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Recall the pickle sketch on Portlandia, in which Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein pick up random items (a bandage, jewel cases, a parking ticket) and exclaim, “We can pickle that!” The joke was that, in 2012 when the episode aired, pickling was everywhere; every hipster restaurant menu seemed to offer something pickled. Just as the food world reached peak pickle, the beauty and wellness world now seems to be approaching peak gummy. That skin-smoothing, hair-growing or sleep-inducing ingredient? We can gummy that.
While gummy supplements were formulated and marketed to kids first, a generation raised on Flintstones vitamins has graduated to adult versions. An Allied Market Research report released last year projected that the global gummy vitamins market, which, in 2018, was at $5.7 billion, would reach $9.3 billion by 2026. What’s driving the surge in gummy supplements? “Gummy vitamins are increasing in popularity, specifically with a younger demo, because they’re easy to take and they taste great,” says Whitney English Tabaie, an L.A.-based registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and certified personal trainer. “Gummies’ bright colors and fun flavors appeal to Gen Z. They tend to be positioned less as a boring supplement and more as an on-trend wellness accessory.” That gummies are, quite literally, easy to swallow helps as well. “Gummy supplements are a more appealing alternative for those who have trouble swallowing pills or have to take multiple medications,” adds Stacy K. Leung, an RDN in Amsterdam. Pill fatigue certainly plays a role, says Dr. Lilli Link, a board-certified internist and functional medicine practitioner at Parsley Health in New York, but she also sees another rationale. “Gummies are delicious candy that feel doctor-approved, and this enables people to rationalize eating them, even in place of more potent and effective options,” she explains.