COVID-19 market trends: Stress supplement demand rising

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | demaerre
Getty | demaerre

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PharmaLinea has revealed two new products to fill gaps in the stress supplements market in response to new research showing this as a huge and growing health concern.

Even before the pandemic, mood/relaxing supplements were a booming category that grew at a CAGR of 5,7% in 2014 - 2019, reaching 1,3 billion EUR in 2019 (Euromonitor’s Health and Nutrition Survey Jan & Feb 2020).

In fact, in January and February of 2020, before COVID had started to take hold in many areas of the globe, over 50% of consumers around the world claimed that they were suffering from “moderate” to “extreme” stress.

Posts sharing articles from WHO and US-CDC on tips on stress management​ were collectively retweeted more than 6.5k times​.

And Euromonitor says levels of stress are rising through generations - gen Z (5 - 25 years old) is very near the top despite the majority not being employed yet.

PharmaLinea says that with consumers increasingly turning to supplements to help boost their health as a result of the coronavirus (FMCG Gurus) and the calming/sleep/mood OTC category growing significantly in European pharmacies (IQVIA Weekly Data) there is clearly a huge opportunity for science-backed supplements which can ease the short and long term health effects of stress.

A tweet from NHS advising frontline healthcare workers on resilience and coping​ with stress due to exposure during COVID had over 2.4k retweets 

Issues with the current offerings

The supplier believes the current offerings are not meeting consumer needs.

PharmaLinea's science and research director Maja Orešnik says the market is filled with strong pharmaceuticals with negative side effects and 'low quality' supplements with little scientific backing.

A tweet from a psychiatric nurse practitioner highlighting the importance of management of stress and anxiety​ gained 2.4k retweets​ (Twitter stats from IQVIA social media intelligence).

"Powerful OTC or Rx drugs can have negative side effects and are stigmatised in certain regions rising consumer demand for alternatives.

"There are also many low-quality supplements relying on marketing power. Most products contain repetitive commodity herbals (melissa, lavender, chamomile), lacking clinical proof."

She says stress and burn-out are increasingly recognised by health institutions (e.g. WHO), opening the market to brands based on clinical support and promotion through medical detailing.

There has been a 49% increase in web searches for “stress supplement” over the past four years (Google trends)

Chronic and acute stress solutions

The global private label product supplier has revealed its 'acute' and 'chronic' stress sachets and capsules which both utilise the key ingredient Qsens, a patented, standardised, clinically supported extract with adaptogenic properties clinically proven to improve strength and performance while also helping alleviate fatigue.

Orešnik says: "We like to work with ingredients with a scientific background, in the doses which have been clinically proven to work."

The acute stress sachets also include Qfolate - an active form of folate (6S)-5-MTHF, naturally present in the body and highly bioavailable and safe at higher dosages. Insufficient folate status can lead to decreased neurotransmitter levels, contributing to disease progress of mood disorders like anxiety.

The formulation also boats vitamin D3, B-Vitamins, magnesium, choline, and L-theanine - all of which have been shown to support the normal function of the nervous system. 

For consumers concerned about the long-term effects of stress, the firm has created a chronic stress capsule, with many of the same ingredients as the acute stress formula, plus Qstress - a natural extract which acts as an antioxidant and has been clinically proven to help the normal function of the cardiovascular system.

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