people are typically more vulnerable to infections than younger generations. Moreover, as the pandemic may lead to a surge in older patient hospital admissions, the use of nutritional solutions to help support their immune system and recovery is likely to rise.”
Immunity: A staple trend
According to Oksana Ritchie, head of marketing at Kyowa Hakko Europe, even in a world without any further pandemics, many consumers will still lead very busy lifestyles with high levels of stress and pollution, which all undermine the immune system.
“A strong immune system is a prerequisite for good health. We therefore fully expect this trend to continue after COVID-19,” she stresses.
For Snezhana Kirina, marketing manager at Vaneeghen, consumers are increasingly making the connection between good nutrition and strong immunity, so brands should be aiming at immunity as lifestyle, rather than a seasonal strategy.
“We believe that immunity will remain as one of the raised priorities in people’s mind for the years to come. Overall, COVID-19 boosted the sales of immunity products, but when comparing the data to yearly average growth of 2019, sales are on average four times higher than 2019 – even after the peak of March/April 2020.”
The overall awareness for good nutrition and supplementation of additional good nutrients is only getting bigger, she explains.
“Despite vaccines being globally distributed and used, consumers’ awareness of the importance of hygiene and optimizing immunity will still be high. Particularly in Asia, consumers will likely take immunity supplements as part of their daily regime,” Mariko Hill, product development executive at Gencor, concludes.
By Kristiana Lalou
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