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Supplements are no longer associated with just bodybuilders or the over 50’s. With the rise of concern for general well-being becoming apparent within the millennials generation which is over 75 million strong, the supplement industry is seeing a surge in demand for health-boosting vitamins and minerals; as well as several new companies swooping in.

However, if millennials are driving the production of what is now a $100 billion global industry, how are new brands getting such great traction in such a highly saturated market?


For British company VITL, which recently expanded into the USA via the retailer Urban Outfitters, making a great product was just the first step. It was more about removing the old style brown pots you find in your grandmother’s bathroom cabinet and replacing them with sleek, mailbox friendly packaging, getting ahead on e-commerce and adopting a fresh approach to content marketing that is capturing the attention of a new kind of market segment.

Like a string of new, trendy supplement brands that have entered the global market, VITL have created a product that slots seamlessly into consumers busy lives, as a kind of fashionable accessory. Their unique tearable strips are novel and the packaging is social media worthy – so much so that it caught the eye of a US Urban Outfitters representative, who got in touch to request samples. Now, consumers have the option to shop for clothing, accessories and now supplements in one space.

Supplements have become a “cool” lifestyle marker and one which consumers are prepared to pay for, with a month’s supply pricing up at around £45.00.

While VITL’s clear commitment to using only the best quality and sustainably sourced ingredients would suggest it is a transparent and healthy brand, the rapid growth of vitamin start-ups such as Olly in the USA that paint a different, more novelty picture.

Olly’s on trend and bold packaging has shot their gummy style vitamins to success, even though each dose contains up to one teaspoon of sugar. But the real reason millennials communicate with the brand so well is their irrefutable calls to action on the packaging. For Example: “Olly’s simply Vitamin D was designed to give our bodies a daily dose of sunshine”

The Supplement Industry

The supplement market can be a confusing space, even for the well informed. With so many products available and more superfood ingredients emerging by the minute, it can be a very difficult landscape to navigate, making a ‘we have done all the hard work for you’ approach by brands more appealing than ever.

Millennials certainly aren’t stupid, which is why the transparency of supplement products speaks to emerging market respondents. Respondents who, according to market researchers Nielson are the most willing to pay a premium for health products when they have clear, environmental and socio-economic benefits.

For some consumers, the awareness doesn’t end there. Aside from transparency pertaining to the social impact of products, health-conscious millennials, who are increasingly taking wellbeing into their own hands are also drawing their own conclusions around which supplements they do and don’t need to consume.

This means that the ‘one size fits all’ approach of the traditional multivitamin is no longer enough, leading to a rise in demand for combination and personalised supplements.

Supplement brands must recognise that to stay relevant and meet the needs of the mercurial and the much more educated millennial, current brands must carry on evolving.

The predicted growth of sub-categories such as sports nutrition and immune boosters are expected to lead to even greater levels of personalisation. And the convergence of food and pharmaceutical – including food and drinks which contain vitamins and minerals continues. For start-ups yet to penetrate the market, the race is already on to innovate.