A 'healthy' opportunity for store brands

Consumers are becoming educated and are taking a more proactive approach to their health than in the past, says Jose Torres, marketing manager for Mason Vitamins in Miami Lakes, Fla.

They are looking for key information related to products and brands. They favor supplements that have quality certifications and natural, non-GMO and organic ingredients, Torres adds. They are looking for innovation and products that are backed up by clinical studies.

Driven by strong demand, growth is steady in the vitamin, mineral and supplement (VMS) market, which includes herbs and botanicals, according to market researcher Mintel.

Mintel found that consumers, especially younger consumers, crave professional guidance to help them navigate this sometimes daunting category, according to its September 2018 report, “Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements U.S.”

According to data from market researcher Information Resources Inc. (IRI), sales of store brand letter vitamins increased 7.4 % in 2018 when compared to the previous year. Private brands now own 37.5% market share in the category. Store brand sales of multi-vitamins increased 3.6% in 2018 from 2017 and own 16.6% market share in the category, according to IRI.

Reactive responses to health issues are becoming passé, as consumers increasingly take charge of managing their own well-being. They continue to adopt (or at least, aspire to adopt) healthier lifestyles that include more exercise, nutritional whole foods and vitamins, according to Euromonitor International’s February report, “Vitamins in the U.S.”

Rising health care costs undergird the trend, as consumers become more interested in long-term health and wellness. They are shifting their focus from treatment to prevention in order to maintain good health, Euromonitor states.

More than two-thirds of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, with vitamins and protein supplements leading growth in the market, according to Hamburg, Germany-based market and consumer data provider Statista.

Retailers should consider an integrated approach with online and store level communication to educate and guide consumers through this category, Torres advises.

Consumers often research online before making a purchase, and that offers retailers a wonderful opportunity to capture their attention by offering a website section to discuss health and wellness topics and offer solutions, Torres explains.

At the store level, Torres recommends putting together a well-assorted layout with key communication elements like shelf talkers and power wings to help consumers in their purchasing journey. Manufacturers can aid retailers with information and educational tools that will help them provide consumers with health tips and other information to help them make informed choices, Torres adds.

Consumers are looking for solutions that will help them support their hectic lifestyles, Torres says. Citing IRI data, he notes steady growth in demand for probiotics, melatonin, collagen and supplements that support brain function.

“This comes as no surprise, as more people are suffering from digestive and sleep disorders and need extra support to be mentally focused, alert and sharp, [as well as to] keep looking young inside and out,” he adds.

Considering how the category has evolved over time and understanding what consumers are looking for, targeting specific supplements seems to be the next logical big thing in the VMS category, Torres says.

In an effort to develop new solutions targeting consumers’ personal health profiles, probiotic manufacturers are investigating specific strains to address specific conditions, he adds. Also, more research is being done into the ability of collagen to support beauty and wellness. 

Cvetan is a contributing writer to Store Brands.