Hitting retail shelves in February 2003, the Snapple Beverage Group’s, White Plains, N.Y., Snapple-a-Day provides a “daily dose of 24 vitamins and minerals,” as well as dietary fiber.

America may still be the home of the brave and land of the free. From the drug store aisles, however, it appears to be the "home of the ever young and land of the disease-free."

More and more Americans are turning to fortified foods and tiny tablets for health. In 2002, vitamins and vitamin-mineral (VM) combinations aimed at preventing health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and blindness appeared in a variety of forms, often in combination with herbal ingredients and other phytonutrients touted for their health efficacy.

Health Packs

Nature's Way Products's, Springville, Utah, Completia Multivitamin line provides one example. It comes in Healthy Heart, Prenatal, Diabetic, and Ultra Energy formulations. The Nature Made line from Pharmative Pharmaceutical, Huntington Beach, Calif., introduced a Diabetes Health Pack comprised of alpha lipoic acid, chromium picolinate, a multivitamin, folic acid, vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium. Other products in the line claim to offer urinary support, stress reduction, beautiful skin, and other forms of relief and body benefit.

Today's nutrition and health supplements offer far better promise than Ponce De Leon's quest for the fountain of youth, and research supports many of the health claims. Still, conflicting reports on the efficacy and delivery of such benefits has made many consumers cautious and skeptical. This confusion caused a slight decline in vitamin and mineral sales in 2000 and 2001. Apparently, consumer confidence has been somewhat restored as sales climbed 2.9% in 2002, according to a report from Chicago-based Mintel International.

Energy to Burn

But certainly one key to feeling young is extra energy, and many of the new VM products promise just that. Citrus-X, BDI Pharmaceuticals, Carmel, Ind., offers "energy to burn" in its ephedra-free mix that includes "antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamin E." Ephedra came under fire starting in 2000, and reports of possible health dangers caused a backlash that may have helped drag down vitamin and mineral sales, too.

Another product formulated to boost appetite and energy is Metabo Firm 365 Supplement from Natrol, Chatsworth, Calif. Its package sports a long list of exotic ingredients, but the core ingredients are vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl succinate form), calcium (dicalcium phosphate), magnesium, zinc and chromium.

On the recovery side of the energy spectrum, LJB Piper, Lakeville, Conn., introduced an electrolyte replacement option in tablet form. ElectroBlast Electrolyte Replacement Fizz-Tabs deliver sodium and potassium along with 100mg of vitamin C and essential trace minerals.

Foods as Supplements

Pepsico's Tropicana Dole Beverages N.A., Bradenton, Fla., has added a new dimension to juice fortification. In fact, its latest generation of juices features the nutrients themselves as the headliners. Healthy Kids, a new addition to the Tropicana Pure Premium line, boasts the tagline "Essential Nutrition for Growing Kids with vitamins A, C & E, plus calcium."Two products introduced in 2002 included the Pink Grapefruit with Pulp addition to Tropicana's Calcium & Vitamin C Supplement line and Tropicana Low Acid Vitamin C Supplement introduced to the Canadian market.

Vitamin/mineral supplements to meet gender-specific health needs were on the rise in 2002. The side panel for Ultra Choice Premium for Men, introduced late in 2001 by Walgreen's, Deerfield, Ill., includes amino acids, essential fatty acids and, it seems, every other ingredient ever associated with health, including substances such as damiana leaf powder and oat straw powder. However, a load of B-vitamins, beta carotene, vitamins E, C and K, and a long mineral list ranging from iodine and magnesium to zinc, chromium and selenium dominate the formulation. Health Smart's Men's Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplement with Herbs claims to be the “ultimate men's formula,� with 48 active ingredients including hearty healthy B vitamins and antioxidants. Health Smart is a brand of Target, Minneapolis.

A rising population of overweight and obese people suffering from Type II diabetes is served with items such as these Alpha Betic brand vitamins that contain lutein and alpha lipoic acid.

Mineral Miracles

Mineral sales climbed 1.8% in food, drug and mass market (FDM) channels in 2002, according to Mintel. Calcium continues to be the most heavily marketed mineral in the VM arena, thanks to its well-researched contribution to bone and heart health and general well being. Country Life's, Hauppauge, N.Y., Vegetarian Target-Mins Cal-Mag Mini Tabs is a calcium and magnesium supplement clearly identifying its non-animal origins.

