Who’s who in vitamins and nutritional products

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Who’s who in vitamins and nutritional products

By Nora Caley - 09/28/2020

Suddenly, everyone wants to know everything about the vitamin, mineral and supplements category. 

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers and retailers are looking to the VMS segment as a possible deterrent to catching this virus and all that comes with it. 

At home and in the aisles of the nation’s mass retail outlets, immunity has become an extremely hot topic. Consumers want answers and retailers are doing all they can to provide their shoppers with the right products and the right answers to which products are designed for these needs, and who makes them. 

The vitamins and nutritional products category is growing. According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 8, sales of vitamins in total U.S. multi-outlet stores (grocery, drug, mass market, military and select dollar and club stores) registered more than $8.59 billion, an increase of 13.6% compared with the same period the previous year. 

The following is a roundup of the major players in the vitamins and nutritional products category:

Bausch + Lomb 
Officials at Bausch + Lomb said they are committed to helping patients protect their vision, especially as they age. “By the 2030s, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” said Joseph Gordon, president and co-head at Bausch + Lomb/International. “Given that eyesight changes as we get older, and knowing there will be a significant part of the population over the age of 50 within the next 10 years, it’s important that we, as a global eye health company, provide a variety of innovative products that help support the eye health of aging consumers — and this includes the most current, science-based eye vitamin formulations.” 

Company executives said its PreserVision AREDS 2 formula eye vitamins are the only vitamins on the market that contain the exact levels of the six key nutrients recommended by the National  Eye Institute  to help reduce the risk of moderate to advanced age-related macular degeneration progression, a leading cause of vision loss in people over 50 years old. 

Also, Bausch + Lomb makes Ocuvite Adult 50+ eye vitamin and mineral supplement, which is designed to help support eye health and replenish vital eye nutrients, including lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3, zinc, copper, vitamin C and vitamin E, that adults lose as they age. Ocuvite and PreserVision supplements are based on decades of research and consultation with leading eye care professionals. 

Bausch Health also recently announced its intentions to convert the Bausch + Lomb business into an independent publicly traded entity, with the goal of creating a fully integrated, pure-play eye health company built on the iconic Bausch + Lomb brand.

Mason Vitamins 
Founded in 1967, Mason Vitamins began as a specialty pharmaceutical company. Over the years, the Miami Lakes, Fla.-based manufacturer has focused on quality and kept its high standards as it introduced hundreds of vitamins and supplements. The company has a history of innovation: it was one of the earliest manufacturers of an Ashwagandha product, and was ahead of the curve in developing gummies made with pectin, instead of gelatin, for consumers seeking fruit-based chewable supplements.

Mason Vitamins manufactures products throughout the good-better-best retail spectrum. That includes private label, a dollar store program, a line of beauty products that are top sellers on Amazon, and new products with on-trend ingredients. “We’re very good at looking forward and listening to the consumer and the retailer,” said Chuck Tacl, vice president of sales and business development. 

This year Mason Vitamins is launching 18 products, including Plant-Based Ultra Digestive Enzymes, Advanced Probiotic XI with 11 probiotic strains, Whole Herb Bay Leaf, Elderberry, Sugar-Free Prenatal Multivitamin with DHA and Zinc, Melatonin 10 mg, and, in the beauty segment, Collagen Premium Skin Cream. The company also is seeing success internationally, including in the Middle East. 

“We are looking at branching out to other categories and different forms, and in turn continuing down this innovation pipeline,” Tacl said. “We believe we can grow significantly.” 

Mybite Vitamins 
To make taking vitamins both easier and enjoyable, Mybite Vitamins offers a delivery format that features nougat, caramel and chocolate. The vitamins have no artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives, and all the products are gluten-free and certified kosher, with 25 calories or fewer, and the same or less sugar than a gummy vitamin. The company debuted two products in the past year, Triple Defense Immune for immune support and Mybite Energy. 

“We’ve seen a really great response from our customers,” said Elaura Rifkin, Mybite director of operations. “We hear from a lot of our customers that the energy product has been a lifesaver during this time when kids are at home and everyone has so much more on their plate.” 

This year, Mybite launched in 20,000 stores, including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid, as well as on Costco.com. Over the next 12 months, Mybite will continue to build the brand and expand with new product innovation and line expansions.

Nature’s Bounty
Founded in 1971, Nature’s Bounty is a global manufacturer and distributor of vitamins, nutritional supplements, joint health and sports and active nutrition. The Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based company’s brands include Nature’s Bounty, Pure Protein, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex, Dr.Organic, Sundown, Ester-C and others. 

The company recently launched several products, including Nature’s Bounty Sleep3 + Stress Support, a maximum strength tri-layer, 100% drug-free sleep aid that supports occasional stress. Also new is the Stress Gummies line, which includes three gummies that help calm occasional feelings of stress, support a positive attitude and relax the mind. The brand also introduced Nature’s Bounty Men’s Series, a line of supplements to support men’s health and appearance. For hair, skin and nails, Nature’s Bounty also expanded its Optimal Solutions portfolio with Nature’s Bounty Advanced Hair, Skin & Nails.  

More innovation is on the horizon. “We will continue our efforts behind retail and ecommerce partnerships, insight-driven consumer marketing, new product innovation, and meaningful investments against our brands and remain focused on growing consumption across categories,” said Don Kerrigan, president, North America at Nature’s Bounty.

Nordic Naturals
Joar Opheim, the founder and CEO of Nordic Naturals, grew up in Arctic Norway. When he went to California to earn an MBA, he encountered a lack of the pure omega-rich cod liver oil that he was used to seeing back home, and found only low-concentration, bad-tasting fish oil. Wanting to make a difference in the fish oil segment, Opheim founded Nordic Naturals in 1995.

