Washington, D.C.—The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) shared initial findings from its2021 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplementsduring its NOW, NEW, NEXT 2021 event. The major takeaway: 4 in 5 Americans now use supplements. That's a 7-point increase over 2020, and it's the all-time high since CRN has been conducting this survey.

“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.”

More highlights from the survey:
  • 50% of supplement users reported a change to their supplement routine since the COVID-19 pandemic started
  • 55% of those who reported a change said it included adding new supplements to their existing routine.
  • Hispanic Americans were most likely to report a change in their supplement routine, significantly more so than white and Asian American/Pacific Islander respondents.
What are people taking? In presenting the data to event attendees, Tom Druke, Marketing Director, Minerals & Nutrients, Balchem noted that the supplement users surveyed are multiproduct users, which he noted is a good sign. Wommack noted that the focus has traditionally been on filling nutrient gaps, but there is an opportunity here to focus on optimizing overall health.

Taking a closer look at trending nutrients:
  • Over the past 12 months, 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.
  • Hispanics are most likely to report a change in their supplement routine.
And why are they supplementing? Druke explained that 44% are taking nutritional supplements for overall health and wellness. 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.

In another positive sign, 79% of adults surveyed said they believe the dietary supplement industry is trustworthy, and 94% of supplement users feel confident in the effectiveness of dietary supplements, while 96% are confident in the safety and quality of supplements.

The survey also looks at branded ingredients for the first time, showing consumers to find added value and are willing to pay for that quality.
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About the 2021 survey: It was fielded for CRN by Ipsos August 20–26, 2021 and included a national sample of 3,089 adults aged 18 and older living in the United States, including 2,421 adults who consume dietary supplements seasonally, occasionally, or regularly. For  details, and to purchase the complete set of consumer survey data, get more informationhere.