How can companies stand out in the immune health category in 2023?

Publication
Article
Nutritional OutlookNutritional Outlook Vol. 26 No. 2S
Volume 26
Issue 2S

Five key strategies for immune health brands, from private-label food supplements manufacturer PharmaLinea.

© Happyvector071 / Stock.adobe.com

© Happyvector071 / Stock.adobe.com

Immune health has been one of the largest dietary supplement categories for years, with huge sales spikes in 2020. Despite the global pandemic having mostly settled down, the category continues to grow in market value, according to Euromonitor data. However, the share of new supplement launches with immunity claims also continues to grow and was reported by Mintel to surpass 27% in 2022. In the sea of new product launches addressing immunity, how can companies stand out?

Matevž Ambrožič

Matevž Ambrožič

Tip 1: Invest in Ingredients

One of the ways to stand out is with added-value ingredients. Often, these are proprietary, branded ingredients with advanced delivery systems (e.g., microencapsulation) and/or clinical proof of efficacy. Featuring well-known and well-studied ingredients is a strategy utilized even by pharma giants these days. Bayer, for instance, launched an immunity supplement based on the proprietary prebiotic carrot fiber BeniCaros in 2022. Bausch + Lomb formulated its 2022 ImmuneDuo product with a proprietary North American ginseng extract called CVT-E002. And CVS launched a product based on the branded postbiotic ingredient Immuse in 2021. Nature Made also harnessed the reputation of a well-known biotic for its 2022 Wellblends product line, whose immune and respiratory SKU includes the branded postbiotic ingredient EpiCor.

Tip 2: Combine Benefits

Brands can also gain distinction by offering very specific product benefits or by combining multiple benefits. An example of the first is “quick-start immunity,” seen in LifeSeasons’ Clinical Immunity product, which received a NEXTY award. And in terms of combining health benefits, popular examples include “immunity + sleep” (employed by Nature Made’s Wellblends in 2022) or “immunity + energy” (employed by Dompé’s Bioritmon Immuno Defend in 2022).

FMCG Gurus data from December 2022 suggest that 80% of consumers value multifunctional claims on food, drink, and supplements that are positioned around supporting the immune system. However, for a product to stand out in the market, the classic all-in-one multivitamin will not suffice. Instead, a fresher spin like “day + night immunity,” or “pre + pro + postbiotic,” holds better promise for success. For example, Garden of Life launched a pre + pro + postbiotic product addressing immune health in 2022. A side benefit of such multifunctional products is a perceived higher value for money, which consumers find more than welcome these days.

Tip 3: Entice with Delivery Form

Launching a product in an unconventional delivery format will also help immune health products stand out in 2023. According to Mintel, tablets and capsules represented nearly 60% of new supplement launches with immune health claims in 2023 and now compete against gummies/chewables, liquids, and powders.

Tip 4: Keep Kids in Mind

Addressing children with your next immunity launch may also present a promising market opportunity. According to Nutrition Business Journal, the adult supplements category grew by 7.5% in 2021, while the children’s supplements category grew a whopping 18.5%. A recent example of a successful launch in children’s immunity is KinderMed, a line of liquid medications and supplements for children cofounded by actress Jessica Biel.

Tip 5: Go Beyond the Supplement

Last but not least, a way to stand out in the immune health supplement category in 2023 is to offer adjacent products such as self-testing devices or apps. Hologram Sciences, for example, offers a vitamin D test kit with its d.velop supplement, and Ritual leverages social media–like components in its app to boost consumption of its multivitamin products.

Long-Term Strategy

There are many ways to differentiate a brand in the market: leveraging unique ingredients, touting multifunctional benefits, leveraging unconventional delivery formats, tapping into the growing children’s supplements category, and offering adjacent products. A common denominator across all these strategies is that they add value to products in one way or another—and this, as we know, is an evergreen recipe for long-term success.

About the author:

Matevž Ambrožič is marketing and PR director at PharmaLinea Ltd. (Ljubljana, Slovenia). He has an academic background in biochemistry with a specialty in protein biochemistry. Following his research position at Stockholm University and development position at Novartis, Ambrožič applied his knowledge in the food supplement industry, leading marketing at PharmaLinea.

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