According to Steve French, senior vice president at the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), US and EU consumers perceive supplement intake differently. However, their reasons for reducing supplements usage are remarkably similar.
He also stated that these findings could help the supplement industry gain significant returns in his Vitafoods presentation in October.
The data he provided included NMI’s insights on consumer perception regarding supplements, OTCs, and prescribed formulations since 2005.
The reports showed that the consumers from the two markets have different health concerns, which reflects on the supplement demand.
For example, the primary health concerns for Americans are cardiovascular issues (38%), digestive problems (37%), weight issues (32%), and joint problems (32%).
In contrast, the major cause of concern for Europeans are digestive issues (42%), followed by immune health concerns (39%), headaches (37%), and emotional problems (33%).
Analyzing the data, it immediately becomes clear that gastrointestinal complaints are a common concern for both continents.
However, only 34% of US citizens believe in the effectiveness of digestive supplements. And the rate for EU consumers is even lower—29%.
On the other hand, both populations are highly concerned about COVID-19 prevention—43% of the Americans and 46% of the Europeans.
Both US and EU consumers state their diet lacks vitamin D. Besides vitamin D, 31% of EU consumers and 14% of US consumers believe their diet is deficient in magnesium. Furthermore, both populations feel there’s insufficient vitamin C, calcium, iron, and fish oil in their diets.
Therefore, the data regarding supplements usage aren’t surprising. As many as 77% of US consumers and 73% of the EU customers use supplements, 50% take prescription drugs, and 45% use OTCs.
But there are noticeable differences regarding the type of supplements US and EU citizens opt for. For example, multivitamins stood out as the top supplement in the US, with 44% of the customers using them.
In contrast, in the EU, the title of the most consumed went to vitamin D and magnesium (38%). Those supplements were followed by multivitamins, used by 35% of EU citizens.
One of the very positive observed trends was the increased supplement use in the last five years for the US citizens (27%) and EU citizens (32%). However, there were also some negative observations in the report.
For example, compliance issues are particularly concerning. According to NMI’s data, only 62% of Americans and 55% of Europeans follow their doctors` advice to take supplements once daily.
One of the main reasons for this is the individuals’ perception that the supplements may not be effective enough (26% of the US and 17% of the EU customers claim that).
Other issues related to reduced supplement use are dislike of taking pills, uncertainty about what to take when there are no doctor recommendations, lack of health issues, trust in a balanced diet as a source of nutrients, etc.
However, it’s encouraging that 41% of the US and 30% of the EU people believe in supplements as effective treatment options for particular conditions.