Under new ownership, the brand kept only the name from its predecessors. “We saw a gap in the market for supplements that could be traced back to their origin,” brand manager Lisa Wang, brought in to Nutri-Rich by the brand’s new parent company, told NutraIngredients-USA.
“When you walk into a Whole Foods or another natural market, you see that you can trace your produce, vegetables, fruits, and even some of your meats—you can see the producers, where it comes from, and we thought there’s a real opportunity for the supplements market as well,” she added.
Nutri-Rich has employed a feature on its website that may well be a new normal for the supplements industry in the near future—highlighting the ingredient manufacturers, featuring them on special profile pages (complete with team pictures and facility shots) the same way women’s online supplement brand Ritual does with its product’s ingredient suppliers.
The young brand has six products: CoQ10, Daily D3, Mega DHA, Mini Me DHA, Radiance Boost, and Ultra EPA + DHA, selling primarily online at first, with some brick-and-mortar aspirations.
The transformation: Popping out of the mom-and-pop store
In the beginning, Nutri-Rich was a local vitamin and supplement brand that served mainly mom-and-pop health food stores in the Los Angeles area, catering to a heavily Asian-American clientele.
The brand’s original founders wanted to retire, so they put the company they founded and operated since 1992 up for sale. In 2015, it was scooped up by an established manufacturer (which requested to not be named), who wanted the brand to reach an even broader audience.
Wang, a former fashion journalist and high-end retail merchandiser who split time between London and New York City, was brought on board to help with all aspects of the product line—work with R&D to decide which products to put forth, oversee web development and art direction teams, and help the company better understand the market.
“I was the kind of segment of demographic that they’re looking to access and to really build rapport with—I’m a millennial, I’m under 30, and I wasn’t actually an active supplement-taker at all,” she said. “I think that my generation tends to be a little more skeptical of pseudo-science and really want to see the hard evidence.”
From busy and claim-heavy to ‘Steve Jobs philosophy’
To really hit the target audience its parent company is aiming for, Nutri-Rich had to check off the biggest trend boxes: Transparency, design, and personalization.
Though Wang argues naming and talking about the suppliers may not mean much to its target buyers (“It’s about education around where your ingredients come from—even if a consumer doesn’t understand what DSM is, we’re hoping to provide an introduction.”), design is an important indicator to sway Millennial buyers.
“We wanted consumers to have that reaction of ‘Oh! This looks a little bit different from the vitamins we’re used to seeing on the store shelves,’” she said. “We wanted to go for a sense of friendliness and access, but also clean and minimalist angle.”
Wang argued that the supplement industry tends to rely on busy design and over-abundance of text on pack. “The more marketing language you use the higher the chance of confusing the consumer, and violating regulations around claims,” she said. “Our generation, now having grown up around the design philosophies of Steve Jobs, we’re now used to that kind of branding and that kind of messaging.”
Another macrotrend that dictates Nutri-Rich’s branding is the sense of personalization. The six supplements are grouped into personality profiles: The Minimalist, Aging Gracefully, High Energy, Mom-to-Be, and Head Start.
Biological factors like gender and age may be big drivers of why shoppers buy a certain supplement, “but I think a lot of times people relate a lot more to lifestyles,” she said. “If people are unsure of what people should take, we’ve organized our supplements into this loose system and give our recommendations based on that lifestyle.”