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Sharp uptick in dietary supplement usage among millennials, CRN survey finds


WASHINGTON — As many as 170 million U.S. adults, or 71% of the population, take dietary supplements, according to the most recent annual survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.  

“It is exciting to see the growth in supplement usage among younger adults especially after our 2015 survey indicated that increased usage should be anticipated among those aged 18 to 34 over the next five years,” stated Judy Blatman, SVP communications, CRN. “Every industry is talking about the millennials and the impact this generation will have. Our data shows the impact is already being made on the dietary supplement industry as young adults are increasingly incorporating dietary supplements into their health regimens.”

The 2016 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found that the five most popular supplements are the multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium and vitamin B/B complex.

Contributing to the boost in overall usage is general population growth, as well as the increase in usage among adults between the ages 18 – 34. This year’s results indicate that, as in years past, the oldest population surveyed (adults aged 55+) maintains the highest percentage of supplement use at 74%.

Different from previous years, the 2016 survey points to similar supplement consumption patterns among younger and middle aged adult populations, with 70% of adults aged 18 – 34 and 70% of those aged 35 – 54 reporting dietary supplement use. In comparison, only 65% of adults aged 18 – 34 reported taking dietary supplements in 2015, while 68% of adults aged 35 – 54 said the same.

The increase in supplement usage among younger adults can also potentially be correlated with the shift seen in the most common reasons users take dietary supplements. Historically, the top two reasons for taking supplements among supplement users were for “overall health/wellness benefits” and “to fill nutrient gaps in my diet.” This year, however, energy (30%) has risen to become the No. 2 reason for taking supplements among supplement users, behind only “for overall health and wellness benefits” (42%), which remains top of mind. “To fill nutrient gaps in my diet” now ranks third when it comes to reasons why supplement users take supplements, at 28%.

Another important finding, which is consistent with the findings from CRN’s previous surveys, is the high level of confidence Americans have in dietary supplements. According to the 2016 survey, 85% of U.S. adults have overall confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements. Among supplement users it’s even higher, with 96% indicating confidence.

A new question aimed at measuring consumer trust in the dietary supplement industry was added to the survey this year. The question, “To what extent do you perceive the dietary supplement industry as being trustworthy,” revealed that nearly three quarters of Americans (73%) perceive the dietary supplement industry as being trustworthy. “This question will serve as a benchmark question for us moving forward," Blatman said.


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