Guide: Why do Consumers Want Immune Health Products with Multiple Benefits?

While immune health continues to be top of mind for consumers, interest is also strong in other need states and life stages complementary to immune health, like stress management, sleep support, and healthy aging. The market is responding with multi-benefit products that address immune health as well as overall wellness.

In this guide, we take a look at:

  • Trends in immune health, prior to, and in light of the pandemic
  • Global consumer interest in immune health products with multiple benefits
  • Growing consumer demand for scientifically substantiated ingredients
  • Formulation opportunities for products that support immune health and complementary need states

How can multi-benefit products support immune health?

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What benefits do consumers want?

Proprietary consumer research fielded by Kerry in 2019 revealed that immune system support was the top benefit sought from healthy lifestyle products. At the end of 2020, Innova reported that as many as three-quarters of consumers in some regions reported that they are interested in functional products that support immune health.

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Get more information on consumer demand for multi-benefit immune health products.

What healthy changes are consumers making?

Consumers are increasingly turning to nutrition to support their wellness.

  • According to FMCG Gurus, between 2015 and 2020, global food and drink launches with immune health claims saw a CAGR of 8.2%
  • For vitamins and dietary supplements with immune health claims, the figure was 13.6% CAGR
  • As well, FMCG Gurus reported that launches of food and drink products with immune health benefits increased by 12.9% in the year up to April 30, 2020 – up from 5.4% in the previous 12 months

While demand for immune health benefits is rooted in foundations that have been in place for many years, interest has surged in recent months.

  • Three in ten consumers globally have sought out products with added health-enhancing ingredients since the pandemic, and 64% of these say they will continue to do so once it has passed, according to FMCG Gurus
  • At the end of 2020, FMCG Gurus also reported that 65% of global consumers said that they are interested in functional products that support immune health

Percentage of consumers who have made changes to their health as a result of the pandemic:

What’s clear Is that consumers are turning to nutrition to boost their defenses.

A recent Mintel report shows that if consumers were to create their dream healthy lifestyle product, it would almost certainly help them have more healthy days:

65% of global consumers reported that they are interested in functional products that support immune health.

What’s driving demand for multiple benefits?

Immune health is a delicate balance of contributing factors, like maintaining adequate sleep, nutrition, and activity levels. While immune health has grown as a category, the ability to meet more than one need is also driving purchase behaviors.

Ingredients that provide benefits that complement immune health are making their appearance in multi-benefit products, many with adaptogenic and antioxidant properties. The benefits offered by these types of products support conditions that are conducive to maintaining Immune health.

Categories that pair well with Immune health benefits include support for:

  • Stress and sleep – Negative impacts of stress can include impaired sleep and a weakened immune system.
  • Healthy aging – Antioxidant properties are strongly associated with helping to support health, especially among older populations.
  • Active lifestyles – Immune health is growing in importance in the active/sports nutrition sector, where it can be layered with more traditional performance-related benefits, such as speedy recovery.
  • Energy management – The market for energy beverages, in particular, continues to grow, as consumers seek products free from sugar and other additives, with multiple immune health benefits.

How do products supported by science meet consumer demand?

Central to the success of multi-benefit products that support immune health is consumers’ understanding of a key ingredient: yeast beta glucans. Because they are a perfect fit for products that feature beneficial ingredients that support overall wellness. But critical to ensuring that finished products are safe and efficacious is understanding how certain factors impact the ingredient’s biological activity and efficacy:

  • Stability of the finished product can be affected by ingredients’ binding to other ingredients or precipitating out of the solution
  • Manufacturing processes can result in a reduction of the finished product’s potency and benefits
  • How efficacy is measured and defined is related to serving size. Functional ingredients should be supported by serving size research to determine optimum benefits. Finished products should be evaluated to ensure they contain adequate amounts of the ingredient’s efficacious ingredient
  • Structural differences between the many beta glucan varieties account for major differences in function. Benefits of one yeast beta glucan can’t be generalized to include another type. For example, a recent review of multiple clinical studies concluded that immunomodulators present in some yeast beta glucans may ‘train’ the body’s immune cells to react more quickly to a threat.

The bottom line: an active ingredient supported by peer-reviewed clinical studies is key to ensuring product safety and efficacy.

How to add benefits to overall wellness support?

Wellmune®, a branded yeast beta glucan, is a great fit for adding immunity benefits to products that provide overall wellness support. Supported by a wealth of clinical studies, Wellmune meets a range of consumer needs. And because it can easily be formulated into most food, beverage and supplement products, it also meets those of manufacturers. Want to learn how Wellmune can be a key Ingredient In products that provide the benefits consumers demand? Contact one of our global experts.

How do multiple benefits provide multiple opportunities?

As consumers demand more from everyday foods and beverages, adding immune health support can help meet their wellness goals. Discover formulation opportunities for functional foods, beverages, and supplement products that provide multiple benefits.

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

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Related Immunity Reads:


Kerry Global Consumer Survey – Digestive & Immune Health, 2019
Innova Market Insights, 2020
FMCG Gurus, COVID-19 Survey, July 2020
FMCG GURUS: What’s Next for Immune Health in 2021, January 2021
Mintel, Defend against disease with immunity-boosting products, 2019
Mintel, Attitudes to functional food and drink – Thailand, 2020

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