Closing out 2022, public health officials have been warning for weeks that a “tripledemic” of COVID-19, flu and R.S.V. would strain an already weary health care system. Hospitalizations from the three viruses have been rising together. Nationally, R.S.V. appears to have peaked, and flu is peaking in a few parts of the country, but infections from the two viruses are expected to plateau at high levels.
The country has already faced two record-breaking seasons under COVID-19, which disproportionately affected older Americans, but the return of R.S.V. and flu this year means that some of the burden of illness has shifted to the country’s youngest — and their families.1 Immunity Defense
To combat the rise in illnesses, consumers have ramped up their spend across the medicine and personal health and vitamins and supplements (VMS) departments. For the most recent four weeks, vitamins and supplements saw double-digit sales growth (10%), driven by nearly all subcategories, while medicine and personal health was up 7% for the same period. During that four-week period, both departments saw highs for week ending November 27th.
Internal medicines, which accounts for the lion share (47%) of the medicine and personal health department, grew double-digits (20%), and contributed more than three-quarters of the total departments’ growth. The success among immunity defense-oriented segments was more widespread within the vitamins and supplements department.
Total US, SPINS Natural Enhanced Channel + SPINS Conventional Channel (powered by IRI) | 4 Weeks Ending 12.04.22 | Categories ranked by sales volume | CTG = Contribution to growth; measuring the impact that segment has on the overall growth
Vitamin and supplements department bright spots included vitamins and minerals, growing at 7% versus last year, while contributing 18% towards overall department growth. Homeopathic medicines, representing a moderate dollar share (4%) of the VMS department category, contributed more than its fair share towards total growth and grew double digits (27%) versus the same period a year ago.
Internal OTC cold and flu and allergy sales posted strong growth (34%) for the most recent four weeks and contributed most of the category growth (80%). Internal OTC analgesics also captured consumer spend and grew 16% versus the prior year. Within VMS, top growing subcategories including multivitamins (19%), immune supplements (28%), homeopathic medicine formulas (24%) and homeopathic medicine singles. Consumers continue to stock up their medicine cabinets as the winter months throw viruses their way.
Total US, SPINS Natural Enhanced Channel + SPINS Conventional Channel (powered by IRI) | 4 Weeks Ending 12.04.22 | CTG = Contribution to growth; measuring the impact that segment has on the overall growth
Food and Beverage Approach
In addition to traditional immunity defense from supplements, consumers focus on healthy diets and continue to turn to a “Food as Medicine” approach, highlighting and targeting foods/beverages with beneficial functional ingredients. Consumers sought after natural solutions, notably with beverages, that boost immunity and reduce stress and anxiety.
Functional ingredients like elderberry and camu camu are up substantially in shelf stable tea bags green and white (+168%). Ingredients like CBD and melatonin spike in popularity among shelf stable coffee beans and grounds and water sparkling flavored. Adaptogens, that fight fatigue and act as mood enhancers, gain traction in subcategories like water sparkling flavored (+371%), shelf stable coffee RTD (256%) and shelf stable tea bags wellness (+32%).
Total US, SPINS Natural Enhanced Channel + SPINS Conventional Channel (powered by IRI) | 4 Weeks Ending 12.04.2022