A Guide to Creating Successful Immune Health Dietary Supplements

A Guide to Creating Immune Health Dietary Supplements.

The growing demand for products with support for immune health and related need states reflects the fact that immune health is widely perceived as a foundation for good health. Immune health was the number one claim
in global supplements development in 2020, with 30% of total supplement launches carrying an immune health claim. This growth in new product development represented +10% CAGR over the last 5 years (compared to 8% for all supplements). Kerry’s recent global research showed that over 60% of consumers surveyed have either purchased, or would consider purchasing supplements with immune health benefits.

Meeting consumers where they are is the key to creating products they will truly value. And choosing the right ingredients and product formulation partners is one of the most important steps in finding the right dietary supplement format.

This page provides unique insights that will help supplement manufacturers create a safe, efficacious product that consumers will feel good about. These resources include:

  • A look at the dietary supplements market
  • Supplement market consumer trends
  • Opportunities to create immune health dietary supplements
  • Dietary supplement application trends and demands

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The global dietary supplements economy.

The global supplements market is valued at $80.3 billion USD, and it has been projected to grow at 2.2% CAGR through 2024. While growth is predicted in every region, the Middle East and African market is expected to see the most rapid growth, followed by Asia Pacific, which is already the largest by some distance.

What’s driving growth in the dietary supplements market?

Since at least 2019, demand has grown for products that support immune health, as well as related need states like support for healthy sleep, mental health, and overall well-being. This reflects the fact that consumers understand the role of the biological and environmental factors that contribute to overall well-being..

  • A focus on proactive health. Consumers are assuming control of their well-being. Today’s health-conscious consumers are taking their well-being into their own hands by focusing on nutritional solutions that may help support their own specific health and wellness goals.
  • A holistic lifestyle approach. As the holistic immune health trend sweeps the globe, healthy eating and exercise are focus areas, but supplements still remain popular.

Why are people taking dietary supplements?

Demand is high for supplemental nutrition. While diet and exercise are the right tools for people to support their health, research points to consumers sentiment that diet and exercise are not always enough.

For example, consumers are looking for added benefits or fortification from their everyday foods and beverages. Research found that 65% of U.S. consumers now seek added functional benefits from food and beverages. With the lines blurring between functional foods, beverages and supplements, the demand for supplemental nutrition is strong.

People also want specific outcomes and benefits.

While general health remains the number one market driver, other top reasons people buy dietary supplements are to support specific health outcomes such as digestive and immune health.


of consumers take supplements to prevent or treat ailments. 

What are the top benefits consumers want from a dietary supplement?


We asked over 11,000 consumer in 14 global markets about their reasons for buying healthy lifestyle products.

  • Nearly two-thirds (58%) of consumers chose immune system support as a reason for purchasing a healthy lifestyle product.
  • Immunity was chosen ahead of healthy bones and joints, good digestive health, energy levels, and heart health support.
  • The search for the best immune health dietary supplements is in particularly high in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and  Africa (APMEA) region —specifically India, where 80% of survey respondents said they had either used or considered using an immune health product in the previous six months.

This means that immune health markets are increasingly competitive. The best way to stand out is to use scientifically substantiated, well-recognized ingredients that can complement and enhance your brand.”

- John Quilter, VP and General Manager - Wellmune

Immune health dietary supplements market indicators.

Market indicators also show demand. Beyond general wellness and digestion, immune support was the top reason for purchasing healthy lifestyle products in every global region (up from third place in some regions in 2019). As many as 39% of consumers had used an immune health product over the past six months and a further 30% would consider doing so in future, suggesting a total potential immune health market of 69%.

Who are the consumers of immunity supplements?

Fundamentally, good immune health is the foundation of a high quality of life for everyone. Immune supporting products speak to the universal need for general well-being, and can be specifically beneficial for such lifestyles and life stages as: 

  • Older adults: One key driver of immune health dietary supplements benefits is the rapidly growing aging population. With immunity being a major priority for older people, this is certain to be a category that continues to gain momentum.
    • Learn how Wellmune can support the immune health of older adults
  • Children. A growing number of parents are looking to proactively support their children’s health through supplements. For parents with young children, keeping them well is a top concern, because it’s not just the children’s health at stake; it’s that of the entire family.
    • Learn how Wellmune can help children
  • Athletes and weekend warriors. Immune health is also an emerging trend in the sports and performance category. Athletes and weekend warriors can face harsh environmental factors, such as extended travel, exhaustion and increased exposure to crowds at sporting events, not to mention the physical and psychological stress of the activity itself. These pressures can negatively impact the immune system and overall physical health, leading to missed training days or workouts and having adverse effects on performance goals.
    • Learn how Wellmune can help athletes stay ready to train. 
  • People experiencing stress. Young or old, stress affects us all. Research has shown that can cause the suppression of the immune system. 
    • Learn how Wellmune can help support our immune system when experiencing lifestyle stress

What motivates consumers to buy immune health dietary supplements?

While purchase motivators may emphasize different things globally, the two most important aspects in creating a dietary supplement product that meets consumer demand are building trust through research and efficacy.


It is worth noting that there is a still a degree of doubt in some consumers’ minds about the efficacy of supplements, with 23% stating that they are skeptical about whether supplements do what they say. In addition, 37% of consumers say they find the category overwhelming and more difficult to shop than other OTC categories.

Recent survey data from U.S. consumers shows that brand, previous purchase, product claims and format are top influencers when making a purchase decision.

It’s clear that the top influencers are related to trust. With many consumers skeptical about supplements’ efficacy and finding the aisle confusing, a trusted brand and honest health claims supported by clinical research studies can go a long way to earning shoppers’ loyalty. 

