How Vitamin Brands Are Becoming More Sustainable

Big players in the health & wellness industry are shifting away from unsustainable, single-use plastic and glass bottles to more responsible packaging for their supplement products.

For decades the supplement industry has operated in the same way. Aisles of single-use bottles and, later, plastic tubs confounded consumers whenever they ventured down the "health and wellness" section of their supermarket. These bottles and tubs would accumulate at home, crammed onto bathroom and kitchen shelves, sitting there for months, unopened or forgotten. And because consumers accepted this, or because they were not given an alternative, this was how the supplement industry operated. Yet, attitudes about consumer responsibility have changed. As environmentalism moved from awareness to demonstration and protest to consumer demand, a new, ethical consumerism emerged — one that placed sustainability and eco-awareness along with affordability and convenience. And while other industries shifted in response to these changing priorities and state laws (barring plastic bags and straws, for example) were passed in response to them, health & wellness industry analysts bemoaned their industry's inability to keep up with the times.

Fortunately, with the rise of personalized or targeted wellness — providing individually informed and custom-tailored care to people based on their specific health needs and goals — we are now seeing what a future beyond generic, single-use bottles looks like. More and more brands are shifting to sustainable alternatives for their supplement packaging. The customizable supplement packet is becoming the preferred option for a number of market-leading health and wellness brands. These packets represent a potential sea-change in how people think about and engage with their supplements. Pill packets can be fully biodegradable, generally hold up to eight individual supplements (depending on form), and are more cost-effective for brands to manufacture and ship directly to customers than bottles. Additionally, because they can be personalized and custom-labeled, they create a unique customer experience.

Consumer engagement is critical. Markets are moving toward personalization, and market leaders understand the key to enhanced customer retention and brand loyalty lies in developing a customer relationship where customers feel seen as individuals. From the hundreds of nutrition and wellness apps toping app store downloads to Fitbits and at-home DNA testing kits, people are increasingly trying to understand how to optimize their lives. Using this easily acquired quantitative data to inform their decisions, consumers are reforming the landscape of brand interaction. It's critical for not only health and wellness brands but the wider supplement industry to recognize this changing landscape, see the opportunities it affords, and take advantage of it.