CRN supplement survey ‘paints the landscape of a vibrant, mainstream industry’

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Janine Lamontagne / Getty Images
© Janine Lamontagne / Getty Images

Related tags dietary supplement use Dietary supplements multivitamins Vitamin Vitamin d Vitamin c Council for Responsible Nutrition

After a couple of record-breaking years, dietary supplement usage is returning to pre-pandemic levels. Data from CRN’s 2022 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements shows that 75% of Americans are using dietary supplements, down from 80% in 2021.

The survey, which the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has run annually since 2000, shows that the majority of these users are regular users. Trust in the dietary supplement industry also remains high, with 77% viewing the industry as trustworthy – similar levels were reported during the pandemic (79% and 74% in 2021 and 2020, respectively). That number is even higher among supplement users, at 84%.

“This year’s data shows a remarkable picture of continuity and paints the landscape of a vibrant, mainstream industry,”​ said Brian Wommack, CRN’s senior vice president of communications. “While overall usage is down slightly from its pandemic peak, reported usage of immunity-boosting supplements—including vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc—is steady from last year.”

Top 5s

Multivitamins remain the most used supplement, with 70% of users reporting that they have taken a multivitamin in the past 12 months. Rounding out the top five were: Vitamin D (50%), Vitamin C (39%), Vitamin B/ B complex (26%), and Calcium (24%).

Interestingly, sports nutrition supplements have seen a resurgence, with a increase in use of 5% since 2021, up to 39%.

New this year is an increase in specialty supplement usage. More than half of consumers (52%) who take supplements report taking a specialty supplement, the most reported of which are omega-3s, probiotics, melatonin, and fiber, according to CRN.

When asked their top motivator for taking dietary supplements, Americans’ top responses are “maintaining my health” and “live healthier/adopt healthier habits.”

“This answer is not surprising,”​ said Wommack. “Data consistently shows supplement users are much more likely to report engaging in healthy behaviors like exercising, eating a balanced diet, visiting their doctor regularly, and regularly getting a good night’s sleep.”

CRN 2022 Consumer Survey - Top 5 Vitamins  & Minerals Used in 2022
Image courtesy of CRN

Branded ingredients

CRN again asked questions to qualify and quantify consumer attitudes around branded ingredients, with 55% of supplement users agreeing that branded ingredients work better, and 61% saying they are willing to pay more for branded ingredients. Similar results were obtained when the question was asked for the first time in 2021.

In addition, 71% of users said they were more confident in the supplements made with branded ingredients, while 62% of respondents said that branded ingredients can cost more because they are more effective and are of higher quality.

CRN 2022 Consumer Survey - Majority of supplement users prefer branded ingredients
Image courtesy of CRN

Changing supplement usage

The COVID-19 pandemic drove record breaking sales across multiple dietary supplement categories, leading to demand surges in products positioned for immune support, stress management, sleep, and more. Almost half of supplement users (49%) report changing their supplement use since the pandemic began, stable compared to 2021. Looking specifically at whether they have added new supplements or increased their dose, two-thirds of supplement users report doing so, slightly less than last year.

The survey data revealed that the changes in supplement usage happened across age groups and genders, but declines are more marked among those with lower incomes and among white and Hispanic Americans. Supplement usage remains higher among women, older adults, and those that are more educated and/or have a higher household income, according to CRN.

For the second year in a row, this year’s survey includes oversamples of Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander respondents to ensure significant sample sizes of supplement users of color to provide deep insights into the groups’ motivations, attitudes, and purchasing habits.

For more information about the survey, please click HERE​.

* The 2022 survey was fielded for CRN by Ipsos August 9-12, 2022. The survey was conducted online and included a national sample of 3,133 adults aged 18 and older living in the United States, including 2,342 adults who consume dietary supplements seasonally, occasionally, or regularly.

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