Among those individuals who use dietary supplements, fish oil has surpassed multivitamins in popularity. According to a survey from, fish oil supplements were used by 75 percent of respondents, up from 74 percent in 2009. Multivitamins, on the other hand, saw use decline to 70 percent last year, down from 72 percent in 2009 and 74 percent in 2008. Results were based on 6,010 responses collected in November 2010. The percentage of people using fish oil/omega-3 continued to be consistent among those aged 35 through 74, though decreasing slightly among older people.

NBJ bottom line

Mainstream news sources, including the Los Angeles Times and theNew York Times, have begun to rehash the survey’s results, heralding fish oil as supplanting multivitamins.

What the newsfeeds fail to account for, however, is that the statistics are somewhat skewed by the poll group. The participants of the survey were only those who subscribe to ConsumerLab’s e-newsletter, and thus more likely to be frequent and multiple supplement users. The survey may not adequately represent the overall U.S. supplement consumer market.

According to Nutrition Business Journal figures, fish oil sales for 2009 reached $976 million, whereas multivitamin sales commanded a colossal $4.8 billion. It’s certainly apparent that fish oil supplements are rising in popularity. Nevertheless, they are still a long way off from matching the sales of the bellwether breadwinner, multivitamins. 

Related NBJ links:

Supplement Usage Connected to Consumer Perceptions of Health and Wellness

2010 NBJ Supplement Business Report