Even before coronavirus, immune health has been a growing consumer trend – you can’t get away from claims in the supplement aisle and health food shelves for foods and supplements to “boost your immune system”. If you’re planning to respond to this growing consumer desire for building immunity, it’s essential to be armed with good quality evidence to translate into a simple and compelling claim and call to action.
This is a tricky area as the science is still evolving and it can be easy to overclaim and mislead – the public is likely to read general immunity claims as a potential claim in relation to COVID-19, regardless of whether there is robust scientific evidence. In fact, we’ve already seen the market responding to this consumer trend and share three recent examples of immune health claims and our take on them:
#1: ‘Boost immunity’ with probiotic-rich yoghurt
Our view: While it’s correct that certain strains of probiotics, including lactobacillus strain LGG, can make the claim they “strengthen the immune response”, the tagline “boost immunity” is a nit-pick for us as it doesn’t consider the harmful effects of an over-boosted immune system. The immune system is a tight balancing act which can go into overdrive if “boosted”, which can lead to the cytokine storm seen in severe cases of coronavirus. You can read more about this in our report, but our preference is to talk about “supporting” or “strengthening” the immune system. It’s great to see the interesting link between the microbiome and immune health being communicated by companies.
#2: Immunity juice with orange, carrot, blood orange and ginger
Our view: While the nutrient content claims do stack up for this product, as it provides both vitamins A and C, there’s a lack of connection with the claims, with the ‘Immunity’ claim sitting out of context from the ingredients and nutrients. We’d like to see a more connected and clearer message to help consumers understand the powerful reasons to believe, say “Rich in Vitamin C from oranges for your daily defence”.
#3: Immune shot with lactoferrin, manuka honey and vitamin C
Our view: This product ticks the boxes for us by using the claim “support immunity” instead of “boost”. The use of new and innovative ingredients like lactoferrin is based on good quality science and the squeeze instruction gives consumers a simple call to action.
Have a read of our Feed Your Immunity report to understand the science behind immunity claims and to explore more examples of immunity claims in Australia and our views. We’re constantly on the look-out for claims in this emerging consumer field and will aim to provide market updates as this trend grows and grows.