Nestle, Unilever Up Their Stakes In Health & Wellness

Is the burgeoning trend of all things “health and wellness” sustainable?

Nestlé SA thinks so, having agreed to shell out $5.75 billion for The Bountiful Company in a deal announced today.

In The Bountiful deal with private-equity firm KKR, Nestlé picks up such brands as Nature’s Bounty, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex and Puritan’s pride for its Nestlé Health Science portfolio.

Last year, Nestlé Health Science agreed to acquire a majority stake in Vital Proteins, the U.S. market leader in collagen products.

Nestlé is hardly alone in keeping to the wellness trend.

On April 26, Unilever North America said it intends to acquire Onnit, a “holistic wellness and lifestyle company” whose brands include Alpha Brain, a brain supplement (nootropic) for better memory, focus and mental processing.” The company’s other brands include Shroom Tech for fitness and endurance and Stron Bone for bone health.

Onnit joins a family of Unilever wellness and supplement brands that include Olly, Equilibra, Liquid I.V. and SmartyPants vitamins.

The field gets more crowded given the rise of mushrooms—the subject of a recent New York Times deep dive titled “There Is a Lot of Fungus Among Us.”

In addition to being added to coffee for immune system support, mushrooms are popping up in supplements designed to treat inflammation and other conditions.

In citing mushrooms as one of its top 10 food trends to watch in 2021, Whole Foods Market noted that “The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles and that trend will accelerate in 2021.”

Let’s add honey to the wellness buzz.

A new global campaign for Manuka Health New Zealand for its Manuka-plant-based honey employs such copy lines as “Stack Your Wellness Bench with New Zealand’s finest” and “Meet Your New Wellness Wingman.”

The creative from Chicago-based VSA Partners were crafted to give the brand “an ownable point of view in the crowded health and wellness space,” says the agency’s creative director and writer, Evan Thompson.

Given the continued rise of vitamins, minerals and other supplements, it’s no surprise consumers might be confused.

In 2020, the National Advertising Division of the non-profit BBB National Programs says it saw a 50% increase in companies’ challenges to health-related advertising by competitors.

For 2018 CPG startup Sunwink—whose first products were herbal sparkling tonics—the antidote to a “saturated and polarizing wellness industry” combines comedy with simplicity.

“In the research we conducted, we often heard people say that routines or images portrayed by brands were unachievable or unrealistic,” says Sunwink co-founder and CMO Jordan Schenck. “Often, products are marketed as either quick fixes or holy grails, which creates confusion and challenges for consumers.”

Sunwink is delivering humor in the person of comedian Robyn Schall—along with the straightforward message that plants are the original source of wellness.

In this spot from the &Walsh agency, Schall holds a book titled "1,000,000 Tips For Wellness "and says in a dreary voice “Today, I start my wellness routine.”

Guidance follows in the form of hands and voices telling her what to eat and when to sleep while extolling the virtues of things like vitamin D and charcoal toothpaste.

“When wellness feels impossible, stick to plants,” is the closing message.

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