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Supplement Usage and Confidence Remains Steady

October 4, 2012

Sixty-eight percent of American adults take nutritional or dietary supplements, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Washington, D.C., based on data released from its annual consumer survey. The numbers are consistent with the previous years’ stats of 69% (2011), 66% (2010) and 65% (2009).

According to the results from the 2012 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, regular supplement usage also remains steady—the online survey showed that more than three-quarters of supplement users (76%) classify themselves as “regular” users, as opposed to occasional users (18%) or seasonal users (6%). In 2011, 77% of supplement users indicated they took supplements regularly; in 2010, 74% and in 2009, 73% indicated similarly.

“Year after year, our survey demonstrates that a sizeable portion of the American population values vitamins and other supplements as part of the things they do to maintain good health,” said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN. “From a publicity-generating standpoint, it would be interesting to see huge swings; but from a healthy industry perspective, it’s encouraging that two-thirds of adult consumers in this country continue to identify themselves as supplement customers, year after year.”

The survey also looked at which products consumers are taking.  The multivitamin is still the most popular, with 52% of all adults reporting usage in the past 12 months. The number of individuals aged 35-54 that reported using a multivitamin increased by five percent (54% versus 49% in 2011). In addition to the multivitamin, omega-3/fish oil (21%), vitamin D (20%), vitamin C (19%) and calcium (17%) round out the top five.

“While the multivitamin remains incredibly popular with a majority of Americans, consumer usage is not limited to the multi, or even just to vitamins,” said Ms. Blatman. “Thirty-three percent report taking specialty supplements, 16% take sports nutrition supplements, and 18% take herbals/botanicals.”

Consumer confidence in dietary supplements has also remained consistent in 2012, with 85% of American adults indicating that they are confident in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements. Confidence in supplements has remained fairly consistent over the last several years with 84% of American adults indicating a favorable level of confidence in dietary supplements in 2011, 82% in 2010 and 84% in 2009.

The 2012 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements was conducted August 27-31, 2012 by Ipsos Public Affairs and funded by CRN. The survey was conducted on-line and included a national sample of 2,006 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel.  The survey has been conducted annually since 2000. Weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.

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