There are perhaps more national advertising dollars thrown at multivitamins than any other category within the supplement world. Probiotics are gaining steam within that sphere, too. But Go Healthy Natural founder Greg O’Neill believes that there is still room for innovation within the vast multivitamin market, and nooks and crannies that offer opportunity for a company like his.
Liquid formula opportunity
“I’m really a niche player in that space,” O’Neill told NutraIngredients-USA. “I was in a healthy vending business before this, serving a lot of the school lunchrooms and band studios in Chester County, PA, and I got disillusioned because I thought the other people in the company were more interested in money than in children’s health.”
So O’Neill went looking for a way to affect his customers’ health at a more basic level, and came to the idea of a liquid vitamin that offers both convenience and bioavailability advantages.
“I’m a big believer in liquid multivitamins because of the 98% absorption rate compared to pills or tablets, which might be as low as 20%. But I didn’t like a lot of the liquid multis on the market. They didn’t taste good or they were grainy and needed a lot of mixing. In order to be successful I knew my product had to be convenient and it had to taste good,” he said.
O’Neill’s launch product called Go Healthy Natural Antioxidant Boost is a liquid multivitamin formula that includes extracts of açai, pomegranate, strawberry, cranberry, noni, mangosteen and mulberry. The product also includes ‘vegetarian’ amino acids, a suite of digestive enzymes and prebiotic fiber, in this case a short-chain fructooliggosaccharide. O’Neill said the goal was to offer as complete a product as possible.
“The reason a lot of other people are not trying to compete in the liquid multivitamin space is that it costs more money. It’s easier to just press the vitamins into a tablet. I wanted a balanced, synergistic formula. I believed that in order to make the vitamins as effective as they can be you need enzymes, amino acids and prebiotics,” he said.
But long ingredient lists, something that other multivitamin formulators have tried in an effort to differentiate their products, can leave those manufacturers open to charges of pixie dusting. The argument goes something like this: How can a formula offer efficacious dosages of all of the ingredients on the label and still come in at a realistic price point?
O’Neill doesn’t dispute that there is a natural tension in that relationship.
“My product is not the cheapest one out there. We aren’t the most expensive, either. If I just wanted to do this for the money there are easier and more lucrative ways to do it,” O’Neill said.
“I want to be honest in labeling. I do want to make money but not at the expense of the customer and that’s a lot of what I see in the marketplace,” he said.
O’Neill said he also wants to be honest and upfront about what he believes the proper role of multivitamins should be. In his view the goal for every consumer seeking to maintain or improve their health should be to reform their diet first.
“I’m a big believer in a farm-to-table diet and in eating fresh meat,” O’Neill said. “But it’s not always easy, and some things you can’t get that way. I live in the Northeast, for example, and I’m deficient in vitamin D3 and most people who live here are, too.”
The company is distributing its product via Amazon and its own website to start. O’Neill said there are no immediate plans for additional distribution beyond those venues. An additional Memory Boost formula is also in development with the same contract manufacturer responsible for the initial product, with a planned launch sometime in the middle of 2016, he said.