Shared values paved way for Gaia—Salus partnership

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Gaia Herbs grows a portion of its raw material on its own farm in Brevard, NC.  Gaia Herbs photo.
Gaia Herbs grows a portion of its raw material on its own farm in Brevard, NC. Gaia Herbs photo.

Related tags Herbal dietary supplements Minerals Iron supplements Sustainability Organic

A recognition of shared values lead Gaia Herbs to team up with German firm Salus Haus to do something it hadn’t done before — enter into a distribution agreement.

Gaia is a longtime herbal products company based in Brevard, North Carolina where the company grew many of the herbs used in its products. A significant portion of the company’s supply still comes from that first farm which was started more than 30 years ago.

Deal was not on Gaia’s radar

Gaia president and CEO Angele McElwee, who’s been with the company for more than 13 years, said the arrangement was not something that had been on Gaia’s radar.  The company was focused on maintaining and improving the quality and sustainability of its own line of products.  Gaia has grown almost sevenfold during McElwee’s tenure.

“We were not seeking this out. Salus came to us about a year ago.  They knew they needed a new distribution partner in the US as they were in the middle of a transition.  They wanted to make that decision based on the alignment of quality and values,” ​McElwee told NutraIngredients-USA

Salus Haus had an even longer history having been founded during the First World War.  The company’s home base is located along a river near the Austrian border.  A small, refurbished hydroelectric plant supplies the electricity for the facility.

McElwee said she grew up working in a health food stores and was familiar with Salus’ Floradix brand of liquid supplements from those days.  She said when she looked into the brand back in the day she was convinced that it was one of the companies that underpromised yet overdelivered.

Chance to tell story more broadly

And that seemed to have been part of Salus’ issue in this market.  Like a number of other legacy herbal products companies, Salus was highly skilled at making quality products but less adept at telling its story to consumers.

“Salus has built a global brand, whereas Gaia has been more domestic. When I looked at Salus it struck me how many similarities we have,” ​McElwee said.

“Salus has been paving the way in natural remedies for more than a hundred years while maintaining their strict commitment to organic cultivation and environmental sustainability,”​ she added.

McElwee said as part of the distribution agreement, which is slated to begin on March 1, 2020, Gaia will help Salus create a new website specific to the US market.

“As I understand it, Salus has grown their sales in the US primarily by word of mouth. There is an opportunity to enhance the marketing resources and reach new customers,”​ McElwee said.

Deal includes top selling iron formulation

Gaia Herbs’ exclusive US distribution will include Salus’ top-selling product, Floradix Iron + Herbs Liquid, which is also the best-selling natural liquid iron supplement in the natural channel in the US.  The supplement has a reputation of being easy to digest and easily absorbed, complaints which dog some other iron supplements.

Additional products covered by the deal include:

  •  Floravital Iron + Herbs Liquid – A yeast and gluten-free, vegan alternative to the best-selling Floradix iron liquid supplement.
  • Floradix Iron Tablets – A convenient tablet form of the top-selling liquid Floradix iron formulation.  
  • Calcium Liquid – A gentle and easily-absorbed form of this mineral, which is essential for bone health.
  • Calcium-Magnesium Liquid – An easily absorbable form of essential calcium with magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D, all nutrients essential for bone health.
  •  Magnesium Liquid – With 250 mg of easily absorbable magnesium in each serving.
  • Kinder Love ​Children’s Multivitamin – Provides essential vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as key nutrients including calcium, choline, and iodine in an easily absorbed liquid format, which is lightly sweetened with fruit juice concentrates.
  • Epresat ​Multivitamin – An easily absorbed liquid multivitamin that delivers essential nutrients in a concentrated food and herbal extract base that is easy to digest.
  • Red Beet Soluble Crystals – Naturally sweet tasting and instantly soluble crystals crafted from the juice of freshly harvested organic beets. These crystals are a great addition to smoothies and soups and are also ideal for use in baking.
  • Gallexier Herbal Bitters Liquid – A traditional bitter herbal formulation, which helps to support digestion, especially after a rich or heavy meal.  

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