The range, known as VitaQIK liposomals, made its way into US in health food retailers such as Lotus Light and UNFI, as well as Amazon US in April.
First launched in 2020 in Australia, the range spans vitamin B12, D3 and K2, turmeric, and vitamin C; and is available in a 50ml pump spray bottle.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Carel Crous, senior sales manager and global business development at Phytologic – Henry Blooms’ parent company, explained the rationale of going into the US.
“Liposomal in general is an up and coming technology. We’re finding out the benefits of liposomal that have unique differences to your traditional capsules and tablets, and this format is becoming more popular. Especially in the US, obviously there’s a big market and there’s already some knowledge around liposomal.”
Crous pointed out that the biggest advantages are rapid absorption and higher bioavailability.
“Because of the way it’s manufactured, the liposomal sonication process breaks down the active ingredients into the smallest particles called nano tech particles. What they do is they encapsulate those small active ingredients with a lipid or fatty layer.
“Once it hits your mouth, it gets absorbed underneath the tongue on the sides of your cheek, and rapidly directly absorbed into the bloodstream as opposed to going through the digestive system,” Crous explained.
Aside from efficacy, Crous added that consumers in Western countries are expecting convenience and have a “one [supplement] a day mentality.”
Earlier when the brand launched its probiotic shots, it highlighted that there is a big trend towards convenience – supplements that are easy to consume and carry.
Consumers from these markets also have a higher capacity to pay: “Where a capsule or tablet might cost you less than $1 a day, it might be expensive to do other formats which may cost $2 a day, for instance. So, it’ll obviously affect the direction we go in.”
Australia vs. US supplement markets
While there is high competition in Australia’s supplements market, brands end up competing on price – especially in wholesale and discount pharmacies – due to many competitors with similar products, Crous commented.
On the other hand, a competitive edge in terms of “new trends and technologies” is needed to differentiate itself in the US market.
“In the US, I’d probably say it’s about two years in front of Australia in terms of innovation and accepting new trends. We try to stay away from becoming another me too, just because it’s already so competitive in the Australian market. We’d look at gaps in market innovation by tapping on our infield sales team, TikTok and whatnot.”
Other innovative product formats it has launched include bio fermented liquids packaged in ready-to-drink (RTD) shots, probiotic toothpastes, probiotic mouthwashes, herbal foot spa patches, and vitamin chewing gums.
On consumer acceptance of such products, Crous said that consumers are not unfamiliar with the mouth spray concept, given the existence of sore throat and fresh breath sprays in the market.
However, more consumer education is needed on the front to understand the unique benefits of incorporating vitamins in a mouth spray format.
It is utilising mainly mass media for consumer education: “Consumer education is difficult unless you have a platform like House of Wellness [a health and wellness television program] where people are actually sitting down and learning about it through a programme. We go into the technical side of how liposomal works and its benefits.
“We also have our own B2B online portal where our retail customers can log onto to do trainings and that they can use for their internal staff.”