Food supplements, an important product for post-pandemic pharmacy

The pandemic has changed consumer behavior and the purchasing process in every market category, in particular, in the socio-health context, in which a greater attention to their well-being on the part of consumers.

This attitude has also changed the choice and use of food supplements, primarily redefining the role of the pharmacy. To focus on the change that has taken place in consumer demands and in the very function of pharmacist, the talk «Nutrition in the era of a pandemic: Covid-19 and the role of food supplementation», Edited by Supplements Italy, the Italian trade association belonging to Confindustria and part of the Unione Italiana Food, which represents the sector of food supplements and health products.

The talk was moderated by Alessandro Colombo, Vice President of Integratori Italia, and they participated Maximin Liebn, Member of the Fofi Central Committee, Clara Mottinelli, Member of the Federfarma Presidency Council, Michele Pellegrini Calace, National Federfarma Treasurer, Andrea Poli, Presidente Nutrition Foundation of Italy e Matteo Roccio, Account Manager Kantar.

During the talk, Alessandro Colombo highlighted that – according to a recent market research commissioned by Integratori Italia to Kantar * – those who consumed supplements even before the pandemic (88%) increased in 2020 the regularity of intake of these products, in a logic of greater attention to prevention, and have extended this behavior to other family members.

In this scenario, what is the function of the Pharmacy, which remains the elective place of purchase of supplements, and the figure of the pharmacist?

“For many years, the pharmacy has offered citizens the possibility of easily accessing a wide range of products in the field of food supplementation, and this trend is destined to increase in line with the new and renewed health needs of the population. ” he has declared Michele Pellegrini Calace. «The pandemic has confronted us with value health and self-care, a lesson we are destined to treasure for a long time, and the pharmacy can play a decisive role in supporting the new health and well-being needs of citizens throughout the national territory “.

«When it comes to supplements, we are now talking not only about products that help maintain health of people at certain moments in life, but also real resources for prevention – continued Colombo. «This double function pays off the supplement one Important «tool» for the pharmacy, because through the increasing demand for health and well-being at 360 ° that the population is asking, the pharmacist can strengthen the relationship with the consumer both by responding to their health needs and by promoting prevention-oriented counseling. “

According to Kantar data, in fact, “regular” consumers rely on the opinion of pharmacists whose presence, competence and experience they appreciate. For new users, who are about 12% of the interviewees, the expert opinion remains fundamental. The pharmacist is the main source of information – together with the doctor – which leads them to prefer the offline purchase channel, allowing them direct contact with this reference figure.

“In a context where the online plays an increasingly important role, the pharmacy still plays a fundamental role in orienting and guiding the consumer in the approach to the world of supplements” he underlined. Matteo Roccio. “The pharmacist is in fact the first source of information for shoppers in the category and one of the figures with greater authority and credibility who must be able to understand the changes taking place in order to be able to confirm his importance in the mediation and advice on the purchase of supplements. “

During the pandemic, 58% of respondents said they were taking supplements for to preserve O improve the state of health, specifically like physical support for the immune system: however, there have been not a few fake news that have raged – especially online – on the alleged miraculous effects of some substances. During the talk, therefore, an important intervention was that of Dr. Andrea Poli, President of the Nutrition Foundation of Italy, who clarified which supplements have sufficient scientific references to be used to support the immune function.

«The dominant importance of public health interventions and vaccinations in limiting the spread and severity of infections is beyond question; however, the supporting role of some food supplements to the function of the immune system should not be overlooked. Sufficiently clear evidence indicates, for example, that an adequate intake of vitamin D and C (also from supplementation), and the use of specific botanicals, such as echinacea, and probiotics can play an interesting supporting role in this regard “he declared. Andrea Poli.

* Research born with the aim of understanding how the consumption of supplements has changed during 2020: 1000 interviews with users, main and / or co-decision makers in the purchase of supplements with different purposes: food, for daily well-being, for immune defenses, for sport, etc.

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