Talking with NutraIngredients-USA via video, Steve Mister, President and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), told us: “Initially, we thought this [surging sales of dietary supplements] could be pantry stocking, but now that we’re seeing that people are continuing to buy, which means they’re using the products that they’ve purchased.
“We really think this could be a sea change for the industry more generally, and that what we’re seeing is consumers taking more interest in their health and changing their views towards proactive self-care.”
CRN fields an annual survey every late summer, early fall, and presents the results during its annual conference, so Mister said it will be interesting to see if the Spring sales surges will be sustained through the Summer months and into the Fall, or if people lose interest in self-care if the pandemic picture improves.
To ensure that consumers who were new to dietary supplements prior to the current coronavirus crisis stick with the products, the industry must deliver on the results the products are promising, said Mister.
“Consumers are going to want to feel different and see the results. If they don’t, their interest is likely to wane when the urgency of the pandemic starts to fade. If they feel better and they see results, then we’ve converted new customers and we’re going to have them for a long time.”
SBA & PPP
Despite the sales surges, this remains a difficult time for many companies, and many businesses have applied for federal financial support via the Paycheck Protection Program.
“I think businesses across the board – both inside and outside the supplement industry – found that that first round of stimulus went way too fast. There simply wasn’t enough money there for businesses who needed it. We now have another round of funding and that went very quickly as well, and we haven’t heard from our companies if they were able to access it.”
CRN is canvasing its members to determine if member companies could access the second round, he added.
“Certainly, there’s not enough money and there’s going to need to be another round of stimulus.”
Mister also discusses FDA, the supply chain pressures, and the need for members to double down on quality control.