NBTY launches education campaign to revivify joint health category

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

NBTY launches education campaign to revivify joint health category

Related tags: Joint health, Osteoarthritis, Chondroitin sulfate

Vitamin manufacturing giant NBTY has launched a effort to put a spring into the step of its venerable Osteo Bi-Flex brand with a marketing campaign to raise public awareness of joint health, a category that a recent study has shown to be declining.

“What we found in our research is that nearly 7 in 10 Americans over 34 years of age said they experience joint stiffness or other concerns,”​ John Frame, senior brand director at NBTY told NutraIngredients-USA. “Our research also found that 62% of Gen Xers – now in their late 30s and 40s – are concerned about developing serious joint health issues as they age. A majority of consumers dread joint discomfort and do not want poor joint health to hinder them from leading active lifestyles; yet, they are not aware of steps they can take to improve joint wellness and support their joints. Our education campaign is designed to address that significant market and education gap.”

Declining sales

The gap that Frame mentioned seems to have affected the overall category.  A recent National Institutes of Health study​ on how consumers are using natural products showed that between 2007 and 2012 (the years to which the data in the study pertained), Americans’ use of glucosamine and chondroitin (the main constituents in the Osteo Bi-Flex formulas) declined. The NIH sales figures show that slightly more than 3% of US consumers bought products containing the ingredients in 2008, while only about 2.7% were doing so in 2012. That represents about a 15% decline.

When consumers are not steadily supplied with information about a category, they tend to forget about it, and when the time comes to buy a new bottle, incrementally more of them stop making that purchase decision. That dearth of positive messaging is one of the factors cited in the decline of the omega-3s category in the US over the past 18 months or so and it may be a factor in the current situation with glucosamine and chondroitin.

NBTY has engaged the services of MWW, one of what the company calls “the top five global independent public relations firm with a strong health & wellness practice”,​ to help execute the effort. 

“Our national education campaign will include insights linking joint health to a range of health issues including fitness, weight management and heart health; discussion of key ingredients for proper joint nutrition and joint health wellness tips from medical experts,”​ Frame said.

New indications

Over the years NBTY has extended the Osteo Bi-Flex​ brand with added ingredients. The latest addition is called Osteo Bi-Flex Edge, which combines glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, a Boswellia serrata​ extract and CoQ10.  The product is positioned as weekend warrior/active lifestyle offering, whose ingredients target both joint health and muscle recovery.

Frame said NBTY “wants to start having the conversation with runners, walkers, athletes, or even people who just want to play with their kids more – that helping your joints stay healthy is something you should be thinking about well before reaching advanced years.”

“Over the next several months, we will seek to gain breakthroughs and consumer engagement in our multi-channel campaign approach. We will measure success by raising awareness for issues relating to joint health and positioning the Osteo Bi-Flex brand as a consumer resource,” ​he said.

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