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Vitafoods Europe 2023

Identifying opportunities in the US supplement market [Interview]

Article-Identifying opportunities in the US supplement market [Interview]

Vitafoods Europe 2023 Speaker Interview with Brandon Casteel
While the current consumer focus on health represents a boost for the supplements industry, meeting expectations for functional, clean label products that fit with everyday lifestyles can be a challenge. At Vitafoods, Brandon Casteel, Vice President Of Partnerships for SPINS, will deliver a data-driven examination of the US dietary supplement industry, highlighting innovation, key opportunities, and potential barriers to growth.

What are some of the key factors behind the current consumer focus on both personal health and sustainability?

“The current consumer has become a values-driven one. Personal health as well as the health of the planet are two of the top values important to the modern shopper. This is led by the growing trend of food as medicine as well as the overall awareness of the role that the food industry has played in climate issues and pollution. Consumers are often willing to pay more for the products that align with these two values.

“Much of the innovation we see is around products being more functional, which often includes ingredients commonly found in supplements moving over to food, and also, more responsible ingredient sourcing as well as packaging innovations to reduce waste and environmental footprint.”

At the same time, what are some of the challenges to tapping these opportunities?

“The economic uncertainty of the times has caused consumers to have to make tough decisions on what products to purchase. Grocery store prices continue to rise at a much too high rate making vitamin or mineral supplement (VMS) purchases sometimes a casualty.

“A few things are in favour for VMS products, however. The [average rank position] ARP of this category has typically gone up by much less than food and beverage categories, which means that while the short term may be cloudy and uncertain for the category, the long-term impact looks bright as the gap between food and beverage products and supplements comes closer together, consumers may feel less sticker shock at some higher price point products.

“Consumer trust has always been and remains an issue with VMS products. Luckily, more third-party testing and transparency is becoming available. Hopefully, this will lead to a lot more – and warranted – trust in the products being purchased.”

Could you give us an overview of the key trends and data you plan to share in your presentation?

“Sports and active nutrition has been the fastest growing supplement category for each of the past two years. However, coming off a few record-breaking years, the overall VMS landscape is flat in terms of growth. Most channels have shown a decline in units sold. In addition, the permanency of the behaviour change for shoppers shifting online during the pandemic was overstated. Some 92% of the growth in the category is coming from brick-and-mortar stores versus Amazon.”

What are some of the key messages you hope to convey?

“Some of the key messages I would hope to convey include the fact that supplement prices have held pretty firm compared to food and beverages. Once niche demographic categories like creatine are expanding their reach to women and older generations, while consumers remain interested in key health focuses like immune, hydration, and joint support.”

Finally, what do you think the future holds for the US supplement market?

“As more people have become familiar with supplements, I expect the future to be very bright for the industry. Some key entry categories remain highly innovative. More consumer-friendly delivery formats also mean that more shoppers will more likely stick in the category. I think the shifting mindset of supplements being part of the food as medicine movement will propel innovation, and meet the values-oriented shoppers where they are.”

Brandon Casteel is vice president of partnerships for SPINS. At Vitafoods 2023, he will be delivering a presentation at the Insights Theatre on the state of the US supplement market, and will also particate at a session at the Sustainability Theatre.