Supplement startup uses simplified dosing, rational pricing to attract attention

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Supplement startup uses simplified dosing, rational pricing to attract attention

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acid Omega-3 fatty acids Vitamins

A direct to consumer startup has a goal of simplifying and democratizing the purchase of dietary supplements, the company’s founder says.

Mick Burchfield, general manager of Vit Health, said the new supplement line is an attempt to cut through the noise in the bargain end of the supplement aisle.  The company aims to attack what Burchfield said are obstacles for many consumers.  In his view those are high margins that cause consumers to overpay for some products and might prevent them from buying all the products they might use to support optimal health.  And he said the supplement aisles are full to bursting with hundreds of different products with many different dosages, leading to consumer confusion.

Cutting through the noise

“It is a crowded space and there is a lot out there at the bargain end of the spectrum,” ​Burchfield told NutraIngredients-USA​. “For an uneducated consumer it can be overwhelming.”

“We identified a clear opportunity to bring products to market that are affordable but also made with quality ingredients,” ​he said.

Burchfield said going direct to consumer via the company’s storefront on Amazon has helped keep costs down.  That, and choosing to run on a lower margin, means the company can deliver on its promise of making the choice of what supplement to buy easier and more affordable.

The core of the idea, Burchfield said, was to offer products that were formulated to present their benefits via one pill per day, with a month’s supply of pills in each package.  And each product sells for the same price: $10.

To accomplish this some focused ingredient choices had to be made, Burchfield said. For example, in the company’s omega-3 product a 50% fish oil concentration was chosen, to deliver in a single softgel the 500 mg of EPA and DHA daily that many health authorities recommend.

Extensive consumer research helped determine initial product mix

Burchfield said the development of the company’s first line of products was informed by consumer research that went through much of 2020.  

“We surveyed more than 1,000 consumers to understand their health goals and their nutrient gaps,”​ Burchfield said.

In addition the omega-3s product, dubbed ‘Hearts & Minds’, the company has launched four other similar products, all of which bear catchy names that imply a condition specific product positioning.  They are:

  • Pocketful of Sunshine, with 2,000 IU of vegan Vitamin D3, in an olive oil base with lemon, orange, rosemary and clove essential oils
  • Beyond Gorgeous, formulated with biotin vitamin C and Argan oil to benefit hair, skin and nails
  • Cloud Nine, a mood support product with the adaptogenic herbs ashwagandha, eleuthero and schisandra
  • In the Zone, a product aimed at boosting mental focus with natural caffeine from green coffee bean and tea extracts.

Burchfield said the products were developed in concert with a contract manufacturer.  The choice of that partner was key element in the success of the launch, he said.

“It was really about finding a partner that could support us, that was willing to take the time to understand what we trying to do and was willing to be a partner for the future,”​ Burchfield said.

Keeping the marketing costs low

Burchfield said  he’s confident, based on his consumer research, that the product will connect will end users.  And he said his background in digital marketing for a variety of consumer goods including women’s apparel and premium skin care lines will stand the company in good stead.

“We did a lot of thinking ahead of time about whether we can make enough money doing it this way and get these products marketed in an effective way.  I know how to leverage digital marketing to get the most effective use out of it,”​ he said.

“We are playing a volume game and we want and need a lot of people to purchase these products to make the economics work.  But we believe that we have a quality product that will get a lot of organic world of mouth marketing,”​ he added.

“We are not looking to capitalize on a six-to 12-month trend.  We are in this for the long haul and we are already planning our next product launches.  We think a product for kids could be an opportunity,” ​Burchfield concluded.

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