The large vitamin and supplement retailer wants to make sure that consumers will increasingly associate the Vitamin Shoppe brand with all things keto, a familiar term for the low-carb, high-fat diet ketogenic diet that has taken the US by storm.
It started its expansion into the keto empire when it announced Keto HQ in August of last year—a shop-within-a-shop concept, both online and offline, where everything from keto protein powders to high fat nut butters to no-carb cookies are merchandised together.
During the company’s Q3 earnings call last November, EVP and chief merchandising and marketing officer Dave Mock credited new product introductions as the key driver for the quarter’s sales, especially keto products.
“Our omni launch of Keto in Q3 has positioned us top of mind with our consumers and as their destination for meeting their everyday Keto needs,” Mock said.
“Our Health Enthusiasts are trained Keto experts and have become a key resource for customers seeking a Keto solution,” he added, using the company’s term for in-store sales associates.
January 5 is ‘National Keto Day’
This week, the retailer staked its claim in a ‘National Keto Day’ on January 5, “early in the New Year, when customers are looking for solutions to help them achieve their 2019 health and wellness goals,” the company said in a press release.
According to the retailer, the move “further affirms its position as the destination for everything keto.”
So, what happes on National Keto Day? According to the retailer, customers will be encouraged to post a photo of their favorite keto foods (typically high fat and low carb ones such as eggs, avocados, and salmon) and keto supplements using the hashtag #NationalKetoDay.
For every post, it will donate $5 to the nonprofit Blessings in a Backpack, which provides food on weekends to elementary school children across the US.
Using keto to revitalize brands
Marketers are betting on the longevity of the keto trend because, unlike diets such as Paleo, the ketogenic diet has its roots in medical science. Since the early 20th century, ketogenic diets have been prescribed to patients of pediatric epilepsy.
On Google Trends, searches for ‘keto’ is at its peak.
This has prompted not just new product development or new brand launches in the space, but also older brands, like Vitamin Shoppe, using keto-positioning to revamp themselves.
One such example is SlimFast, a legacy weight loss brand of diet liquids and powders once owned by Unilever. SlimFast’s sales continued to spiral downward until it was sold to venture capital firm Kainos Capital, and then sold to Glanbia for $350 million last year.
Just this week, the company announced that it will launch a line of keto products with high fat/medium protein. “We are giving American dieters what they told us they wanted for 2019 —they want a quick, easy and super-convenient way to follow the ketogenic diet," said Doug Reader, SlimFast president.