There has been a continuous increase in the proportion of consumers using dietary supplements worldwide. Evidence based on former surveys suggests that in Hungary more than half of the population buy at least one type of dietary supplement (hereinafter DS). By using secondary research, the authors of the present paper examine the demographic fa...ctors determining the consumption of DS on a global scale. Consumption of DS increases with age and is more frequent among women. Consumers with higher qualifications and income tend to buy products containing vitamins and minerals to a greater degree. In the vast majority of cases the purchase and consumption of DS is based on consumers’ personal preferences and decisions, rather than on their physicians’ advice. It has been found that a high percentage of DS consumers probably do not even need any extra nutrient intake. In our primary research (N=1000) the specific attitudes to and characteristics of DS consumption among Hungarian adults are analysed on the basis of on a nationally representative survey. First, we identify the most important reasons which encourage consumers to buy DS. Consumer awareness concerning DS with a particular vitamin and mineral content and of other sources is examined, and we also assess the consumption of the product which is the most popular. The current paper attempts to identify the outlets Hungarian consumers typically buy DS from, and also what resources they use to keep themselves informed about these products. Consumers who admittedly reported (regular) consumption of a certain kind of DS product 6 months prior to the survey are further examined in relation to certain additional issues. The results of our survey provide an accurate picture of the DS consumption habits of the Hungarian population.
JEL CODE: I12, M31
The worldwide proportion of food supplement consumers has been steadily increasing, more than 50% of the Hungarian population tends to buy at least one type of dietary supplement. In most cases, the purchase and consumption of food supplements are not based on medical indications but depends on consumers’ individual decisions. The study of co...nsumer groups enables the investigation of typicalities which have an impact on attitudes related to the consumption of food additives. The present study explores the demographical factors determining the global consumption of dietary supplements by secondary research. It sought to explore the typical features of consumer lifestyles in line with the research findings, based on previously specified criteria, through qualitative focus group examinations. My study focused on subjects who bought and purchased at least one type of food supplement in the previous year and placed a high emphasis on healthy diet and lifestyle in their everyday lives. The consumption of dietary supplements indicates growth with age and it is more common among women. Consumers with higher qualifications and incomes tend to buy products with vitamins and minerals in a greater proportion. The identification of nutrition factors revealed that the proportion of those who do not need extra nutrient intake is high among food supplement consumers. It is primarily true of women having a healthy lifestyle (they typically consume high amounts of vegetables and fruits, they are physically active, non-smokers and do not use alcohol); moreover, their socio-economic status is typically high. The findings of my quantitative research suggest that the purchase and consumption of dietary supplements are most characteristic of the “Successful”, “Quality oriented- successful” and “Loyal to the brand - modest” groups in the lifestyle-based consumer segments. The investigated sample showed ambiguous attitudes towards product quality and willingness to pay in all the three batches. Nevertheless, it can be established, when consumers buy food supplements, brand sensitivity proves to be a dominant factor in addition to - typically Hungarian - price sensitivity. Based on lifestyle factors, the current research may bring us closer to the exploration of the motivational and attitude patterns of consumers’ food supplement purchases.
JEL Code: I12, M31