People have always taken supplements and vitamins. And the good old multivitamin used to be enough to make people feel like they were doing something positive for their health. Now the category seems to be growing and evolving with a much younger audience. Is that because today’s consumer want to play a more active role in their health?


What counts as a supplement anyway?

We all know what a vitamin is. Their name makes it pretty easy to identify them. Hello my good friend Vitamin D. But what exactly counts as a supplement? According to the FDA, a dietary supplement “contains a dietary ingredient intended to add further nutritional value.” The list includes everything from vitamins and minerals to herbs, amino acids and extracts. In the marketplace, this translates to anything from standard pills to protein powders, seeds, probiotics and even apple cider vinegar drinks.


3 out of 4 millennials take supplements

Right now, 73% of millennials take regular supplements. The only group that takes more supplements than millennials? Baby boomers. 88% of Baby Boomers take vitamins and supplements. Will millennials catch up? It’s possible. Supplements seems to be the perfect fulfillment of their interest in both nutrition and alternative health. In fact, they’re the most educated generation to date. When it comes to their health, they’re on the hunt for ways to address their own unique needs. Remember that good old multi I just mentioned? It might just be on its way out.


Reinventing a category

Supplements in pill form are just the beginning. Fortified foods are a fast-emerging category. Think about how almond milk is fortified with Calcium. Same idea. I just stumbled across a vitamin dressing. How’s that for innovation? Will we be seeing even more of this on the marketplace? I predict yes. As consumers spend their food dollars, they are looking closely at what health benefits they’re getting from the deal. The predictions this year are a hybrid of new formats (from sprays to liquids) to supplements that address very current needs (like vision support for so much screen time.) And it turns out the supplements I take are very on trend. My two mainstays, Magnesium and Turmeric are on this trending top 10 list.


Transparency is key

Millennials don’t believe everything their doctor or the government says. They’re seeking alternate sources and information. For example, even though the FDA does not need to approve supplements, look how big the market is. This is where transparency is SO key. Millennials, want to know exactly WHAT is in their supplements and where it came from.
Even though millennials are not the #1 consumers for vitamins and supplements YET, they may be soon. Once again their behaviors are informing giant shifts in the products that exist, the way information is delivered and the way brands communicate. What can legacy brands learn from this? Let’s Talk.