These questions and more form the basis of NutraIngredients’ survey report entitled, ‘State of the Supplements, Health & Nutrition sector in Europe 2020,’ now available to download today.
The survey is an annual assessment of the nutrition industry’s economic performance, EU regulations and how they are affecting business, new products and opportunities for growth, among other subjects covered.
Back in September, NutraIngredients surveyed over 200 industry professionals working across key areas within the industry to gain insider opinions into know how the industry is performing.
The insights gathered give a snapshot of how the extraordinary events of this year have forced the sector to reassess the direction it is taking both personally and professionally.
One survey question asked whether COVID-19 had a positive effect on company profit margins for 2020.
With identical numbers agreeing and disagreeing with the question (31%), responses are thought to be largely dependent on specific sectors and product niches.
For example, products and ingredients that claim to support immune health, resonated with consumers whilst research services and regulatory activities suffered during the lockdown period.
Nevertheless, a sign the pandemic did not have a significant effect on the bottom line comes as 26% neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the question.
Equally, 8% strongly agree whilst 4% strongly disagree with the question posed, suggesting any effect on profit margin is temporary and not hugely detrimental to the company’s long-term plans.
Loss of business environment
When asked to go into more detail as to COVID-19’s impact on the business and the industry in general, responses focused on the lost opportunities to generate business and develop relationships.
Answers included, ‘The closure of trade fairs has had a negative impact on new product development,’ ‘We relied a lot on conferences and trade shows for business development, and had to switch on a more digital model,’ and ‘less travel to customers, hard to meet colleagues face to face, decrease of sales from the foodservice sector.’
Other themes included the preference for new products or ingredients. Responses include, ‘the growing interest in botanicals as immunostimulants,’ with one reply informing us that they have ‘started Echinacea Purpurea cultivation and an Echianacea extract manufacturing project.’
Business practices are also adversely affected with those in the industry commenting on the inevitable rise in ‘remote working, new procedures and management software, which had to be implemented,’ ‘the use of social media platforms for sales and marketing,’ and ‘forced innovation and transformation, widening supply chains and more suppliers needed especially in the effervescent space.’
The survey, which was produced in association with Rousselot Health and Nutrition, was not all about the pandemic, with a focus on business relevant topics that are sure to have a big say in future prosperity.
When asked if companies has expanded e-commerce operations to reflect the rising popularity in online shopping within the last two years, most firms had bought into the convenience of purchasing tried and trusted brands with one click.
Here, 48% of those surveyed agree or strongly agreed that their company had invested in e-commerce in response to demand, buoyed on by lockdown restrictions.
Of our responders, 34% say they neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement, which is not to say firms weren’t interested but rather they had made progress with e-commerce operations longer than the last two years.
Only 18% either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, reflecting the large shift to online by the industry.
Download and read
This year’s survey builds on previous ones commissioned by NutraIngredients, where timely themes, pressing issues and emerging challenges form the basis of the report, asking the questions the industry wants answers to.
The collated survey responses come from over 200+ industry professionals giving their views on a range of topics that include investment, innovation, ingredients, food science and product formulation, labelling, litigation, regulation, consumer trends, new products and new technology.
Download NutraIngredients’ survey report, ‘State of the Supplements, Health & Nutrition sector in Europe 2020,’ for access to our annual industry assessment and its response to current market climates.