Good news is hard to find these days. But a new study funded by the Natural Products Foundation has found the total economic contribution of the dietary supplement industry to exceed $60 billion dollars, or 0.5 percent of the national GDP.
Dietary supplements generate more than $20 billion in annual consumer sales, but the industry’s overall economic contribution goes well beyond the direct purchase of goods.
The Economic Impact Report, completed by Dobson | DaVanzo, a Washington, D.C.-based economic research firm, is the first to quantify the dietary supplement industry’s total financial bearing on the national economy. It considers multiple tiers of contributing factors, including supply, production, research, direct employment, manufacturing, and taxes, as well as these dynamics’ longterm financial effects.
“Most industry assessments typically focus on retail sales. Realistically though, sales are really just the tip of the iceberg,” said Tracy Taylor, Executive Director of the Natural Products Foundation. “The labor, materials, and technology necessary to move any product from staging grounds to the final sale trigger a cascade of economic consequences. Consider for example that the dietary supplement trade generates enough activity throughout production and sales to support over 450,000 jobs, and that industry concerns paid morethan $10 billion dollars in taxes in 2006.”
By expanding the study’s analytical scope, researchers provide a far more comprehensive economic picture, charting the widespread effects that dietary supplement-related transactions have on complementary industries. “Not only does the dietary supplement industry represent an important and growing component of the U.S. economy, it is interconnected in essential ways with many other industries,” write the study’s authors. “For example, the dietary supplement industry contributes to output (or spending) in other industries, such as retail and wholesale trade; real estate, rental and leasing; finance and insurance; professional, scientific, and technical services; and manufacturing.”
Moreover, the dietary supplement industry’s influence is expanding, growing at a rate that exceeds inflation. While health care providers are usually given a “market basket” increase of between two and three percent to account for medical and other price increases, the dietary supplement industry is steadily growing at a rate of more than 5 percent per year. As core sales of supplements grow, so too do their wholesale effects on the economy. From providing sustainable jobs and manufacturing infrastructure to improved public health by way of prevention, the economic consequences are enormous.