Four in 5 Americans now use supplements. That’s the major takeaway from the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) 2021 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. That 80% is the all-time high since CRN has been conducting this survey, and marks a 7-point increase over 2020.

“Supplement usage among Americans has steadily increased in the more than 20 years CRN has conducted the survey,” said Brian Wommack, CRN’s Senior Vice President of Communications, in a release outlining the findings. “With 80% of Americans now using supplements, these products are now mainstream and broadly accepted by the American public. Just as important, 79% of Americans believe the dietary supplement industry is trustworthy, a jump of 5 percentage points from 2020.”

The surge in usage, CRN reported, is largely to support overall health and wellness; 44% of respondents said they take nutritional supplements for this reason. Supporting immune health is the driving reason for 36% of respondents, while 28% cited energy, 27% said they were filling nutrient gaps, and 26% are supplementing for hair/skin/nail health.

Trending in 2021:
  • Vitamin D usage significantly increased since 2020, up 10 percentage points (52% vs. 42% in 2020).
  • Zinc increased to 22%, up from 15% in 2020.
  • Vitamin C increased to 40%, compared to 35% in 2020.
On the food side, numbers were also strong. Total organic fresh produce sales for the second quarter of 2021 increased 4% y-o-y, according to the Q2 2021 Organic Produce Performance Report, released by Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Category Partners. OPN noted that, in the second quarter of 2020, the pandemic shut down most foodservice, and supermarket sales jumped as people began making more food at home. As foodservice reopened in 2021, conventionally grown fresh produce supermarket sales showed a corresponding decline (dollar sales down 3.3%, compared to Q2 2020), but organic fresh produce wasup 4.1% in sales.

Looking at herbs, the American Botanical Council’s (ABC) 2020 Herb Market Report was released in September 2021, and showed significant gains. Consumers spent an estimated $11.261 billion on herbal products in 2020. That's a 17.3% increase from 2019, more than double the 8.6% growth reported in 2019. In mainstream U.S. retail outlets, consumers looked for products marketed for immune health and stress support. Some standouts:
  • Elderberry was the top-selling herbal supplement ingredient in this channel, with sales totaling more than $275 million, more than doubling since 2019.
  • Ashwagandha root had the highest percentage sales growth, with 185.2% in the mainstream channel.
  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV) supplements saw strong sales growth in both mainstream and natural retail channels; those marketed for digestive health and cleanse & detox performed the best.
  • U.S. customers in natural retail outlets prioritized fungi supplements, including those marketed for immune and cognitive health.
While those numbers show positive momentum, 2021 was plagued by problems. COVID-triggered supply chain challenges remain a pressing concern, debates over retailer quality standards linger, regulatory issues surrounding CBD and NAC continue to cause uncertainty and unease...the list goes on.

In our 2022 Success Toolkit, industry experts share their insights and expertise on top issues to know to set you up for greater success in 2022, from trend forecast to merchandising issues, regulatory updates, and more. Start where you'd like, or read straight through:

Exploring 2022 Trend Drivers, by Scott Dicker, SPINS Senior Market Insights Data Analyst

2021 in Review & What's Ahead for the Natural Products Industry, by Scott Steinford and Len Monheit, both with Trust Transparency Center

What Happened Last Year... and 4 Predictions for 2022, by Jay Jacobowitz, President and Founder of Retail Insights

Calls to Action for 2022, from leading industry associations

Better-For-You in '22, by Rakesh Amin, Partner at Amin Talati Wasserman

Before You Speak, Consider These Critical Communication Steps, by Amy Summers, Founder of Pitch Publicity