Dietary Supplements Valued Even in a Challenging Economy

Despite these complicated economic times, 65 percent of adult consumers (up slightly from 64 percent in 2008) take dietary supplements, according to a new consumer survey conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). When asked if the economy had affected their household’s dietary supplement purchasing habits, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of those surveyed responded that it had not.

“We’re pleased that consumers continue to place emphasis on their health, even in uncertain economic times, and that dietary supplements continue to play a role in their overall wellness regimen,” said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN. “According to our survey, consumers, including supplement users, report to be taking necessary steps towards good health, such as trying to eat a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. We’re encouraged that dietary supplements continue to be a part of that equation for many.”

According to results from the 2009 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, the economy prompted 27 percent of dietary supplement consumers to alter their supplement purchasing habits. Among that group, purchasing habits changed in the following ways:
• 59 percent (of the 27 percent) reported they are purchasing fewer supplements as a means to save money;
• 31 percent (of the 27 percent) indicated they are now purchasing less expensive brands;
• 26 percent (of the 27 percent) said they have been purchasing store brand supplements;
• 23 percent (of the 27 percent) indicated they rely on coupons and other value-added promotions;
• 22 percent (of the 27 percent) responded they only buy supplements when they are on sale;
• 5 percent (of the 27 percent) responded they are purchasing more supplements to maintain health;
• 4 percent (of the 27 percent) responded they have stopped purchasing supplements because of the economy.

For those consumers who have committed to their supplement routine, what factors are most important to them when sifting through the multitude of options? Supplement consumers indicated that the three factors most important to them when purchasing supplements are: the price, the supplements facts box (i.e. dosage, daily value, etc) and the label claims (maintain heart health, maintain joint health, etc).
The 2009 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements was conducted August 26 through September 1, 2009 by Ipsos Public Affairs and funded by CRN. The survey was conducted on-line and included a national sample of 2,043 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. on-line 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.


Ipsos Public Affairs is part of Ipsos, a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals that helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens. Ipsos offers a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and on-line research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our 70+ manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit

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