Wellness for All Seasons


How is the seasonal allergy and respiratory health market performing now?

As the weather heats up, so too, does the amount of pollen in the air. More and more people long to go outside and hike, fish, bike and enjoy the great outdoors. But doing so with itchy eyes, a runny nose and a headache isnโ€™t much fun.

What type of products might help those suffering from seasonal allergies? Whatโ€™s the biggest news now in this market and who is most apt to buy seasonal allergy and respiratory health products now? How can retailers better position themselves to make sales? First, letโ€™s explore the causes of seasonal allergies and the typical treatments.

Seasonal Allergies & Respiratory Issues: What Causes Them?

Pollen, foods, drugs, insects and more are the most common allergens today. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), these are believed to affect more than 100 million in the United States on an annual basis. Approximately 81 million of these are believed to suffer specifically from seasonal allergies.

While many people reach for over-the-counter and prescription medications, are there other ways to treat or prevent seasonal allergies through more natural methods? The answer is yes. New studies and ingredients in this area are shining a more helpful light on the seasonal allergy and respiratory health arena.

Whatโ€™s the Biggest News in Seasonal Allergy and Respiratory Health Products?

Vice President of Verdant Nature, Consultant for Bluebonnet Nutrition, New York Board-Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Carl Germano, CNS, CDN, stated that in the realm of dietary supplements targeting immune system support, seasonal allergies and respiratory issues, ongoing advancements and discoveries continue to shape the landscape. โ€œKey trends include the exploration of immune-supporting ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, elderberry, echinacea and probiotics, with continuous research aimed at validating their efficacy in addressing these health concerns,โ€ said Germano.

โ€œAdditionally, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as quercetin, turmeric, and omega-3 fatty acids, are subjects of interest for their potential to modulate immune responses and alleviate allergy and respiratory symptoms.โ€ Bluebonnet Nutritionโ€™s (Texas) BioSNEDS aims to optimize the absorption and effectiveness of these nutrients and herbal extracts, said Germano. The continued interest in the link between gut health and the immune system should mean that more studies and research continue to be published in this area. โ€œStaying informed through reputable health sources, scientific literature and regulatory updates ensures individuals can make educated decisions regarding dietary supplement usage for immune and respiratory support,โ€ Germano said, โ€œwith guidance from healthcare professionals providing personalized recommendations tailored to individual needs.โ€

At Gencor, an ingredient supplier also based in Texas, Maggie McNamara, marketing director, stated, โ€œAlthough vitamins and minerals lead the charge in immune health, botanicals like curcumin and mushrooms are experiencing strong growth. But in a crowded market, brands need to think outside the box โ€ฆโ€ Companies should also formulate with ingredients that have robust evidence to support them and offer these products in an attractive format to consumers, McNamara said. โ€œQuercetin is one of the best-known flavonoids and is important for human health,โ€ she noted.

โ€œQuercetin can help stabilize the cells that release histamine in the body, thereby having an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effect.โ€1 The company produces LipiSperse Quercetin, a cold water dispersible (CWD) powder, McNamara said. The product was specifically designed to increase quercetinโ€™s bioavailability and functionality. โ€œIncreasing quercetinโ€™s normally limited absorption/bioavailability through improved LipiSperse dispersion technology exponentially increases this super antioxidantโ€™s power,โ€ said McNamara.

Ramona Billingslea, store manager, at Betsyโ€™s Health Foods, a retailer with headquarters in Texas, stated that quercetin is a product customers look for when it comes to seasonal allergy relief. In fact, she noted that itโ€™s one of the most sought-after natural products for this issue, along with Andrographis, nettles, and vitamin C. โ€œWe offer each of these in our store brand, Betsyโ€™s Basics,โ€ Billingslea noted. โ€œWe also utilize Alleraโ€™s Immune Extra products. These come from washed pinecone and are supposed to be safe for those with autoimmune disorders,โ€ said Billingslea. She noted that many allergy products may affect immune function.

Whatโ€™s Consumer Confidence Like Now in This Market?

Germano stated that the market for these types of products is โ€œboomingโ€ now. In part, this is due to the pandemic and the increased attention individuals have toward their immune systems. Additionally, he noted, the aging population in the U.S., and around the world, is also contributing to growth in this market. โ€œConsumer interest in these products has been fueled by various factors, including increasing awareness of preventive health care, a growing emphasis on wellness and self-care, and concerns about immune function, particularly during times of heightened health risks such as cold and flu seasons or pandemics,โ€ said Germano. โ€œThe growing emphasis on preventive healthcare and the lasting impact of the pandemic are expected to continue driving the demand for such supplements in the foreseeable future.โ€

