Do your immunity-supporting products meet the latest consumer needs?

By: Talking Nutrition Editors

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the way we live our lives and how we view our health – with many of us now more concerned with protecting our immune systems than ever before.
  • Combining consumer insights with leading scientific research is essential to developing innovative, efficacious and safe dietary supplement solutions that appeal to consumers 
  • Here we share insights from dsm-firmenich’s latest consumer research, as well as new science on vitamin D and immune health support, and explain what this means for innovation opportunities in the health and nutrition market.

How consumer health concerns transformed in 2020 

In general, consumers are learning more about health and nutrition and, as a result, paying more attention to their health. Research conducted in 2020 found that the pandemic and health issues surrounding it caused immunity to top consumer health concerns, with 65.3% of consumers globally stating that they were worried about their immune health1 - an increase of 7.3% compared to the previous year.

As awareness around immunity grows, so too does knowledge of the solutions that can support immune health. Consumers are increasingly making the link between micronutrients and immunity benefits, with the top ingredients associated with helping to support immunity being vitamin C (79%) and vitamin D (62%).3 What’s more, COVID-19 has changed dietary supplement consumption habits, with 33% of consumers taking dietary supplements more frequently than before and nearly one in four adding new dietary supplements on top of the ones they usually take.

Against the backdrop of the current health crisis, this acceleration in consumer appetite for and knowledge of immune health solutions is matched by a growing body of scientific evidence on the role of specific nutrients in supporting the immune system.

Best of both worlds: combining science with consumer trends 

More research than ever before is being conducted into the benefits of different nutrients – particularly vitamin D – for immune health. A ‘science-first’ approach is vital when creating the safest and most efficacious products that meet the everchanging needs of consumers. So, it is crucial that manufacturers engage with the latest scientific research when developing new product solutions and communicating claims.  

For example, emerging evidence suggests that vitamin D could support the immune system after pathogen exposure by positively influencing the immune response, whilst simultaneously working to help suppress excess inflammation.5 Our research into consumer opinion about immune health found that the primary meaning of immunity for the general public is ‘defence against pathogens’, with 71% of respondents stating that this coincided with their understanding.6 It is clear that the suggested impact of vitamin D on the immune system directly correlates with the expectations of the consumer, offering supplement manufacturers an opportunity to appeal to customers when developing immune support solutions. Our recent whitepaper, which can be downloaded here, further explores the link between vitamin D and immune health, outlining the latest science and how it can be used to support consumers. 

Download our whitepaper to discover how to win in immunity with vitamin D. 

The growing urgency of efficient immune support means that manufacturers are under pressure to innovate with faster-acting solutions. Although vitamin D3 is the most common form of the ingredient used in commercial supplements, it can take months for the body to reach optimal vitamin D levels, as it needs to be processed in the liver in order to be absorbed.7 However, research has shown that with calcifediol, the biologically active form of vitamin D, sufficient vitamin D status may be achieved three times faster8, bypassing the need to be processed by the liver and entering the bloodstream within 1-2 weeks.9   

In the wake of the pandemic, swifter absorption is a positive factor for consumers. For example, dsm-firmenich’s innovative calcifediol product - ampli-D® - is clinically proven to optimize vitamin D levels faster and helps dietary supplement manufacturers in bringing immune health support to customers more effectively.10 ampli-D® is already on the market in many regions, and approved as a dietary supplement in Australia with more coutries expected to follow.

dsm-firmenich as your end-to-end partner

As the current climate is ever-changing, the nutrition and health industry must move quickly to keep up. Innovation in areas such as supplements targeting immunity and formulation improvements are a key route to success. It can be a challenge to balance all the steps of the product development process with the desire to bring products to the market quickly – especially when consumers are seeking reliable and efficacious formulations, delivered in a range of convenient formats. Delivering this takes more than an ingredients provider. It takes a partner.  

Our end-to-end capabilities – driven by our broad portfolio of science-backed products; customized solutions, such as Premix and Market Ready Solutions; and expert services – mean we are well positioned to support our customers throughout the product development journey. Our Market Ready Solutions harness our capacity and expertise to get your product to market faster, providing support at every stage of the development process from consumer insights and product ideation to global rollouts and post-launch support.  

As your reliable, end-to-end partner, dsm-firmenich continues to invest heavily in immunity research and aims to create brighter lives for all by bringing innovative, purpose-led solutions to our customers as quickly and safely as possible.  

Contact us to find out more about how partnering with DSM can help you develop science-backed, insights-led solutions for immune health. 

Published on

12 February 2021


  • Optimize your immunity
  • Vitamins
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Insights and Marketing Services
  • Article
  • Senior Management
  • Marketing


6 min read

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  1. ‘Consumer Immunity Panel: Highlights of the first study’, DSM, 2020

  2. ‘DSM Global Health Concerns 2019’, Ipsos, 2019. 

  3. ‘Consumer Immunity Panel: Highlights of the first study’, DSM, 2020

  4. Ibid. 

  5. Philip Calder et al., ‘Optimal nutritional status for a well-functioning immune system is an important factor to protect against viral infections’, Nutrients, 2020.

  6. ‘Consumer Immunity Panel: Highlight of the first study’, DSM, 2020. 

  7. A.M.M. Vaes et. al., ‘Dose-response effects of supplementation with calcifediol on serum 35-hydroxyvitamin D status and its metabolites: A randomized controlled trial in older adults’, Clinical Nutrition, 2018.

  8. Calcifediol monohydrate has been clinically proven to raise body’s vitamin D levels, on average 3x faster and more efficiently than vitamin D3 based on an equal dose comparison 

  9. Vaes et. al., ‘Dose-response effects of supplementation with calcifediol on serum 35-hydroxyvitamin D status and its metabolites’, 2018.

  10. Graeff-Armas J Nutr 2019, Optimal levels vitamin D reached faster with calcifediol compared to regular vitamin D3 

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