Far East Asia has been experiencing the Covid-19 outbreak ahead of Europe – observing the regional challenges, such as Japan cases, can help identify what comes next or where to move on.

When consumers cannot buy what they want, they tend to try to find products that can be used as a substitute. One of examples is high alcohol spirits. People who cannot buy sanitizers are now trying to create their own version of sanitizers with spirits. According to Million Trading, a wine and spirits importer, Polish vodka Spiriytus that has 96% alcohol by volume has been suddenly seeing high demand from February; the demand is more than twice compared to its usual pace and its supply is not keeping up.

When the effect of Covid-19 has become prolonged, consumers are also searching for products that protect their health in general. Particularly, to improve their immunity, consumers are more actively buying probiotic products. An example from Japan is natto, fermented soybeans, which have been lacking in stock consistently since the outbreak; natto is known for its health benefits, particularly in terms of lowering cholesterol, and is filled to the brim with fibre, probiotics, and vitamin K2. Similarly, yogurt, generally associated with gut health and immunity, are selling well.

There will not be natto panic buy in Europe, but spirits and probiotic products claiming to improve immune system are likely to grab the UK, as well as European consumers’ eye.