21st June 2021

What’s in store for the gummy vitamin market?

The boom of gummy vitamins and personalised nutrition: the present and beyond

By Mike Foster, founder and creative director, Straight Forward

The global gummy vitamin market was valued at 5.9 billion USD in 2020, so it’s not surprising that brands want in on this multi-billion dollar industry.

And after the last 18 months, consumers have continued to propel industry growth, with many of us researching vitamin health and taking preventative measures to keep us healthier for longer.

Cast your mind back to 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, there was chatter around the benefits of vitamin D in relation to COVID, and more generally, its role in supporting a healthy immune system. The NHS even provided free vitamin d supplements for those at high risk from COVID-19, and people become more interested in the benefits of vitamins in general.

With the rise in popularity of commercially available gummy vitamins and personalised nutrition, what does the market look like now, and how do we see it developing in the future?

People are increasingly driven to look after their health

Consumers have never been more in control when it comes to their health. They’re seeking new ways to live better, healthier lives — and that’s why companies like DNAFit exist. It’s never been easier for consumers to access in-depth knowledge of health predictions and preventative solutions to help them live better lives.

DNAFit enables consumers to open the door to their DNA to help them achieve their ‘wellness goals’. Their website promises to help consumers unlock personalised nutrient needs, uncover food sensitivities and intolerances and understand injury and recovery profiles — and more.

It’s technology like this that’s giving control right back to the consumer; it’s empowering them to take preventative actions to ensure they’re in the best shape possible. And COVID has escalated this.

A survey conducted by GSK found that a significant proportion of European consumers consider it necessary to take their health into their own hands to relieve pressure on healthcare systems — with many turning to ‘trusted brands with a strong heritage that are grounded in science.’ In fact, 82% of consumers surveyed said the products they use must be scientifically proven.

So, what does the future hold for the gummy vitamin market?

As we’ve already mentioned, consumers are looking for new ways to better their health and wellbeing, and the gummy vitamin market is supporting consumers with these goals.

With trusted household brands like Bassett delivering ‘medicated confectionery’ to the masses, gummy vitamins are becoming part of our everyday lives; they’re baked into our daily routines.

Projected market growth stands at 10.6 billion USD by 2025 — so in just four short years, the industry is set to almost double. New gummy vitamin brands are popping up left, right, and centre, focusing on online customer experience taking centre stage.

Personalised nutrition brand Nourished came into the marketplace in October 2019, offering a bespoke vitamin solution for anyone aged 18 to 80. And in April 2021, Persona Nutrition (acquired by Nestlé in 2019) launched “the world’s first daily gummy vitamin packs for the entire family”.

The launch of these products highlight that it’s not just one demographic interested in keeping their vitamin levels topped up; it’s a market that’s booming for all generations. Booming so much that Nestlé reported that the personalised subscription service more than tripled sales from the year previous.

And the new brands coming to this marketplace have some things in common — they’re appealing to modern consumer values with sustainable packaging (Persona Nutrition) and plastic-free products (Nourished). Aligning themselves with these values will encourage long-lasting brand-consumer relationships.

Consumers are looking for an easy answer to their health issues, and gummy vitamins seem to be ticking all the boxes, with research from Kantar finding that over half the UK population has bought a supplement of some sort in 2019-2020 alone. There’s a big market out there for brands to tap into.

And it’s not just the ‘trend’ of gummy vitamins that are taking off; it’s the concept of functional confectionery in its entirety.

Offering consumers something that tastes great and does good is a two-birds-one-stone scenario — and that’s what functional confectionery delivers. It’s like when you find a healthy meal that tastes great; it takes away the guilt that can come with eating something tasty.

Functional confectionery is still a relative niche market, but it’s a market that’s growing in interest. With COVID-19 focusing consumers on a healthier lifestyle, China spotted an opportunity to reposition their snack foods from ‘should not harm health’ to ‘should enhance health’. This shift in mindset will help them capitalise on the older generation’s longing to live healthier, fuller lives. Their focus is on moving away from tablets to foods that serve a function but taste great, too.

Is vitamin choice spoiling consumer appetite?

A report published by Nielson found consumers are more interested in buying multivitamins (they currently have a 65.6% share of the vitamin market), which deliver a range of benefits. So rather than vitamin-specific products, a focus on holistic health is appealing to more consumers. That’s why brands focusing on personalised nutrition could reap the market share benefits. After all, giving consumers a choice is great, but only if they know what it is they’re looking for.

With multivitamins, you’re covering more bases. You’re giving your immune system an overall reboot instead of focusing on just increasing your vitamin C intake, for example. Consumers know they need to look after themselves, and buying a multivitamin is the winning product for many.

So, are the brands offering a personalised approach to gummy vitamins going to take the market share? Their solutions are innovative, intelligent, and bespoke — all elements welcome the customer with open arms.

The battle between established and emerging brands

Household names including Bassetts and Nestlé are getting into action and grabbing a slice of this lucrative market. But what about newer players like Nourished? To stand out against these retail giants, they need to present consumers with a different story.

The story must go beyond their digital and technological prowess. As impressive as the product personalisation and new routes to market are, the brand story must focus on emotions.

Personalisation engages consumers: A product to help combat your specific healthcare need is a winning strategy. Nourished offer its consumers precisely that. Their digital solution is quick and painless. There’s no need to visit in-store, simply make your gummy vitamin purchase and see them sent to your door in a box printed with your name, extending the personalisation to every aspect of the experience.

A report published by the Food Standards Agency in 2018 found consumers preferred to purchase their supplements from traditional bricks and mortar stores, including Boots, Superdrug and supermarkets. A big part of this purchasing decision was down to knowing the products were safe to use.

But that was before COVID. Shopping trends have shifted as consumers embrace their newfound digital freedom, with 49% of shoppers shopping online more than pre-COVID. It’s more convenient, and shoppers can locate the best vitamin complex for them in mere minutes.

The big traditional vitamin brands are long-established. However, they are often soulless, targeting everyone, therefore no one. On the other hand, the best of the new and dynamic vitamin brands are grabbing consumers’ attention because they take a more human emotional approach.

With food and confectionery brands also wanting in on the space, we will see mass disruption in the vitamin market.

To compete, many established vitamin brands will need to rethink their brand ecosystems fundamentally. Many have great products, but the product must be coupled with a great consumer story and an appealing aesthetic. Brands need to be Found Understood Loved and Lived, Connect in FULL.

A new identity for CocoaVia

Our job here at Straight Forward is to build long-lasting relationships between brand and consumer, and we achieve this by implementing our Connect in FULL methodology. We know that for a brand to deliver impact, they need to be Found Understood Loved and Lived; and that’s exactly what we implemented for supplement brand CocoaVia.

We crafted a brand identity that appealed to their 45+ affluent market, we redesigned and refocused their packaging to reinforce their heritage and scientifically sound ingredients, all while retaining the visual markers customers had come to know and trust.

Read the full CocoaVia case study.