CRN 2022 survey: Vitamin D in high demand

To mark World Vitamin D Day (2nd November), CRN published initial findings from its 2022 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, which was conducted (in collaboration with Ipsos) in August 2022 among 3,133 US adults aged 18+ years. This includes 2,342 who report consuming dietary supplements seasonally, occasionally or regularly. The survey highlighted the Top 5 single ingredient supplements (see chart below), while also indicating that more than half of consumers (52%) who take supplements report taking a specialty supplement, the most reported of which are omega-3s, probiotics, melatonin and fibre.

CRN states that many more people could experience enhanced quality of life, as well as healthcare cost savings, if they were to follow the dietary supplement regimens discussed in the CRN Foundation Supplements to Savings report. For example, if all US adults aged 50+ years took calcium 1,000mg and vitamin D 15mcg per day, the US healthcare system could save US$17.3bn and avoid 361,507 medical events on average per year from 2022–30. “A steadily growing body of clinical research shows investing in preventive care through supplementation helps Americans avoid chronic conditions. This strategy is what we call a no-brainer,” said CRN SVP Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Andrea Wong.

Nicholas Hall Writes: As CHC.Newsflash reported recently, overall supplement usage stands at 75% of the entire US population, an astonishingly high level. Multivitamins remains the top dietary supplement (taken by 70%) and reported consumption of immunity-boosting supplements – including vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc – remains steady vs last year. Immune health is a top reason for taking supplements (40%), second only to overall health & wellness (44%). Yet there is still room for more growth, which would benefit both individual consumers and our industry, and the healthcare system at large. According to CRN, the annual savings from wider usage of calcium and vitamin D could reach US$17bn.

This data joins a torrent of basically good news about consumer health that makes me think that we are at the beginning of a golden age for our industry, which is how I described our prospects when I gave the final presentation at the Ceuta London conference. We used to say that CHC was dependent on three main drivers of growth. It is true that the cough & cold market is once again boosting demand, but we now no longer rely on the Emerging Markets to the same extent, and Rx-to-OTC is virtually non-existent. No, it is the broader acceptance of self-care by the US and European population that is delivering the most impressive results this year.

In just over two weeks, you can log on to hear from Nicholas and industry experts during our Asia-Pacific e-Conference on 23 November! Topics on the agenda include the go-to-market model, self-care collaborations and sustainability through accessibility. For more information, or to register, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com without delay.

CRN Survey: Branded ingredients favoured by VMS consumers

The Council for Responsible Nutrition has revealed initial findings from its 2022 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. The survey was conducted online in August 2022 among 3,133 US adults aged 18+ years, including 2,342 who report consuming dietary supplements seasonally, occasionally or regularly.

Liz Cummings, our Regional VP North America, reports from CRN’s Now New Next conference: 

US dietary supplement use has reverted to the pre-pandemic level of 75%, with multivitamins remaining the favourite among users. A wealth of regulation, science, economic and consumer insights was unveiled over the 3-day conference, which will be shared in future NHC publications. However, with CHC Newsflash highlighting the dynamic activity related to ingredients suppliers such as DSM, Kerry and ChromaDex, we thought it was timely to share the following results from the CRN survey: 

  • 71% of supplement users agree that they “find more confidence using supplements made with branded ingredients”
  • 62% perceived that supplements with branded ingredients cost more because they are more effective and better quality, and men were more likely to say that branded ingredients work better
  • 61% are willing to pay higher prices for branded ingredients. Adults aged under 55 years are willing to pay more for branded ingredients
Source: CRN / Ipsos

Nicholas Hall Writes: It seems we are awash with consumer research that confirms the importance of self-care, especially with regards to immunity, even though demand is returning to pre-pandemic levels. In many respects, consumers seem ahead of marketers (let alone regulators) in how they respond to the mega-trends of the day: the pandemics, economic pressures and the energy crisis.

As I wrote last week: “I see a paradox in matching this consumer U&A data with the relative failure of specific immunity products such as antiviral nasal sprays … So why is it that consumers who fear Covid-19, and who subscribe to the concept of immunity, are content to rely on, say, a multivitamin the category grew by 13.5% globally in Year 1 of the pandemic — and not divert to specialist products? I am still searching for an answer.” Another paradox is that, while the top CHC players are reporting excellent sales and the global sales data for the 12 months to June 2022 which we reported in late September is at a record high, retailers and e-Commerce platforms are reporting reduced traffic. And there are signs that many consumers are trading down to smaller packs or cheaper generics and private labels, which you would expect in a recession.

