Covid-19 Impact on Dietary Supplements in the Food and Beverage Industry

Covid-19 Impact on Dietary Supplements in the Food and Beverage Industry

  • Food & Beverage
  • Jul 06, 2020

The novel coronavirus has significantly impacted all industries which include food and beverages, automotive, chemical and many others. This pandemic has resulted into mass production shutdowns and supply chain disruptions which has affected the economy of almost every country in the world.

During the first quarter of 2020, coronavirus spread took place globally due to which the countries underwent lockdown. Initially, the lockdown has disrupted product supply chain and also raw material collection issues. Manufacturing facilities also made shut as coronavirus spread among labors were increasing highly.

Among all the industries which are being impacted, dietary supplements industry is also one of them. In start of COVID-19 spread, it was difficult for the companies to supply their product in market for the consumption purpose and also production of dietary products faced disruption in the supply chain completely. The consumers were only focusing on highly essential products such as food and beverages. As the time passes by, the companies started reopening to fulfil the demand of products in the market.

In research, it has been found that dietary supplements are helpful in boosting the immune system. Due to this new trend, the demand for the dietary supplements has been increased highly. For instance, according to Healtheuropa, dietary supplements containing micronutrients and vitamins C and D are safe, have low-cost, and are an effective way of helping the immune system fight off COVID-19 from other acute respiratory tract diseases. Due to this, the demand for the dietary supplements has increased in the market.

According to the article published by Nutrition Outlook, dietary supplements sales is increasing during coronavirus pandemic as the dietary supplements are helpful in combating or it enhances the immune system against COVID-19. According to the article, during last week of March 2020, the sales growth for overall dietary supplements skyrocketed to more than 35.0% in the United States.

Another fact, according to Glanbia Plc., dietary supplements purchase in retail outlets has increased during the month of April 2020.

Table 1 Retail Outlets used by Consumers for the Products in the Month of April 2020

Product 1st Week of Survey 2nd Week of Survey
Vitamin & Mineral Supplements Supercenter (31%) Supercenter (36%)
Protein/Energy Bars Traditional Supermarket (34%) Traditional Supermarket (44%)

Source: Glanbia Plc

The demand for dietary supplements is increasing to immunize the body, on the other hand, due to lockdown, gym facilities and others are shut. This has lead the less demand for dietary supplements such as whey protein powders which is widely popular among bodybuilders, athletes, and others who need additional protein in their diet. Once the gym and physical practices center would be open, again the demand for dietary supplements will increase.

At this period of time, everyone is susceptible for becoming a carrier of COVID-19, but it is especially affecting those who have low immune systems. Health organizations across the world are reporting the best practices to limit transmission and advising citizens on ways to enhance their immune system. These suggestions include getting a good night sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising moderately, and taking nutritional supplements.

Due to the high awareness regarding boosting the immune system, consumers are now more focused towards the consumption of dietary supplements which has lead in increase in the sales of the dietary supplements market.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS MANUFACTURERS: PERSPECTIVE & INITIATIVES

The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a halt where each and every industry has got an impact of it. This crisis has brought to an unexpected situation through which everyone is going on. With such unscrupulous situation, everyone is trying to get over of it. However, dietary supplements industry has shown a significant growth in their demand due to their nutritional benefits and recommendations by the healthcare authorities to incorporate in day-to-day life.

The support of government to develop ayurvedic and natural supplements to boost the immune system and involvement of the manufacturers for the development of these supplements are helping the industry to establish their strong position in the market.

Various studies based on minerals and vitamins have been conducted which claims the vitamins and minerals could fight against the coronavirus.

For instance,

“India’s national research institute, the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), will conduct a clinical trial on a zinc supplement that it claims have a higher bioavailability to support recovery in COVID-19 patients, the supplement would be trialed as a nutritional support in COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms and administered alongside medical interventions.”

_ Dr. Ram Vishwakarma, Director of IIIM

The burst of pandemic panic complements a steady rise in dietary supplements sales that investors have largely overlooked amid the financial debacles of better-known vitamins and minerals, fish oil, probiotics, coenzyme q10, garlic, to ashwagandha.

