This is an interesting report from the UK Food Standards Agency. They have commissioned in depth research into consumer attitudes and behaviours in relation to food supplements, with the aim to further our understanding of both mainstream and ‘niche’ food supplement consumption, in order to inform the development of policy in this area. Read more via this link.

While there is considerable market data available, in depth understanding of consumer use of and attitudes towards food supplements is limited.

The growth in the consumption of food supplements in recent years, especially in the sports nutrition, probiotic and herbal or traditional categories, coupled with changes in the ways in which people purchase and consume them, has made a need for fresh consumer insight ever more pressing.

Historically the type of businesses that sell supplements would have been health shops, chemists, supermarkets or direct selling.  In the last few years the variety of outlets that sell supplements has increased, with supplements now sold in gyms, leisure centres, beauty salons, small retail shops and sports shops. These business operators may not understand that the products they are selling are defined as ‘food’, and consequently are unaware of the legislative requirements for food supplements. Many may not consider themselves as food businesses in the traditional sense, and therefore are unlikely to be registered with or known by local authorities.

In addition to the growth of non-traditional fixed retail premises, there has also been a significant rise in online retailers. This includes both online market places of major retailers or brands, and niche independent online retailers who may both have their own sites or sell through third parties.

This research will inform the development of our work on food supplements over the next few years including identifying any emerging risks.

The report can be read here via this link.