HEALTH

Vitamin D explodes with product growth

BY Amanda Baltazar


The vitamin D category continues to grow. Category leader Nature Made from Pharmavite is on the cusp of launching a host of new products, including a Super D-Complex with magnesium, vitamin D chewable tablets and vitamin D with vitamin C and zinc.


“I think this is category growth that has been driven by the science,” said Doug Jones, Pharmavite’s corporate communications and public relations manager. “When you get a lot of the medical establishment behind it, you see long-term sustained growth of a category. And vitamin D has received lots of press. There’s widespread recognition that there’s a deficiency problem.”


John Hathcock, SVP scientific and international affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said that the information about vitamin D is permeating the public’s awareness because it’s so all-encompassing. “For well over 50 years and perhaps closer to 75, we’ve known that vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and thus [helps to] build healthy bones,” Hathcock said. “But it’s also been found to help reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other metabolic syndrome issues, [and] falls related to neuromuscular activity, [as well as] immune function and all the things that result from that.”


The numbers back up the science. Sales of vitamin D were up 49% for the 52 weeks ended April 16, down slightly from last December when sales were up 73%, according to Nielsen.


Despite Pharmavite having a plethora of vitamin D products, its best-seller remains its 1,000 IU product. Also, last year the company released a product with 5,000 IU, and two years ago it launched a 400-IU chewable vitamin D product for children.


Hathcock said he expected to see more vitamin D supplements on the market — from multivitamins with vitamin D to vitamin D and calcium tablets. But with a marketplace as full as it is with new vitamin D products, how does Pharmavite ensure its products stand out? The company participates in the dietary supplement program from the United States Pharmacopeia, a scientific not-for-profit organization that has set pharmaceutical quality standards since 1820 and bears the USP’s stamp on many of its products, with more constantly being added.

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ReportersNotebook — Over the Counter, 7/11/11

BY Michael Johnsen

SUPPLIER NEWS — A survey for Vitamin Shoppe found that 60% of Americans currently take a vitamin or supplement. Of those who take vitamins, more than 70% of respondents said they feel more confident about their health when they are taking a vitamin. Multivitamins are the most popular supplements, with 75% of respondents taking a multivitamin regularly. Other top supplements by those who take vitamins were: vitamin D (52%), vitamin C (49%), calcium (45%), B vitamins (43%), fish oil (42%) and iron (25%). 


Starting on a vitamin regimen was not an impulse decision. Almost half began taking a vitamin based on the recommendation of a healthcare professional. Only 38% of parents take a daily vitamin, compared to 56% of adults without children. Only 34% of kids are given a daily vitamin. For those that do not take supplements, 43% feel they do not need vitamins with a balanced diet, 22% think they would never remember to take them and others feel vitamins are too expensive (9%).


The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Vitamin Shoppe, and polled 1,000 U.S. adults on their vitamin and supplement habits.

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Home safety drives first aid sales

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Children are hurt more from falls in the home than any other kind of home accident; falls cause more than 3 million childhood injuries every year, according to the Home Safety Council. That was one driver behind the growth in first aid accessories in the summer months — for the 12 weeks ended May 15, sales of overall accessories were up 3.4% to $257.7 million across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), according to SymphonyIRI Group. Sales of first aid kits across that period were up 15.4% to $5.4 million.

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