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Four in 10 consumers have bought more functional products during pandemic: Kerry survey

By Food in Canada staff   

Food Trends Health & Wellness Dietary supplements Editor pick functional foods Kerry

More than four in 10 consumers have increased their purchases of functional foods, beverages and supplements since the start of the pandemic, per a survey by Kerry.

The company that manufactures the health ingredient Wellmune surveyed  13,000 people across 16 countries to provide manufacturers with insights into the impact of COVID-19 on purchasing behaviours.

Forty-four per cent of respondents globally said they had bought more dietary supplements since the outbreak of the pandemic, while 42 per cent had increased their purchases of functional or fortified foods and beverages.

Respondents were presented with a list of health areas and asked which were reasons for buying healthy lifestyle products. Globally nearly six in 10 (58 per cent) chose immune system support, significantly more than the numbers who picked healthy bones and joints (46 per cent), digestive health (43 per cent), heart health (40 per cent) and improved energy (39 per cent). Immune health was the top health benefit sought by consumers in each of the 16 countries surveyed.


As many as 39 per cent of consumers had used an immune health product over the past six months and a further 30 per cent would consider doing so in future, suggesting a total potential immune health market of 69 per cent.

John Quilter, Kerry VP of Global Portfolio – ProActive Health, said, “Interest in health and wellness has never been higher and we wanted to give the industry new insights into changing purchasing habits. One of our key findings was the scale of the impact of the pandemic on demand – not just for immune health products, but for functional foods, beverages and supplements overall. Consumers were adopting increasingly proactive, holistic attitudes to health, wellness and nutrition long before 2020 but the pandemic has massively accelerated this trend.”

The survey also reveals the food and beverage categories where immune health is a particularly powerful purchase driver. One in three (33 per cent) consumers said they would be interested in purchasing fruit and vegetable juices if they contained ingredients that promoted immune support. Many other categories were also seen as a good fit for immune health benefits, including spoonable yogurt (31 per cent), dairy-based drinks (28 per cent) and hot beverages (24 per cent).

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