McNamara pointed out that interest in immune health continues post-COVID-19. โ€œThe pandemic is no longer front and center in the minds of consumers, but that doesnโ€™t mean that immune health isnโ€™t,โ€ McNamara said. โ€œConsumer interest in immune health is here to stay, and it is a trend that will remain at the forefront for many. Supplement consumers will likely take supplements as a preventative measure or for nutrients not received via diet,โ€ she noted. โ€œA significant number are also motivated to take supplements to support immune resiliency as part of the growing holistic health trend.โ€

At Natural Path Silver Wings, a manufacturer headquartered in Tennessee, Dr. Chris Terrell also believes the market will continue to experience growth. โ€œAllergies and respiratory-related symptoms are surfacing with an ever-widening age range. Because of this, immune supplements continue to grow in the U.S.,โ€ he stated. โ€œThe growing allergy effects may partly be attributed to environmental exposure that weโ€™re living with. Airborne chemicals, pollution and even substandard food ingredients are taking a toll on our immune system which, in turn, is triggering allergic reactions,โ€ said Terrell. โ€œAllergies and other immune threats have drawn consumers more into proactiveness by ramping up their supplement regimen and with so much new research and product choices, shopping immune supplements has never been easier and better for consumers.โ€

Joel Melton, director of marketing at Xlear Inc., a manufacturer based in Utah, stated that this market is trending upward. โ€œThe current market for these products is robust and thriving, driven by the growing preference for natural solutions among health-conscious consumers,โ€ he noted. โ€œThe recent global health crisis has heightened awareness of the crucial role that nasal and oral health and hygiene play in overall wellness, significantly increasing interest in natural supplements.โ€

Who Is Buying These Products Now?

Natural health products to support seasonal wellness are plentiful. This is good because there are several different types of consumers looking for these products. Germano stated that individuals who are more health conscious and those with specific health concerns are more likely to seek out these types of products. Additionally, older adults, those influenced by media and marketing, and fitness enthusiasts, he noted, are all likely to be looking for seasonal allergy and respiratory health products. โ€œUltimately, the decision to purchase dietary supplements targeting immune health, seasonal allergies and respiratory issues may be influenced by individual health concerns, lifestyle factors, personal beliefs, cultural norms and recommendations from health care professionals or trusted sources,โ€ he explained.

Melton noted that at Xlear, there is a focus on educating medical and dental professionals on the benefits of nasal sprays which will help them more effectively guide and inform their patients. The company focuses on individual consumers as well, though. โ€œOur products are targeted towards a diverse range of consumers, including health-conscious individuals, families looking for natural alternatives, and those with specific health concerns,โ€ Melton said. He noted that Xlear products are also popular among athletes and professionals who are seeking to maintain peak performance and wellness.

At Natureโ€™s Answer (New York), The Natural Nurse and Scientific Advisor and Herbal Consultant, Ellen Kamhi, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, RH(AHG), stated that particular groups are looking for immune health support products. โ€œCustomers interested in supporting the health of their immune and respiratory system with Natural Botanical Remedies that have been used safely and efficaciously for centuries,โ€ she noted, and โ€œwhich are offered without artificial dyes, preservatives, and other questionable additives,โ€ she said when asked what type of customers are looking for seasonal wellness products.

Priorities for Seasonal Allergy Products

Steven Harkins is the director of education at North American Herb & Spice (NAHS), a manufacturer based in Illinois. He stated that while in the not-so-distant past pharmaceutical products dominated the nasal wash market, now the tides are turning. Harkins noted that in the past five years or so, there has seemed to be a shift in consumer thinking. โ€œA non-addictive formulation is increasingly important to them, and as a result, consumers are checking more diligently for the ingredients they are inhaling through their nasal pathways,โ€ Harkins said. โ€œThis is why we believe our nasal wash formula that sticks with spring water and sea salt, with a simple yet effective blend of wild oregano, sage, clove, and bay leaf, has become more attractive in recent times.โ€

Executive Vice President, Dan Curtin at Arthur Andrew Medical in Arizona, stated, โ€œAs a manufacturer in this market, our company places a strong emphasis on research and development, prioritizing ingredients with a solid scientific foundation and proven health benefits. We closely monitor emerging studies on immune health, particularly those exploring the synergistic effects of enzymes, pre- and probiotics, and novel plant-based compounds on the immune system and respiratory health,โ€ he noted. โ€œThe potential of innovative delivery systems that improve bioavailability and consumer compliance is particularly exciting. Clean sourcing and ensuring the safety and efficacy of our formulations are paramount in our product development strategy.โ€

Melton stated that Xlear is committed to maintaining the highest standards of quality and safety in its formulations. โ€œWe base our product development on a blend of cutting-edge scientific research and traditional knowledge,โ€ he said โ€œWe place particular emphasis on studies that showcase the natural health properties of xylitol and other natural ingredients.โ€ The company is also โ€œenthusiasticโ€ about the continued research underscoring the role of a healthy microbiome and how it supports overall health. โ€œThese insights guide our ongoing efforts to create effective and safe products that benefit consumersโ€™ health and well-being,โ€ Melton said.

