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What Next for Immune Health?

Concern over immune health is not a new trend, however over the past eighteen months, the pandemic has significantly heightened the desire to address this. Consumers have become less confident with their immunity and are now more conscious than ever before about their vulnerability to disease and illness. This has led to consumers to adopt a prevention over cure approach to health maintenance, recognizing that a good immune system is central to maintaining good physical and cognitive health. So, what are consumers doing to address their immunity? 

Over the past eighteen months consumers have become more health conscious due to the pandemic. FMCG Gurus research highlights that 66% of global consumers state that they have become more conscious of their overall health with 65% being more conscious of their immune health. Although this desire has been heightened by the COVID-19 virus, it is important to note that pessimism towards immune health is not solely driven by this.  Consumers believe that there are several day-to-day (poor dietary habits, heavy use of technology/alcohol/tobacco, inactivity) and long-term (health problems, asthma, allergies and intolerances) issues that impact on overall levels of health and wellness. This is something that will result in consumers taking a more proactive and long-term approach to immune health than in recent years. 

When it comes to addressing immune health, consumers have taken a number of actions. FMCG Gurus insights shows that 68% of consumers say they have changed their diets in order to improve immunity. 23% have also stated they have taken nutritional supplements. One of the main dietary change’s consumers are adopting is returning to a back-to-basics approach to nutrition. Increasing intake of fruit and vegetables is something that will be a popular option amongst consumers for several reasons. These are products that consumers know and trust and associate with recognized ingredients that boost health. 

Consumers are simultaneously becoming more conscious about their health and more proactive in addressing their health. Consequently, it is no surprise that a high proportion of consumers say that they are researching about different ingredients and ways to boost health, whilst also finding out more about nutrition in general. This is highlighted as 56% of global consumers state they regularly research about different ingredients that can improve health. 

Ingredient claims are also beneficial when targeting immune conscious consumers. Consumers associate a variety of ingredients with helping boost the immune system and will ultimately want products to contain a variety of ingredients because of the association with maximum effectiveness/value for money. Omega 3 (77%) and Protein (77%) are two key ingredients consumers associate with boosting immune health. This is because consumers believe that the ingredient can be found in everyday food and drink and is also important in helping facilitate healthy ageing – something closely linked to maintaining good immune health.

Across the globe, consumers are interested in functional food and drink products that blur the boundaries between everyday groceries and medicine. FMCG Gurus insights show that 71% of consumers are interested in food and drink products that promote aiding the immune system. However, when promoting this claim, it is important that brands offer maximum transparency credibility in order to validate claims made within the immune health market, something that can be done through using branded health ingredients and using scientific claims to back up effectiveness.

Will Cowling, Marketing Manager at FMCG Gurus. This article is based on FMCG Gurus: What’s Next for Immune Health in 2021 – Global report. For more information, please contact: [email protected] 

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