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2018 Category Guide: Vitamins

This is part of Supermarket News’ 2018 Category Guide to fresh and center store categories.

Consumer interest in health and wellness and the aging population base are driving the vitamin and supplement category for retailers, even as a significant share of volume migrates to online sellers.

“Despite more than 30% of category sales occurring online, vitamin category growth has been outpacing the health and beauty care department and total store for several years,” said Doug Bennett, executive VP, Acosta Business Intelligence.

He said that although consumers predominantly plan category purchases at home, they have relatively low brand loyalty and respond well to in-store promotions.

“Price and value are the biggest in-store purchase drivers among a fragmented set of brand offerings, including store brands,” Bennett said.

Food retailer sales of vitamins in the 52 weeks through May 20 outpaced multi-channel sales, according to IRI data. Sales in the food retail channel were up 4.3%, to about $1.45 billion, while multichannel sales rose 4%, to about $7.3 billion.

Within the total category of vitamins and supplements, vitamins tallied total sales of $2.63 billion in the last year, according to data from Nielsen's Total Store View.

This has been a category driven by rising average unit prices, however, said Jordan Rost, VP of Consumer Insights, Nielsen, who noted that Vitamins D and C have been among the few varieties to see balanced growth among unit volumes and dollar sales.

“Consumers continue to place a focus on their intake of these two key vitamins,” he said, noting that sales of Vitamin D reached over $250.5 million, up 6% compared with a year ago, while Vitamin C saw sales over $226.9 million and grew by 5% year-over-year.

Single-use vitamins and supplements are outperforming multivitamins, according to Dan Glei, executive VP of merchandising and marketing at K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va., who noted that the retailer has changed brands and altered its promotional strategy in the category, which combined to accelerate sales growth.

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