Consumers Weigh In on Immune Support Supplements

Kyowa Hakko’s Recent Survey Offers Insight into Evolving Attitudes About Immune Health

Since the Covid-19 crisis increased consumer awareness of the importance of having a healthy immune system, demand for immune support supplements remains strong post pandemic as consumers embrace a daily regimen for maintaining year-round immune health.

According to Kyowa Hakko’s recent consumer survey of 503 US supplement shoppers, two-out-of-five (40%) report taking supplements to support immunity in the past 12 months. When asked, ‘Which best describes your reasoning for taking immune health supplements?’ 79% responded that they do so as part of their daily routine for long-term immune support, compared to 21% who take immune health supplements for a short-term boost in immunity.

A Shift Toward Proactive Immune Support

Prior to the pandemic, consumers primarily sought out immune support supplements during the cold and flu season or when they began to feel rundown, boosting their immune system as-needed. However, over the past few years consumer attitudes have shifted to embrace a more proactive approach to maintaining a strong immune system year-round.1

Moving beyond seasonal concerns, today’s supplement users have equated healthy immune function with overall health and wellness — and rightfully so, your immune system never stops to protect your health. The stronger your immune system is, the better your natural defenses are at protecting your body from potentially harmful external substances. The result is often less down time among other benefits of having a strong immune system.

Most of today’s supplement consumers are actively trying to maintain optimal health, and are likely to search for information on foods and ingredients that support their overall wellness. More than four-out-of-five (82%) said they look for ways to strengthen their immune system, including diet, activity, and supplements.

Rather than waiting until it’s necessary, consumers are searching for ways to proactively support their immune health in hopes of keeping their immune system strong year-round as part of a long-term strategy for staying well and healthy.

Immune Support Supplement Shoppers Want to See the Science

Data from the Kyowa Hakko survey suggests that consumers look for certain attributes when shopping for dietary supplements, placing high importance on specific benefits, ease of use, clinical studies, and lack of artificial ingredients.

However , when it comes to immune support supplements, in particular, more than four-out-of-five (86%) respondents said it’s important that dietary supplements to support immune health are backed by science. Savvy and cautious consumers want to see the scientific and clinical trial evidence demonstrating an immune health product’s actual efficacy. In fact, according to a 2021 SPRIM immune support survey, such evidence was the number one influencer over consumers’ choice of immune support supplement2. Kyowa Hakko’s consumer survey solidifies that immune health products backed by strong science will continue to lead the way.

Additionally, immune support supplement shoppers also place high priority on safety (90%) and effectiveness (91%), as well as price (85%), natural ingredients (83%), and purity (82%).

“Strong interest in the (immune health) category is accompanied by increasing expectations for immune support supplement evidence. The dietary supplement industry is in a prime position to capitalize on these shifts in consumer demand if it can keep up with these expectations.” - SPRIM report

Moving Beyond Supplements to Proactively Support Immune Health

Dietary nutrition is still the preferred approach to supporting immunity, followed by dietary supplements. Three-in-five (60%) of those surveyed said they have purchased fruits or vegetables in the past six months to proactively support their immune health; while, 44% said they have purchased a supplement in the form of capsules and 31% in the form of gummies for proactive immune support.

Furthermore, data from the survey shows that consumers are also purchasing immune-boosting beverages, such as bottled juices, smoothies, teas and energy drinks – pointing to growth opportunity in beverages for year-round immune support.

Bottom Line: Although the immune health category has slowly returned to normal following unprecedented growth during the pandemic, the heightened awareness on immune health in relation to overall health and wellness is here to stay — consumers want immune support supplements that are not only safe, pure, and effective, they also want to see the clinical studies and scientific evidence supporting a products claims.

Interested in learning more about key insights from Kyowa Hakko’s consumer survey?

Click the button below to download the white paper “How Supplement Shoppers View Immune Health and the Microbiome” by clicking the button below.

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1Montemarano, Mike. “Immune Health Uninterrupted: Year-Round Attention Highlights Prevention’s Value.” Nutraceuticals World. Published October 3, 2022.

2Grebow, Jennifer. “Are immune health supplements still a priority for consumers?” Nutritional Outlook. Published April 25, 2022.