Nutraceuticals: 3 Ways Brands Can Connect with Empowered Consumers
This blog post has been contributed by Vince Schaller, Managing Director, SGK Health
Health and wellness are top of mind for consumers across generations today. Every day is a new opportunity to enrich their quality of life with products that speak to healthy lifestyle choices. It's also an opportunity for brands to practice wellness by repositioning to connect emotionally with empowered consumers.
The term ‘nutraceuticals’ was coined in the late 1980’s to describe food products that have medical benefits. The category includes functional foods, nutritional supplements, sport drinks, and medically formulated foods — which provides unique opportunities for food and pharma companies to collaborate.
Based on national surveys done in the US, 1 in 5 people use a non-vitamin, non-mineral dietary supplement, such as ginseng or fish oil. Broadening the survey to include vitamins and minerals, which are also considered dietary supplements, the results increase to 1 in 3 people. These products are typically available in pharmacies and drugstores without prescription and are part of the growing nutraceuticals industry.
According to a recent review of the category, nutraceuticals could include herbal extracts, individual micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), amino acids, adaptogenic compounds, enzymes and potentially prebiotics and probiotics.
Despite being an often bold and innovative industry, its lack of global regulation has led consumers to hesitate purchasing solely based on claims found on the packaging or in marketing. But there are steps nutraceutical brands can take to overcome consumer skepticism.
1. Transparency is the Best Policy
The dietary supplement market is growing at a rapid rate and is predicted to record a global revenue of $394 billion by 2026. It’s also a highly competitive market, with more than 450 supplement manufacturers in the US alone. So how can brands break through the noise? One way it be as transparent as possible.
Extensive research, clinical trials, and verified health claims are some of the best marketing tools that nutraceuticals companies can put forth when marketing their products. Despite being an industry that is minimally regulated, some companies are taking it upon themselves to ensure clear, transparent data by investing more time and money into clinical research.
It’s also important for brands to tailor their marketing strategies to each country. Because the industry isn’t regulated globally, rules and consumer preferences will vary. However, for every region and audience persona that brands are trying to reach, they should strive to ensure they’re marketing is clear as possible by avoiding exaggerated claims or colloquialisms like “superfood,” which confuse the consumer and lead to further distrust.
2. Broad but Personalized
According to a report by Euromonitor International, online sales of consumer health products doubled over 2012-2017, mainly due to very fast online sales growth of vitamins and dietary supplements, which reached $13.5 billion in 2017. This aligns with the shopping habits of Millennials and Gen-Z consumers, who tend to seek more online and mobile options when addressing their health.
This is a trend from which nutraceuticals brands can benefit—an opportunity to reach a broad audience online, while targeting customers with a personalized e-commerce experience.
Examples of this include the launches of various direct-to-consumer vitamin brands like Persona Nutrition, Care/Of, or VitaMe, which use quizzes and online tools to create targeted supplement recommendations.
One company called Baze takes personalization a step further by offering in-home blood tests to determine a customer’s best course of treatment. These online-only brands are engaging with their audience at various touchpoints of the shopping experience, including social media, remarketing strategies, and influencer partnerships.
While changing buying habits are sure to influence the role of e-commerce for nutraceuticals, it’s clear that consumers not only want personalized regimen recommendations, they also want to find it at the comfort of their computers and smartphones.
3. Utilize Nutrition Specialists
According to a Mintel study, one third of vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements users are swayed by a professional endorsement. Consumers seek professional guidance to understand the market, and nutrition and health specialists are considered a respected resource to help them navigate the wealth of information and options.
The nutraceuticals market can be difficult for consumers to navigate—even just understanding how they differ from over-the-counter products can be a challenge. Brands should utilize health specialists to create a higher level of awareness of how their products can be used, how they interact with other medications, and how they compare to others on the market.
Brands can develop resources about their products that will not only inform specialists but provide them with tools to better communicate with clients about their supplement usage.
Education from brands is key, so brands should utilize evidence-based data to show how their supplements interact with other supplements, over-the-counter medications, and prescriptions. It’s up to nutrition and health specialists to ensure information is correctly administered to their clients, but it’s up to the brands to engage with the experts.
What do nutraceutical brands need to know?
Consumers integrate nutraceuticals products into their daily health regimen in a variety of formats for myriad reasons. It’s important for brands in this growing industry to reach audiences with transparency, personalization, and outreach to nutrition and health specialists.
About Vince Schaller: Vince leads the SGK Health global teams that deliver effective and efficient brand building solutions. Vince has 25 years of experience with brands across a wide spectrum of both B2B and B2C audiences that include Pharma, Medical Device, Nutraceutical, and Animal Health segments.