CRN Releases Initial Results of 2016 Consumer Survey

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Nancy Weindruch, senior director communications at CRN presenting survey results. Photo Credit: Sandy Khouri

Dana Point, CA—On Thursday, October 27, at the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s (CRN) annual symposium, The Conference, the trade group presented some telling results from its 2016 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. The results show that among consumers, confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements remains high, at 85%, with fluctuations in the number of “somewhat confident” and “very confident” groups. In particular, a decrease in those “somewhat confident” and a 7% increase in those “very confident.”

Increases in confidence were also category-specific, with the statistically significant increases in confidence occurring in the specialty supplement and sports nutrition/weight management categories. In addition, this year’s survey measured consumer trust of the dietary supplement industry for the first time, with results showing that 73% of Americans overall find the industry trustworthy.

Regarding usage of dietary supplements, the survey’s results also went in a positive direction. Despite remaining at 68% consistently since 2012, in 2016, the number of Americans who take dietary supplements is now at 71%, amounting to 170 million people. Of these supplement users, 54% of adults take supplements regularly, though interestingly, usage of multivitamins have decreased (16%) while taking a variety of supplements has increased (37%).

There were also shifts in supplement usage between age groups. For instance, 48% of adults 18-34 years of age (AKA Millennials) take supplements regularly. This is an increase of 9% from the previous year and demonstrates engagement from an important target demographic. The 35-54 age group only saw a slight increase in regular usage and the 55+ group stayed the same which means that Millennials can prove to be a consequential group to the growth and acceptance of dietary supplements.

Another interesting result from the 2016 survey was the reason why consumers were purchasing dietary supplements. Energy has become the number two reason for buying dietary supplements. Historically, the top two spots were held by “Overall health and wellness benefits,” and “To fill nutrient gaps in my diet.” This year, the latter has been usurped by energy. While overall, taking dietary supplements for energy purposes is at 30%, it is actually the number one reason for those aged 18-34 years, with 46% citing energy as the reason for their dietary supplement use, demonstrating a significant influence on the data by Millennials.