The women’s health category: A ‘co-creation’ of macro trends

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags women's health PCOS Menopause Breastfeeding Hormone

It’s time to rethink innovation and shopper experience in women’s health as "there is not a single health benefit that doesn’t fit into the category", said Nick Morgan, founder of Nutrition Integrated, at the Biogredia by Barentz women’s health seminar last week.

It isn’t a macro trend but a significant component of the health and wellness space, the active nutrition consultant explained in his opening speech to delegates in Gstaad, Switzerland.

The category brings together key trends, and the category is in fact "a co-creation of several different macro trends" that are underpinned by important markets, he argued. 

However, he noted that shopping for women’s health supplements is complicated as they are merchandised as a separate category, meaning the consumer has to actively seek out specific supplements marked for women.

Evolving markets​ 

As companies venture into the space, the initial foray often involves comprehensive multi-vitamins catering to women's energy, sleep, skin, bone health and hormonal balance, Morgan explained. 

However, the landscape is rapidly evolving. With growing acceptance, manufacturers are now responding to consumer confidence and knowledge, offering targeted solutions tailored to women at various stages of life. From beauty-from-within to cognitive health, the market is diversifying.

For instance, Germany-based Bears with Benefits targets a younger female demographic with a range of supplements, while UK brand MPowder focuses on powdered supplements specifically designed to support peri-menopausal women, addressing mood and gut health with an extensive product line.

Other  brands include the U.S.-founded Boobie, which provides support for breastfeeding mothers through multiple supplement formats, and Clara, a research-focused brand from the UK offering multivitamin capsules for women at different life stages.

The Tech Integration

The integration of technology has become a significant aspect of the category and one that Morgan believes will continue to gain momentum. 

For example, the brand Guud, founded by a husband-and-wife duo to support women with PCOS and their partners, initially through community pages, now offers supplements and advice through specifically fed AI channels.  

And the company Hormonix, the biometric hormone analysis app for sports performance, wellbeing and healthcare in elite female athletes, is utilizing salivary hormone profile testing. 

The Credibility Conundrum

However, an enduring challenge faced by brands in the women's health space is the perception that they may lack credibility when positioning themselves as 'fun' or 'feminine'. 

Morgan emphasized that this stems from the prevalent  "shrink it and pink it" approach to product creation, where formulations are often scaled down and repackaged with feminine branding without genuine personalization to their demographic. 

Expanding into the women's health market presents a strategic challenge for brands, Morgan said, highlighting the potential for 'attitudinal products'. He encouraged brands to leverage consumer loyalty and align with their values to seamlessly incorporate women's health products into their existing offerings. 

While there is continuous debate amongst industry experts on how best to offer nutritional support and guidance to women of all ages, it is evident that the category will be better address if manufacturers foster partnerships with each other, Morgan concluded. 

"I think we're all in agreement of how much demand there is for better products and just the enthusiasm to do a better job," he said. "And by bringing everyone together, what has emerged is the importance of collaboration."

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