Highlights: CRN’s 2016 Supplement Consumer Survey

For those who don’t know, one of the most anticipated (not to mention insightful) nutraceutical industry reports is the CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) Annual Survey on Dietary Supplements. Let’s take a moment to review some of the most significant highlights from the 2016 report and discuss how those same highlights may come to shape the dietary supplement industry in 2017.

First Things First: Who is the Council for Responsible Nutrition, exactly?

The organization responsible for ordering up these stats year after year, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), is a Washington D.C.-based trade association that’s been representing manufacturers and suppliers of dietary supplements, functional foods, and ingredients since 1973.

For the last four decades and change, CRN’s mission has been “to sustain and enhance a climate for our members to responsibly develop, manufacture and market dietary supplements, functional foods and nutritional ingredients.”

RELATED READING: CRN & IPA Release New Probiotic Guidelines

CRN members (who range in size from large national brands to smaller, more local chains) work alongside CRN to uphold federal and state regulations while supporting CRN’s Code of Ethics and producing the highest quality products possible.

If you’re still curious, you can read even more about who they are, what they do, and how they do it here.

Key Highlights: CRN 2016 Annual Survey on Dietary Supplements

  • 71 % of those surveyed say that they take supplements. When compared to previous years (2012-2015), this number has grown from 68%. Even though 3% may not sound like much, this number still suggest that for every 10 people we survey, 7 consider themselves to be supplement users.
  • 18-34 year-olds are taking more supplements. Throughout 2016, many of us within the nutraceutical industry have taken note of millennials’ increasing interest in dietary supplements. Increased consumer demand means more purchasing power. For any brand owner looking to keep up with the times, being able to listen to the changing needs and preferences of millennial customers is a must.
  • Consumer Trust is at 73% and Consumer Confidence is at 85%. Here are two statistics capable of making any industry insider’s day. Whether you’re a brand owner, manufacturer, or supplier – working to earn the confidence and trust of your customers should be a top priority.
  • Categories That Saw Noticeable Growth: Sports Nutrition, Weight Managment, Specialty Supplements. Do you hear that? It almost sounds like the gentle knock of new opportunities.

Which Supplements are consumers taking?

According to the survey, multivitamins continue to be the most popular dietary supplement on the market – with 75% of those surveyed reporting that they take a multivitamin regularly.

Even though multivitamin usage has actually seen a year over year dip, multivitamins still hold a significant “popularity” lead over the other supplements who’ve earned a top 12 spot.

One popular market theory links this dip in multivitamin usage to the steadily increasing demand for “personalized” and purpose-specific supplements.

While multivitamins can support a variety of health initiatives, “personalized” supplements have the potential to provide the consumer with the exact ingredients and benefits that they’re looking for – nothing less and nothing more.

So, what’s the key business takeaway here?

If what the data provided by CRN and other sources continues to prove true, then a key distinguishing factor for dietary supplements that are on the market in 2017 (and possibly beyond) will be their ability to meet specific needs in a unique, safe, and effective way.

The Key Motivators: Wellbeing, Energy & Nutrition

Top Consumer Reasons for Taking Dietary Supplements in 2016 - CRNNot for the first time, “overall health and wellbeing,” “filling nutritional gaps,” and “desire for more energy” have proven to be the top three motivating factors for consumers who choose to purchase dietary supplements.

Now, what did happen for the first time was that consumers ranked “desire for more energy” above filling nutritional gaps.

Whether it’s a result of our increasingly packed schedules and “always on” routines or some other factor(s) entirely, this isn’t necessarily a change worth overlooking.

Regardless, all three of these consumer motivates can serve as an excellent starting point for a brand owner looking to build out their first (or maybe their next) dietary supplement product.

Looking Ahead to 2017

If there’s one thing we know for certain it’s this: We can’t wait to see how these findings are reflected in the year to come. It’s our plan to be there for every step a long the way.

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