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Vitamins, Supplements Nourish Retailers’ Wellness Offerings

Store brands are driving category growth.


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Shoppers are going wild for wellness. Tips and tricks for improving health and staying in the best physical state possible are plastered all over social media, blogs, magazines and more, consistently prodding consumers with reminders to take better care of themselves.

As a result, vitamins and supplements are a large and growing market category. According to the Private Label Manufacturer’s Association (PLMA) 2016 Private Label Yearbook, store brand vitamins gained 11.5 percent in unit share over the previous year. The category was in the top five for private label category share unit gains as well.

When it comes to grocery, private label vitamins and minerals are an important part of the section. In the quarter ending March 25, 2017, private label mineral supplements occupied 23.1 percent of the unit share in the supermarket channel. Unit share for other relevant segments in the same time period includes 8.6 percent for nutritional supplements, 13.8 percent for vitamin B complex, 17.7 percent for children’s chewable vitamins, 15.2 percent for multi vitamins and 21.2 percent for the remaining vitamins.

This information alone should be enough to make any retailer take pause and realize that shoppers certainly are willing to purchase their vitamins and supplements in the grocery aisles, say industry observers.

One such retailer that is taking notice is Stillwater, Minn.-based Cub Foods. The chain opened its Oakdale, Minn.-store in the spring of 2016 with a renewed emphasis on upscale health and beauty offerings. The store features a uniquely circular shaped vitamin and supplement section. It also features a drive-up pharmacy. These differentiators in making the store a true one-stop shopping experience can be the factor driving consumers away from the store across the street and through Cub’s doors.

Supplemental Selections

San Francisco-based business consulting firm Grand View Research reported last month that the North American dietary supplements market is expected to reach $68.22 billion by 2025. As more and more consumers begin to put their health first, use of vitamins and supplements is becoming increasingly prevalent and manufacturers are responding with an array of new options.

For retailers, the category is a safe one, as it produces consistent sales. In the recent 26-week period, the category’s sales have grown 3 percent over the same period last year, according to Tim Toll, executive vice president, chief customer officer and general manager international at Pharmavite, based in Northridge, Calif.  He adds that in the last 52 weeks, national brands represent 81 percent of the category growth and private label represents 19 percent.

Toll notes that the most popular items now include probiotics, vitamin C, melatonin, turmeric, vitamin D, women’s non-senior multi, hair/skin/nail multi, vitamin B-12 and collagen.

“These growth segments combined represent 85 percent of the vitamin mineral supplements category’s growth dollars,” Toll says. “The need states that are contributing the majority of growth to the category are led by immunity, which represents 36 percent of the category growth dollars, followed by digestive, sleep, beauty/anti-aging and children’s health.  These five need states combined represent 86 percent of the category growth dollars.”

The convenience of gummy vitamins and supplements is popular among consumers as well. Toll says, “the gummy delivery form continues to generate a strong growth contribution for the category in the current state and its sales trend trajectory is projected to remain strongly upward in the future.” He adds that the gummy category currently accounts for 49 percent of the growth of the overall category over the last year.

Pharmavite brand Nature Made released Adult Gummies for Him Plus Omega-3 this spring, a combination of 11 nutrients designed specifically for men. Among them is vitamin D for bone and muscle health, vitamin A and zinc for immune health and vitamin B12 for energy metabolism, according to company officials.

The number of available supplements today may seem endless to the average consumer, and the expansion of product lines is not slowing down any time soon.

More recent insights on the vitamins and supplements category can be found in the August Grocery Headquarters here.

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