Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system and easily produced by exposing the skin to sunshine. However, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, restrictions on movement are reducing the opportunities people have of stepping outdoors.

As a result, vitamin D deficiency is likely to be prevalent when many live in residences without gardens or outside space. Public Health England has encouraged consumers to take vitamin D supplements to compensate for the lack of sunshine if stuck indoors for most of the day.

There are health factors behind this decision as viral respiratory illnesses like Covid-19 will pose an even higher risk to those deficient in vitamin D. It is, therefore, important that those living in spaces like apartments and multiple-occupancy buildings consider supplements to their daily diet.

Since trials for a vaccine remain underway, there is no sufficient evidence that suggests vitamin D will reduce the risk of Covid-19. However, it can strengthen the immune system to better prepare the body if infected. Public Health England recommends taking ten micrograms of vitamin D supplements a day.

Other good sources for consideration include oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat and egg yolks. This advice is also supported by the Scottish Government, suggesting everyone, including children and pregnant women, should consider a daily supplement.

With forms of social distancing still expected to last till potentially next year, even after the easing of lockdowns, drink manufacturers can leverage their portfolio to meet the heightened demand for these functional beverages. Vitamin D in a liquid form such as treatment drops can potentially be used by brands as supplements to help consumers meet their recommended daily allowance (RDA).

Get More Vitamins drinks brand is one example of combining cross-category innovation, introducing vitamin D supplements into sugar-free drinks made with spring water and natural flavours. Each drink has five calories per bottle and is vegetarian-friendly.

The brand also launched a multivitamin chewing gum in 2018, delivering 25% of the RDA of 10 different vitamins in 20 minutes of chewing time. For food and beverage manufacturers, on-the-go products present a unique opportunity space to capitalise on the changing consumer needs and demands in a post-Covid-19 world.

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