Fighting fit this winter Cold and flu remedies and VMS to beat the winter blues

For the typical adult Brit, the colder months mean it’s time to keep healthy with vitamin and mineral supplements and when the dreaded lurgi strikes, selfmedicating with OTC analgesics and cold and flu remedies. OTC analgesics and cold and flu remedies have enjoyed strong sales growth in recent years, bolstered by high levels of NPD and sustained advertising, as well as less effective flu jabs.

Over 65’s, children, pregnant women and people who have certain medical conditions, are in long term care or get a carer’s allowance all get free flu vaccines. But that doesn’t stop them getting colds like the rest of us.

Another big sector in winter remedies, sales of vitamins and supplements (VMS) are in fine fettle according to the latest research from Mintel, up 2% between 2014 and 2015 to reach £414 million in 2016 and set to reach £421 million this year. The number of daily vitamin and supplement users has increased from 41% in 2015 to 46% in 2016.

As many as two thirds of adults took vitamins or supplements either daily or occasionally in the last 12 months. Demographicspecific supplements, for example vitamins aimed at men, women, children and over-50s, were the powerhouse behind growth in 2016, while sales of generic adult vitamins fell behind, illustrating the consumer demand for more targeted health solutions.

VMS sales continue to be propelled by consumers’ emphasis on health and wellbeing, leading people to take a more proactive approach towards their health. Increases in launch activity and advertising investment are contributing to the category’s strong performance. Vitamins targeting specific demographics are among this year’s biggest success story this year, reflecting consumer demand for more targeted health solutions and indicating that brands could now generate more interest in the category by exploring specific gender- and age-related claims.”

Male non-users (53%) are amongst the most likely to reject supplements on the basis they simply do not believe they need them, compared to 44% of women. “Whilst men continue to be less likely to use vitamins or supplements than their female counterparts, the proportion of men taking vitamins on a daily basis has increased significantly, illustrating men’s increased engagement with their own health and personal care.

In terms of usage, multivitamins remain the most popular supplements as some 46% of all adults have taken multivitamins either daily or occasionally in the last 12 months, suggesting that consumers tend to take something of a catch-all approach when it comes to ensuring they get enough nutrients.

Finally, the importance of Vitamin D supplements continues to run as a high profile debate. While overall usage of single supplements increased from 2015- 16, penetration of Vitamin D grew nearly 4%, in line with changing healthcare recommendations on the need for supplementation.