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Consumers Want to Know—Why Should They Supplement?

The idea that you can get all your nutrients from food is fine in theory, and this is a common argument used by supplementation detractors. There is evidence to suggest consuming nutrients from food is more beneficial than supplements, but there are many reasons why diet alone is insufficient.

Modern diets increasingly provide few of the micronutrients necessary, leading to chronic deficiencies in developed nations—this is matched by the deficiencies seen in developing countries where the population may not have access to nutritious food.

At the same time, industry certainly should not encourage supplementation as a panacea to a poor diet, as the Council for Responsible Nutrition 2017 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements shows 30 percent of consumers take supplements to fill nutrient gaps in their diet. Encouraging consumers to supplement effectively is all down to communication. This can be seen in the high acceptance levels for maternal supplementation: according to a study from DSM, around 80 percent of pregnant women in Europe take a supplement while pregnant, and in China 98 percent of expectant mothers use maternal health products. Consumers recognise they need to add folate and B vitamins and omega-3s to their regimes to best support their pregnancy. This can all be attributed to effective communication. Other categories can also benefit from improved communication to consumers.

Without resorting to scare tactics and threatening poor health if consumers avoid supplements, focus on explaining the oft-overlooked reasons for adding natural products to diets. Air pollution is particularly concerning and with plenty of commonly-supplemented nutrients potentially minimising the harm from particulate matter, highlighting these effects could encourage consumers to continue supplementing. Long-term adherence to a supplementation regime is always the goal and there is real power in effective communication to improve the odds of a consumer sticking to their intake.

Air pollution is a complementary issue to another sustainability concern. Research shows modern farming techniques used to increase yield deplete the soil of essential nutrients, while changes to carbon dioxide levels from climate change are leading to a reduction in nutrient density in rice—a staple food for much of the world’s population. As your company incorporates sustainability into its business practices—evidence shows consumers are increasingly invested in mission-driven companies—communicating your understanding of this issue and the solution supplementation offers is a key way to drive sales.

Confronted with the argument that dietary supplements do little more than make their urine extremely expensive, consumers will always question the need to supplement. Accurate, easily-digestible and evidence-backed information will help consumers identify where they can be helping themselves to optimal health; and understanding the sustainability concerns around nutrient depletion will mean industry can bring more health to more people worldwide.

To read the complete edition on the need for supplementation, download the digital magazine here.

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