As a world leader in household, health and personal care, RB is committed to growing every market it is in, and its latest move into the UK Vitamin, Mineral and Supplement (VMS) market this spring with the launch of MegaRed, the No 1 selling SKU in the US VMS section, is no different.  

40676_0055a---Mark-PearsonIn what the company promises will be a ‘game changer’ for the category, RB UK is launching MegaRed, its new omega-3 food supplement containing krill oil, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, into the British Market. The launch is supported by a £5million promotional campaign which is an unprecedented level of support in the UK VMS category being  around a 30% heavier investment than any of the current leading players.

RB’s avowed purpose is to make a difference by giving consumers innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes. With the launch of MegaRed the company is entering an area that allows it to enable people to take positive steps to look after their heart health. MegaRed was introduced in Boots in January, and goes into broad distribution in grocery outlets from the end of March.

Mark Pearson, RB UK Category Marketing Director, spoke to The Grocery Trader.

GT – First of all, Mark, as UK Category Marketing Director, have you been personally involved in developing MegaRed and presenting it to the major UK retailers?

RB is a hands-on place so I get involved across the piece, but we have a great team working on MegaRed in marketing and sales and it has been very well received by retailers. We staggered the launch, going into Boots at the beginning of the year, and performance has been very strong.

GT – Are you taking on a new sales force and supply chain to deliver MegaRed in the UK?

While VMS is a new category for us here in the UK ‘wellness’ is an increasingly important part of what our teams do, so MegaRed has been a very natural addition for them along with brands such as Durex or Scholl or the OTC brands.

GT – RB is best known for its OTC products. How does the launch of MegaRed fit in with the existing RB Healthcare portfolio?  

MegaRed and the VMS category is a very natural progression for RB and a natural fit for our vision, which is to help make people’s lives healthier and their homes happier. Currently there is a real shift in health priorities amongst shoppers from ‘remedy’ to one of wellness and maintaining good health. So for RB to extend its OTC portfolio to include VMS is a perfect fit for the company and completely complementary to the healthcare products we already have in the market.

GT – How big is the VMS category in the UK?

Currently the total UK VMS market is worth £758 million, with a growth rate of 4%. But we have big plans, and our aim is for MegaRed to deliver £23million sales value to the category in the next three years.

In the process we are also looking to make people change the way they think about their hearts, as heart health is a really important issue. This will drive awareness and interest in MegaRed, maximising opportunities for retail sales.

GT – What products dominate the VMS market?  

The VMS category is growing strongly globally, driven by high consumption and spend per shopper. Currently fish oils and Omega-3 products dominate the UK market. The new RB UK campaign to support MegaRed is set to grow this market further by encouraging women to take the supplement to support heart health. Traditionally this has been led by targeting a largely male 45+ audience, but it is an issue for both men and women and this is an important point of education.

GT – There are plenty of VMS suppliers here already. What will you do differently in this sector?

We feel that the entry of RB to this sector does fundamentally change the game in VMS.

There are two key points. Firstly in terms of the product itself, MegaRed offers a number of key benefits over other products currently available, which will really help consumers overcome barriers to taking fish oils and improve compliance.

Secondly the VMS category is not heavily supported by any one brand, so the launch of MegaRed with a £5million promotional campaign represents an unprecedented level of support in the VMS category.

Apart from the promotion we will also be supporting our retailers with point of sale, education and resources. Our promotional campaign will cut through the noise and confusion in this market concerning which brand to choose. We will build consumer awareness, creating a beacon brand, which in turn will benefit the retailer.

Megared_300mg_30s_1_v13DGT – So what is MegaRed?

MegaRed is a new range of Omega-3 food supplements containing omega-3 krill oil with fatty acids EPA and DHA that are scientifically proven to support heart health. Containing high quality, pure Antarctic Krill, the easy-to-swallow capsules are a rich source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers of both men and women and so MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil capsules are designed to support a healthy balanced lifestyle, and are particularly suitable for those who would like a helping hand with their omega-3 intake.

GT – Why Krill and where does the Krill Oil in MegaRed come from?

Krill are the tiny crustaceans that thrive in the icy waters of the Antarctic, and they are what the fish eat to get their Omega 3, so it is lower down the food chain and a more direct and purer source of Omega 3. MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil is sourced from one of the most sustainable resources in the world, in partnership with environmentally responsible fisheries.

GT – VMS is a crowded market. What’s so different about MegaRed?

