What next for vitamins and supplements?
Here's a category that really is confusing for its consumers, and potential customers and the latest trends are not making it any easier.....for instance, the ban on selling traditional herbal remedies comes into effect this April.
This doesn't mean that you won't see any herbal products on the shelves at all, but it does mean that, with the few tens of exceptions that have been authorised, they won't be able to be sold with any kind of statement about what they do for you.
Another threat to the market comes from food; it's noticable that many foods these days have taken the ground from under the vitamins market, by adding the vitamins to foods themselves.
But there are two dangers for the consumer here.
Firstly, that, in some cases, consumers may not then understand important aspects like absorbtion, so that these foods may not deliver the exact benefits that specifically-formulated products would, so undermining the whole category of vitamins and supplements.
Secondly that consumers may be taking vitamins that they don't need, as a result of them being combined with their food.
So, with the best interests of consumers at heart, it's hard for vitamins and supplements brands to get across product benefits in these categories. This could lead to lack of appropriate choice for the consumer.
There's a need to be creative about growing this category through better understanding of the consumer drivers of maintenance and prevention, better use of language to drive purchase and use, and better, and a more 'grown-up' dialogue about what is 'good' and 'bad' use of vitamins and supplements.