Vitality Brands

In recent years, Vitality Brands (‘Vitality’) has evolved its business and market footprint. The producer and wholesaler behind leading personal care brands, Cancer Council, Epzen and Tribe, has been busy expanding its portfolio and global reach.

Vitality’s Managing Director, Richard Meyrick, says that the business is focused on enhancing its existing brands, customer loyalty and product range in Australia and New Zealand, following the recent acquisition of skincare brand, Essano.

Vitality is also growing its export markets through distributors and relationships with wholesale customers in North and Southeast Asia, along with targeted growth on top of its skincare footprint in the large US market through the launch of sunscreen and bodycare.

These growth strategies are designed to keep Vitality’s financial performance on a sustained upward trajectory. In the 21 years since it first launched, the business has averaged an annual revenue growth rate of 15%.

Richard says that striking a balance between delivering quality and value-for-money for consumers, as well as its “trusted and well respected” brands, have protected Vitality against drop-offs in customer demand as the economic environment changes. Instead, Richard points to continued and compounding growth.

Drivers of continued product innovation

While Vitality’s wholesale customers include large national retail stockists, Richard says the business is “always looking at consumer preferences to understand their wants and needs”.  

For Vitality, this involves conducting consumer research and analysing retail data to stay ahead of consumer trends. According to Richard, this has allowed the business to pinpoint changing consumer expectations and use it to inform “constant R&D and product innovation”.

One example is in the suncare segment, where Richard says that “just sun protection” isn’t enough, and people are now looking for multiple benefits and attributes from products they put on their skin. He goes on to say that consumers are now more interested in what’s in the product, seeking quality, safe ingredients.

This has led to a focus on developing products that fit the criteria of savvy consumers and those seeking products that reflect their personal values. Richard says the “social impact of a brand on society and communities” has become a more prominent part of the buying decision.

The multiplier effect of sustainability

Ensuring that social purpose and sustainable practices are embedded within the products and operations of the business has been part of Vitality’s DNA from day one, explains Richard. “We strive for a well-rounded approach to addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues and have clear ESG goals in place.”

“For our business, that translates in practical terms to reducing energy and water usage, ethical sourcing, governance, human rights imperatives and giving back to the community. We’ve given back about $23 million to very worthwhile causes on our journey so far.”

Beyond strengthening consumers' trust in Vitality’s brands, Richard says that the business’s ESG initiatives also help attract and retain staff. “When people come to work, they want to have pride in their employer and the workplace.”

“If you have an aligned workforce that is well-educated in our social impact, it helps with productivity because they have a commitment and a passion for what the business is trying to do. If you add a good culture where people are respected and smile and have fun, that tends to be a workplace that’s learning, adapting, and growing.”

Cultivating a responsive supply chain

Beyond product innovation and meeting consumer needs, Richard sees the combination of relationships and digital tools as crucial to better serve wholesale customers. Increasingly, this relies on having a responsive and resilient supply chain and forecasting inventory needs.

“Supply chains are all about planning,” Richard says. “The digital tools we use continue to evolve, and we add features that allow us to look further into the future and plan more accurately. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we must consider the longer term to cope with potential supply chain disruptions.”

Richard says that some of the larger retailers Vitality supplies to have gone from holding weeks’ worth of stock to days. “The rest falls back to you to ensure you can deliver to demand when customers need it.”

“At the end of the day, it's fast-moving consumer goods, so you must be able to move quickly. We're not a huge business compared to other global players; we’re nimble and able to innovate at pace,” Richard concluded.

Insights for future-facing business

Get the latest research, insights and thought leadership from our industry experts and market leaders.

Things you should know

  • The information and statistics in this article have been obtained from Vitality. The Bank believes that the information in this article is correct and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in the article. Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations set forth are subject to change without notice. The Commonwealth Bank does not accept any liability for loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part of the article.