MegaRed has been hugely successful in the US and is No 1 selling brand in the entire US VMS section, and we are going to build on that heritage in the UK. As a product MegaRed’s USP is that krill oil is among the best delivery formats of Omega 3’s and has none of the downsides of fish oil and cod liver oil. Unlike fish oil, which is non-water soluble, krill oil is easily dispersed in the stomach, resulting in no fishy repeats or aftertaste. The capsules are also smaller than many fish oils so they are easy to swallow, thereby overcoming many barriers to taking fish oils.

GT – Why are you going into VMS and launching MegaRed now?

The launch follows our acquisition in 2012 of Schiff Nutrition and its key brands, including MegaRed. As a business Schiff was a natural fit for RB as a global leader in OTC and an extension for our offering, especially with the ongoing global shift in health priorities from ‘remedy’ to one of ‘wellness’ and proactively maintaining good health.

GT – What do you mean by the ‘shift in health priorities’?

There is a continuing shift in the way we all view our health. Life expectancy is increasing across the world and we want to be ‘healthier for longer’. This aging population, allied with urbanisation in developing markets, is leading to a profound increase in the cost to manage health and the increased burden on healthcare systems. This in turn means a natural shift, both from government and also by consumers themselves, toward self-medication. That has been a trend for some time. But now, in addition to self medication for everyday ailments, consumers want to feel fitter for longer, and health and ‘wellness’ is becoming more of a lifestyle issue, not just a medical one. Supporting heart health has the biggest positive impact on the nation’s health – and there is a huge educational task to be done, especially with women’s heart health.

GT – You’re backing MegaRed with an unprecedented launch spend. What’s the rationale?

You’re absolutely right, our support far exceeds any previously seen in the category and means retailers will benefit from that unprecedented profile for VMS and heart health. Our promotional campaign is designed not just to create huge consumer awareness of the product but also educate shoppers about the facts relating to heart health so people can make informed decisions and choices. Our support for the brand will run throughout 2014, making this a huge growth opportunity for our retail customers.

MegaRed-white-backgroundGT – What will the MegaRed launch campaign involve?

The campaign is already underway, ensuring that there will be awareness as the distribution builds. We are running a ‘big bang’ launch for MegaRed with TV advertising and a strong educational PR as well as in-store support, digital and consumer press. This all kicked off in January to promote the new product and ensure maximum awareness by putting it top of mind with consumers.

GT – What’s the campaign message?

The new campaign will educate consumers about the risk of heart disease in both sexes and encourage women in particular to start thinking about the health of their heart earlier, not just by having a healthy diet and exercising, but also with Omega-3 supplements such as MegaRed, which are proven to support heart health. Heart disease has long been seen as a male problem, but recent figures show it affects men and women equally.

According to the British Heart Foundation heart disease kills one in three men and one in three women, costing the UK £2 billion a year, However, a recent consumer survey revealed two thirds of women do not start thinking about heart health until their 50s – so it is essential to reach this group.

GT – What pack sizes are you offering MegaRed in?

MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil capsules are available in 300mg packs of 30 (RRP £17.99), 60 (RRP £29.99) and 90 (RRP £39.99). MegaRed Extra Strength Omega-3 Krill Oil capsules are available in 500mg packs of 20 (RRP £17.99), 40 (RRP £29.99) and 60 (RRP £39.99).

GT – At this relatively high price level will these products be merchandised at the pharmacy counter in supermarkets and Co-ops, or in the general sales area?

MegaRed will be found in the VMS area, as well as being highlighted in POS in stores.

GT – How do you predict MegaRed will perform in sales terms?

Currently the total UK VMS market is worth £758 million, with a growth rate of 4%. We aim for MegaRed to deliver £23m sales value to the category in the next three years.

GT – Where do you see MegaRed going from here?

We feel that just as it has done in the US, MegaRed will contribute significantly to the growth of the VMS sector here in the UK. It’s a great brand with high awareness levels, driven by RB’s healthcare expertise. The launch of MegaRed is a great opportunity for supermarkets and pharmacies alike to enjoy the rewards of this growing sector, by stocking a high profile brand with easy to understand benefits for the customer. Mega execution across all channels is key to this success.

GT – Finally, are you planning to bring out more VMS products?

Yes, we are. We have a unique selling proposition in the MegaRed brand and this was the first product from the Schiff portfolio we have decided to launch in the UK, but there will be more products on the way, backed by industry-leading marketing investment levels to deliver further success. We have both the capability and the commitment to invest in the category and change the category dynamics, to the benefit of RB and our retail partners.


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