Not only are colds and flus returning, but news of new variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 are causing consumers to look for ways to support their immune system, Bare said. “Retailers understand this trend. They are adding more immunity products and using endcaps and displays to highlight immune support brands.”
PPC Group launched EZC Pak 5-Day Tapered Immune Support, which Bare said fills a void within the immunity space.
“Most immune support products are for daily use or designed to provide a short-term boost,” he said. “However, when maximum support is needed, it’s often unclear how much to take and for how long. With EZC Pak, we’ve taken the guesswork out of immune support via the five-day tapered system.” The product is designed so that the delivery system starts off strong on day one and tapers down during days two through five, all in one pack.
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Prevention, long a major theme in healthcare, became top of mind during the pandemic. According to Mintel in its report, “Managing Common Illness – US April 2021,” the COVID-19 pandemic and consumers’ resulting focus on prevention opened the door for a new segment in the illness management market. The increases in sales of immune support supplements, hand sanitizer, face masks and other products were well-documented during the health crisis, and there is evidence that consumers will continue to buy prevention-related products. The report also noted that 28% of U.S. consumers said they feel less in control of their health since January 2020. As consumers seek at-home solutions, illness management brands can benefit by “positioning recovery and relief as pillars of self-care,” according to the report.
Another company that focuses on proactive health is American Fork, Utah-based Xlear, which makes products for sinus care and oral health. “Our product sales were up last year because our products are more hygiene products,” said owner and president Nathan Jones. “You use it before you get sick, to wash all the stuff out of the outer airway.”
He said there have been several studies indicating that nasal irrigation reduces symptoms related to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. For example, xylitol, one of the ingredients in Xlear nasal spray, blocks receptor cites of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which inhibits it from attaching to the cell wall of its host, according to some of the studies. Consumers are finding out about the science, and that is driving sales. “I think people are going out and reading a bunch of research studies out there, and they are reading the literature,” Jones said. “Saline irrigation is effective across the board. We’ve been saying nasal hygiene matters.”
Retailers can benefit by staying up to date on the research. “If pharmacists pay attention to what the people want, and read up on it also, pharmacists are going to continue with that higher level of trust,” Jones said. “If they keep up with all these alternative things that are out there, they have an opportunity to help people.”