‘Beauty from within’ on-trend in supplement space, from new formulations to the basics

This is an article I wrote for the CRN Daily Supplement member newsletter, connecting timely external content to the association’s annual survey as part of our content marketing tactics.

J&J Consumer Health’s Neutrogena brand’s personalized 3-D printed skin care supplements made news at CES 2023 last week. Consumers can scan their face through an app, answer a questionnaire, and receive a recommendation for a “skin stack” gummy—providing the personalization consumers seek with the kind of products they are looking for.

“Skin, hair and nails” is reported as a reason for taking dietary supplements by 29% of supplement users, according to the latest edition of the CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements—37% among female supplement users. 

“Healthy aging” is another top reason cited among supplement users, with 27% of females and 21% of males seeking these benefits from their dietary supplements, according to the CRN survey.

  • InStyle magazine recently highlighted Unilever’s brand Nutrafol, noting its formulation with biotin, vitamin Avitamin C, and L-lysine.
  • Nestlé Health Science’s Vital Proteins collagen brand is broadening the benefits message beyond beauty with its “For Everybody with a Body” campaign aimed at educating people about the many parts of the human body that can benefit from collagen, “from skin, hair and nails to the left knee, right knee or tendon in your elbow.”

Vitamin D never goes out of style, and was recently spotlighted in Vogue magazine, which noted supplements can be “key to preventing deficiency.” 

What they’re saying: In the U.S. and Canada, the RDA is 600 IU per day for adults and 800 IU per day for individuals over 70 years old, while in the UK, the RDA is 400 IU. The article advised consumers to opt for D3 paired with vitamin K2 “to optimize calcium metabolism.” 

A newly published study from the University of Finland reported fewer cases of melanoma among people taking vitamin D supplements. The study included nearly 500 people with an increased risk of skin cancer. Those who took vitamin D supplements regularly also had a lower risk of skin cancer, according to estimates by experienced dermatologists. 


Expo East insights: Strategies to reduce GHG emissions supported by independent data

This is an article I wrote for the CRN Daily Supplement member newsletter, covering a session I attended at the Natural Products Expo East trade show in September 2021—additional stories here.

The natural products industry, as part of the greater food industry, is responsible for one third of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are causing climate change.

By the numbers: The largest contribution to harmful emissions is made by agriculture and land use/land-use change activities (71%), with other sources being supply chain activities: retail, transport, consumption, fuel production, waste management, industrial processes, and packaging. 

Six strategies for companies to reduce GHG emissions, as explained by Nova Sayers from independent research company HowGood at Natural Products Expo East, include:

  1. Choosing different ingredients
  2. Choosing better sourcing locations
  3. Choosing certified suppliers
  4. Engaging suppliers to reduce their footprint
  5. Supporting regenerative agriculture
  6. Purchasing agricultural offsets where they source

Companies can rapidly assess which ingredients, production practices, and locations can help them improve their climate impact using HowGood’s product sustainability database.

Why it matters: “The same conditions that are causing GHG emissions and climate change are also causing significant species loss and loss of biodiversity that our industry depends on,” Sayers explained. “We need diverse ingredients that are grown in a way that allows them to be nutritionally dense.”

The bottom line: In addition to protecting their ingredient sources, companies can reap rewards in terms of price premiums. Data from the NYU Stern School in partnership with IRI showed sustainable products:

  • Accounted for over 50% of the market growth even though they only comprise about 16% of the overall market in terms of number of products.
  • Command a 39% price premium over conventional products, according to data from the NYU Stern School in partnership with IRI

Self-empowerment, social mission resonate with new generation of supplement users

“With our social mission focused on mental health, we are weaving more ‘real talk’ into our content to help consumers feel seen,” said Jessica Heitz, chief marketing officer of Olly, in a Fast Company article exploring how to sell health and wellness when consumers are sick and tired of hearing about it. “Gen Z cares about brands that make a difference and we amplify our social mission in our marketing.”

“Many millennial-minded consumers didn’t find the vitamin and supplement category was relevant to them,” Heitz explained. “While traditional vitamin brands talk about the problems people face, Olly focuses on the benefit—and that approach brought an entirely new consumer into the vitamin aisle who had never shopped there before.”

By the numbers: According to the 2021 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, among U.S. adults 18–34 years old:

  • 14% do not take supplements and have never taken supplements
  • 13% have taken supplements in the past but no longer consider themselves a supplement user
  • 11% consider themselves a seasonal user of supplements, taking supplements only during part of the year such as the winter cold and flu season or the spring allergy season
  • 15% consider themselves an occasional user of supplements, taking them throughout the year when they think of it or when the need arises
  • 18% take a supplement regularly, but take only a multivitamin
  • 29% take supplements regularly and take a variety of vitamins, minerals and/or herbal products or specialty supplements

Older adults are more likely to regularly take multiple supplements, with:

  • 42% of 35–54 year olds and
  • 57% of adults 55 and older in this category.

Overall, Heitz noted, “We’ve found that benefit-driven ads (e.g., sleep) and the feeling (e.g., well-rested), as opposed to ingredient-led messaging (e.g., melatonin) resonate best with consumers.”