Innova Market Insights predicts younger consumers to drive “staying power” in post-pandemic immunity space
30 Jun 2021 --- The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently boosted consumer interest in immune health, according to Innova Market Insights. In addition, the market researcher notes that younger generations are expressing greater concern for protection against future pandemics and the threat posed to physical and mental well-being. This suggests a potential for long-term consumer interest in immunity.
Lockdown measures resulting from the pandemic have taken a toll on many areas of life, inducing stress, isolation and worsening diets.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Innova Market Insights’ global insights director Lu Ann Williams says that a younger consumer base means more power for the immunity market.
“Generally, younger consumers are most willing to make changes to their diets. With interest from younger consumers, immunity has the potential to be a trend staying power potential.”
“There are a lot of tired people all over the world. And 18 months of news about the pandemic has certainly put us on a fast learning curve about the importance of being healthy. There is also a lot more commentary about mental health across all our media sources, and it’s relatable.”
Healthy mind, healthy body
Williams says that with such an array of health concerns arising during the pandemic, consumers are taking a more holistic approach. This means a greater focus on getting enough sleep, being physically and mentally healthy and obtaining a nutritious diet.
“I think everyone, consumers and the food industry, have seen an evolution where there isn’t an expectation for a silver bullet solution anymore. There is a more holistic approach that encompasses ‘what I eat is good for me’ and ‘I feel good about what I eat.’ This extends to mental well-being as well. It all comes together and is connected.”
Innova Market Insights pegged “In Tune with Immune” as a top trend for 2021, noting that six in ten global consumers are increasingly mindful of the impact food and beverages have on their immunity.
Younger generations seek immunity boosters
The market researcher notes that Millennials (aged 26 to 35 years) and Gen X (aged 36 to 45 years) consumers have shown the most significant increase in reported concern for immunity since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Holistic approaches to maintaining immune health rank highly. In Innova’s 2020 Consumer Survey, choosing foods naturally high in nutrients – such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – came third as a way of achieving immune health, behind getting enough sleep and being physically healthy.
Overall, 59 percent of consumers globally said that they were looking for food and beverages to support them in this regard.
Williams asserts that although immunity may become less of a priority as the immediate threat of the current pandemic subsides, industry can capitalize on the increased interest by creating ways to integrate immunity-boosting ingredients into everyday products.
Excluding supplements, immune support claims are currently focused on three main F&B categories: Babies and Toddlers, Sports Nutrition and Dairy. These accounted for a combined 73 percent of immune claims on new products in 2020, according to Innova Market Insights.
Smaller but growing subcategories also include soft drinks and hot beverages, with a particular interest in juice drinks and tea. In 2019, vitamin C product launches were found to be leading the way as an ingredient in gut health immunity launches, used in 39 percent of new product launches.
Blending mind and body
A rising number of NPD featuring holistic approaches to immune health that also target lifestyle factors and mental health concerns like sleep quality and relaxation are entering the market.
For example, Chr. Hansen recently highlighted the impact of specific probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 and Bifidobacterium animalis UABla-12, on both the immune system and sleep quality and stress levels in workers on rotation shifts.
Demonstrated in a study of 87 individuals, the ingredients were shown to improve relaxation levels and sleep patterns, while simultaneously strengthening intestinal microbiota.
The study comes amid a wave of evidence supporting the influence of the gut on the brain and cognitive function, which has driven consumers typically interested in improving their mental well-being to ingredients that also boost their overall immunity.
NutritionInsight recently spoke with key beverage ingredient players, who highlighted the importance of “layered wellness” in the beverage market, touting NPD that addresses the physical and mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of well-being.
By Louis Gore-Langton
This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister website, NutritionInsight.
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