The takeaway here is that quality is key for creating the best immunity supplement product for your consumers.

Research and efficacy.

In order to create a quality product that provides value to consumers and to build trust in the claims a product makes, supplement companies should emphasize a product’s efficacy by using claims that are backed up by science. Our global survey shows people trust ingredients that are supported by credible research.

What does credibility look like around the world?

While scientific credibility will boost the appeal of any health and wellness product, dietary supplement companies should seek to ensure their products are meeting regional expectations. Take a look at some of the biggest global markets:

  • In regions like Europe, given the regulatory environments surrounding claims, research shows there is currently strong interest in well-recognized ‘hero ingredients’. The more science-backed the product, the easier it is for consumers to understand its benefits.
  • Transparency is a key factor in many regions. Globally, nearly 95% of consumers in some regions say that claims for Wellmune®, a yeast beta glucan for immune health, are completely or somewhat believable.
  • Similarly, a product’s perceived uniqueness can help it stand out in a crowded market of immune health supplements. Nearly 70% of consumers in some regions say that Wellmune is completely or very unique.

What delivery formats do consumers want?

Standardization and innovation are at play.
  • Form functionality: Consumers expect functionality from both a broad spectrum of dietary supplement delivery formats as well as their functional foods and beverages. This highlights the need to offer consumers greater choice and flexibility to meet their health and wellness goals.
  • Pills and capsules: The vitamin and supplement market remains robust, but there has been much discussion around ‘pill fatigue’ in recent years, and the data suggests there is some truth to the notion.
    • While 63% of supplements were sold in pill format in 2013, that has now fallen to 51%.
    • Despite this decline, traditional formats continue to lead the way in terms of supplement sales. In 2019, the capsule (34%) and tablet (25%) formats made up the majority of vitamin and dietary supplement product launches.
  • Immunity shots and sachets: Other formats resonate, as shown by the rising interest in convenient forms. Easily consumable shots and sachets, which can be mixed into beverages, cross the aisle between supplements and functional foods and beverages in grocery stores, convenience stores, and even airports.
  • Innovation beyond traditional formats: While traditional formats remain strong, the market is evolving quickly. Recently, the fastest-growing format worldwide has been the gummy, which saw its market share of the total grow by 31% since 2014.

dietary supplement product launches by format

How to source the right ingredient for your next immune health dietary supplement?

When evaluating an immune health ingredient, focus on the research.

Scrutiny around dietary supplements and vitamins is prevalent in mainstream media. Often, the argument is that people consuming a well-rounded diet don’t need dietary intervention from supplements or that they don’t actually work. And, if they do, they can do more harm than good.

The challenge here is that, often, what makes the most noise is studies that show what doesn’t work.

Moreover, what lacks reporting is the understanding of research that demonstrates specific nutritional interventions are efficacious and can provide proven benefits.

For manufacturers, creating a successful supplement is not an easy task when conflicting messages can cause confusion, but it can be done. Here’s how.

  1. Source research-backed ingredients
  2. Understand ingredient characterization
  3. Know the serving size
  4. Finally, know your market and know your consumer

how to evaluate an immune health ingredient - wellmune 

The top 10 questions to ask when Evaluating an Immune Health Ingredient.

Immune health dietary supplement and application ideas.

When it comes to leading innovation and creating successful dietary supplement products, here are a few ideas.

  • Standalone immunity supplements: With immune health as the foundation of a quality life, people are always looking for products that keep them healthy or prevent them from feeling sick. Whether it’s utilizing Wellmune as the ‘hero ingredient’ alone, or packaging it with other immunity ingredients, formulation opportunities abound.

Image of Emergen-C Immune+ with Wellmune

Learn about Emergen-C Immune+ with Wellmune the award-winning immunity sachet.

  • Multi-benefit supplements: Packaging clinically demonstrated immunity ingredients with other ingredients that offer sought-after benefits will target a wide range of health and wellness consumers seeking benefits such as immunity, joint health, mental clarity, and digestive support, to name a few.

Image of Claricell with Wellmune

Learn more about Claricell with Wellmunewith top-shelf, evidence-based supplements.

  • Pill innovation: Look for ways to innovate traditional supplement formats like fast dissolving tablets that don’t need to be swallowed or sachets that can be conveniently mixed in water for on-the-go benefits

picture of revive with wellmune

Learn more about Revive Zest Active with Wellmuneimmune health focused sachets started in Ireland.

  • Personalize for specific age groups: Target specific demographics, such as families with kids, people experiencing lifestyle stress, sports nutrition or older adults. Personalize the format to the group, like gummies that are easier formats for kids to take.

  bottle of olly kids immunity with wellmune

Learn more about Olly’s Kids Immunity and Imunolicoustwo of the best kids gummies in the US and Asia.

Why use Wellmune in your next immunity supplement?

For companies seeking to create immune health supplements, Wellmune, a clinically demonstrated immune health ingredient, can help. What is Wellmune?

  • Wellmune is a premium immune health ingredient that helps support overall immune function, maintain physical health, protect against the effects of stress and promote healthy energy levels and mental clarity.
  • A proprietary yeast beta glucan, Wellmune has regulatory approval in major markets around the world, including GRAS status in the U.S. and novel food approval in Europe and China.
  • From a technical perspective, it is highly stable and suitable for use in a wide range of dietary supplement products.
  • It is a dry, powdered ingredient available in dispersible and soluble formats, with a five-year shelf life.
  • Wellmune is also supported by an extensive body of research – the vast majority being studies published in peer-reviewed science journals.

Looking for more information about how Wellmune can help create value for your supplement product and your customers? Contact one of our global supplement experts. 

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