One of the joys of working in consumer health is its resilience. It truly is a “must have” category, but it is in the detail where we will make or lose our reputations. It seems that we must switch focus from macro-trends to the micro and to understand better what makes everything tick rather than the size of the clock. So, expect more springs, wheels and cogs to be presented in the autumn and winter months ahead.

Immune health is the focus of our recent Immunity hot topic report. With profiles of key brands across categories including antivirals, vitamins, foods & beverages and probiotics for immunity, our report explores the latest trends & developments, predicting likely future scenarios. To order your copy, or for further details, contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

CRN survey shows sharp rise in US VMS usage in 2021

The Council for Responsible Nutrition has revealed initial findings from its 2021 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, which was fielded by Ipsos in August and involved 3,089 adults aged 18+ years. Vitamin D usage has significantly increased (52% vs 42% in 2020), as has zinc (22% vs 15%) and vitamin C (40% vs 35%); all could be helpful for combatting Covid-19 and boosting overall immunity. Further, 50% of supplement users report a change to their supplement routine since the start of the pandemic; 55% of those indicated that this includes adding new supplements to their existing routine.

ClearCut Analytics Director of Sales Jake Bernstein told attendees of the CRN Annual Conference, where the findings were unveiled, that dietary supplement sales on Amazon have risen by 43% and predicted that 25% of sales will be purchased online by 2024. Ashwagandha and collagen were the Amazon star performers.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: This important research is another building block in helping us to understand how consumer attitudes have changed during the Covid-19 lockdown. As CRN’s Brian Wommack comments: “With 80% of Americans using supplements, these products are now mainstream and broadly accepted by the public. Just as important, 79% of Americans believe the dietary supplement industry is trustworthy, a jump of 5% from 2020.” This data and these comments will be taken into account in our ongoing evaluation of whether the CHC market is moving back to treatment and reversing the recent trend towards prevention & immunity. 

However this turns out, one clear learning emerges: consumer trends move slowly, accelerated only by mega-happenings such as the recent pandemic. By comparison, fashions in the pharmaceutical industry, including its CHC daughter, are highly volatile. 

Our Innovation in CHC 2021 report assesses 10 major trending ingredients, with a strong focus on VMS. Drawing from CHC New Products Tracker, this report also explores trends in NPD activity by company, reviews the best CHC innovations and much more. For more information or to order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

FDA rejects two NDI notifications for CBD products

The US FDA has rejected two New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) notifications for CBD as a dietary supplement. The ingredients submitted by both applicants – Charlotte’s Web and Irwin Naturals – were described as “full-spectrum hemp extracts”. FDA rejected the filings on the basis that CBD is the active ingredient in an approved drug (GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex) and because the companies failed to provide sufficient scientific evidence to substantiate their submissions. In objection letters to Charlotte’s Web and Irwin Naturals, the agency said full-spectrum hemp extracts containing CBD “may not be marketed as or in a dietary supplement”.

According to CRN President & CEO Steve Mister, CBD regulation and mandatory product listing are the most important supplement-related issues pending for the VMS industry on Capitol Hill, as revealed in a recent panel interview organised by Nutrition Industry Executive as part of “Turning Point: Washington and the State of the Natural Products Industry“.

Mister also stated in a recent CRN press release that: “Despite very clear direction from Congress when it removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act in 2018, FDA seems to have made up its mind not to support CBD in supplements and is now trying to justify it. That’s the only logical conclusion to draw from FDA’s actions – and its continued inaction … CRN has publicly endorsed HR 841, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021 and is actively lobbying Congress to do what FDA has refused to do – create a legal pathway to market CBD as a dietary supplement.”

Source: CHC New Products Tracker

Nicholas Hall commented: It was Lenin who spoke of taking “one step forward, two steps back”. Those of us with a less revolutionary nature aim for a more positive journey, with only the occasional backward glance! But regardless of the number of steps in either direction, the news that the FDA has rejected two important dietary supplement notifications for CBD seems highly retrograde. I fully endorse the view of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, which has denounced the FDA decision and urged Congress to act.

In CRN’s view, the FDA has mischaracterised these products as being the same as prescription CBD drugs and has “ignored, dismissed and downplayed ample evidence” that hemp products can be marketed safely. This seems like a re-run of the FDA’s inability to deal with the whole dietary supplements sector many years ago, which ultimately led to Congress’s stepping in with the all-important DSHEA legislation under which supplements are now regulated with a very light touch.

Review the latest new CBD products with CHC New Products Tracker. This ultimate competitive intelligence tool features 30,000+ launches and innovations, and products graded with a star rating. To set up your free demo, or to find out more, please contact waisan.lee@NicholasHall.com.