Consumers have purchased more functional foods, beverages, and supplements since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a global survey conducted by Kerry. More than four in 10 (42%) of respondents said they’ve purchased more functional or fortified foods and beverages, while 44% have bought more dietary supplements.

The most common reason for choosing healthy lifestyle products is for immune support, which was cited by 58% of respondents. 39% of consumers reported using an immune health product in the past six months, and 30% would consider it in the future.

Products like spoonable yogurt (31%), dairy-based drinks (28%), and hot beverages (24%) are seen by consumers as possibly offering immune health benefits. One in three (33%) respondents said they were interested in fruit and vegetable juices that contain ingredients that promote immune support.

Other reasons for purchasing functional products include:

  • Healthy bones and joints (46%)
  • Digestive health (43%)
  • Heart health (40%)
  • Improved energy (39%)

John Quilter, Kerry VP of Global Portfolio – ProActive Health, said, “Interest in health and wellness has never been higher and we wanted to give the industry new insights into changing purchasing habits. One of our key findings was the scale of the impact of the pandemic on demand – not just for immune health products, but for functional foods, beverages, and supplements overall. Consumers were adopting increasingly proactive, holistic attitudes to health, wellness, and nutrition long before 2020 but the pandemic has massively accelerated this trend.”