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Household Budgets

Nestle’s Vitamins Push Tested by Cost-of-Living Squeeze

  • US boom in vitamins, supplements failed to outlast Covid-19
  • Cost-of-living crisis could add pressure on branded vitamins

Packaged-goods giants like Nestle SA and Unilever Plc have poured billions into acquisitions of vitamin brands in recent years, seeking growth beyond traditional businesses like stock cubes, ice cream and soap. The bet appeared to pay off when Covid hit, turbocharging demand for supplements as worried consumers sought to boost their defenses against a new and mysterious virus.

Over the past year, however, with the pandemic easing and a cost-of-living crisis squeezing household budgets, the vitamin business has fallen on harder times. In the US, supplement sales fell 3.3% by units in the year through October, following three consecutive years of growth, according to data provider NielsenIQ.