Vitamin D explodes with product growth

The vitamin D category continues to grow. Category leader Nature Made from Pharmavite is on the cusp of launching a host of new products, including a Super D-Complex with magnesium, vitamin D chewable tablets and vitamin D with vitamin C and zinc.

“I think this is category growth that has been driven by the science,” said Doug Jones, Pharmavite’s corporate communications and public relations manager. “When you get a lot of the medical establishment behind it, you see long-term sustained growth of a category. And vitamin D has received lots of press. There’s widespread recognition that there’s a deficiency problem.”

John Hathcock, SVP scientific and international affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said that the information about vitamin D is permeating the public’s awareness because it’s so all-encompassing. “For well over 50 years and perhaps closer to 75, we’ve known that vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and thus [helps to] build healthy bones,” Hathcock said. “But it’s also been found to help reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other metabolic syndrome issues, [and] falls related to neuromuscular activity, [as well as] immune function and all the things that result from that.”

The numbers back up the science. Sales of vitamin D were up 49% for the 52 weeks ended April 16, down slightly from last December when sales were up 73%, according to Nielsen.

Despite Pharmavite having a plethora of vitamin D products, its best-seller remains its 1,000 IU product. Also, last year the company released a product with 5,000 IU, and two years ago it launched a 400-IU chewable vitamin D product for children.

Hathcock said he expected to see more vitamin D supplements on the market — from multivitamins with vitamin D to vitamin D and calcium tablets. But with a marketplace as full as it is with new vitamin D products, how does Pharmavite ensure its products stand out? The company participates in the dietary supplement program from the United States Pharmacopeia, a scientific not-for-profit organization that has set pharmaceutical quality standards since 1820 and bears the USP’s stamp on many of its products, with more constantly being added.

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