According to the national union Synadiet, 82% of just over 2000 French people surveyed say they have changed their habits in the last 12 months in order to maintain their health and that of their loved ones.
The effects of coronavirus also caused 62% of this sample to pay more attention to their health with the majority putting in place a series of actions to support their immune system in response.
These actions include better nutrition (53%), better hygiene (53%), consumption of food supplements and natural health products (36%).
“Health is a precious commodity, the imperative to maintain it is increasingly felt in the population,” says phytotherapist Dr Michel Tourrasse.
“The health crisis has led many of us to take to step back, to review our priorities and to question ourselves in particular on our impact on the planet and on our personal care. The crisis is a trend accelerator."
The survey, which focuses on the use of supplements, also reveals the types of food supplements and natural health products, French consumers are drawn to, as the survey reveals of the 68% of those trying these products in the last 12 months, 37% opted for vitamins and minerals.
In addition, 34% of consumers tried beehive-based products such as royal jelly and propolis, whilst 28% tried omega 3,6 and 9-based supplements.
Botanicals & probiotics
Meanwhile, botanical-based supplements were tried by 23% of the sample population and probiotics were purchased by 17% of the 2000 or so sampled individuals.
The results correlate well to a recent survey of Italian consumers that also serves to gauge their reaction and response to the coronavirus.
According to the FederSalus survey, comparing the first quarter 2020 vs. 2019, the value of online pharmacies jumped 64% to €82m with dietary supplements representing half of this total value.
Further results of some of the main supplement categories in the first quarter of 2020 vs. 2019 found purchases for vitamin C jumped 237.8%, immunostimulants by 64.5% and supplements for sleep and relaxation by 26.6%.
Synadiet’s survey also looks ahead with 62% of those surveyed saying they plan to purchase more food supplements in the coming months.
Particular products of interest for this population include vitamins and minerals (39%), beehive-related products (35%), medicinal plants/herbal medicines (28%), omega 3,6,9 (26%), superfoods (goji, chia, spirulina) (25%), and probiotics (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium) (24%).
When pressed on the motivations for consuming these supplements, 41% of French consumers say they consume food supplements and natural health products in order to ‘strengthen’ their natural defences.
38% of consumers also wanted to try these products to “fight against tiredness and regain vitality,” as getting a good night’s sleep was also the reason behind these product purchases for 26% of the sample.
The strong involvement of health professionals also feature heavily in the survey, carried out in conjunction with OpinionWay in January and May of this year.
Here, 60% of consumers state their last purchase was based on the advice of a health professional – a source of information that is not restricted to the ordinary consumer.
Commenting on this observation, phytotherapist Jean-Michel Morel says that “health professionals are also increasingly attracted by natural methods of prevention and care. "
“Pharmacy is also evolving at the same time as the French,” adds Valentine Cabanel, a naturopathic pharmacist.
“The new generations of pharmacists are aware of the undesirable effects of medicines and want to find solutions adapted to current situations and the expectations of French people.”