Supplement Perspectives

Are You Giving Customers What They Want?

<p>Diane K.&nbsp;Ray of the Natural Marketing Institute reveals to Pete Croatto how consumers want to take their supplements.</p>

So far we’ve heard from industry members about their likes and fears regarding delivery systems/format. What about the consumers? What do they have to say?

This is why I love the folks at the Natural Marketing Institute: the folks there offer exactly this kind of insight. It’s even better when you get Diane K. Ray, NMI’s vice president, strategic innovation, to put things in perspective.

Here’s what Ray had to say:

“We know consumers who take a lot of supplements often reach ‘pill fatigue.’ When you have to take multiple supplements multiple times per day dedication starts to wane and compliance becomes an issue.  We know consumers like the convenience of pills but overall prefer to get their nutrition in the foods (and beverages) they consume.

“Qualitatively, we hear consumers say if they have to go to the Mon-Tue-Wed pill box to keep track it signals they are getting ‘old’ or are ‘unhealthy’ and they become resentful.

“We have seen the gummy format move from children’s dailies to adults to OTC product delivery. If it looks and tastes like candy, it is easier to tolerate! We have seen strong consumer attraction to things like the Coromega Squeeze product though I do not have recent sales figures to support this.”

Ray also sent along some data from "NMI’s 2013 Supplements OTC/Rx Consumer and Market Trends Report."

The main points:

1.) Capsules and tablets are still the top formats for supplements; however, ‘non-pill’ formats are gaining a foothold and expanding supplementation across a broader audience. Out of 9,329 supplement launches from January 2003 to December 2012, 2,481 were capsules and 2,371 were tablets.

Powders and liquids, though, were represented well: 1,131 and 1,055, respectively.

2.) According to NMI, non-pill supplement formats are showing the most growth over the past 10 years and are blurring the line between supplementation and other categories.

3.) More customers want a format that is easier to swallow and vegetarian or features no animal products. Liquid capsules and size of pill also matter. Chewable and soft gels formats have grown considerably since 2009; both format are associated with increased absorbency.

4.) The desire for a supplement other than a pill is being driven by Millennials and consumers managing energy issues. Incidentally, those two groups leading the charge for fortified beverages and shots.

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