Sainsbury's vitamin product sales have out performed the market, rocketing up to 200 per cent in the past two years.
The data, based on sales to 12 million Sainsbury's shoppers during October this year, showed that vitamin C sales are up more than 200 per cent on two years ago. Sales of multivitamin tablets have risen more than 100 per cent and take-up of flu vaccinations has doubled on last year. Sales of anti-bacterial hand gel have soared 145 per cent on 2010.
The data showed Sainsbury's bucking a nationwide trend that has seen the market for vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) remain flat in recent years, as the recession has forced people to tighten their belts on non-essential purchases.
Separate research commissioned by Sainsbury's, also published this month, showed that people are visiting their local pharmacist as a first port of call for advice about minor ailments.
According to the YouGov survey of more than 2,000 adults, over a third (34 per cent) of respondents said they go to their pharmacist for advice on minor ailments and the same number said they would go to buy over-the-counter medicine based on the recommendation of a pharmacist.
Richard Holland, Sainsbury's healthcare buyer, put the findings down to a shift in attitudes toward preventative action.
"It seems our customers aren't prepared to take any chances this year - there's a real focus on prevention over cure," he said. "We're seeing a significant growth in sales across a whole range of products. Our pharmacists have administered over 21,000 more flu vaccinations than this time last year."
Sainsbury's recently launched The Wells Challenge, an initiative to get more people talking to pharmacists about issues related to health and wellbeing.
To find out how vitamin sales have performed in recent years as well as how to boost the category in your pharmacy, see C+D's Category Focus.