Digitally-minded millennials and the Gen Z population are increasingly turning to vitamins and supplements to boost health, well-being and confidence. The insatiable desire to prioritize health has blurred the boundaries among personal care, nutrition and pharmaceuticals. Dietary supplements have gained ground to enhance or maintain overall health and help meet daily requirements of essential nutrients.
Manufacturers are cashing in on the compelling opportunity, underpinned by heightened interest in vitamins, preventive health and nutritional supplements. Consumers are gradually embracing dietary supplements, including Vitamin D, fish oil, Ginseng, Vitamins C and E and Vitamin D, in their purchasing behavior. A fast-paced lifestyle, shifting consumption patterns, a sedentary lifestyle, surging cases of stress, rising purchasing power and awareness of self-care have compelled consumers to inject funds into vitamins and supplements.
In common parlance, food supplements are considered to supplement the normal diet. According to FAO, these supplements are distinct from conventional food and come in various forms, including soft gels, capsules, tablets, bars, powders, liquids, gummies and gel caps. While supplements have upsides galore, FAO recommends dietary supplements should not outplace the variety of foods essential for a healthy diet.
The aging of baby boomers and the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought a seismic shift in the global economy. To illustrate, a dearth of vaccinations compelled consumers to rely on vitamin C, D, zinc, and herbal supplements and minerals to propel their immunity. A considerable shift in customer purchases was witnessed, emphasizing packaged products vis-à-vis unpacked or loose supplies.
People have become aware of holistic wellness and preventive healthcare, prioritizing supplements and functional foods. To put things in perspective, robust procurement has become a strategic investment fostering success in the immensely competitive market.
Cost of Dietary Supplements
Stakeholders eager to start the vitamin and supplement business will inevitably focus on the cost of supplement manufacturing, a key aspect that shapes the business. Some aspects, such as packaging, ingredient source, ingredient quality and concentration of raw materials, influence the cost. Business owners may consider packaging with reclose features that preserve freshness and securely store products. Low-carbon footprint and recycle-ready packaging could foster the sustainability quotient; however, the high cost may deter brands from investing in the product pipeline.
Products with branded and patented ingredients may cost more. Besides, quality and raw material safety can affect the price. Concentration of the raw materials and sourcing of the ingredients also influence the procurement process of supplements and vitamins. For instance, synthetic ingredients have become sought-after as their production costs are low. That said, the substance may not be at par with the natural ingredient (based on quality).
Overview on Sourcing
Responsible sourcing has become the talk of the town as stakeholders seek more sustainable ways to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Businesses should seek manufacturers who are GMP-certified, FDA-registered and NSF-certified. Choosing a product certified by watchdogs will leverage the businesses to know which companies adhere to quality and strict standards. Moreover, investing in clinically studied ingredients and intimating which ingredients were studied will corroborate the supplier’s integrity in how they market their products.
Consumers are not only cagey about the product’s hygiene but also about the origin of the product and how it is packed, processed and delivered. Clean labels and sustainability have become the next big thing, with stakeholders pushing to the limit to deepen consumers’ trust.
Sustainability is at the top of the agenda as stakeholders assimilate the environmental impact of the procurement process. In June 2023, Amway China announced robust plans to minimize the use of artificial coloring, sweeteners and preservatives in its dietary supplementary range. The company suggests it has done away with the coloring used in its calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D chewing tablets for kids and removed fructose, hydrogenated vegetable oil and glucose.
On the other hand, in September 2023, Nestlé contemplated growing the sales of its nutritious products by CHF 20-25 billion (approximately USD 21-27 billion) by 2030. The food behemoth will use plant-based ingredients and offer guidance about diet, nutritious recipes, recommendations, healthy lifestyle tips and menu planning for more nutritious choices. In 2023, Nestlé reportedly became the first company to report on the nutritional value of its “entire global portfolio” using a Health Star Rating (HSR). The 2022 analysis revealed that 37% of sales stemmed from products with an HSR of 3.5 or more and an additional 20% of sales were attributed to specialized nutrition products.
Are Personalized Vitamins a Trend or Fad?
Personalization trend has forayed into the consumer health and wellness portfolio. Companies with data that can tell the time to buy the product and recommend the right product may have a competitive edge. Consumers are also in quest of a sustainable packaging design and products with natural and organic ingredients.
While millennials have been the frontrunner in obtaining personalized vitamins, core customers have also emanated in the form of baby boomers and Gen X. Consumers can loathe the notion of swallowing eight to ten pills a day. Accordingly, reducing the number of pills and powders will be no less than hitting the bull’s eye.
Conclusion: Transparency and Traceability are the Future
Amidst rampant advertisements, pervasive counterfeit dietary supplements and a lack of uniformity in the naming and labeling of vitamin supplements, brands face the daunting challenge of procuring the right product from the right supplier with the right cost and responsible sourcing. Add to it the influx of a host of vitamins and supplements on e-commerce platforms.
Transparency and Traceability may be the silver bullet at the juncture—focusing on ingredients, perusing certifications, illustrating the authentic clinical trial statistics and publicly sharing the supplier, source, and manufacturing locations of labeled ingredients are second to none to stay at the helm. Not to mention, science-backed suppliers/providers of vitamins and supplements emphasizing mental well-being, immune function and digestive health with clinical support will act as a differentiator.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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