New consumer research reveals brand familiarity ranks behind price, but branded ingredients important to consumers when buying supplements.

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

April 20, 2023

2 Min Read
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Consumers still most commonly focus on price when deciding which supplements to buy, but brand familiarity and branded ingredients stand out as important parts of the purchasing decision, according to new consumer research from New Hope Network.

Price was cited as a factor by 52% of supplement users in an early April survey of 1,000 adults, with 38% of calling “brand familiarity” important. What comes after those two most-cited factors could be the most interesting findings for supplement makers: Flavor and recommendations from health-care specialists were essentially equal, but “branded ingredients” emerges as a high-ranked factor, with 29% of consumers surveyed calling branded ingredients a primary reason for choosing a supplement.

 

Branded ingredients are forms of common supplement ingredients that have been processed or specially extracted to make them more effective in formulations. Branded ingredients that have seen particular success include forms of ashwagandha, krill oil, L-theanine and curcumin.

How widely consumers accept the branded ingredient concept is not always clear, making the survey callout actionable. Supplement brands might also be taking a closer look at branded ingredients due to new clarity from the FTC on what constitutes evidence for health claims. Branded ingredients can be more likely to be well studied than standard commodity ingredients.

The high ranking of brand familiarity is also notable, given recent research from New Hope’s Nutrition Business Journal revealing that consumers concerned about inflation are willing to trade down to store brands and value brands.

Additional findings in the new survey could also be important to brands deciding where to focus marketing and echo findings in NBJ’s Sales Channel Report, which will be published in May. Asked where they purchase their supplements, 70% of respondents cited mass market retail. The results show a steep drop to the 42% who said conventional grocery store chains, a percentage effectively equal with online sales. Only 21% noted natural/health food chain stores as a typical purchase point.

 

nbj-sales-channels-report-2023-cover.pngNBJ’sSales Channel Report, which is available now, includes food, beverage and supplements sales data and forecasts, consumer survey results and perspectives on market changes following the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the NBJ store for this and other reports.

 

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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