Cargill’s Feed4Thought survey included over 3,000 consumers across three continents. The research found that interest in immune support increased since the pandemic began and is predicted to continue longer-term.
The survey indicated that 84% of Chinese, 64% of American and 58% of British consumers reported that immune support has become more important to them since the start of the pandemic.
In the next six months, 58% of US consumers expect that they will find immune health even more important to them.
"Consumers are recognizing the benefits of taking action for their immune and gut health to support overall health and well-being," said Chuck Warta, president of Cargill Health Technologies. "Our Feed4Thought survey is invaluable for understanding how consumer attitudes about immune and gut health have evolved and how we can better meet their growing demand for immune support supplements."
Over the past five years, the number of Google searches for “gut health” has grown by 669%, with the largest jump occurring in early 2019. Over the same period, the number of searches for “microbiome” grew 267% and “gut-brain axis” grew by 204%, according to Google Trends.
With more consumers realizing that a large amount of the body’s immune system is housed in the gut, it may not be a surprise that the survey found that over 4 in 5 consumers believe that good gut health can reduce the chance of becoming ill, with most saying that they will take proactive measures to support their gut and immune health, including taking immune support supplements.
Looking ahead, 43% of US consumers surveyed said they will take an immune health supplement in the next six months (an 8% increase since the start of the pandemic), while 46% of respondents in China (6% increase) and 33% of UK consumers (4% increase) reported they will increase their immune supplement use in coming months.
Investing in the gut
“Digestive health is a theme of rising importance in human and animal health and wellness,” said Jamie Dolynchuk, vice president of Cargill’s health technologies business. “Cargill is building a leading digestive and immune health business. It intends to eliminate the need for antibiotics through improved health and enabling a higher quality of life through vitality solutions that allow both animals and humans to live more healthy days.”