There’s a caveat. Consumers no longer view immunity in isolation.
“They’re interested in supporting a range of physical and mental health factors that—when combined—build the foundation for a robust immune system,” the company said.
Usher in the era of ‘Immunity 3.0.’ Coined by dsm-firmenich, it’s a term that expresses a new understanding around a holistic view of supplements and how consumers approach their health.
The pandemic pushed consumers to evaluate their health, in real time, and their demands regarding supplements began to shift as well. Consumers wanted a multifunctional supplement that could address immunity in combination with either heart, digestive, mental, and other forms of health.
“[This shift is] largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forever changed consumer attitudes and behaviors towards health and immunity, and the way we view nutrition,” dsm-firmenich said.
In Europe, 80% of consumers value multifunctional claims on food, drink and supplement products that are positioned around supporting the immune system, according to the organization.
Additionally, many multifunctional supplements are designed to also be sustained-release. They represent a way for brands to tap into consumer desire for supplements that fit into busy lifestyles. These formulas can make consumers feel supported 24/7 by gradually and consistently releasing beneficial nutrients and maximizing their absorption and utilization by the body over time.
“With preferences shifting towards convenience and personalization, brands should seek to seamlessly integrate their products into people’s lives,” said Anneleen Spooren, head of innovation, R&D and regulatory health, nutrition and care at dsm-firmenich.
Beyond personalization, consumers also want to ensure lasting health benefits that will accompany them as they age. Preventative measures and proactive habits are shaping today’s concept of immunity, according to the company.
Aging tends to weaken people’s immune response to infections, increasing the risk, severity, and duration of infections, including respiratory infections such as the flu. Older people also tend to have reduced antibody response to vaccinations and are at risk of chronic inflammation—called inflammaging—which can further impair immunity.
The company conducted a review and found vitamins C, D, and E, selenium, and zinc, as well as the omega-3 (n–3) fatty acids DHA and EPA, can help compensate for age-related changes. This is especially important as the intake of certain nutrients among the elderly tends to be low.
“As a result, making lifestyle adjustments to support immune health and overall well-being becomes paramount. To counter the effects of immunosenescence—the natural decline of the immune system’s function with age—a growing body of evidence indicates that getting the optimal status of certain nutrients can help,” dsm-firmenich said.
And with most people citing the sustained benefits of supplements over those who want instant benefits, prevention and protection are clear priorities going forward for the company.