Millions of people are hooked on gummies as a health supplement. Gummy multivitamins accounted for 7.5 percent of the $6 billion multivitamin market in the United States in 2016, according to estimates from the Nutrition Business Journal and projections from IBISWorld, a research company. And gummy products over all now account for $1 billion of the $41 billion supplement market in the United States, a more than 25 percent jump in sales since 2015, according to IBISWorld.
“We’ve seen a really nice increase in demand for gummy supplements over the past three to four years,” Doug Jones, the chief merchandise officer at Vitamin Shoppe, which carries a broad assortment of gummy vitamins and supplements, said in an email.
Gummy vitamins and supplements originally targeted children, and were offered as a fun way to get kids to take their vitamins. But in 2012, Perrigo, a supplement maker with headquarters in Ireland, began marketing gummy products to adults. Last year, the company announced that it was partnering with Ferrara Candy Company, maker of Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers, to develop multivitamins for adults over 30.
One reason gummy vitamins are so popular with adults these days is “pill fatigue.” A 2005 AARP study found that, on average, adults 45 and older said they take four prescription medications daily, but switching to a gummy version of a vitamin or supplement makes them feel as if they aren’t taking so many pills. Gummies also appeal to people who, like Ms. Drexler, have difficulty swallowing pills.
The flavorings in gummy candy can also hide the taste. “Vitamins can be nasty,” said Paul Breslin, a professor of nutritional sciences at Rutgers University, and a researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “Some taste bad. Some can be astringent. A lot of others have foul odors. Gummies are a pleasant way to mask the aversiveness.”