By David Pring-Mill
The following text has been excerpted from Section 2.2 of the Policy2050 report “Innovations in Dietary Supplements: Brand Tactics and Consumer Trends (2023-2025)” in order to serve as a product sample and fulfill Policy2050’s mission “to keep the most socially-relevant insights outside of any paywall.”
The global personalized nutrition market could reach US$23.3B by 2027, driven primarily by the tablets segment and reflecting an overall 15.5% CAGR. Amid the push toward personalization, which can be interpreted in a number of different ways, there’s also a potential counterargument that less is more, and a simple, targeted, clearly-communicated, fairly-priced, and swiftly-delivered solution can address most consumers’ needs.
The Value of Personalization
Although many global-leading CPG brands have refrained from implementing personalization at scale for various reasons, including false assumptions, uncertainty over exact implementations, lack of industrial capabilities, perceived costs, and restrictive organizational cultures, they still view personalization as theoretically valuable. In fact, CPG leaders rank the relevance of personalization to the vitamins and supplements category at a 4.8 on a 7-point scale, with widely perceived benefits such as consumer engagement and premium positioning.
84% of CPG brand leaders cited consumer engagement as a leading reason for personalization. 58% felt that it layered on premium qualities or associations. 43% viewed personalization as a tool for maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV).
The French startup Cuure offers a monthly subscription service that sends personalized food supplements to customers. It starts with an online test that sweeps through 50 questions, gathering information on customers’ demographics, lifestyles, and health goals. These questions probe various areas, such as stress, sleep, energy, digestion, etc. An algorithm recommends 2-8 supplements that align with the customer’s profile. The supplements can be sent as a 30-day “cure” package, with one daily sachet for easy consumption. The R&D investments already mentioned enable more core products and, thus, more granular, precisely customized combinations.
Cuure’s CEO explained, “The idea is really to be able to take only what you need, which is quite important. Because if you take food supplements or various and varied complexes, you will probably take a certain number of active ingredients, substances, or nutrients that you do not need, that you will naturally eliminate, that you will store. So it’s not necessarily the right approach to this experience.”
Cuure’s personalization strategy also comes in the forms of:
- teleconsultation/follow-up with in-house nutritionists;
- an app for tracking progress, setting reminders, and exploring content;
- and an online platform that is similar to the initial test but designed around feedback or evolving needs.
Facchin explained, “So really, the idea is to be able to support the consumer in their wellbeing approach, and not simply to sell them food supplement products.”
“If you want a constellation of products and services that will respond to any moment of your life during any cycle of needs,” then a personalized solution is the best approach, Facchin concludes.
The collagen-focused supplements startup Obvi also added a quiz to its site, which captures email addresses and converts top-of-funnel interest. Initially, they surfaced product recommendations through a quiz based in a Facebook messenger bot, which they view as an under-utilized, high-performing tool.
The definition of what constitutes “personalization” varies across the category and industries at large. Sometimes, it just means fairly rudimentary targeting or filtering options.
As Facchin put it: “There are a lot of actors who say they do personalization, but who do semi-personalization.” Describing this type of approach and how it differs, Facchin explained:
“[They’re] going to have predefined consumer clusters with products that match those clusters, and [they’re] just going to drop you into a cluster and send the product that best suits you, which is very different from what we are doing, where we are going in a way, as I mentioned earlier, with a combination that is specific to you and that is, that is not necessarily unique because there may be redundancies, but the reality is that it is an infinity of possibilities, and indeed, it is a major issue.
So we, in fact, for this point, we internalized everything, we built all the tech, so all the infrastructure behind it is completely in-house and made by us. So, that’s a very important point and that there is a decisive element that allowed us to do what we do and to be where we are today and also to build a whole chain of production with machines that we have coded, developed, specific to what we do. So, that was a point of major investment and allocation of resources, of course, and it continues to be, because with the scale, obviously, the stakes are always present.”
The widespread health and nutrition retailer GNC offers its own relatively short supplement quiz, which incorporates icons and other visual elements to streamline completion and generate a customized set of products and tips. This quiz is part of a GNC Routines section, but compared with supplement category disruptors like Cuure, it might be seen as half-committed or insufficient. Bypassing the quiz or clicking a “Create Your Own Routine” direct link merely leads to a standard e-commerce directory with additional filtering options:
- shipping preferences;
- brand selection;
- price ranges;
- flavor preferences;
- product forms (bars, capsules, gummies, liquids, etc.);
- speciality diet (which doubles as allergen avoidance);
- “by goal” (which includes fairly broad categorizations such as “Men’s Health” and “Healthy Eating”);
- and “more ways to shop” (a catch-all that includes “Banned Substance Tested” and “GNC Exclusive”).
Meanwhile, current Momentous CEO Jeff Byers says that instead of merely being a solution, they must become solution-oriented since “solutions aren’t just products.”
Byers believes that a true solution involves receiving data inputs, developing products, and ultimately closing the loop. Habitual consumption (the ideal plank in a supplement company’s recurring revenue) only happens by helping consumers to connect the dots and realize the benefits or implications. A meaningful state of optimized performance comprises more than one day, one week, or one month – it’s a lifestyle.
The brand is also aware that top-performing athletes may have an array of coaches but not all athletes can afford coaches, nor can consumers engaged in health-related or recreational pursuits. Therefore, the team positions the Momentous brand as that missing “trusted advisor” or “helping hand” who can shift and optimize routines, illuminate the underlying reasons or science, and remove the guesswork.
Rootine, a graduate of the national Techstars accelerator program, both personalizes and assists. This startup functions as a good example of how new technological approaches could upend the shelves of standard multivitamins in pharmacies and grocery stores, making digital not just an alternative method of distribution but the logical premium approach. Rootine’s delivery system places vitamins in microbeads that are said to optimize the body’s nutritional absorption with a sustained release. These contents are mixed to target individual needs based on analyses of over 100 health data points, including customers’ DNA from at-home lab tests, comprising cheek swabs and finger pricks.
Rootine directly appeals to the chronically stressed with digital line graphs, stress spectrums, tutorial videos, and dashboards depicting each user’s “personalized plan to conquer stress,” presenting this “quantified self” data and various cross-sells (including a nutritional consult) as a remedy for the experiences of our modern world.
The full report “Innovations in Dietary Supplements: Brand Tactics and Consumer Trends (2023-2025)” is now available for purchase on Policy2050.com.