New products energize VMS aisle

What is coming down the pike? More importantly, what are suppliers doing to catch the consumer’s attention in the constantly evolving vitamin, weight management and sports nutrition categories?

Suppliers and retailers converged on Washington, D.C., in mid-January to both preview new products and discuss new initiatives at the annual ECRM Vitamin, Weight Management and Sports Nutrition EPPS. ECRM officials said that more than 500 people were in attendance for the event.

Here is a look at what some companies are offering to the trade in coming months.

bioterra herbsBioterra Herbs
The Irwindale, Calif.-based company is offering BioTerra Herbs, a line of herbal supplements that company officials said are designed to “balance the body” are gluten-free, non-GMO and completely natural.

The 14-SKU line features such items as detox, joint, energy, male fertility, weight management and snoring products. Most 60-count packages are priced at $19.99. Company officials said they are targeting female millennials with the bulk of the line and use what they describe as “blunt and direct” packaging to educate shoppers at the point of purchase.

“Right now, about 60% of our ingredients are harvested from our own farms,” Lisa Zhong, the company’s CEO, said. “We want to be at 100% in a few years, and to completely control the quality of our products. We believe in quality over quantity. Consumers quickly trust in what we have to offer them.”

bpi sports best BPI Sports
The Hollywood, Fla.-based company is introducing an eight-SKU line of liquid water enhancers. The products, Best Aminos, Best Energy, carnitine and garcinia, each come in two flavors and each has a suggested retail price of $3.99 for a 24-serving package.

“This is truly a convenience play for retailers,” said Chris Mackenzie, the company’s senior vice president. “And with the low pricing, it will bring more consumers into the category who was previously reluctant to pay the $30 or so price point for other products. With our product, the user can just drop it into his or her gym bag and take it out when needed.”

Mason vitaminsMason Vitamins
In honor of its 50th anniversary last year, Mason Vitamins is rebranding its entire line of vitamins and supplements. According to Patricia Jones, the Miami Lakes, Fla.-based company’s sales-general manager, the new packaging will be more up-to-date and feature its heritage logo, as well as highlight that the company was founded in 1967.

Mason Vitamins has more than 400 SKUs in its line of products. “After exhaustive and collaborative research, we think that we have come up with packaging that features a cleaner label that makes it easier for the consumer to understand what the products are designed to do for them. We think it will quickly lead to more sales,” Jones said.

The company also is introducing eight SKUs in the first quarter of 2018. The new items include vitamin K2, biotin, Osteo Restore Joint therapy, a match gummy and a collagen gummy, as well as a body, hair, skin and nails gummy. They have suggested retail prices of $12 each.

MauerMauer Sports Nutrition
The Albertville, Minn.-based company is offering the Organic Trim weight management bar, which includes svetol, an ingredient that company officials said is clinically-proven to burn fat. The product is low in sodium, high in fiber and has no refined sugars, artificial ingredients and preservatives. It has a suggested retail price of $2.99.

“On top of all of that, it tastes amazing,” said Tim Braun, the company’s president. “The category has been struggling because there has been very little innovation in recent years. Our product is going to make a big difference. Most weight management bars are not healthy for the user. Our product is the first natural and organic weight management bar on the market. It is nutritious and tasty.”

Mauer also is offering its Collagen Protein JumpShot, a strawberry banana-flavored shot that is designed to support cartilage, nails, skin and the digestion process, as well as better sleep. It has a suggested retail price of $3.99.

Purity products Dr. RedcrossPurity Products
The Plainview, N.Y.-based company is pushing its Dr. Redcross line of supplements. The 20 SKU-line of products includes vitamin D, omega fish oil, Ultimate Brain Support, resveratrol and CoQ10, pycnogenol melt and melatonin melt. Suggested retail price points range between $10 and $29.95, though company officials said they try to keep prices under $20 per item.

Jason Kam, Purity Products’ vice president of business development, said that the products offer a number of unique benefits to users. For example, he said, the resveratrol product supports cardiovascular functions, while the melatonin melt supports restful and quality sleep. The formula for the Ultimate Brain Support product was developed with the help of Oxford University research on more than 200 aging consumers.

“We offer a unique product mix that is not a commodity item for retailers,” Kam said. “We focus on issues that consumers are becoming more and more concerned with, and our unique formulations will ultimately save them money. For the retailer, we produce incremental sales and we appeal to a multicultural type of consumer who may not have been purchasing these types of products in the past.”

Nick Symmonds, the CEO of Eugene, Ore.-based RunGum, was a former Olympic runner. Now he is taking his knowledge and desire and turning it into a product that he thinks will make a difference for those consumers who want an energy boost without what he calls “all the junk.”

The six-SKU line of energy-boosting gum items consists of both single-serving and bulk-pack products, and are priced at $2.99 for the single-serving and $22.49 for the bulk packages. “We are different from other energy boost products on the market,” said Symmonds, who competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games in middle distance events. “The functionality of chewing gum allows for very fast absorption and leaves no junk in the stomach. It is great for those seeking better energy, alertness and focus. We are not reinventing the wheel; we are just making the wheel a little better. Our product is perfect for anyone on the run.”

It has worked in other countries, why can’t it succeed in the United States? That is what officials at Swisse, a Melbourne, Australia-based manufacturer of vitamins and supplements, hopes for as it introduces its product into this country.

Swisse has had much success in a number of other countries, including its home country of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, China, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Italy. The company offers 15 SKUs in its line, including me