The Watsonville, Calif.-based company, which expanded its line beyond fish oil, owns a gummy manufacturing facility that makes zero sugar gummy vitamin D, melatonin, curcumin, children’s DHA gummies and more. New items include Nordic Immune Daily Defense, a  four in one product that includes a high potency offering of 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 2,000 IU of vitamin D, 429 mg of elderberry and 15 mg of zinc. The company also launched Concentrated Cod Liver Oil and plans to have more launches in the upcoming months.

Nordic Naturals uses best-in-class ingredients that are backed by science-based research. “We source fish for our omega-3 products from some of the cleanest waters on earth, and we bottle all of our fish oils in an oxygen-free, nitrogen-rich environment to promote freshness,” said Brian Terry, national sales manager for FDM and specialty. “This guarantees effective, great-tasting fish oil in each serving.”

The company, which sells products in more than 43 countries, expanded in more than 11,000 stores this year, even during the global pandemic. “The future of Nordic Naturals is continued growth, high quality offerings to the category, incremental consumers and science-based innovation,” Terry said. “That includes expansion of all vitamins and supplements as we continue to expand as an essential nutrients company.” 

Ocean Blue
Vertically integrated Ocean Blue makes omega-3 fish oil supplements and controls the entire manufacturing process from fish to packaging. “We operate pretty efficiently,” said John Licari, vice president of marketing. “We sell very high-quality, high-potency products at prices that are competitive with lower-grade products.” 

The Delray Beach, Fla.-based company’s flagship product is Omega-3 2100, which has 2,100 mg of fatty acids. Other manufacturers’ omega-3 products have only 900 to 1,000 mg, Licari said, but the trend now is to take a higher potency. 

In June, the company rolled out a line extension, Omega-3 2100 with CoQ10 Complete Heart Formula. The body naturally produces coenzyme Q10, but with age becomes less efficient at producing it. That’s especially important for consumers who take statins because these prescription pharmaceuticals for lowering cholesterol have been found to inhibit the body’s ability to produce CoQ10.

Ocean Blue is seeing success at such retailers as Publix, where the company sends educational materials to pharmacists to share with consumers. 

The mission at Olly is to make nutrition easy to understand. New products, which focus on sleep, energy, glowing skin and children’s nutrition, answer consumer demand for plant-based items, fiber, probiotics and other features. None of the flavors, colors or sweeteners are derived from artificial sources, and Olly partners with suppliers that meet stringent requirements for transparency, traceability and documentation. Olly also has a team of food experts that ensures the flavors and textures of the gummies, powders and bars satisfy consumer demands for indulgent, but healthy products. 

San Francisco-based Olly also is a certified B Corporation, which means it has earned certification on such various social and environmental performance indicators as transparency, workplace culture, environmental metrics and others. Since 2019, it has been part of the Unilever family of brands. 

Olly is launching a line of female-specific supplements that take the taboo out of everyday women’s health needs. “Feminine health issues are normal,” said Giselle Balagat, brand director at Olly. “Not having solutions isn’t.” Olly’s new line is designed for women by women, and offers solutions in the areas of libido, mood, bloating and urinary tract support. The four SKUs launching are: Lovin’ Libido, which the brand said supports a healthy drive, stimulation and sensation; Miss Mellow mood balancer, which helps when menstrual cycle hormones are fluctuating; Beat the Bloat, which reduces belly bloat and gas for a flatter feeling stomach; and Cleansing Cranberry, which supports urinary tract health with a clinically studied dose of cranberry. The line will initially launch at Target in September. 

Pharmavite’s portfolio of brands includes Nature Made, MegaFood, nurish by Nature Made and Equelle. This fall, Nature Made will launch 10 items, with a heavy focus on immunity, sleep and gummies — the fastest-growing form — to support consumer needs. There also is a new advertising campaign on the way. 

“Our brand was founded on quality and expert nutrition science and research, and will continue to be at the forefront of science leadership to differentiate us from our competitors,” said Bryan Donaldson, executive vice president of sales. He also said that Nature Made is the first vitamin brand to achieve verification by the United States Pharmacopeia, and the majority of the brand’s products currently carry the USP mark.

Nature Made is backed by more than 45 years of expert nutrition science, which Donaldson said will always be the foundation of its business. “We also have robust consumer insights to better understand the key jobs to be done to meet the evolving needs of consumers,” he said. The West Lake, Calif.-based Pharmavite recently launched nurish by Nature Made, a subscription service that creates personalized vitamin packets. Consumers go online, answer questions and receive a 30-day supply of vitamins and supplements that are best suited for them.

Piping Rock 
Piping Rock, which uses its own state-of-the-art facilities and manufacturing equipment, has implemented operational efficiencies, including in-house packaging, label design and printing. “The result is that we can launch successful products to market much faster than the competition,” said Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing. 

The company recently launched several products in the immune and stress segments under the Nature’s Truth brand. Also new is Black Elderberry Immune Complex Chewables + Vitamin C and Zinc in bottles that each contain a two-month supply. Stress Away Gummies feature GABA, an amino acid showing strong growth and consumer interest, and L-theanine and lemon balm for additional calming support. Stress Eaze Essential Oil Blend gives consumers an aromatherapy experience, with a calming mix of citrus essential oils and a peppermint aroma.

As it works to provide continued product innovation, Bohemia, N.Y.-based Piping Rock is focusing on three areas — immune support for year-round wellness, expanded gummy vitamin offerings, and more women-focused items, including its Pink brand.