Core approach: Apple phenolics specialist expanding supermarket presence with Coles deal

By Si Ying Thian

- Last updated on GMT

Australia's Renovatio expanding supermarket presence with Coles deal © Renovatio
Australia's Renovatio expanding supermarket presence with Coles deal © Renovatio

Related tags expansion Supermarkets Immunity retail channels

Australia’s Renovatio recently secured a distribution deal with Coles supermarkets, and has outlined wider offline expansion plans as it seeks to increase visibility and accessibility.

It recently secured a deal worth more than AU$5 million (US$3.3 million) with Coles, which is stocking three of its products in 800 stores nationwide. These are Activated Phenolics An Apple A Day tablets, Immunity Plus+ tablets, and Mental Resilience chewables.

Coles agreed to trial its flagship product, Activated Phenolics An Apple A Day tablets, after founder Dr Vincent Candrawinata had reached out to the supplements category manager.

Coles first trialled its flagship product, Activated Phenolics An Apple A Day tablet, across 500 stores in August 2022. After being well received, the firm was invited to propose two more products in the range.

“Immunity remains top of priority, especially among mothers buying supplements for children. Statistics have also shown an increased incidence of colds, flus, respiratory and communicable diseases post-COVID. 

“I believe there is a demand for supplements that cater to mental being, especially among younger people. We also wanted to normalise the product by being in the supermarket – as a mass marketed product as your Vitamin C or fish oil,” ​Dr Candrawinata explained.

Offline vs. online retail

Renovatio’s Coles deal follows its functional apple cider vinegar launch into Woolworths​ this February. Dr Candrawinata cited competitive pricing and consumer data insights as key reasons for choosing to expand with supermarkets.

The customer knowledge that Coles have in terms of how to better communicate to our customers helped us a lot. As a small business, I found it really helpful to collaborate with the category manager to adapt with the changes in the FMCG space.”

While the first touchpoint for most customers tends to be online, via its health communications podcast or other customer reviews, the firm found that that many people still prefer to buy in-store while doing their grocery shopping.

At the same time, having an active online presence helps us to capture and retain the customers who are time poor or prefer to have a monthly subscription rather than going in-store,”​ he added.

Changing consumer behaviours

The firm is now looking to expand into Australian health stores and pharmacies. While it recognises the value of targeted advice rendered through these channels, it is still of the sentiment that most of supplement consumers still access information online, even among the older generation.

Consumer behaviours are changing and they’re becoming more proactive in seeking information and sharing about their experience.

“While supplements [traditionally] leverage on targeted advice in-store, I believe that most of our customers learnt of us from word-of-mouth or online and are going into the supermarkets to make the purchase decision themselves than being recommended by a staff.”

Woolworths expansion

The firm has also expanded into 100 other mini supermarkets by Woolworths, on top of its presence in 1,000 stores nationwide. These mini supermarkets typically shelf a much smaller range of products, and are located conveniently near train stations and bus stops.

An independent consumer survey of its products stocked at Woolworths showed that it has an average net promoter score (NPS) of 90, with the maximum being 100.

NPS is benchmarking tool for customer satisfaction that gives insights into customer loyalty by measuring their willingness to recommend a product to someone else.

Specifically on customer loyalty to supplier’s brands by a scale of zero to ten, the firm has been graded on nine for vitamins and 10 for skin care. The firm averaged the customer retention to be around 60% to 70%.

Overall brand positioning

The firm also believes that its supermarket relationship has allowed it to expand its scope of product development.

The supermarket setting has given us the opportunity to expand to other aisles, such as what we did with Woolworths in terms of skin care and coming up with the functional apple cider vinegar for Woolworths’ “Healthy Pantry” aisle.”

“When they challenge us to create a better product compared to the existing ones we have, having the know-how allows us to develop these products at a relatively short amount of time as majority of the research has already been done.”

Capitalising on its competitive edge on having a patented food technology, discussion is under way with some distributors in the US to launch in two years’ time.

It is eyeing to launch An Apple A Day tablets and activated phenolics powder to tackle inflammation in indigestion and mobility – two common health issues faced by US consumers. Dr Candrawinata also added that buyer readiness for new products is relatively higher in the US.

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