Now more than ever, supplemental micronutrients, herbs, amino acids, and more have earned recognition as meaningful methods to promote health. Both consumers and health professionals appreciate the benefits of supplements to complement their food, nutrition, and lifestyle choices for both disease prevention and healing.
In 2020 80% of adults purchased dietary supplements, and the market is expected to grow 8.2% annually until 2028. Quality supplements are now incorporated into interventions written by both nutrition and medical professionals. However, even when they are purchased with the guidance of a professional practitioner, many of these products ultimately are ignored, only partially consumed, or never repurchased. How can supplement companies partner with practitioners to ensure patients adhere to their recommendations?
The Importance of Supplements in Healthcare
Nutrition and health professionals utilize supplements as part of comprehensive interventions that may prevent disease or support the body to heal. Over time, food choice, eating habits, stress, lack of sleep, being sedentary, medications, and health conditions undermine the body’s functioning and deplete the body’s pool of nutrients. This affects performance from the cellular level all the way to the full human organism. When used strategically, supplements may support optimal physiological and biochemical functioning to bring the body back into balance.
The Advantages of Supplements
The advantage of most supplements is that they may align with the way the body works naturally, thereby truly enhancing health. Healing takes time, and patients will only appreciate the benefit of supplements if they consistently use them for the recommended duration. As supplements may have a profound effect on how the body works, many consumers will seek the guidance of a nutrition or health professional about which quality products will provide the most benefit for them.
How Companies Can Work with Practitioners to Encourage Adherence
Supplement companies can encourage customer adherence by complementing the efforts of practitioners. Promoting these efforts will draw practitioners to the company’s website and products and result in more recommendations and a higher repurchase rate.
- Confidence in the product: This is foremost in patient adherence to a supplement protocol. Practitioners seek out the highest quality products to represent their practice. Companies that obtain and prominently display their third party testing (e.g. NSF or USP) inspire patient confidence that a product has assured safety, potency, and efficacy that distinguishes it. Such trust leads practitioners to recommend these products more often.
- Education is key: Supplement brand websites should be comprehensive and easy to navigate for both practitioner and patient. The most effective websites help practitioners educate their patients with handouts and online resources about the supplements they recommend.
- Behavior Change Training: Adding supplements to a daily routine can be a difficult habit to form. Practitioners are sometimes perplexed at how to influence important behavior change in their patients. Company websites and webinars can provide tools to train practitioners in behavior change, such as Tiny Habits or creating SMART Goals, to help them encourage their patients to stick to a daily supplement routine.
- Method of consumption and number of pills: Patients get pill-fatigue. Supplement companies should explore innovative delivery formats such as gummies, powders, liquids, or even patches or creams. Creating shelf-stable packaging is a winning strategy for patient compliance. When a practitioner makes a supplement recommendation, the patient then has a choice that meets their preferences and accessibility that makes it more likely they will stick with the plan.
- Make it easy for the patient: Ease of purchase and automated reminders make a critical difference to consumer supplement adherence. Companies can support these efforts by offering practitioners integrated technology for the processes. One example is to create a link to the company website that practitioners can embed into their own website. Another is to work with practitioners to create automated text message or email reminders for their clients that include a link to purchase.
When companies work hand-in-hand with practitioners, they build trust and can help improve customer adherence.
The supplement industry is growing faster than ever. Consumers are placing a new focus on maintaining their overall health through supplements and encouraging supplement adherence is key to the growth of any supplement company.