Mistaken identity? TikTok chlorophyll boom sends chlorella sales rocketing

With food and nutrition quickly becoming one of TikTok’s hottest topics – #TikTokfood has 28 billion views as of mid-June – one sub-trend among TikTokkers is drinking liquid #chlorophyll which has been linked to energy, weight loss, body odor and skin health benefits – and perhaps most importantly, immune health, in terms of the condition with the strongest clinical backing and COVID-driven contemporary need.

Chlorella supplements contain chlorophyll at varying levels; so whether it is down to shoppers knowingly seeking chlorella as a source of chlorophyll or simply mistaking one for the other, the chlorella surge has been dramatic.

SPINS/IRI data that includes brick and mortar sales in mass and specialty outlets (excluding Whole Foods and Trader Joes) shows 12-week chlorella sales to mid-May were up 58.73% from $1.54 million last year to $2.45m this year.

If a 24-week sales period was considered, sales jumped 35.61% from $2.79m in 2020 to $3.78m this year. Yearly sales were up 16.93% from $5.75m to $6.72m in these offline channels. (Which it should be noted are not indicative of a category for which online sales are significant.)

American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) president Michael McGuffin, said the category was up 25% in all channels year-on-year with “sales attributed to excitement created on social media; TikTok in particular.”

“You usually see the TikTok effect more with workout products where they get an attractive female or ripped dude to sell it or something like that, or relaxation products,”​ observed Natural Products Association (NPA) chief Dan Fabricant. “But in the case of chlorella I’d like to think it is more due to the years and years of science behind it.”

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