Survey shows drop in women's use of vitamins and supplements

SHELTON, Conn. Women appear to be leaving the vitamin and nutritional supplement category in significant numbers, according to the latest survey from TABS Group, a marketing research and consulting, released Friday.

In a study of 1,000 respondents across the U.S. fielded by TNS and sponsored by TABS Group, 66 percent of men and 66 percent of women claimed to use vitamins and supplements.

And while that incidence has held steady for men versus a similar study conducted in December 2005, a drop in usage among women between the ages of 30 and 59 precipitated a 13 percent drop in overall usage among women, TABS Group reported.

“The survey did not address specifically why so many left the market [of] nutritional supplements, however, we do find that they corroborate trends we have been tracking in the marketplace,” noted TABS Group president Kurt Jetta. “Most notably, we’ve seen sluggish category trends, sharp declines in sales of women’s supplements like soy and black cohosh, and declines in calcium sales, which skew heavily towards women concerned about osteoporosis.”

Jetta added, “Additionally, during this time we have seen both retailers and manufacturers reduce their marketing and merchandising support behind the concept of women’s nutrition. These results present compelling evidence that there is a significant category-wide cost to the reduction of this support. It appears that both women’s herbs and calcium have strategic importance to this category beyond just the sales of those particular products.”