Dietary supplements have become immensely popular in recent years. Many people take supplements to top up on essential vitamins and minerals.
Others use supplements as part of a workout routine, consuming supplements like whey powder meant to boost muscle growth and burn fat.
In fact, more than half of all Americans consume at least one supplement a day according to Harvard, but what exactly has led to the rise of supplements as the industry giant we know today?
Social media is a major influence in the rise of the supplement industry, with many celebrities endorsing or encouraging their fans to eat healthy and exercise.
A cultural emphasis on healthy eating and avoiding obesity has led many Americans to take charge of their health through supplements, whether that be weight loss pills, energy boosters, or protein powders.
The industry has bloomed over the past decade, with the global dietary supplement industry currently valued at over $150 billion.
The rest of this article will discuss why supplements are more popular today than ever, as well as the major players that have brought the industry to the forefront.
The Youth-Driven Culture
Today’s youth is very health-orientated and driven, garnering much of their information online.
With such an array of products available―all making extravagant claims― it’s no wonder that so many young adults around the age of 20 are the primary target of the modern supplement industry.
Self-reliant to the extreme, Gen Z buyers look to take charge of their health. Spending long periods of time online only furthers the impact of the supplement industry’s grip on today’s youth.
Comprising almost a quarter of the population, Gen Z consumers are more self-aware of their own mental and physical health and whenever they perceive a problem, they will conduct research and use a product that they deem useful.
As such, with a strong emphasis on personal wellness, Gen Z is uniquely predisposed to supplements such as vitamins, sleep medication, and anxiety supplements.
The Fitness Industry
Another big influencer in the growth of the supplement industry is the greater emphasis we place on fitness. One supplement store that has seen explosive growth over the past year is Huge Supplements.
Research reports that “Growing demand for nutritional products to enhance performance and awareness among consumers regarding the need of workout supplements are driving the demand for pre-workout supplements.”
More than two thirds of professional athletes rely on some form of supplement, and many fitness coaches and trainers strongly recommend some form of sports supplement.
The variety of practices and disciplines within the fitness scene often prompt the need for supplements.
While many consumers are wary of the fact that many pre-workout supplements are not FDA approved and that people are getting more savvy towards false advertising, proprietary blends touted by muscle-bound athletes and coaches continue to have their sway on people.
As more and more people begin to invest in their physical health, odds are that they will pick up a supplement or two to aid them along the way, and with the gym being more popular than ever, fitness supplements are only going to get more popular.
Perhaps the biggest proponent of online business, social media has plentiful ways to attract customers to supplements, especially as we spend more time on the internet.
Research informs that “nearly 75% of internet users aged 16 and over have a social media profile, compared to just 22% in 2007. Not to mention that the amount of time young people spend online has trebled to 27 hours a week in the last decade.”
With so many people consuming information online and more digital celebrities than ever, it’s easy to see how social media has been such a massive boon for the supplement industry.
Being fit and healthy is trending, and when celebrities reveal what supplements they use to stay in shape, people are more than eager to join the bandwagon.
The say-so of a popular YouTube channel or Instagram user is persuasive evidence for a culture that idolizes online personalities.
Social media, therefore, not only gives the wide-reaching supplement industry multiple platforms and celebrities through which to endorse their products, but it also allows for rapid dissemination of information and consumer reach.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people spent an increased amount of time online, increasing their exposure to supplement products through the forum of social media.
E-commerce in particular is expected to grow in the beauty supplement industry, with social media and online forums playing a substantial role in drawing in new customers.
Vitamins, according to NutraScience Labs, are the most popular supplement that Americans take, with over three quarters of the population purchasing them over a 12 month period.
They describe that “the rising level of health consciousness and increasing awareness of balanced nutrition and preventative healthcare among Americans highly correlate with demands for vitamins and minerals.”
Awareness through social media and the health-driven cultural trend have alarmed people to the fact that many vitamins are removing when food is processed, prompting a need for vitamins to be supplemented into a balanced diet.
Moreover, vitamins have recognized benefits in areas such as relieving stress and reducing the risk of infection.
Multivitamins are a popular choice for many people since they purportedly cover a range of vitamins and proprietary vitamin blends abound.
Many companies (and even doctors) offer monthly subscription plans to a multivitamin blend that supposedly cover a range of deficiencies; however, customers have become increasingly wary of alleged cure-all bundles in recent years.
In addition, healthy eating is trending upwards, causing consumers to evaluate their diets and consume vitamins whenever they feel they are deficient. An ever-increasing number of vegetarians and vegans pursue vitamin supplements that are non-animal in nature.
For vegans especially, dietary vitamins are essential due to the lack of B-12 and Omega 3s in a plant-based lifestyle.
With a pressing lack of regulation on vitamins in particular, it’s unsurprising just how big the industry has been able to grow in recent years with more people than every taking note of their vitamin deficiencies.
Stress Relief and Anxiety Supplements
Recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic cutting off most forms of in-person social interaction, people have become much more aware of their mental health.
Gen Z also takes a very holistic approach to health as a whole, integrating the spiritual and mental side of well-being along with the physical.
The coming of age of a new generation along with a global pandemic that locked many people indoors has fostered an increased reliance on stress relief supplements like L-theanine and sleep aids like melatonin.
The National Library of Medicine asserts that 16-28% of people suffered anxiety and depression as a direct psychological response to COVID-19. People who struggle to fall asleep may take melatonin, which naturally helps your body’s sleep cycle.
Ashwagandha is another popular herb native to India that purportedly reduces stress and anxiety. With many people being stressed over the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of the stress relief and anxiety supplement industry has grown as a result.
Weight Management Supplements
The weight management industry has been pumping out supplements for years, but all of the aforementioned factors including an increased social presence, celebrity endorsements, and the pandemic all serve to make people more determined to address weight issues.
Herbalife International, NutriSystem, and Weight Watchers International are some of the biggest players in the weight management scene, all offering a plethora of supplements to choose from.
Grandviewresearch.com supports that an “increasing consumption of junk food, physical inactivity, and the growing fast-food industry are leading to an unhealthy ; sedentary lifestyle, which results in weight gain.” A growing obese population prompts the need for a growing weight management industry.
As such, supplements abound for weight management solutions from weight loss formulas to fat burners. With everything from green tea to white kidney bean extract, weight management is a pretty big part of the supplement industry as a whole.
With so many people promoting the benefits of supplements, ranging from mood-boosting to muscle building, it’s no wonder that the recent growth of the supplement industry has skyrocketed.
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein people had plenty of time to work on their health, people have begun to take charge of their emotional and physical state through the use of supplements.
Athletes and gymgoers alike use powders and mixes to help boost performance and recovery, and health-conscious, social-media-savvy Gen Z youth use supplements to address underlying mental health issues or to fill a vitamin deficiency.
Weight management supplements also demonstrate an upward trend, with well over half of the American population being obese due to the prevalence of fast food in culture.
As the Western diet begins to gain popularity around the world, it’s not surprising to see people turn to weight management supplements as a way to lose weight.
So many different kinds of people use supplements, and with many supplements having a proven clinical record, the industry can only continue to grow.
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