Insights into the immunity market

February 24, 2022

The use of vitamin C to bolster immunity goes back even before the days of Linus Pauling, to Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi, but the understanding of its benefits, even if the ingredient itself was not formally isolated and identified, goes back centuries. So it is with many ingredients, some, like elderberry, with their roots in ethnobotany, others, like zinc for which essentiality was shown in the ‘60’s helping folks from getting as sick in addition to numerous other health implications. The current cost of getting sick has resulted in the proliferation of approaches to give us every advantage possible to broadly support our immune systems with regimens that now include vitamin D and multivitamins.

Just where are consumers on their own immune journeys? Have they forayed past vitamin C? Have they made the connection between immunity and overall wellness? Recent signs suggest they may be getting there, especially as taking care of one’s immune system increasingly becomes non-seasonal and increasingly important as the stressors in our lives mount. Let’s look at what some of the consumer data is showing.

Trust Transparency Center’s Ingredient Transparency Center (ITC) conducts annual surveys to gain insights into consumer and health care professional perspectives on health concerns and how those concerns should be addressed for the supplement universe and in specific categories.

Starting with broad health attitudes from the 2021 ITC Insights Consumer Supplement User report of 1,000 US consumer supplement users, respondents noted anxiety and stress as a top concern (almost one quarter of all those surveyed). Insomnia and sleep problems was in the high teens as was depression, and while arguably related to a poor immune response, immunity itself was not a major concern, coming in at only 8%. This number did rise to 12% of those ages 36-45. While immunity wasn’t a top health concern, more than 800 respondents indicated that they did take a supplement to address immune health. Interestingly, 27% of those listed anxiety and stress and 23% listed lack of energy as key concerns, underscoring a key connection.

When asked what supplement ingredients they used to address their immune concerns, those ages 36-45 over-indexed against other age groups with vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and probiotics. Melatonin and elderberry indexed younger. Still 59% of the oldest users confirmed vitamin C, with a further 41% noting vitamin D.

ITC Insights Immunity chart

The respondents were next asked why exactly they were taking an immune supplement, with illness prevention being the response of 38% who are taking these supplements daily – thus they qualify as regular users, not simply seasonal immune product buyers.

ITC investigated further, at a couple of points over the past 18 months asking both US and UK consumers (not necessarily users of supplements) what products they associated with immune health if they were to choose to purchase. Vitamin C was the top response in the US at 36%, while in the UK, the top answer was vitamin D at 40%. Probiotics, zinc, and elderberry rounded out the top 5 in both countries, but the rates in the US for those 3 were higher than in the UK.

ITC Snapshot Immunity 2022

Interestingly, in the US, vitamin C use skewed male, vitamin D use, female. In the UK,  both skewed female, vitamin D slightly more so. There is certainly a lot happening in this category.

Join me at next week’s Naturally Informed Immunity: Mastering the Market virtual conference March 1st where I’ll be presenting the background to this data and other ITC Insights.

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Lori Diez

Lori Diez combines compassion and excellence to lead organizations to their next level. A small-town Texas childhood taught her the value of hard work and relationships, which she uses to foster teamwork that brings results that have transformed cultures and programs to their highest potential. Her successful career in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales leadership and event hosting has prepared her to deliver results as the COO of TrustTransparency, where she uses her industry knowledge to ensure that the company’s operations run smoothly as they support nutraceutical companies in their mission to help others. Lori’s passion for charity reflects her belief that individuals working together can change the world, no matter how small their contribution to the effort. This year, she looks forward to continuing over a decade of service at the Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo, where she will be the Chairman of the Livestock Committee.

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Glynnda Steinford

Glynnda Steinford, Trust Transparency Consulting’s Director of Customer Relations, brings over four decades of healthcare experience to her vital role in client engagement and relationship building. Her diverse background spans from administering medical groups to impactful stints in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales, all underlined by her degree in Healthcare Administration.

At the heart of Glynnda’s work is her talent for nurturing long-term connections, a skill she leverages to enhance client experiences and partnerships within the consultancy. Beyond her professional commitments, she enjoys life’s simple pleasures, whether it’s her love for cats and cooking or her ventures into golf, always prioritizing cherished moments with family and friends. Her personal interests echo the dedication and warmth she extends in her professional network, making her an invaluable asset to the team.

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Caiti Dowden stands as a crucial pillar at Trust Transparency Consulting, bringing invaluable insight and expertise to her role as Senior Executive Assistant’ since her start in 2018. With an academic background from Sam Houston University and a career shift from education to the nutraceutical sphere in 2010, Caiti has cultivated a sharp acumen for dissecting industry trends and bolstering strategic decision-making.

Her transition from Data Analyst reflects her growth and deep understanding of the business landscape. Caiti’s commitment goes beyond professional excellence; she thrives on balance, drawing from her rich life outside of work to enhance her organizational contributions. Whether it’s family time, volunteering, or rooting for Houston’s sports teams, she believes in embracing experiences to fuel her professional creativity and insight.

In her current role, Caiti’s dedication to dynamic business analysis and operational support proves her to be an irreplaceable asset to our team, embodying the synergy of personal enrichment and professional success.

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Pam Hilpert, Chief of Staff at Trust Transparency Consulting, has been instrumental in the firm since its inception, leveraging her 17 years of accounting experience, including a significant tenure in the nutrition sector. Her collaboration with Scott Steinford spans various successful ventures, emphasizing her integral role in the company’s financial and strategic initiatives.

An alumnus of Sam Houston State University, Pam holds degrees in both Business Administration and Accounting, as well as an MBA, adding academic heft to her practical industry insights. Beyond her professional prowess, Pam is passionate about family, enjoys live music, delves into quilting, and volunteers at her church, reflecting her well-rounded life.

Her multifaceted expertise and longstanding dedication make Pam a cornerstone of Trust Transparency Consulting’s operational strength and team unity.

Scott Steinford

Scott Steinford, a trailblazer in strategic leadership, boasts a certified M&A background, having navigated companies from their genesis to industry prominence. His brainchild, Trust Transparency Consulting, born in 2007, stands as a testament to his dedication to ethical business practices and strategic foresight, offering industry stakeholders invaluable guidance.

Beyond founding and steering companies, Scott has enriched the business landscape with his insightful keynotes and prolific written contributions, emphasizing his commitment to elevating industry standards. His executive tenure shines in roles as CEO or President of for-profits like ZMC-USA and Doctor’s Best, extending to significant contributions in non-profit sectors.

Notably, Scott’s influence is a driving force in the CoQ10 market, where his leadership has significantly bolstered the ingredient’s global presence. His roles in various capacities, including as a New Hope Ambassador, keep the community informed, providing in-depth industry reports and insights.

An active advocate within professional associations and an Editorial Advisor for leading industry publications, Scott’s expertise is both recognized and sought after. With academic roots in Pre-Law and a Master’s in Law, his journey transcends textbooks, embodying real-world business acumen and transformative leadership.

Scott Steinford merges visionary entrepreneurship with principled leadership, creating a legacy of innovation, growth, and unwavering commitment to industry excellence.