Let’s get personal – The rise of personalised supplements and what we can expect in this category

By Rich Quelch

- Last updated on GMT

Let’s get personal – The rise of personalised supplements

Related tags Quelch personalisation Supplements

The megatrend for personalised goods highlights the growth of “me-centred” consumer expectations where people want products and services tailored to their needs. And they want it at an affordable price.
Rich Quelch
Rich Quelch, Global Head of Marketing, Lifestyle Packaging. Copyright RQuelch

Alongside this, health data is becoming the new currency as technology provides insights and opportunities previously impossible to achieve.

These insights are empowering people to take control of their health and wellbeing and providing healthcare professionals with early indicators and valuable information that can improve outcomes.

The Vitamins & Supplements category is the latest health market to experience positive disruption from these two trends.

Flexible, personal and convenient

What consumers value over anything in modern times is flexibility, personalisation and convenience and the nutraceuticals market is well positioned to target all three.

From Vitamin Buddy’s free lifestyle quiz, Vitl’s goal-targeted approach to Nourished’s 3D-printed gummies, creativity and innovation are plentiful in the growing competitive marketplace for personalised vitamins and supplements.

The category has grown rapidly and fiercely over recent years, driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic which emphasised the importance of good health and holistic wellbeing.

Today, the market is expanding far beyond the U.S. where it emerged.

Changing shopping habits and the search for convenience have also created the perfect market conditions for new online-only entrants who offer personalised nutraceuticals via subscription.

There is now an offering to suit any budget, ranging from roughly £20 per month up to £150 and beyond at the premium end of the market, giving consumers greater choice and control.

Within this category, the level of personalisation varies depending on the brand​ and price point.

Bioniq and many others deliver a personal feel right down to printing the customer’s name on the primary and secondary packaging.

Other brands, like Vitmedics take the ‘soft-sell’ approach and seek to understand the medicines you take and how these may affect nutrient absorption, before recommending supplements that help to address any imbalances.

And then there’s Vitl and Baze who are out for blood, quite literally from their customers.

Global expansion, consolidation and market challenges

The global personalised retail nutrition and wellness market size was valued at $1.8 bn in 2020​ and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9% from 2021 to 2028.

More big players are expected to follow Nestle and make their move into this emerging category, so existing players large and small will need to gear up for increased competition.

As the category becomes more competitive and established, we can expect global expansion, further segmentation and consolidation.

But for the market to continue growing at the scale seen previously, it needs to attract a wider audience, to educate and empower more people to take control of their health and build loyalty to keep subscriptions rolling.

Investors and market analysts have expressed concerns over the industry’s ability to retain customers not just for months, but for years to come.

Value-add products, technological innovation, and sustainable supply chain and packaging solutions will be key for those looking to compete in this niche but lucrative category.

As competition hots up and consolidation intensifies, we can expect subscription prices to fall, making them more accessible to more people.

We’re also poised to witness exciting advancements when it comes to science-led solutions and the technologies that deliver them.

Smarter technologies, sustainability and new offerings

Consumers aren’t just looking for data, they’re looking for it to be actionable and want a solution in one place.

Yet, there’s somewhat of a Catch-22 that needs to be overcome. The health-aware consumers who this industry currently targets are the most likely to have the smallest room for improvement when it comes to their wellbeing - a gap that personalised supplements are there to fill.

So, bringing health management under one place, alongside fitness, mental wellbeing, sleep, and nutrition offerings, will be key to building loyalty and longevity within the market.

For those looking for “luxury” solutions that come at a premium, there will be more choice.

DNA and microbiome testing is a particularly interesting field which could deliver unique and hyper-personalised solutions at a larger scale for those with the disposable income to commit.

Like so many of today’s ground-breaking concepts, artificial intelligence lies at the heart of the bespoke service.

We can expect to see more providers leverage AI and machine learning to deliver hyper-personalised offerings which adapt based on data and changing health needs at a more frequent rate, or indeed, in real-time.

This will equip in-house experts so they can make accurate and effective recommendations, delivering the kind of ROI savvy health-aware consumers are searching for.

Smart packaging is an exciting area for innovation too and a way brands can take the personalised experience to the next level.

Wider use of built-in smart packaging technologies will help brands log transit data and protect against counterfeit products entering the supply chain.

QR codes can unlock tailored health advice from a range of experts. Smartphone apps can track consumers’ progress towards their goals and remind them to take their pills.

Companies will also increasingly be judged on their product’s sustainability – including packaging materials and wastage. Brands need to balance safety, efficacy and sustainability which requires investment in research, development and testing.

Naturally, products designed for home delivery are letterbox-sized or only slightly larger which result in a small amount of wastage.

But anything that will be discarded needs to be carefully considered from a recycling or compostable point of view, including protective materials and sachets.

Mixed materials that are difficult for recycling infrastructure should be avoided or switched out for sustainable solutions.

For example, the patented SnappD is the first 100% recyclable single-use packaging​ for sachets, helping brands to continue to offer single portion easy-to-transport pouches as an alternative without compromising on function.

Finally, brands in this space will have to be more transparent than ever before when it comes to how personalised product ranges are sourced and manufactured.

This is something consumers are becoming conscientious about and could create an even closer affiliation to the product and concept they’re buying into.

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