Suppliers overwhelmed by demand for vitamins due to C-19
Consumer willing to spend on supplements
Suppliers of vitamins and nutritional supplements are battling to meet increased demand for their products as consumers turn to supplements in a bid to boost their immune systems.
Julliette Morrison, marketing executive for Vital Healthcare, a local manufacturer of vitamins, said the sharp increase in demand has led to shortages.
“Because there is no allopathic (traditional Western medicine) cure for Covid19, consumers are turning to the benefits of vitamin C and zinc,” Morrison said.
“It’s a global bunfight for the raw materials on a global market,” she said, and the closure of ports has made manufacturing of the final products in SA challenging. There are local manufacturers of raw materials but, she said, quality is often a concern. The biggest shortage has been of vitamin C and zinc, and multivitamins and selenium to a lesser degree.
Morrison said Vital Healthcare is spending a lot more on manufacturing, not only because of the increase in raw material prices and the need to air-freight the materials in, but also due to the additional expenditure on personal protective equipment and adjustments in the manufacturing plant and in transport systems to deliver the product.
“We had a robust discussion about increasing our prices to make up for the shortfall, but have chosen to trade at the same prices as the company is benefiting from the high demand,” she said.
Consumers appear to be willing to spend on supplements. A recent consumer behaviour survey from nlighten, a customer experience consultancy, said though respondents (of whom 95% were women) said there was no extra cash for financial luxuries, “33% said that any extra money they did have would be spent on health”, the company’s CEO, Nathalie Schooling, said.
Rachel Wrigglesworth, chief commercial officer for Clicks, said the group has seen above-average change in buying patterns on supplements, such as strong sales of all immune-related supplements including vitamin C, zinc and various natural immuneboosting supplements.