For instance,

“A possible reason would be that people are willing to adjust their purchase behaviors because of the restrictions placed due to the pandemic. People are avoiding purchasing supplements from POP to be hassle-free and time freed up can be spent on more meaningful activities such as preparing healthy meals, exercising or meditating.”

_ Samantha Yew, Co-founder

“If you look at functional foods, there is a trend towards increasing nutrient density in foods which are already considered healthy.”

“In Vietnam, we see companies trying to fortify milk not only with micronutrients as vitamins, but also thinking what more they can do to fortify the milk not just for immune health, but also to provide other health benefits with the omegas. The fortification can go up to the recommended dietary allowance. In some countries, it is based on the regulation that determines the amount of fortification. We are trying to make sure we stock up our vitamins so that we could meet our customers’ needs which could change quite drastically and quite rapidly as we have learned.”

“Especially in Asia, the customers want to come out with new line extensions. Innovation will remain a focus for many customers as they are looking to come out ahead in the marketplace.”

_ Anand Sundaresan, DSM’s regional VP Human Nutrition & Health APAC

With the demand of the nutritional enriched fortified supplements and functional food, the supply and value chain have been disrupted due to the pandemic.

For instance,

“Companies were mostly clearing their warehouse stocks, instead of investing in capacity building to meet the heightened demand for plant extracts, especially those that confer immune benefits. Even if the demand is big, the factories are not willing to increase their investments for capacity building. This means that production capacity will not see a significant increase.”

“At least 20% to 30% of the orders received across the member companies cannot be filled due to supply chain problems, and so many of us are getting for a slot to ship out our products.”

_ Yinjun Hou, the Chairman of Shaanxi Plant Extract Association’s Commerce Department

“We’re sure the growth might be even higher, but unfortunately we ran out of stocks for some products, and are moving quickly to replace these stocks. Production of immune-related products has been busier than ever, both with our own brands, as well as our OEM clients. “

“It is a product geared towards those who believe in preventative health, and living a long and healthy life,”

_ Ross Norris, General Manager at Homart Pharmaceuticals

“Huge push” on educating why vitamins were needed for preventive healthcare. This has in turn helped increase sales of vitamins.

“In Indonesia, people often take vitamins when they are sick. The vitamin levels of the products sold here also exceed the recommended dietary allowances by 10 to 20 times. Vitamins are viewed as a kind of medicine.”

“COVID-19 has led to more recognizing the preventive purpose of vitamins, which is in line with our brand image.”

_ CEO Wouter Van Der Kolk, DSG Consumer Partner

Source: Company Websites, Magazines, Nutrition Journals, Portals 

CONCLUSION

COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the global population and economy. A collaborative effort on government, public health departments, and hospital fraternity to fight the coronavirus has led to the economic slowdowns, global lockdowns, and extreme public safety measures. The public health measures include creating awareness about home quarantine measuring, maintaining food and healthcare supply, especially to the poor are being strictly followed by government across the world.

From a business perspective, COVID-19 is significantly decreasing the commercial activity, particularly in the consumer sector. However, dietary supplements such as vitamins and minerals have been maintaining momentum through the expected recessionary period to come.

The increasing demand of dietary supplements can be clearly witnessed by the surge in sales of vitamins and minerals in the U.S. by over 6% during these times. Also, the analysis of social media activity related to VMS use cases clearly reflects this increasing engagement as customers look to boost their overall health and wellness as a precaution against illness.

The surge in demand for Vitamin C, curcumin, zinc, selenium and probiotic products have been the major contributors for the growth of dietary supplements industry. Owing to the huge demand, there have been multiple international and local players entering the market with branded as well as generic products. Though, there is a silver lining for the industry, an uncertain supply chain and an economy sputtering into recession can pose to be major threats for the dietary supplements market growth.

For ingredient suppliers, manufacturers and retailers, it would be prudent to strategize for a long-term market where consumer demand for dietary supplements continues to grow beyond its historical base.

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