While prevention and wellness remain top concerns, the coronavirus pandemic has prompted US supplement consumers to change their diet and supplementation to boost immunity, according to a new survey.

“COVID-19 has shifted the supplement market,” said Tracy Landau, president of MarketPlace, the St. Louis-based brand strategy firm that conducted the study. “Health and wellness brands that are agile and can pivot to meet evolving consumer needs will emerge from this season the strongest.”

The study found that during the initial three months of lockdown in the US (March to June 2020), disease prevention, digestive health, and immunity were the top reasons for taking supplements. From March to June 2020, supplement users were most likely to have bought vitamin D (54%), vitamin C (53%), probiotics (35%), and zinc (21%), according to the data. The strong demand for probiotics indicates that more consumers are potentially making gut health purchase decisions with immunity in mind.

“Consumers are beginning to view gut health as a pathway to immunity and general health, which widens the door for probiotics in all kinds of nutrition applications,” said Landau, who shared the study’s findings with participants of Informa’s SupplySide® Education Series from Natural Products INSIDER®.

The pandemic is also prompting dietary changes. According to the survey data, about 44% of US supplement consumers said they have changed their diet to boost immunity during the COVID-19 outbreak. Notably, among consumers who buy immune-boosting supplements, the pandemic has prompted over half to change their diet (51%), eat more fruit (54%), or increase their usage of vitamin and mineral supplements (61%). Additionally, preference for pills appears to be in decline (72%) compared to last year (89%), yet seven in 10 (70%) supplement users said effectiveness is important to them when deciding to purchase a supplement. This demonstrates a need for equally effective alternative supplement formats like gummies and food.

“Innovative formulations that address pill fatigue and increase the bioavailability of immunity-boosting ingredients, especially tea and yogurt applications, are growth opportunities for functional food and beverage brands and ingredient suppliers,” said Jon Copeland, MarketPlace’s Research Strategist. “The data reveal seismic shifts in the wellness consumer’s lifestyle and outlook on personal health. We believe long-term demand will remain strong for preventive health and immunity support.”

Detailed findings and insights for building a post-pandemic supplement brand are available on the MarketPlace website, as well as the companion 2019 white paper, What Consumers Want in a Supplement Brand. The 2019 paper provides a comprehensive foundation to the 2020 COVID-19 findings and further insights on everything from the perceived efficacy of CBD to online shopping preferences.


Access the white paper.