The cold and flu season has always been gravy days for selling immune-support supplements. The COVID-19 pandemic that hit in 2020 accelerated supplement sales like never before, with sales in the immunity supplement category spiking more than 70% year-over-year to reach nearly $6 billion in 2020, according to Nutrition Business Journal data.
But you had a sense of that already.
While the rush of sales has obviously fallen from the 2020 boom, what has remained is a prevailing consumer sentiment around purchasing supplements to support a healthy immune system.
In 2020, just about any product with an “immune” label was selling hot. In fact, the immune shelves in many stores were as empty as the paper tissue aisle. Immune supplement manufacturers were scrambling overtime to restock inventory shortages.
Proper immune-system health requires a multipronged and multifaceted approach, which includes key vitamins such as vitamins C and D, minerals such as zinc and popular botanicals like elderberry or echinacea.
Some brands are differentiating by straying from these tried-and-true nutrients to offer immune-support formulations that include probiotics — well-known for digestive benefits but also immunity — as well as quercetin, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and branded ingredients like EpiCor and Wellmune.
“Having many offerings of these items, each using different combinations of actives or different delivery systems,” Sutter said, “enables us to ensure we have an offering which will match every child’s unique health-and-wellness needs and preferences.”
Multi-ingredient immunity products are doing well because consumers are looking to not have to take three or four different pills at one time.
ChildLife Essentials Elderberry Super-Immune SoftChew Gummies, SRP: $19.95
Immune support is a core part of the entire ChildLife product portfolio because nothing ruins a kid’s day — not to mention a mom’s day at work — like being sick. Gummies got their start as the leading supplement delivery format overall by starting with children. Elderberry is a perfect ingredient for gummies because of its inherently rich, yummy flavor. These gummies are made to melt easily for easy compliance. A win for both kids and moms.
Nature Made Wellblends ImmuneMAX, SRP: $15.99
Big-time channel brand’s new Wellblends line is a sure-fire hit — tangerine-flavored gummies pack a trio of well-known vitamin ingredients listed front-of-pack that target the related areas of sleep, stress and immunity. The gummies are gluten free with no artificial ingredients. A serving size is three gummies, but with those high doses — 750 mg vitamin C, 5,000 IU vitamin D, with 3 mg zinc — even two gummies ought to do the trick.
Mason Vitamins ImmuneDefense, SRP: $13.99 for 14 powder stick packs
This new concept rings the bells on both convenience and non-pill format. The individual serving size stick packs are easy to take on the go, and are selling two to three times faster than the overall immune category. Each stick pack contains elderberry, selenium, zinc, vitamins C and D, as well as electrolytes. “We are receiving good feedback from our retailer partners and consumers on this form,” said Chuck Tacl, senior vice president of sales and business development at Mason.
Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies, SRP: $12.99
The OG elderberry company uses premium Haschberg black elderberries grown in Europe that in gummy form provide the equivalent of 1.7 g of elderberry (Sambucus nigra) per gummy. Pectin-based gummies mean no gelatin or animal byproducts, and only 1 g of sugarcane per gummy is on the low end for gummies. Overall, these are a great combination of health and taste.
Protexin Bio-Kult Boosted, SRP:$36.95 for 30 capsules
Probiotics continue their consumer acceptance for gut health and immunity. The Boosted SKU was launched during the pandemic — a line extension from the original product only with four times the concentration of 14 probiotic strains, as well as vitamin B12. It quickly became the brand’s top-selling product. The bacteria are cryoprotected during the freeze-drying process, which protects them from being compromised by stomach acids and allows for shelf stability.
Twinings Cold Water Infusions Probiotics+ tea, SRP: $5.99 for 10 servings
The infusers are a quick way to liven up water. Just drop the packet’s contents in a water bottle, then wait five minutes, shaking occasionally. Each packet contains the clinically validated dose of 500 million CFUs of the BC30 probiotic strain, documented to support digestive health and immunity. Plus the tea is naturally caffeine free, sugar-free and low calorie, with no artificial sweeteners or flavors.