As scientist learn more about the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 infection, Americans are doing what they can to prevent infection. According to a study conducted by St. Louis-based MarketPlace, a brand strategy firm that administered the survey, the pandemic also is prompting U.S. supplement consumers to adjust their diets and supplementation to boost immunity.

COVID-19 has shifted the supplement market,” said Tracy Landau, president of MarketPlace, in a statement. Health and wellness brands that are agile and can pivot to meet evolving consumer needs will emerge from this season the strongest.”

During the initial three months of lockdown in the United States (March to June), disease prevention, digestive health and immunity were the top reasons for taking supplements, according to the study. The following are the supplements that consumers were the most likely to buy during that three-month timeframe:

  • Vitamin D – 54 percent
  • Vitamin C – 53 percent
  • Probiotics – 35 percent
  • Zinc – 21 percent

MarketPlace notes that with more than one-third of survey-takers stating a recent purchase of probiotics, it highlights that more consumers are associating gut health with immune health.

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,” Landau said.

The MarketPlace survey also found 44 percent of U.S. supplement consumers are changing their diets to boost immunity during the pandemic. The following are some of the notable stats:

  • 51 percent changed their diet
  • 54 percent eat more fruit
  • 61 percent increased usage of vitamin and mineral supplements

However, this desire for a more nutritious and immune-supporting lifestyle isnt necessarily resulting in increased pill consumption as 72 percent of respondents noted a preference for pills, down from the 89 percent that indicated this preference last year. As such, the brand strategy company suggests this provides increased opportunity for effective alternative supplements such as gummies, food and beverages.

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, MarketPlaces research strategist, in a statement. The data reveals seismic shifts in the wellness consumers lifestyle and outlook on personal health. We believe long-term demand will remain strong for preventive health and immunity support.”

As consumers turn to foods and beverages to ward off viruses new and old, fortification likely will play a bigger role in healthy living.