The helplessness of the world in the face of the ongoing novel Covid 19 pandemic will drive change in people’s behavior. This is not the first disaster that the world has faced. Each disaster has had an impact on society and business. Post this disaster there will be businesses that will diminish, struggle, or die while others will emerge and flourish leveraging new opportunities that will arise.

Immunity imparting foods and products industry is an example of an industry that is taking advantage of an emerging consumer need. People are looking for immunity building products which will provide them some protection against this virus. Food and nutrition supplement products that help build immunity are in great demand.

Some countries like India have gone ahead and recommended an Ayurveda based human immunity cocktail of foods and herbs to aid the fight against this virus. I am certain that the Chinese too would have already pushed for their version of the immunity combination that is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine system. Culture, nationalism, human need, and ideology are driving the consumption of these combinations in these most populous regions of the world.

But the major post-Covid 19 business opportunity for immunity building supplements will be leveraged by the global food and nutraceutical industry. In 2015, the global market for functional foods was put at US $129.30 billion. Much of this food is becoming available to consumers in the form of nutraceutical formulations. The food industry has taken to microencapsulation, enzyme technology, and nanoencapsulation of ingredients in order to enhance the bioavailability of the most bioactive compounds that help prevent disease onset. These innovations are provided to individuals as concentrated nutrients.

Technology innovation has enabled the food and nutraceutical industry to eliminate microbial contamination, stabilize flavors, vitamins, and natural colors, and remove undesired compounds. Microencapsulation technology is making it possible to protect bioactive compounds during processing, storage, and delivery of nutrient products.

Bioactive ingredients isolated from functional foods play a vital role in gut fermentation by helping build and balance out gut microflora. Manufacturers have been able to increase the shelf life and sensory properties of natural foods, making these available to consumers in concentrated easy to consume format. Key nutritional building blocks that are useful in preventive healthcare include carotenoids, dietary fibers, fatty acids, minerals, prebiotics and probiotics, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, enzymes, and antioxidants.

The health food industry is packaging bioactive ingredients into bakery and cereals, dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, soy products, fats, oils, beverages, nutritional bars, various snacks, and a myriad of other products. All seek to make available nutrients in a format that is appreciated by customers, not just for their taste and appearance, but also for nutritional value.

Global consumers are hesitant to consume products that are not adequately backed with scientific studies. The large global providers of food and nutrition supplements leverage scientific studies as tools and support to convince consumers to buy these products.  The post-Covid world will give this industry a leg up.

Board rooms would have already deployed teams of scientists to start research on identifying supplement combinations that will provide effective immunity against viral infections. Researchers and scientists would have already been contracted to work on this opportunity. The race is not just drugs for treating Covid 19 and vaccines that will bring herd immunity to the world but also on new food supplements and food combinations that we can consume regularly. Advertisers, marketers, and communicators who will push these products to consumers too will be required.

A new post Covid 19 business world is already taking shape. We are just at the beginning of a new business cycle.

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