Current Issue 52
Vital Health Foods has been providing South Africans with access to natural and affordable health solutions since 1947
A Healthier You
Project Manager:Joshua Mann
Since its doors opened in 1947, Vital Health Foods has instilled a desire within the Company culture to give all South Africans the ability to obtain natural and affordable solutions for good all-round health.
Seven decades since its inception, Vital is now the leading supplements manufacturer in Africa having acquired the Wassen/Efamol UK-based Company; it currently owns and manufactures Vital Supplements and health foods, Wassen supplements, Efamol essential fatty acids, Zehra Age Beautifully hydrolysed collagen and Burgess & Finch aromatherapy.
2015 brought about significant change for the Company as it progressed from its original state as a 100 percent family-owned business, to having Leaf Capital as investors with a significant share in Vital Health Foods.
The health food industry is proving to be a highly attractive prospect to investors, mainly due to the growth potential in the health industry; with consumer trends indicating that health is a lifestyle priority.
All produce is manufactured according to international pharmaceutical and food quality standards, and over the years Vital has gained quality qualifications befitting a Company of its standing in the industry.
“Our pharmaceutical quality certifications include the Medicines Control Council (MCC), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), which was received in 1986 for the first time, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia’s GMP Clearance Certificate and the British Retail Consortium (BRC),” explains Kay Nash, Group CEO at Vital Health Foods. “Together these all ensure that the facility and the products produced meet stringent international pharmaceutical quality criteria.”
Vital Health Foods began very humbly considering the heights it has now reached, as the first health foods company in Africa with a vision of helping to both inspire and empower better health for everyday families.
“Even after 70 years, health is at the core of everything that we do and our efforts remain on giving customers solutions which will help them make healthier choices each and every day,” clarifies Nash. “Vital Health Foods has remained steadfast in the South African market over the decades and have invested in achieving consumer trust that supports our proud heritage and provenance.”
Having now established itself as a household brand, Vital compounded its efforts on earning and retaining consumers trust by delivering quality, regular production of new offerings, daily health advice and category through leadership. Now more than ever, consumers have become more health conscious in their everyday lives and embrace the importance of their health in every small action; they will see Vital as an important health partner for their health journey.
Growing market share
The main focus for Vital during the 1990s was growing market share, which brought about the launch of the first Vital Multivitamin range, which was consequently supported by the brand’s first television campaign. Progressing from here, the early 2000s introduced condition-specific products which specifically addressed the needs of everyday families.
Vital has taken a leading role over the years in growing the category of nutritional supplements by working with and actively participating in stakeholder activities and professional organisations in the industry, such as SMASA (The Self Medication Manufacturing Association of South Africa), IPM (The Institute for People Management), PSSA (the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa) and SAAPI (The South African Association of Pharmacists in Industry).
Employees are also fully involved in the Company development and brand, participating in regular workshops in health and wellness, while also having access to an onsite health professional.
“We encourage our team members to live a thoroughly healthy daily lifestyle by using the indoor gym facilities, taking part in group exercise classes and consulting in-house dieticians about what they should eat and how they should exercise,” says John Knox, Group Commercial Director, Vital Health Foods.
The Company has reaped the rewards for its approach to all-round health, having won the Sunday Times Discovery Healthy Company Index Survey Award for the Healthiest Company in 2011 and 2012.
Similarly to its work with the Company’s employees, Vital has always had a similar focus on uplifting the community and with that, the Vital Foundation was established in 2013.
Positive impact on health
First and foremost, Vital Health Foods is a consumer-focused Company that actively seeks out solutions to help enrich and enable consumers to live healthier everyday lives.
“We believe that everyone can become healthier if they focus on small, incremental improvements every day,” comments Knox. “We apply this principle by launching products which address the needs of consumers, employing dieticians at the Vital Customer Care line to assist consumers with health enquiries, most recently offering a digital platform which encourages consumers along their health journey on a daily basis. In terms of staff, the same philosophy is applied, offering them on-site wellness programmes and a clinic.”
In order to make a positive impact on the health of each customer, Vital has focused on providing the very best quality products. It is evident that it has been very successful in doing this from the global quality certifications awarded and continuous investment that the Company makes into the factory, assisted by the trust that consumers have continued to place in the brand for almost 70 years.
Knox continues: “Throughout our history, Vital Health Foods has always been seen as a key opinion leader and innovator, having always been ahead of its time by focusing on customers. We led the healthy snacking market before healthy food was a mainstream trend and have continued to work hard to health recognised as something relevant to everyone.”
Leadership on a national scale
The Company continuously manages to demonstrate leadership on a national scale. Vital’s experts are regularly approached by the media for its opinion as health leaders; while also training pharmacists across retail outlets and advising retailers on health trends and research.
“Consumer needs change and evolve over time, which we are very aware of and therefore ensure that our Company keeps abreast with the very latest research and trends as far as supplementation and health is concerned,” affirms Knox. “We also speak directly to hundreds of consumers every month through our call centre.”
With its constant approach to remain innovative in the industry, Vital expanded into the effervescent market in 2014 through a licensing agreement in order to expand its reach to consumers who were interested in supplementing their diets in a refreshing way.
While expanding its reach in supplements, the Company has also expanded into the snacking market, with its range of mini rice cakes and mini corn cakes as a means of reaching consumers on the go that are looking for healthier snack alternatives.
“We remain ambitious in our mission to enable people to be healthier in their everyday life, the coming years will bring about some exciting changes to our Company and we can’t wait to see them come into fruition,” concludes Knox.