Phoenix-based consultant Steve Hanson, principal in the firm Grip Ideas, wanted to know what consumers understood about bioavailability to better help his clients. Sure, responsible companies are often seeking to improve their products, which would include ensuring that hard to absorb compounds are offered in forms in which the body can use them more easily. But what can they say about these improvements that makes sense to consumers? In other words, how do you calculate ROI on the money spent on these enhancements?
Hanson conducted some consumer research to find out. He surveyed more than 200 consumers, some who were already supplement users and others who were not, to find out what they understood about bioavailability, but how much those kinds of messages motivated them. Hanson found that while supplement users understood the concept that some nutrients are not well absorbed in certain forms better than non supplement users, there was a significant appreciation of this concept in both groups.
Willing to pay more
“Not only are they interested in those supplements that are better absorbed, they are willing to pay more for them, too. About 75% of supplement users said they would pay 10% or more extra for vitamins or supplement that was better absorbed. Nearly 60% of non supplement users said they would be willing to pay more for supplements that are better absorbed, which says to me that there is a significant opportunity with non supplement users because one of the main reasons consumers say they don’t take supplements is that they believe they are not absorbed,” Hanson told NutraIngredients-USA during an interview at the Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA.
Bioavailability enhancements can be achieved through a variety of means. Nano sizing particles to achieve more surface area is one approach; using chemical applications such as micelles and liposomes is another. Hanson found that even well informed consumers might get lost in the technical details of why one approach might be superior to another. His research seemed to indicate that companies should make their case with messages like ‘more bioavailable’ or ‘rapid absorption’ and leave the absorption rate graphs to the chemists.
“They understand the term ‘bioavailable,’ but in terms of specific technologies the awareness is relatively low,” Hanson said.