One important thing that Billingslea said she wished every manufacturer would understand is the importance of Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) and how this affects retailers. โ€œPlease, MAP your products and enforce that MAP policy so small retailers in brick-and-mortar stores can stay competitive and keep customers instead of losing them to the internet sales,โ€ Billingslea said.

How Can Retailers Best Promote Seasonal Allergy and Respiratory Products?

The promotion of seasonal allergy and respiratory health products can be a challenge as theyโ€™re somewhat cyclical. However, manufacturers had some good ideas for how retailers can best promote these products.

โ€œNatural Paths Silver Wings provides staff education training, in-store merchandising tools, scheduled promotions, product samples and local territory sales associates for in-store servicing,โ€ said Terrell.

Natureโ€™s Answer is certainly not the new kid on the block when it comes to working with retailers. โ€œNatureโ€™s Answer continues to have a deep standing commitment to our retailers, including brick and mortar locations, some of whom have carried our USA, family-manufactured products since 1972,โ€ said Kamhi. โ€œThese include Consumer Coupon program, samples for consumers, advertising and off-shelf promos.โ€

At Arthur Andrew Medical, Curtin weighed in on how the company supports retailers. โ€œTo best support retailers of these products, we focus on education and transparency,โ€ said Curtin. โ€œWe provide comprehensive product information, including research highlights, benefits and usage guidelines, to help retailers communicate the value and efficacy of our supplements to consumers,โ€ he noted. The company also offers marketing support, in-store displays, educational materials, training sessions for retail staff, and online content to enhance product visibility and consumer awareness, Curtin said. โ€œFurthermore, we maintain a strong supply chain to ensure product availability, meeting the growing consumer demand efficiently.โ€

Taking advantage of training for retail staff is one way that stores can better promote their seasonal wellness products. Xlear offers this type of training to retailers, Melton said, along with comprehensive marketing and educational support. โ€œWe offer detailed product education and sales resources to help retailers effectively communicate the unique benefits of our products to consumers,โ€ he noted. โ€œWe take pride in our position as a leader in the supplements market, and we are unwavering in our commitment to supporting our retail partners and helping our customers achieve and maintain optimal health and well-being.โ€

At NAHS, Harkins stated that the company often passes along greater discounts for retailers who are looking to stock up on nasal wash. โ€œThis is a discount that gets passed along to the consumer, allowing them to find the support they need in a time they are seeking it out the most,โ€ he said. โ€œBeyond this, we are active on our social media pages and frequently tag stores who have decided to partner with us.โ€ Bundling is another way that retailers can promote their seasonal allergy products. โ€œSinuOrega is one arm of our seasonal push,โ€ said Harkins, โ€œand we like to bundle products like OregaResp as well as Oreganol with it to help communities take full advantage of their immune support quest.โ€

What Trends are Popular in This Market Now?

Germano stated that there are several trends now in the respiratory health and seasonal allergy market. These include micronutrient combinations, gut health and microbiome research, and individual ingredients such as honey and mushrooms. There is also a trend toward more personalized nutrition, he stated. โ€œTailoring supplement recommendations based on individual needs and genetic predispositions is a growing trend. This personalized approach could offer more targeted support for specific health concerns.โ€

Sometimes the most popular trends are solutions that have been around a long time but are experiencing a revitalization. Terrell stated, โ€œThere are multiple ingredients for immune support supplementation. Colloidal silver has been used globally for generations,โ€ he noted. โ€œThe amber liquid is quick and easy to administer orally or with nasal sprays anytime, anywhere, and on-the-go for all ages four-plus years.โ€

Kamhi noted that there is increased interest in botanicals and herbal supplements that support immune wellness and the respiratory system. โ€œNatureโ€™s Answer has offered a wide variety of these particular botanicals since 1972,โ€ she said. The company also offers a MULLEIN X product line which it unveiled more recently. This combines respiratory support herbs in a cough syrup line for coughs due to irritants, said Kamhi. โ€œThe full MULLEIN X line includes nighttime formulas along with kidsโ€™ formulas.โ€VR

Reference:

1 โ€œQuercetin,โ€ Mount Sanai Library, www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/quercetin.

For More Information:

Arthur Andrew Medical, www.arthurandrew.com
Bluebonnet Nutrition, www.bluebonnetnutrition.com
Gencor, www.gencorpacific.com
North American Herb and Spice, www.oreganol.com
Natural Path Silver Wings, www.npswsilver.com
Natureโ€™s Answers, www.naturesanswer.com
Xlear Inc, www.xlear.com

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