vitamin shoppe
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Mike Sweeney

Why is Vitamin Shoppe so Important?

Finding the needles (in the proverbial haystack)

Those that read my blog “Why is Erewhon so important”, here is another one- Vitamin Shoppe.  That’s right Vitamin Shoppe.  Health and wellness turned from “on trend” to “core belief”.  The next generation of shoppers and consumers have developed a capacity to discover more than previous generations.  I believe e-commerce, entrepreneurship and social media have driven a phenomenon around expanded assortment and variety for consumer goods.   At the same time, there appears to be a revolt against the “zero based budgeting” practices of the early 2000’s.  At least within the R&D departments in the CPG world-innovation is coming to the market at an incredible rate.

Vitamin Shoppe? Yes... Vitamin Shoppe

There are two clear routes to market that have evolved over the past 5 years for products that have Health and Wellness positioning- especially functional beverages- The Natural Channel and Supplement Channel.  In the latter, Vitamin Shoppe leads the way.  Makes sense, supplements are intended to support health, wellness and performance.  Categories such as protein and functional beverages enter bricks and mortar retail through retailers like Vitamin Shoppe. Ingredients such as ashwagandha, collagen, creatine started in the supplement channel. 

Delivering a BANG to beverages

The energy drink category, defining itself as functional,  between 2014-2018 began to stagnate driven by millennials sitting on the sidelines waiting for a functional beverage that was better for you.  Thousands of energy drinks have been launched in the United States since 2000, many trying to bring health and wellness to the category.  Nearly all failed as Red Bull and Monster maintained a duopoly in the category.  It was BANG, backed by the credibility of Vitamin Shoppe, who cracked the code for a “better for you” energy drink.  This credibility helped BANG achieve, at it’s peak, a 9 share of the energy drink category with some regions and customers seeing BANG secure a 20%+ category share.  Today, nearly every meaningful energy drink in the category has followed this path to market.  Brands like Celsius, Alani Nu, Ghost, G-Fuel, and ZOA all have roots in Vitamin Shoppe.  These brands are driving the category- at $15B category, to strong double-digit growth.

So, what’s the next BANG coming to Vitamin Shoppe?

Well, I guess visiting a store is in order.  I can assure you that key beverage categories like energy drinks or functional drinks will be curated by Vitamin Shoppe and GNC.  The next “needle in the haystack” will be found on shelves in the Supplement Channel.  My suggestion, get your field teams to take a picture in a Vitamin Shoppe or GNC once a quarter, send the picture to Vision Group so they can develop your personally curated “emerging brand” dashboard using AI-Image Recognition to analyze.  This will help your team stay ahead of the curve and the industry.

For more information on AI-Image Recognition, visit or contact Jason DeRienzo at

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