Supplement inspections 'crucial' following potential consumer safety concerns

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

© vovashevchuk / Getty Images
© vovashevchuk / Getty Images

Related tags Food safety supplement consumers Foodborne illness

A recent analysis of consumer attitudes towards food supplements finds that food safety knowledge (FSK) significantly affects the behavioural intentions (BIs) towards supplement consumption, suggesting that increased transparency and consumer information would improve their usage.

Furthermore, a greater level of consumer health consciousness (HC) significantly and positively impacted attitudes and behaviours regarding the use of food supplements, through the mediating effect of FSK.

"Consequently, the state’s actions on food supplement inspection are crucial since terms such as HC and food supplement safety directly affect public health," the team of Turkish researchers wrote in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

"This research provides findings that have a multiplier effect on health institutions and organizations to publish a digital health declaration/report on food supplements, prepare a sustainable consumption model, or direct them to organic food supplements. In this respect, it is thought that the relevant research will be an essential guide for academicians, researchers and practitioners."

Food safety and supplements

With the significant cost-of-living crisis and shifting dietary patterns of the modern day, food insecurity is ever-more prevalent​ in both developing and developed countries. Resulting health crises have increased the consumption of food supplements.

Food safety concerns represent a further significant factor influencing food consumption and security, as well as food supplement intakes.

The World Health Organization​ reported that almost one in ten people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food, and 420,000 die every year. Furthermore, it is known​ that foodborne illness costs the American food service industry $55.5 billion annually.

Despite the steps taken by farmers, businesses and the government to ensure food safety where possible, consumer perception and concerns over safety is critical​ for determining food consumption behaviours. Thus, the present study sought to understand the consumer knowledge and concerns about food safety on their behavioural intentions (BIs) towards food supplements.

Study details

The researchers analyzed data gathered from 327 participants through online surveys conducted during the third quarter of 2023. Health consciousness (HC) level, food safety concerns (FSCs), food safety knowledge (FSK), consumers attitudes (ATUs), subjective norms (SNs) and behavioural intentions (BIs) towards foods supplements were identified from the sample.

The study reported that the HC variable positively and significantly affects FSK and FSC variables, as the interaction between HC and ATU was found to be mediated by FSK. Furthermore, BI to use supplements was directly influenced by ATU and SNs, whilst being indirectly influenced by HC and FSK.

This indicated that consumers had a positive attitude towards supplement use, and having further information about the foods consumed as well as concerns about personal health promotes their consumption, according to the researchers.

“Therefore, it is thought that supplement use will increase in the future (even if it is not the subject of the study)," they wrote. "Regarding marketing discipline, it would be a reasonable inference to interpret that the commercial volume and expected market size of supplements will also increase.” 

For future study, they called for research in a more representative sample, as well as collating objective, quantitative data to reduce the effects of potential bias.


Source: Frontiers in Nutrition
“Does knowledge and concern regarding food supplement safety affect the behavioral intention of consumers? An experimental study on the theory of reasoned action”
Authors: Talha Bayır et al.

Related topics Research GMPs, QA & QC

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