A survey by IPSOS on behalf of Food Supplements Europe (FSE) revealed nearly 88% of those polled had taken a food supplement at some point. Of those who had, 93% did so in the past 12 months.
The study, which was carried out in March and April this year, included online interviews with 13,200 adults across 14 EU states including Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
The research further showed that consumers interacted with, and understood, supplement labels. The vast majority (85%) who had used them either strongly agreed or agreed that the followed the on-pack instructions when taking them. Additionally, 82% claimed to always or usually consult the label for dosage and frequency of use recommendations.
Nearly seven in 10 (69%) of those surveyed agree that labels provide easy-to-understand ingredient information, while just over seven in 10 (72%) are confident in the quality and safety of food supplements. Only a small minority (6%) disagreed with the statement.
Martina Simova, FSE Chair, says: “The findings of the survey demonstrate that most people are careful to follow directions of use when taking food supplements.
“Concerns are sometimes expressed that supplements might easily be misused by consumers, either wilfully or inadvertently. But this research, conducted by IPSOS, shows that these concerns are unwarranted, and that in fact consumers are predominantly responsible supplement users.”
According to the survey, vitamin D is the most commonly taken food supplement. Just under half (46%) of those polled had taken them in the past 12 months.
The next popular choices were vitamin C and magnesium, consumed by 36% and 33% respectively. These were followed by multi-vitamins or mineral supplement and omega 3 or fish oil, at 29% and 19% respectively.
Among respondents who said they had taken supplements in the past year, more than half (52%) claimed it was because they wanted to maintain their overall health.
A total of 45% cited their immune system as the reason, followed by for energy (29%). Skin, nail and hair health and gut or digestive health were both highlighted by 17% of those surveyed, while 14% gave heart health or blood pressure as the reason they took supplements.