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Research Shows Growth Opportunities in Immune Health Market

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image of 12 percent pie chart
Percentage of consumers around the world who say they are not at all worried about their health.[1]

For manufacturers and brands, the immune health market is rich with opportunities for innovation. Products that speak to consumers’ almost universal desire to maintain their health are important for both manufacturers and for the consumer.

With health being a priority, consumers are looking for products that can actively improve it. Consumer engagement is rooted in corporate transparency about a product’s health benefits. According to Food Logistics, “The desire for transparency has been created in a technological culture where feedback moves fast, access to information is easy and open sources are expected. Consumers have always had a voice but now, thanks to social media, they can make their voice resonate internationally and in real-time.”[2]

Transparency in manufacturing claims

Transparency in manufacturing claims is directly related to the perception of the brand itself.  As Kenny Kline, in an Inc. Magazine article puts it: “If you want loyal customers, you need to build a transparent brand”. [3] Yet  James Russo, Senior Vice President, Global Consumer Insights at Nielsen notes that consumers are skeptical when it comes to food manufacturers’ claims. “The claim has to be credible. A food high in sodium that promotes itself as rich in whole grains won’t work. Consumers are very savvy.”[4] When it comes to functional ingredients as well, consumers are looking for a match between the product’s claim and the criteria they use to make their choices.

42 percent pie chart
Percentage of global consumers who proactively look for products that can improve their health.[5]
Unique Consumer Insights

New research provides unique insight into consumers in 14 global markets, regarding benefits consumers want, in addition to purchase drivers.[6] The Kerry Global Consumer Survey on Immune Health surveyed consumers that were users or would consider using healthy lifestyle products, to better understand their opinions of foods, beverages and supplements that offered immune health support. The overarching finding is that, among these consumers, there were high levels of interest in immune health products around the world.

Download our white paper to learn more about insights and opportunities from the Kerry Global Research Study.

Promises and Consumer Behaviors

With store shelves and the internet full of products promising benefits, it’s important for manufacturers to consider what motivates consumers to purchase a healthy lifestyle product. Understanding these motives provides opportunities for manufacturers to meet consumers’ demands for products that live up to their claims.

To find out more about this, respondents to the survey were asked about a range of possible purchase drivers. The findings highlight that people are not just seeking reassurance about claims substantiation but are taking the matter into their own hands. And the number one purchase driver is transparency about the product’s claims.

  • At the point of sale, consumers in many markets like to see clear information on the label regarding efficacy.
  • Consumers also view research or scientific data claims on the product as important.
  • Strong branding also resonates–recognizing a brand or a product’s active ingredients reinforces the message that a product’s claims are accurately represented.
What it Means for Manufacturers

As the market for foods and beverages that provide health benefits expands, the ability of manufacturers to target consumers’ specific interests becomes increasingly important. One of the best ways to grow the market is to focus on what consumers say they want. To help increase market share, manufacturers should consider the following:

  • Solving customer problems. According to the research, customers’ concerns primarily revolve around overall health. Improving immune health plays a big part in maintaining well-being. Similarly, in nearly all countries worldwide, immune system support was the most important reason why people said they buy products that support a healthy lifestyle. To meet this demand, manufacturers can create a variety of food, beverage and supplement products that provide immune benefits in the formats consumers prefer.
  • Providing differentiation. With product transparency of primary importance to consumers, fortifying products with efficacious ingredients backed by scientific research meets their need to understand the validity of product claims. This in turn allows products formulated with these ingredients to stand apart from others in a crowded market.

Although the breadth of healthy foods and beverages is growing, there is much white space for innovating new products. Worldwide, targeting specific consumer groups and their needs could be the key to unlocking the opportunity to deliver products not yet fulfilled by the market.

What Consumers are Saying

As the survey makes clear, consumers are specific about their desires when it comes to immune health products. Consumers want immunity benefits in a variety of product formats at their preferred time of day. As well, consumers want to be sure of the claims manufacturers make for the benefits their products provide. Understanding these drivers is vital to developing the products that meet consumers’ needs.

To achieve these goals, manufacturers should use high-quality ingredients supported by scientific substantiation that meet consumer demand. Wellmune®, a proprietary beta glucan derived from a strain of baker’s yeast, satisfies consumer interests. As a result, Wellmune has emerged as a strong player in the immune support space.

Wellmune offers a combination of sound scientific research and a strong co-branding proposition, delivering on consumer desire for transparency and driving purchase. According to the survey, a large number of consumers worldwide rate believability of the claims made for Wellmune highly, with many indicating they would buy or switch to a product containing Wellmune. Wellmune’s ease of formulation into a variety of products and its scientific backing make it a perfect partner for innovation in the healthy food and beverage industry.

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Footnotes:
[1] GlobalData, TrendSights Overview: Health & Wellness, August 2018
[2] https://www.foodlogistics.com/safety/article/12185358/no-secret-ingredients-the-importance-of-transparency-in-food-manufacturing
[3] https://www.inc.com/kenny-kline/new-study-reveals-just-how-important-brand-transparency-really-is.html
[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/nancygagliardi/2015/02/18/consumers-want-healthy-foods-and-will-pay-more-for-them/#623a351275c5
[5] GlobalData, TrendSights Overview: Health & Wellness, August 2018
[6] Kerry Global Consumer Survey – Digestive & Immune Health, 2019

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