Last year, sales of vitamins and dietary supplements in Brazil increased by 9%, reaching R$3.2 billion ($1.4 billion), as a growing cohort of younger consumers seek a healthy lifestyle and take a more preventive approach to wellness, according to a report from Euromonitor International.
Vitamin and supplement sales are expected to continue their climb at a 4% compound annual growth rate over the next five years to reach R$3.8 billion ($.1.7 bn) by 2018. The strongest growth came from combination herbal and traditional dietary supplements, up 18% in 2013.
Bayer (Brasil) SA remains the leader in both categories, with 14% total market share. The company has key brands in multivitamins (Supradyn and Natele) and single vitamins (Redoxon, the leading vitamin C brand). The firm is also investing in pediatrics vitamins, with the introduction of Redoxitos, a chewable version for children of its famous Redoxon brand.
Supplements, vitamins no longer just for older consumers
In the past, the consumption of vitamins and dietary supplements was associated with elderly people, who needed these products for better health. But nowadays, the number of young adults consuming vitamins and supplements has increased significantly, as consumers in their mid-30s are regularly taking vitamins (combined with a balanced diet) to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Moreover, vitamin and supplement use in urban centers, such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, tends to exceed that of more rural places, as consumers in big cities face the stress of traffic jams, pollution and crowded places, such as shopping centers and public transportation. As a result, many don’t eat as well during the week—opting for fast food options at lunchtime instead of a well-balanced meal—and compensate with vitamins and supplements, Euromonitor found.
Lower income consumers have been driving sales of vitamins and supplements as they look to compensate for the lack of nutrients caused by a not-so-healthy diet—a trend that’s being helped by an overall increase in their disposable incomes.
Elsewhere, pediatric vitamins and supplements posted sales growth of 2% in 2013, reaching R$54.1 million, driven mainly by new product rollouts, such as Bayer's Redoxitos.
Multivitamins ‘fascinate’ consumers; continue to drive category
Vitamin sales were up 9% in 2013 (on pace with 2012 numbers) to reach R$2 billion. Multivitamins dominated market share in Brazil, with 35% of overall sales in vitamins and supplements and 55% of sales in vitamins last year. Fierce competition in multivitamins continued to push manufacturers to invest in marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness among consumers, Euromonitor found.
Multivitamins’ popularity stems largely from their ability to provide numerous benefits in only one product. Indeed, the possibility of consuming many types of vitamins in only one capsule fascinates consumers, as it is such a simple way to attain better health. However, some physicians worry about the potential risks of consuming multivitamins on a large scale, considering that some consumers may rely on multivitamins as the sole source of vitamins for their bodies, instead of seeking a balanced diet combined with exercise.
Despite the increased focus on younger consumers, the most common specific positioning for multivitamins continued to be for the elderly and for pregnant women. Sales to these groups are largely influenced by doctors, who can usually recommend the most appropriate products based on nutritional deficiencies and special needs.
Vitamin C remained as the most popular single vitamin among all vitamins in 2013, accounting for 64% share of single vitamins. Commonly used to combat or prevent the flu, vitamin C’s popularity across ages and spectrums stems from its sweet/sour flavor, along with the tradition of certain brands in Brazil, such as Redoxon from Bayer (Brasil), Cebion from Merck SA Indústrias Químicas and Cewin from Sanofi-Aventis Farmacêutica.
Supplement sales driven by preventive care approach
Dietary supplements sales grew 9% in 2013 to reach R$1 billion. The preventive care trend drove the category, as consumers are turning to supplements to reduce cholesterol, lower their risk of osteoporosis and improve digestion.
Combination dietary supplements reached R$48 million last year, on strong growth of 17%. Due to high unit prices, combination dietary supplements focus mainly on wealthy consumers. L'Oréal Brasil Comercial de Cosméticos (Innéov) and Ferrosan do Brasil (Imedeen) led the charge, followed by Nutrilatina Laboratórios with Rennovee. The outstanding performance of combination dietary supplements led manufacturers to extend their portfolios to include products with a positioning for anti-ageing and hair loss treatment.
Because the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) doesn't allow manufacturers to state on pack that a certain dietary supplement is good for bone health or the digestive system unless it is scientifically proven, marketers often release products based on the popularity and tradition of certain ingredients. (Read more about Brazilian supplements regulation. )
For example, it is widely believed that calcium is good for bones and omega-3 helps to reduce cholesterol; thus, the bulk of sales are concentrated in dietary supplements positioned for bone, digestive and general health, according to Euromonitor.