The variety and range of food supplements is huge, but how do Europeans in general consume food supplements? This was the initial question of a consumer survey commissioned by Food Supplements Europe (FSE) to understand consumer behavior, attitudes, and practices in relation to food supplements.

In this context, it was also to be determined whether partial overexposure exists or whether responsible handling prevails in the intake of dietary supplements. 

The survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 respondents have used supplements in the last 12 month. Vitamin D and C (46% and 36% respectively) were supplemented most frequently, followed by magnesium (33%) and multivitamin/mineral supplements (29%). 

About a third of the respondents use only one product, whereas a quarter use two and 45% even more than two. The main reasons given by the respondents for taking supplements were to maintain the overall health (52%) and strengthen the immune system (45%). The next most commonly cited reason was for energy (29%). 

Information about food supplements is obtained by most respondents through their doctor, medical professionals or pharmacists. Accordingly, two-thirds of the respondents said that they obtained the products from pharmacies, but the most common places to purchase food supplements vary by country. However, internet research was also cited as a frequent source. Overall, the majority of respondents trust manufacturers to provide reliable information about food supplements. A variety of considerations are relevant to the purchase decision, for example the ingredients and nutritional information plays an important role, as well as the price and trusted recommendation. 

In general, a high level of understanding was found, as many respondents agreed that the information on the label and benefits of the product are easy to understand. The majority of those surveyed (82%) indicated that they carefully read the label and the different instructions such as the recommended dosage on the packaging.

Only 10% of respondents have never consumed supplements. The main reasons for not taking food supplements are the lack of personal need (45%) and the belief that all important nutrients are taken with the diet (31%). For the full report of the consumer survey please click here

If you want to launch a new food supplement or revise the label of your existing product to appeal to more consumers, please contact us and our experts will help you with the label check or an excellent claim strategy.