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Superfood powders are the latest alleged panacea of the health-conscious world
Superfood powders are marketed for their myriad of supposed benefits, from improved skin and increased energy, to preventing conditions and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and dementia. Superfood powders contain ground down superfoods, freeze dried and fine milled. Products which use the powders include the Super Elixir, boasts strong content and an equally eye watering price. Superfood powders have seen strong growth, although remain only a modicum of the wider market. Vitamix, a smoothie maker has also received celebrity endorsements and a loyal customer base despite its expensive price. Increasing health consciousness and government advice on vegetable consumption may further propel the powders to a more prominent position in the future.
Super Elixir: the model to follow?
Supermodel Elle Macpherson’s Super Elixir, for example, contains dozens of ingredients, such as acai berries, beetroot, beta-carotene, goji berry, and green tea extract. The powder has bold claims: “the super elixir is designed to support your healthy nutrition at a cellular level and optimize the functioning of all 11 systems of the human body”, says the website welleco.com, on which the Super Elixir is sold.
Superfood powders have been dismissed by some as overly expensive and with limited health benefits, despite the zealous marketing. For example, Macpherson’s Super Elixir costs $80 for 300g which, based on the recommended 10g servings, should last for around a month.
Startup Aduna: a signal of shifting consumption patterns?
It’s difficult to find comprehensive sales or growth reports on superfood powders, and it is likely that they still demand a small share of the health market; however Aduna’s sales of the powdered form or moringa provide something of an example of the level of growth that can be experienced by such an in vogue product. Moringa powder is made from the naturally-dried leaf of the Moringa tree, and is said to be the fastest-selling superfood in the UK, with sales up 2,500% in the three months ending November 2014, since British start-up Aduna launched the product.
Vitamix: right place, right time?
Another way to track the rising trend of superfood powders is to look at the sales of Vitamix, a high-performance blender. A combination of celebrity endorsements, astute marketing and shifting trends has contributed to the company witnessing strong growth despite being an expensive product, with fans such as professional chefs, food writers, and celebrities, including Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr, who has a Vitamix demonstration videos on YouTube. The company’s success is also said to be down to Jodi L. Berg. Since Berg was named President in 2009 and CEO in 2011, Vitamix sales have grown by 400% and international sales have grown by more than 270%.
As users of the Vitamix often make smoothies, soups, and sauces, which superfood powders are often added to, Vitamix’s sales growth is an indicator of a growing trend. Sales of the Vitamix have been strong, despite the hefty price tag – Vitamixes can cost hundreds of dollars. In fact, Vitamix has been experiencing such rapid growth and devoted followers that they have taken on something of a cult status.
Nutritionist and wellness coach Linda Petursdottir said, “they’ve become an icon for healthy eating. A Vitamix is the fad symbol of your commitment to nutrition and healthy living.” Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joshua Green writes “Vitamix is an unusual company that operated in quiet anonymity for nearly a century. Today it’s growing like a startup, thanks to shrewd marketing and a confluence of trends that includes the rise of organic foods, a wave of adventurous cooking shows, and the mania for juicing and smoothies.”
John Lewis buyer Will Jones, describing the growth in sales in the UK, explained that the “off-the-scale price” worked in advantage for the company, with customers thinking of it as a long-term investment and “they can’t help but share their experience with each other.” As such, much of the company’s success has been due to word-of-mouth. Jones also notes that “a perfect storm of factors” which have boosted Vitamix sales. “More than ever, since the horsemeat scandal, people are determined to make as much as they can from scratch. There’s definitely a raw food and whole food movement going on… Traditionally, food processors would be a female purchase, but with the Vitamix it’s an even split.
Men are so much more involved in cooking now anyway, but I think this is a lot to do with the product.”
The company’s success is also said to be down to Jodi L. Berg. Since Berg was named President in 2009 and CEO in 2011, Vitamix sales have grown by 400% and international sales have grown by more than 270%, leading Berg to be named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 National Family Business Award winner. It is not only food products that have benefitted from increased health-consciousness.
Superfood powders will continue to grow
The sale of superfood powders is likely to continue. Research by University College London, published in 2014, found that we should be eating 10 portions of vegetables and fruit per day, as opposed to the current five portions recommended by the UK government and the NHS. Nutrition therapist Eve Kalinik said, “Realistically, a busy person won’t eat 10 portions of vegetables a day… The super-green powder is a condensed, dried powder version of the food source itself, and is a far easier, more convenient way to add those vegetables to your diet.”
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