Move over Flintstones vitamins… there’s a new supplement format in town! COVID-19 has boosted sales of specific consumer packaged goods, and vitamins and supplements are one of them. You’ve probably noticed many end caps at stores feature wellness supplements, especially ones that are gummies, since the panic of quarantine set in. But these products have been in stores for years. According to Mintel, sales of vitamins, minerals, and supplements are expected to reach $28.8B in 2020 and grow to reach $36.1B in 2025. The increased COVID interest in immunity supplements helped boost sales.
Consumer desire for overall wellness support, along with targeted solutions to common ailments, continues to drive the growth of the supplements segment. Formulas claiming to support the immune system, relieve stress and aid sleep were all gaining popularity even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and will likely continue to see sales growth throughout the pandemic and beyond as consumers adapt to new schedules and routines.Mintel Reports: Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements
While gummy vitamins and supplements may seem like they’re geared towards kids, they’re the preferred format for consumers aged 18-34 (Mintel). This transition from powdery tablet to colorful, smooth gummy has only drawn in more consumers and allows for a more enjoyable flavor experience, but also seems more like treating yourself than a chore to take a supplement. I know that when I was a kid, I used to eat all the grape Flintstone vitamins first, then dread finishing off the red and orange ones left in the bottle.
What Gummy Products Are in the Store?
Some brands often launching products you might recognize from end caps are: Nature Made, Vitafusion, Sundown Naturals, Smarty Pants, and of course, Olly. Part of the appeal for these products is the bright colors and the flavors that go along with the intended wellness benefit. According to Innova, the most popular flavors launched in the past couple of years include orange, strawberry, berry, cherry, and raspberry… so there’s lots of room to grow! But the ultimate question is: what benefit do these gummies provide me? When I searched for the answer to this, Innova reported that immune health was number one, followed by gut / digestive health, sleep aid, and skin health/beauty boost.
COVID-19 has certainly put consumers’ health front-and-center and they’re looking for easy ways to boost their immune system. Most immune health gummies are utilizing Vitamin C and Vitamin D to boost consumers’ immune systems. Not all are FDA certified to fortify immune systems, but consumers are willing to put a little faith in supplement companies. As consumers are looking for natural immune defenses during this time, the growth of elderberry, antioxidants from natural sources, vitamin C, and zinc in gummy formats are propelling growth in this category. When you think about elderberry, the word “berry” just fits seamlessly within the gummy world and could be another reason the adaptation of elderberry has grown.
Gut / Digestive Health
As we see more diets like gluten-free and low FODMAP become popular, we see more food and beverage products include ingredients that are easy to digest and provide additional fiber. Taking a gummy supplement to regulate digestive tracts or promote healthy gut bacteria is an easy way consumers can participate in self-care. Look for products to mention high or added fiber content, as well as probiotics, and more recently, prebiotics. Consumers are learning more about healthy bacteria and are already familiar with products that include them naturally, like yogurt.
Sleep Aid / Calming
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has introduced added stress to consumers’ already-busy lives. Some have found they need a little extra help catching some Zs. Melatonin, a natural chemical made by the body in reaction to lessening daylight to induce sleep, is a popular supplement to take to aid sleep. To help with the benefit of calming or relaxation, the use of herbal ingredients such as chamomile, lemon balm, lavender, and passionflower have been popular additions to gummies. Another supplement that has become more popular, if a bit controversial – CBD. CBD has been used in many food and beverage products in the past several years to promote a sense of calm or lessen anxiety, without any psychoactive effects. CBD is common in gummy supplements, and consumers are drawn to it because it’s seen as a very natural ingredient. A general relaxation or calming gummy supplement can be paired with other functional benefits to appeal to consumers. Olly has several supplements that provide an additional benefit besides sleep.
Who doesn’t want to look younger, healthier, and the most beautiful version of themselves? The cosmetic industry has come under scrutiny and consumers are more aware of ingredients, side effects, and product testing procedures than ever. The supplements and food and beverage industry have picked up on this and are prepared to offer solutions that are perceived as more natural by consumers. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body, and is the foundation for things like skin, hair, and nails. So supplements that tout added collagen protein are taken as a subtle way to improve appearance.
So What’s Next for Gummies?
Gummies aren’t new, but we know that the love for gummies is real and in demand. What is important to think about with gummies is what functions make sense in the consumers’ minds as to which benefits to target with a gummy. Traditional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are all clear choices in the mind of delivering health in your gummies but how could we expand in the world of gummies? Look for the next wave of benefits that make sense for gummies to include a focus on brain/cognitive health, anti-aging, and men’s and women’s health.
Gummies: Challenges and Solutions
As brands continue to launch gummy supplements, there are a few challenges they might have to overcome. Often, vitamins or plant-based ingredients have a bitter or metallic taste that is undesired by consumers – and a flavor or sugar-coating can’t quite cover the taste. A masker is usually needed, and Givaudan has maskers for several off-notes, such as bitterness, metal, or acid. Another challenge to face is getting the color of a product right – especially in one like a gummy, which consumers expect to be bright and represent the flavor. Through Naturex’s natural color expertise, Givaudan has a rainbow of color offerings that label cleanly and inspire delight. Perhaps most importantly, brands must understand which ingredients are acceptable for certain claims. Whether a soft claim or FDA certified, Givaudan offers several botanical solutions through Naturex’s industry-leading portfolio and understanding of botanical ingredients.
If you face any of these challenges or want to learn more about solutions Givaudan can provide: