Almost 50% of urban Chileans used supplements during the previous three months, while the numbers are not far behind for Peruvians in three of the main urban centers at 42%, according to surveys from ALANUR.

The ALANUR (Latin American Alliance for Responsible Nutrition)-sponsored surveys indicated that the top used products in Chile were vitamins (55%), minerals (23%), botanical supplements (12%), fatty acids (14%), and protein (17%), while minerals dominated in Peru with 58%. Followed by vitamins (49%), botanicals (12%), protein (12%), and others (collagen, lutein, dietary bers) being reported by 23%.

The data was originally presented by Juan Pablo Waimann, ALANUR’s Executive Manager, José Luis Ortegón, ALANUR’s VP, and Melissa Valencia Salazar, ANDI Coordinator, at the Colombian Congress of Nutrition and Dietetics, held by the Colombian Association of Nutritionists (ACODIN).

In general, consumers in both countries are aware that supplements serve to supplement the diet are not intended to replace meals, and that dietary supplement consumers pay more attention to the importance of having a healthy diet and lifestyle, compared to non-consumers.

ALANUR’s Waimann told NutraIngredients-LATAM: “We did not have a clear picture on consumer behavior and perceptions on a big scale for Latin American markets before these surveys. We used to extract insights from similar studies carried out outside the region, which of course did not take into account the specic characteristics of the local population.

“Now we have more precise answers reecting what is actually happening in Latin America. This information can assist both the private and public sectors to have a better understanding of the food supplements category, emphasizing on the most important part of the productive chain: consumers themselves.”

Channel and information sources
The surveys were conducted across three urban centers in both Peru and Chile between September and October 2018. Both surveys included over 800 people each.

In both countries, pharmacies were identied as the main purchase channel for the supplement products (76% in Chile and 75% in Peru), followed by specialty retailers (14% in Chile and 26% in Peru), and natural retailers (13% in Chile and 12% in Peru).

Healthcare professionals were the leading source for recommendations or suggestions for consumers to use the supplements in both countries at 52% in Chile (Doctor 38%, nutritionist: 7%, Pharmacist: 7%) and 49% in Peru (Doctor 36%, nutritionist: 9%, Pharmacist: 5%). Family and friends were the second most popular source of recommendations in both countries.

However, when it came to what sources of information consumers currently use to know or learn more about supplements, the internet came top in Chile (64%), followed by healthcare professionals (33%) and the media (33%). Friends and family came fourth with 24%.

On the other hand, friends and family were the top information sources for urban Peruvians, accounting for 55%, tied with the media (55%), and just ahead of the internet (54%). Healthcare professionals were cited as the fourth most popular source of information (44%).

The survey also revealed that, in terms of available information, a relevant percentage of consumers believe there is not enough information available about the products, especially related to the ‘eect/health benets’ of food supplements.