About the Author: Jay Kaufman is the President of Paragon Laboratories. With nearly 30 years of experience in the supplement industry, Jay has a deep understanding of the supplement landscape and the challenges potentially faced by industry players. His approach to supplement development focuses heavily on quality assurance and control, which is why Paragon is one of the few contract manufacturers that has earned GMP certifications from NSF International, NPA, and UL.
The COVID-19 epidemic has affected numerous industries across the board, the supplement industry included. But in the midst of the challenges brought upon us all, our industry’s market share has experienced growth. In fact, the industry has seen a 12.1% increase in the usage of supplements – mostly driven by increased concerns about immunity and overall wellness. In response, I’ve seen more and more brand owners requesting immune-boosting vitamins and supplements to align with their market needs. But as consumer needs continuously evolve, I believe that supplement brand owners will need to be prepared for what’s to come in 2021. Let’s take a look at how the industry has evolved since the beginning of the pandemic and how it will continue to evolve throughout the years ahead.
The Surge for Supplements
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a huge shift in consumer behavior. Consumers started to rely heavily on supplements for stronger gut health and immune systems. Even though there is minimal direct evidence that supplements reduced the risk of COVID-19, consumers began to build a dietary supplement routine to strengthen their immune system and receive proper nutrition.
Not surprisingly, this growing interest in supplements has solidified the popularity of immune-boosting supplements, in particular. Supplements that include adaptogens, Zinc, Probiotics, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and mushrooms have surged, becoming an integral part of the growing trend that aims to not only support the immune system but also sustain energy and enhance mood.
Foreseeable Barriers in 2021
It is important to note that this supplement boom may not be permanent in the upcoming years. Long-term supplement adoption will still be an obstacle the supplement industry must overcome. Of the 21% of global consumers that use nutritional supplements, 30% reported that they have been using nutritional supplements only for the past six months.
How to Overcome
With these obstacles in mind, it will be critical for stakeholders in the supplement industry to adapt to consumer behaviors quickly in order to compete in 2021.
In order to drive the long-term consumption of supplements, brands will have to find new ways to appeal to consumers. Nowadays, consumers prefer to have products that can be built into their everyday lives with ease. Research uncovers that consumers prefer to get their nutrition from food and drinks even during this pandemic. In order to stand out in the market, supplement brand owners must guarantee that their products can be effortlessly integrated into consumers’ daily routines and diets.
Another way to drive this adoption is through supplement personalization, an emerging trend in the industry driven by consumer desire for greater customization. Simply put, consumers prefer products more targeted to their personal health needs. By focusing on personalized nutrition, supplement brands will find that they can easily dominate the market through new formulations and delivery methods.
Furthermore, brand owners will need to take great steps to better educate potential consumers for consumers who find it difficult to trust nutritional supplements. Label information must be clear and explicit about the ingredients used and the benefits claimed. By being transparent, brands and manufacturers can increase both the market value of their products and consumer adoption.
Getting Ahead of the Curve in 2021
One thing that the pandemic has taught us is that consumers are increasingly prioritizing their health. According to New Hope, 77% of consumers believe that personal health is more important today than it was a year ago. In addition, 33% of consumers believe that taking dietary supplements is more important than ever before. But supplement brands shouldn’t take this behavior for granted. Consumer needs are constantly evolving and dietary supplement brands must actively seek new ways to meet them. Innovation, personalization, and education will become key drivers in the growth supplement market, and agile brands that can meet these expectations quickly will emerge as the strongest in 2021.
*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.