Sales of vitamins surge during Covid-19 pandemic

US dietary supplement sales were 16.7 per cent higher than a year ago at £781m in the four weeks to July 11

                                

Sales of vitamin and mineral supplements have surged during the Covid-19 pandemic, boosting recent consumer goods multinationals such as Nestlé, Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser. 

US dietary supplement sales were 16.7 per cent higher than a year ago in the four weeks to July 11 at £781m (approx €849m, $1bn), according to data provider Nielsen, having risen as much as 51.2 per cent in March as Covid-19 spread. 

Mark Schneider, chief executive of Nestlé, said last month that “vitamins, minerals and supplements . . . continue to see elevated demand.” In the UK, sales have reached record levels this year, said market researcher Kantar. 

More than half the UK population have bought a supplement of some type in the past year. 

With the virus around people are more cautious about health and are buying anything that they think might improve health and immunity, which has benefited multinationals such as Nestlé. In 2017, Nestlé agreed to buy Canadian supplement maker Atrium Innovations for $2.3bn (€1.91bn, £1.73bn) , and Reckitt, which bought US-based Schiff Nutrition for $1.4bn in 2012. 

P&G, the world’s largest consumer goods company, bought the vitamins and supplements business of pharmaceutical group Merck for $4.2bn in 2018. 

In July Nestlé said its Persona personalised subscription service, acquired last year, had more than tripled sales from a year earlier.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “dietary supplements aren’t meant to treat or prevent Covid-19” but adds that certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C and D and zinc, may affect how the immune system tackles infections.

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