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How could COVID-19 impact sales in other health categories?

While the immune health category is seeing huge growth, driven by concerned consumers looking for immune-boosting solutions, could other categories face sales decline as lifestyles shift in light of ongoing restrictions?

It's too early for sales data to reveal any affirmative shifts in consumer purchasing related to COVID-19, but here's an outlook from five industry experts: 

Maja Orešnik, science and research director, PharmaLinea

“An economic crisis could impact categories that consumers consider non-essential, including products that are more lifestyle-targeted and not developed to aid serious health issues. The latter is, of course, subjective and for each consumer to decide, but we expect products addressing various deficiencies, pain management, diabetes, stress, cardiovascular health, or prenatal supplements to be less affected, to name a few.” 

Mike Hughes, head of research and insights, FMCG Gurus

“Sports nutrition is a product category that may take a short-term hit as a result of COVID-19. This is because consumers who regularly go to the gym are being forced to adjust the way that they exercise due to restrictions, whilst everyday consumers may swap better-for-you snacks for traditional, comfort-orientated snacks. However, this will only be a minor dip if it is experienced as consumers will continue to seek out functional ingredients that boost health. Consumers will not neglect other areas of their health due to COVID-19. For instance, many are recognising that the virus is having an impact on their mental wellbeing and resulting in issues such as weight gain, something that they want to address. However, they will be savvier when it comes to seeking out better-for-you foods. This means that they will pay closer attention to product claims whilst also assessing if an increase in ingredients such as protein and vitamin D can be obtained from everyday food and drink products.” 

George Kuriakose, head of operations, Anaha LifeCare

“Our experience says that the growth in one category is generally not at the cost of other health categories. Even if there is adverse impact on the other segments, it will be transient in nature and should not adversely impact the other segments.” 

Randal Kreienbrink, VP marketing, Martin Bauer

“Prior to COVID-19, anything related to hemp and CBD has been trending highly. It would have been very difficult to anticipate anything that would cause a disruption to those markets to the extent that COVID-19 has. CBD was a disruptor in the dietary supplement industry. Interestingly enough, COVID-19 has become a disruptor to the CBD marketplace. This may have a negative impact for overall sales in the category as consumer interest shifts towards spending in dietary supplements.” 

Kevin Krail, business development manager, Marinova

“There has been mention of late that the active (sports) nutrition market may experience a downturn in the current climate as global access to sport and facilities wanes. These conditions however, also provide opportunity for brand owners to further consolidate and tailor their messages in order to provide a product that meets a new set of consumer needs.” 

These experts contribute their opinions on the state of the immune health market in our upcoming report. Look out for this report going live on 12 May as part of Vitafoods Digital Week. 

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