Single-letter vitamin E sales ebbed in 2001 following published reports that E had failed to improve the cardiovascular outcomes of high-risk heart disease patients. Still, vitamin E appeared in many multivitamin and vitamin-herbal combinations targeted at consumers seeking specific health enhancements.

Diamond-Herpanacine's, Ambler, Penn., Healthy Horizons Mega Vitamin-Mineral Formula with natural vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid is one of a number of products riding the claim of being an effective stress-fighting formula. Vitamin E also is the second ingredient featured behind DHA in TwinLab Infant Care's Reformulated Mutivitamin Drops.

Sales of one- and two-letter vitamins made up 19% of vitamin/mineral sales in food, drug, and mass merchandiser channels in 2002, according to Mintel, a drop of 2.3% from year 2000 sales. But benefit-branded products featuring combinations of vitamins and minerals may be perceived as more effective health delivery packages.

Swanson ACES Antioxidant Complex, combining "powerful free-radical fighting vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and the mineral selenium in a high-absorption, high-potency formula," reflects an emerging market strategy. QuadraCeuticals Hi-ORAC Fruit Anti-oxidant similarly couples antioxidants for stress reduction, reduced cancer risk, and slowing the effects of aging. ABKIT Inc., New York, also touted the antioxidant potential of its alpha betic® once-a-day multi-vitamin with lutein and alpha lipoic acid that promotes "glucose metabolism," "healthy nerve function," and "optimum antioxidant protection."

Combinations of vitamins buttress special eye-health formulations featuring lutein. Vitamins A, E, and C team with lutein in Life I-Care from Pharmetics, Quebec, Canada. Whitehall-Robins, Madison, N.J., added lutein to its Centrum line in 2000, and to its Centrum Select line, which targets adults over 50, last year. With an aging population's growing concern over ocular health, and especially prevention of macular degeneration, expect to see more vitamin-lutein combo supplements.

Special Delivery

Continuing with the effervescent-delivery trend. Ola Loa, San Francisco, Calif., introduced its Energy Effervescent Vitamins in soft pack, and Wampole, Quebec, Canada, introduced Effervite, its own "effervescent vitamin and mineral tablets."

Confectionery systems are behind many recent supplements targeted to the young. GNC, Pittsburgh, Penn., introduced Kidscal, a 250mg chocolate chewable to supplement a child's calcium intake. Northwest Natural Products, Vancouver, Wash., introduced L'il Critters Vita Beans Dietary jellybean vitamins.

When in doubt, try a variation on the tried and true. At the end of 2001, Bayer, Morristown, N.J., marketed a calcium-boosted version of the popular Flintstones vitamins "Flintstones Plus Calcium Vitamins" in the shape of the Great Gazoo.

Sidebar: Going Global

"Beauty comes from the inside" has taken on special meaning! Topical creams and oils have contained vitamins and minerals for a long time. But new packages of vitamins, minerals and botanical ingredients are giving consumers ways to ingest their health and beauty aids.

In New Zealand, Naturally Clear clear-skin oral supplement features vitamin A (5000 IU), vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin E, the B-vitamin brigade from thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid and biotin to vitamins B3, B6, and B12, along with zinc, selenium, copper and chromium.

Coca-Cola has introduced bold vitamin-fortified beverage formulations in overseas markets (namely Japan), where functional beverages have been big business for years. The company's Real Gold Health Drink, launched in September, contains vitamin C, B2 and B6 vitamins, vitamin P and niacin, in addition to honey and ginseng extract.

Heavily fortified health beverages are hitting many markets in the Orient. Yeo Hiap Seng (YHS) launched Isogain isotonic drink with vitamins C, B1, B2, B3 and minerals in Singapore. YHS also introduced Yeo's brand Pink Dolphin Vitaminised Drink, a peach-flavored drink with added vitamins C, B6 and B12, into the Malaysian market.


The information in this article was derived from Mintel International's Global New Products Database, www.gnpd.com, 312-932-0400.