Part of Agri-News

COVID-19 and vitamins and supplements

Consumers reacted to the pandemic by taking more vitamins and supplements than in the past.

See event listings and more articles in this edition of Agri-News: March 27, 2023 issue

“The global pandemic focused consumers’ attention on health, wellness and how a healthier lifestyle can help provide protection against disease,” says Ava Duering, competitiveness analyst with the Alberta government. “Multiple surveys have shown that consumers reacted to the pandemic by taking more vitamins and supplements than they did before.”

The latest Consumer Corner, which shares consumer trends related to the agri-food industry with Alberta’s agriculture and food industry, highlights these studies.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition’s 'COVID-19 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements' found that 65% of supplement users aged 18 to 34, 50% of users aged 35 to 54, and 23% of users aged 55+, altered their supplement routine in 2020. Of these, 91% increased supplement use.

“Consumers reacted to the prospect of catching a potentially deadly illness by focusing on immunity. While general health products such as multivitamins also fared very well, immune support is the big story,” says Duering. “Overall, people wanted to do all they could to strengthen their immune system. Consequently, sales of immunity-oriented supplements surged in 2020. These sales were made by new customers, further evidence that the pandemic has shifted buying patterns.”

Duering says there were a number of key takeaways from these studies:

  • Gummies provide the fastest growth opportunity among vitamin and supplement products. The gelatin contained in gummies is often sourced from beef and pork, offering a potential market opportunity to both Alberta beef and pork producers.
  • Vitamin and supplement manufacturers and retailers can maximize their potential market share by capitalizing on the trend of e-commerce further entrenched during the COVID-19 pandemic, and by developing both an in-store marketing strategy as well as an e-commerce strategy. E-commerce provides the convenience that consumers became accustomed to during the pandemic.
  • Consumers in Canada and the U.S. share similarities in terms of demand for vitamins and supplements, with immune support being the number one reason for purchase.

The question now is whether this interest in vitamins and supplements will continue after the pandemic. While there is no way to know for sure, it stands to reason that those who believe that supplements helped them stay healthy during the pandemic will continue to turn to supplementation as part of a healthier lifestyle going forward.

For more information, see:

Consumer Corner


Connect with Ava Duering for more information:
Phone: 780-422-4170

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