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Nicole Kidman and a focus on research & quality: Swisse Wellness outlines strategy behind ambitious US expansion

By Stephen DANIELLS , 01-Mar-2013
Last updated on 04-Apr-2013 at 20:30 GMT

Nicole Kidman and a focus on research & quality: Swisse Wellness outlines strategy behind ambitious US expansion

Swisse Wellness – Australia’s #1 multivitamin brand – is hitting US mass retail with 15 of its top-selling products available in Walgreens, and aims of $0.5 billion in sales by 2015.

Radek Sali, CEO of Swisse Wellness, told NutraIngredients-USA that the company is projecting to make “$50 million in U.S. sales in the first half of 2013, and $500 million annually by 2015.”

Possible? The company has already enjoyed impressive 357% growth in its native Australia since 2009.

“The impressive growth of Swisse Wellness can be attributed to product quality, effective marketing and innovation,” said Sali.

“First and foremost – Swisse selects premium quality ingredients for its vitamins and dietary supplements, including its bestselling products, the Men’s Ultivite F1 and Women’s Ultivite F1. Our Wild Neptune Krill Oil leadership is also a major driver and has been a significant contributor to our growth in Australia during the last two years.”

“Swisse growth has also been driven by an increased product range. In Australia, we have more than 160 product lines including a sports nutrition line, skincare and a soon-to-be-launched functional food range.”

Celebrity ambassadors

In 2009, the company initiated an intensive marketing strategy on its native soil, and enlisted the help of high-profiles celebrity ambassadors, such as former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and F1 driver Mark Webber. The company recently added Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman as its global ambassador.

The company, which is locating its US headquarters in Chicago, is starting relatively conservatively, with 15 products arriving in Walgreens nationwide in February. This will extend to Duane Reade in April, said Sali.

Robert Tompkins, divisional vice president and general merchandise manager for Walgreens, said the retailer is “impressed by Swisse’s growth, commitment to its principles and the research investment in the premium quality of their multivitamins and supplements”.

Swisse is advancing talks with other national retailers and more deals are expected to be announced soon, added Sali.

US versus Australia

“Both the US and Australia are mature markets, but in Australia we’ve been able to grow the category, even as the market leader,” added Sali. “This has been underpinned by our investment in scientific research and our unique approach to educating people on the benefits of natural medicine, which brings new customers to the category.”

Indeed, NutraIngredients-USA has reported on numerous Swisse funded stories in recent months: Multivitamins may boost memory for older men: RCT ; Multivitamin shows brain boosting activity for elderly women ; Could multivitamins boost well-being and energy levels? ; Multivitamins may boost memory: RCT data .

Range extension

In addition to the investment in science, the company also claims to maintain “a benchmark for quality as each product is analyzed for nutritional balance with the F1 Ultivite range exclusively undergoing more than 300 quality control checks.

 “In fact, right now we’ve committed $20m AUD in scientific research over the next 5 years.”

“We aim to localize our strategy to the US market,” said Sali, “but our core goal is to help people Celebrate Life Every Day or CLED as we like to say right throughout the world!”

So once the company establishes itself with those 15 trailblazing products, what next? “The next cadence of our vitamin range will be rolling out in the coming months,” said Sali.

“The rollout of the other categories will depend upon our success in Australia. Our strategy and formula to success will then feed into the US market.”

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