Monitor: Consumer trust in supplements grew after pandemic

New consumer research shows that trust in supplements grew post-pandemic, even after sales growth slowed in wake of the "COVID boom." Find out more.

Rick Polito, Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

May 2, 2024

2 Min Read

In the summer of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, demand for supplements was soaring and two questions occupied the minds of industry executives. The first was “can we keep up?”

The second was “how long will this last?”

We have the answer to the first question—they did—but the second question is more difficult. We know that sales growth went from fastest-ever to slowest-ever in the course of two years, but it’s also safe to say that, according to Nutrition Business Journal projections, dietary supplement sales are substantially higher than they would have been if the pandemic had never occurred.

What we don’t know is how many of the consumers brought into the market during the pandemic will stick around and for how long. New consumer research suggests that at least some of the recent supplement adopters are in for the long haul.

Asked whether their level of trust in the supplement industry changed after the pandemic, 72% of consumers said it had not, but 25% said their faith in supplements is higher than it was. Only 3% said their trust had dropped.

What the survey doesn't define is where new consumers who started taking supplements during or after the pandemic fit into those percentages, but general level of trust being unchanged, or increasing, certainly doesn’t show any larger number of people abandoning supplements.

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One theory on why supplement sales growth dropped so precipitously in 2022 revolves around a simpler matter of bigger markets growing more slowly. However, that effect may have been compounded by the fact that millions of consumers were still working through the stores of supplements they bought during the pandemic. For a time, the supply chain was bloated all the way from ingredient supplier to consumers’ medicine cabinets. Improving sales are perhaps a sign that they’ve finally worked through that surplus.

The results regarding trust from this survey support that idea. It could have easily been that consumers thought supplement brands overpromised on everything from immunity to sleep support in 2020 and they were ready to walk away from the market.

Instead trust remains high. It gets harder and harder to separate the COVID bump’s long-term effects from what we’d expect to see in a business cycle lacking that impact, but rising sales growth and solid levels of trust show this larger market is a healthy one. 

About the Author(s)

Rick Polito

Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

As Nutrition Business Journal's editor-in-chief, Rick Polito writes about the trends, deals and developments in the natural nutrition industry, looking for the little companies coming up and the big money coming in. An award-winning journalist, Polito knows that facts and figures never give the complete context and that the story of this industry has always been about people.

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