Supplements find converts in the recessionary gloom

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Fresh data suggests that use of dietary supplements is on an even keel despite the wobbly economy.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) reached this conclusion following the publication of an annual survey it commissions to gauge the health of the supplements market.

According to the results of the 2,043-strong poll, 65 percent of Americans take dietary supplements. This is one percent up on 2008 and three percent down on 2007.

Recessionary spending

When asked directly about the recession, almost three quarters of respondents said the faltering economy has not influenced their supplement buying habits.

CRN was encouraged by these headline survey results. Season Solario, a CRN spokesperson, said the trade body is pleased to see “a small upsurge in usage”​ that corroborates other recent market data results.

While there may be some new supplement converts, the survey also found that some consumers were cutting back. Of the 27 percent that said the recession was affecting their buying, 59 percent said they were purchasing fewer supplements to save money.

Consumer confidence

Some consumers steer clear of supplements completely because they are not confident in their safety, quality, or effectiveness. Rogue traders and occasional newspaper articles questioning the benefits of supplements have tarnished the image of the industry over the years.

But on this front CRN said the situation is improving. A total 84 percent of consumers expressed confidence in supplements this year, compared with 81 percent last year.

Confidence levels have been rising gradually in CRN surveys over the past few years; a trend that the trade group attributes to industry initiative.

“We believe that responsible companies within the industry can take some of the credit for the continued rise on confidence in dietary supplements,”​ said CRN president Steve Mister. “They have embraced new regulatory requirement such as adverse event reporting and new Good Manufacturing Practices specific to dietary supplements.”

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