Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Concerns about immune function and decreasing chances of severe illness with COVID-19 are driving the trend.
Interest in healthy food and beverage choices has been trending upward for some time, influenced by an aging population for whom health considerations play a key role in purchasing decisions, as well as millennials’ strong interest in health and well-being. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this interest has grown substantially, with health and wellness becoming top-of-mind and consumers seeking ways to stay healthy through diet, exercise, rest and other well-being habits. Guidance from the World Health Organization has contributed to this trend, with the recommendation to eat a healthy diet to decrease risk of the worst outcomes if one does become infected with COVID-19.
Demand for healthy foods, as well as vitamins and supplements to boost immunity, is quite strong and are projected to keep growing as COVID-19 continues to drive growth in these categories. Reportlinker estimates that the global immunity-boosting foods market is expected to grow from $16.31 billion in 2019 to $22.76 billion in 2020, with a compound annualized growth rate (CAGR) of 39.6%. The market is expected to reach $24.02 billion by 2023, with a projected CAGR of 1.81%.
In Canada, a leading vitamin and health-supplement brand, Jamieson Wellness, recently reported that revenue increased 16.5% to $84.5 million in the first quarter of 2020, compared to $72.6 million in the first quarter of 2019, thanks in part to immunity boosting supplements. Domestic Canadian sales saw a 22% increase, and international sales increased by 51%. The company expects 2020 net revenue growth somewhere between 5% and 9%.
Foods fortified with ingredients that help strengthen the immune system are also very popular. In a recent Canadian Grocer article, Shelley Balanko of Hartman Group notes the presence of interesting new products in the market focusing on immunity as well as other associated benefits, like reduced inflammation and improved digestion—for example, bone broth, which consumers drink or use in cooking to improve gut health and boost immunity. Other immune-boosting foods—including probiotics/prebiotics, yogurt, juices, herbal teas, mushrooms and honey—are increasing in popularity, both for eating on their own and for inclusion in other products.
In another consumer study conducted by InsightsNow, 36% of participants reported making changes to their diet and supplement consumption to boost immunity. Of those, 65% said they were taking more vitamins and supplements, particularly zinc and vitamin C.
The market for immunity boosting food products, vitamins and supplements is expected to stay strong for the foreseeable future as consumers look to protect themselves and keep their immune systems strong.