Americans Confident in Dietary Supplements, Says New IPSOS-Public Affairs Survey

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2004 --An Ipsos-Public Affairs survey found more than three quarters of American adults have confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements, according to survey results released at the Council for Responsible Nutrition's (CRN) 2004 annual conference on dietary supplements being held this week at the Lansdowne Resort in Lansdowne, Va.

Despite on-going negative stories by the press about dietary supplements, consumer confidence has remained steady over a four-year period, according to the annual survey which began tracking this question in 2001. Results for 2004 showed 78 percent of consumers were either somewhat confident or very confident in dietary supplements-up slightly from 77 percent in 2003, 75 percent in 2002 and 74 percent in 2001.

"While this statistic shows that consumer confidence overall is relatively high, we have not seen a significant increase in the strength of confidence," says Judy Blatman, vice president, communications, CRN, noting that the tier for very confident (28 percent) versus somewhat confident (50 percent) has only gone up by two percentage points in four years. "As an industry, we need to continue to urge government and private funding for scientific research on the safety and effectiveness of supplements, as well as do a better job of communicating the kinds of things responsible companies do to ensure high quality products."

Ninety percent of those surveyed indicated that they trust doctors or other healthcare professionals for reliable information on supplements, with 79 percent citing pharmacists when specifically asked about that group. Friends and family ranked third at 63 percent. Government agencies were called a reliable source by 41 percent while celebrity spokespeople were rated low at only 7 percent.

"These numbers are fairly consistent with what we've seen the past couple of years, although pharmacists had been named by as many as 90 percent and government agencies were as high as 51 percent two years ago. Given that supplements have an important role to play in overall health promotion, it's no surprise that the rankings for healthcare professionals remain steady and that this group is relied upon so heavily for accurate information," states Ms. Blatman.

The survey also showed an insignificant decrease in supplement usage at 62 percent, down from 65 percent in 2003, and lower than what other surveys have shown about supplement use. There was also a significant increase in regular users: 33 percent in 2004 versus 27 percent in 2003, which includes an increase in those who are taking a variety of supplements, 17 percent in 2004 up from 13 percent in 2003.

Conducted in August by Ipsos-Public Affairs, the survey consisted of 1,000 completed telephone interviews among a random sample of U.S. adults aged 18+, and results were weighted to represent the U.S. adult population. The survey was funded by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

The CRN Consumer Confidence survey provides CRN member companies the option of purchasing 500+ pages of mainly proprietary data on consumer attitudes and usage towards dietary supplements. In addition to the overview numbers presented at the CRN annual conference, the data is reported by demographics, types of supplements used, and channels of distribution. The full survey, which includes additional questions, will be available to purchasers in November. Some trended data is available as this is the fifth year that the survey has been conducted.

Ipsos-Public Affairs is part of Ipsos, a leading global survey-based market research group offering a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services. Ipsos-Public Affairs conducts strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of U.S. and international organizations and through Ipsos U.S. Express uses an omnibus survey to monitor product usage and attitudes.

Contact: Judy Blatman, 202-204-7962
Source: Council for Responsible Nutrition's (CRN)

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