Can you name the top performing dietary supplements?

In a market that’s constantly changing, it can be difficult to gauge the different between the supplement superstars, rising stars, and falling stars. Can you recognize the top selling dietary supplements of the moment?

Anyone looking to gain insight into the top selling dietary supplements for a given year (or some of the other larger nutritional supplement trends) the Council for Responsible Nutrition should be one of your go-to resources.

To recap for those who may have forgotten, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (or CRN) was founded in 1973 and has become one of the leading trade associations and voices for supplement manufacturers, functional food manufacturers, and ingredient suppliers across the US. Over the course of the year, the CRN will typically publish a number of different educational materials, including their annual Consumer Survey Report.

For the last 16 years, the CRN “Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements” has offered up invaluable facts and figures on the state of the dietary supplement industry. While the 2016 report has yet to be released (which makes sense given the fact that we’re only a little more than half way through 2016) the 2015 report has been released.

3 Insightful Dietary Supplement Takeaways from the 2015 CRN Consumer Survey

Though there are dozens of excellent tidbits and insights to be drawn from the 2015 CRN Consumer Survey, we’ve gone ahead and cherry picked the three most relevant takeaways for dietary supplement entrepreneurs, brand owners, and manufacturer.

Takeaway #1: The supplement industry can be divided into four, over-arching categories.

Even though there are thousands of dietary supplement products on the market today, it should be possible to place each and every one of them into (at least) one of the following categories:

The four major supplement categories are herbals & botanicals, vitamins and minerals, sports nutrition & weight management, and specialty supplements

So, what makes these categories so important? When it comes to finding facts, figures, and statistics to help guide you through the decision-making process, knowing the state of the supplement market as a whole, and of the larger sector that your products call home is one of the simplest methods for helping keep your business and your products comfortably situated ahead of the curve (not to mention relevant to target customers).

Takeaway #2: Between 2014 and 2015, only two of the four primary categories saw significant growth.

In this particular instance, “significant” indicates a year-over-year increase of 5% or more in usage by U.S. adult supplement users.

Of the four flagship categories, vitamins & minerals and specialty supplements saw virtual no growth between 2014 and 2015 (increases of 1% and 2%respectively).

On the other hand, herbals and botanicals saw a 5% increase in usage and sports nutrition & weight management saw a 6% increase. 

While vitamins & minerals remains the largest of the four categories, these numbers support what many of us in the industry have witnessed first-hand: Sports nutrition is in. Even though the uptick in herbal and botanical  usage is nothing to laugh at, this set of stats is yet another talking point in the argument for developing and engaging the sports supplementation and nutrition market (and it’s consumer base) in new ways.

Takeaway #3: Female consumers are responsible for more supplement purchases than you might think.

Especially for certain supplement categories (we’re looking at you sports nutrition), there’s a preconceived notion that men purchase and take supplements at a significantly higher rate than their female counterparts.

While this particular graph doesn’t offer us insight into the male/female breakdown by over-arching category, it does suggest that for Gen Y and Gen X consumers, male and females hold an equal amount of purchasing power.

CRN's 2015 Consumer Survey Report: Dietary Supplement Use in U.S. Adult Men vs. Women by Generation

Source: Council for Responsible Nutrition, “2015 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements”

Moreover, when we look at the Boomer and Elder categories, it becomes clear that females are currently demonstrating greater interest in supplements and, by extension, wield a larger portion of the purchasing power among these two generations.

What makes this particular takeaway so valuable? Well, excluding supplements that are exclusively associated with female health and those that are exclusively associated with male health, supplements that fall into all four of the major categories have the potential to meet the needs of both men and women. According to this data set the consumer interest is there – in both cases.

How to Recognize the Top Selling Dietary Supplements

When it comes to seeking out the latest industry trends for yourself and for your business, taking the time to see what the key players in the supplement industry (think brands, regulatory organizations, trade associations, and news outlets) have to say and report can make all the difference.

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