HEALTH

Study: Probiotics may help with bone density

BY DSN STAFF

A new study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine is highlighting a potential connection between the gut and bone density in older women. Though only covering 90 women, only 70 of whom completed it, the study found that the probiotic L. reuteri reduced bone density loss compared with the placebo.

“Previous studies in rodents have suggested that treatment with specific bacterial strains can improve bone density, but the present study demonstrates for the first time that this may also be the case in humans,” the researchers wrote, while acknowledging that their trial mostly functions as a proof-of-concept and a push for more, similar trials.

The study notes that data from 2005 showed that fractures related to osteoporosis, which is partly characterized by a loss of bone density, numbered more than 2 million and cost roughly $17 billion.

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TABS: Brick-and-mortar still VMS king as e-commerce grows

BY David Salazar

New data from TABS Analytics has clocked the vitamins, mineral and supplement’s latest sales increased at $500 million, or 3% in the past year. The gains to the $14 billion market, driven by sales increases on Amazon.com and at Walmart stores, also were bolstered by gains in sales to occasional VMS consumers, according to the 11th Annual Vitamin Study.

Though e-commerce made gains, Walmart’s brick-and-mortar sales were in the pole position, and the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer also picked up a solid amount of online shoppers. Roughly 39% of survey respondents said they bought a VMS product at Walmart, up 7% from last year, while Amazon saw 10% of respondents say they bought their vitamins from the e-tailer.

“Walmart continues to hold its leadership position in VMS sales at its brick and mortar stores, and it is showing online growth while Amazon remains at the top and continues to extend is lead in the e-commerce space,” said Kurt Jetta, president and founder of TABS Analytics. “These trends counter conventional wisdom that online sales are coming at the expense of purchases in physical stores. These two types of outlets do not need to be mutually exclusive; rather they both can continue to grow sales with the right approach to marketing and product mix.”

From a channel perspective, food retailers saw gains, making up 18% of the market, as such specialty stores as GNC and Vitamin Shoppe remained static. Losing share were club stores and the natural food channel TABS said. Penetration also increased in the past year, hitting 78% in 2018, with most growth attributable to the 2% increase in shoppers who purchase 1-to-2 product types. Though purchasing by women 55 years old and older dipped 9%, TABS said that was offset by an increase in purchases from men across age groups.

Products seeing growth are adult multivitamins, vitamins B and D and niche products. In particular, gender-specific launches helped grow multivitamin penetration to 55% from 48% last year. Melatonin also was a driver among niche products. Declining in popularity are fish oil and calcium, with fish oil’s penetration dropping to 22% in 2018 and calcium penetration hitting 17% after remaining steady for two years.

“Analyzing more than a decade’s worth of data, the VMS market is showing the classic characteristics of a mature category and I expect that mass market and eCommerce will continue to expand, at the expense of specialty retailers,” Jetta said. “In fact, specialty outlets are under duress in other sectors such as baby, sporting goods, and books. Looking ahead, we expect growth of about 4 percent to 5 percent between 2019 and 2021, but this could increase depending on inflationary pressures, which are highly likely over the next 12-24 months.”

To read the TABS VMS white paper, click here.

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SmartyPants Vitamins premieres animated series starring ‘New Girl’ actress

BY David Salazar

SmartyPants Vitamins is tackling consumer questions with a new animated series. The Los Angeles-based company on Monday premiered “Smarter Asks Questions,” which stars “New Girl” actress Hannah Simone and looks to demystify the process of navigating the vitamin aisle.

The company already has posted two installments of the series, “Needs” and “Price” on its website.

“At SmartyPants, we believe that doubt makes us smarter, so we’re excited to launch a new campaign that embraces the challenging questions around vitamins,” said Courtney Nichols Gould, SmartyPants Vitamins co-founder and co-CEO. “We have always been committed to using the best ingredients and the latest research to inform our products, but we realized that people want to know more than what goes into their vitamins – they want to know why. This video series helps bring the ‘why’ to life, and Hannah Simone’s smart and approachable tone is a perfect fit for the SmartyPants brand.”

SmartyPants Vitamins currently markets two dozen formulas for all ages. It introduced its Organics line in June and is focused on using the best ingredients to create comprehensive formulas, the company said. In partnership with Vitamin Angels, it donates nutrients to mothers and children around the world for every bottle sold.

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