Find out why consumers are choosing food over supplements
There was a time when it looked like vitamins and herbal supplements were the answer for an aging population. Health-conscious consumers seemed less interested in eating well than in finding the fountain of youth in a bottle. But all that is changing. According to this fascinating article from the Institute of Food Technologies, consumers have shown signs that they are more knowledgeable about what they are eating, and will choose food or healthy drinks over supplements if given the choice.
The article features a report presented at the Institute of Food Technologists’ Wellness 12 meeting by A. Elizabeth Sloan, Ph.D., which shows that consumers are moving toward “real food nutrition.” That means they now understand the nutritional value of foods and are combining them for specific results.
To me, it seems surprising that consumers have graduated from popping vitamins to actually researching their food, but Dr. Sloan suggests consumers are not really drastically changing their diets. Instead, they are looking for healthier versions of what they were already eating. For instance, she found that 66 percent of shoppers said they have switched to whole grain bread
But those small changes can are having a pretty big impact on vitamin and supplement use.
In fact, it seems consumers are cutting back on supplements for 3 reasons:
- A belief that the quality and benefits of nutrition in foods is best
- Pervasive doubts about the bioavailability (the amount of nutrients that are absorbed when a pill is taken) of even the highest quality supplements
- Concerns about the long-term effects on the digestive system
I can’t help but think access to the Internet (combined with a computer-savvy population that thought they would never get old) may be driving this shift in the marketplace.
Food ingredients and nutritional values are demystified when you can Google for the information. And apparently lots of people are Googling to learn about the nutritional value of food because, as one study shows:
- 55 percent of consumers believe calcium is very effective for bone health
- 55 percent believe fiber is very effective against colon cancer
- 38 percent believe omega vitamins are very effective for heart health
Whether you are marketing nutritional food products or dietary supplements, understanding this new market dynamic will be key to your success over the next few years.
You can read the complete article here: “Functional Food Trends 2012: Consumers Want Nutrients From Food, Not Supplements”. You may also be interested in these related articles:
Challenging Consumer Assumptions with Health Nutrition Marketing
FDA and Health Nutrition Marketing
Health Nutrition Marketing: Changing the Way Pharma Sells
Jessica is a competitive athlete and the President of Energize HNM, a health and nutrition marketing agency. Jessica is committed to supporting health brands of every size by helping them define their missions and connect with their customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.
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