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Belgium vitamins market: Merck the leading player with 14% value share
Vitamins and Dietary Supplements in Belgium - a new market research report on 2014-04-18 15:37:03
The competitive environment for vitamins and dietary supplements remained fragmented in 2012, with the top five GBOs securing a 35% share of value sales. This was concomitant with the presence of players from different backgrounds and countries, and positioned in various distribution channels. Merck was the only player with a double-digit value share, of 14% in 2012. Merck´s strong diversification policy, its focus on doctors and pharmacists through its sales force and press communications, and the breakthrough of its Omnibionta 3 and Bion umbrella brands paid off in recent years. With these brands, Merck was a forerunner in the area of multivitamins and dietary supplements with probiotics.

Whilst opinions differed on the fortunes of vitamins and dietary supplements in 2011, industry consensus was that the whole category was in a state of crisis in 2012. From 14 December 2012, the regulatory environment for vitamins and dietary supplements was set to become stricter, with new regulation of health claims. Thus, during the whole of 2012, players were on the home straight in terms of conforming to the new EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) regulation.

In addition, trade sources observed that products which used to drive growth before the crisis were more or less reaching maturity. Other than probiotics and glucosamine, this was notably the case for single substances such as mineral supplements, which saw static current value sales in 2012. It seemed that the hype for pure mineral products such as magnesium lessened in 2012, notably due to the cannibalisation by calming and sleeping.

From 14 December 2012, many brands will have to adjust to the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) legislation. It notably states that the active ingredient must account for at least 15% of the Recommended Daily Intake. Manufacturers will have to indicate for each brand variant the necessary dose to be efficient, the effects, and proof of its efficiency with tests and studies. If not, some products could be forced to revise their claims and names if they convey a false or exaggerated image. In such cases, players may have to depend on high brand equity to offset the impact of the legislation.

Mainstream manufacturers, often multinationals which are also present in OTC products, have anticipated the great changes of 14 December, but not many small players. This is expected to result in the withdrawal of many brand variants in early 2013 – for those that will be immediately banned – and slightly later for those that will have changes to their name, but will lack the recognition and image to survive.

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