Across the industry, companies have been forced to cancel or rethink launches and to postpone plans to expand.
Many brands postponed their debuts, while others took the digital approach and moved forward with product launches even though they no longer have a show floor presence.
NutraIngredients-USA spoke to several companies about the challenges and opportunities they’re experiencing in the midst of coronavirus chaos.
Changes and challenges
Julia Diaz, head of marketing at Pharmactive, told us with the trade show shakeup, the company had to make dramatic changes in their communications and marketing plans in order to fuel the growth they experienced in 2019.
“Pharmactive has altered its pipeline plan, advancing new launchings prepared for the end of the year and postponing others with the aim to meet new consumers´ demands,” said Diaz, who added, “We planned to launch a new line and we decided to postpone it and launch a novel, non-GMO olive leaf extract.”
Diaz said with social restrictions, a new set of challenges for consumers has come to surface. To combat feelings of loneliness, stress, uncertainty for the future, sleep deprivation and adapting to a new situation, Pharmactive said they are experiencing a growing demand for affron, a pure plant saffron extract. “It has clinically shown to improve mood in healthy individuals, relieve stress and occasional sadness, support relaxation, and help enhance sleep. Additionally, new work from home practices have spread and with it the abuse of eyes exposition to screens and blue light, thus affron®EYE (fast antioxidant for eye health) is high in demand.”
Local food security
For Israeli seed breeder Equinom, expanding operations to serve North America was a no-brainer. During this tumultuous time, the company told us there is no better moment to focus on local food security.
“The COVID-19 outbreak increases the importance of having domestic agriculture, especially for our type of crops which are of high nutritional value. When importing becomes limited, it's crucial to put more focus on your food security and increase the access of healthier food to your citizens,” said Itay Dana, VP of Marketing at Equinom.
As many scale back operations amid the economic uncertainty, the company will open offices in the United States to serve the North American market. Equinom told NutraIngredients-USA that the move will bring key farming communities and grain handlers closer, as well as to food and ingredient companies.
“The virus outbreak, in our minds, reflects the importance of having local activities in our target areas, especially at a time when borders are closing,” added Dana.
Ingredients by Nature continued with their plans to launch their new functional fiber ingredient. Rob Brewster, president of IBN, told NutraIndredients-USA, “I believe that consumers are becoming ever more health-conscious at this time and need solutions beyond just immune health products, which are currently high in demand. Products with MonkFiber will help supplement current diets with the necessary amount of fiber for better digestive and heart health support. At IBN, we want to support overall health, and this is another avenue to do so.”
Brewster stressed the importance of citrus flavonoids such as Eriomin, adding they have recently witnessed an increased demand for ingredients to be used in immune health formulations. “Eriomin couldn't be more important during this time to help consumers manage their prediabetes. There are many individuals at higher risk because of existing conditions or states that put extra stress on the immune system. We can only hope that our ingredients can be used to help support their other efforts to stay safe and healthy.”
At Healist Advanced Naturals, some are taking comfort in recognizing the silver lining. “The COVID-19 crisis united us as a team behind our purpose to help people reclaim their well-being,” said Michael Bryce, the company’s co-founder & global chief marketing officer.
The company said they had been working on the launch of Healist Advanced Naturals for the last 12 months, a CBD line aimed to offer calm and pain relief. “We decided to go ahead and bring our brand to market with the objective to amplify the importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind.”
Supporting coronavirus causes
As a New York City based business, Bryce said they want to do what they can to help the community. “In March, April and May, Healist Advanced Naturals will donate one dollar for every order on healistnaturals.com to the NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund with a minimum of $5k donation.”
Brewster told us that IBN recently began donating masks to a local pharmacy and are ramping up efforts to help make a difference in the fight. More plans are underway to provide support to coronavirus relief charities.
As cases near 30,000 in Spain, Pharmactive said they donated gloves and surgery glasses to hospitals in Madrid. The company, who is based in Spain, said they also are helping out with the manufacturing of cotton masks for health professionals.
Companies in and outside of the nutrition world are joining in the battle against coronavirus, as the outbreak makes its way around the globe.