Aussie business VitaminHaus, along with its consumer brand of Voost effervescent vitamins, has been acquired by consumer goods behemoth the Procter & Gamble Company, for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Melbourne, Voost was created by former Coles executive Thomas Siebel, who took on a sector that, at the time, was dominated by one player — Berocca.
By 2016, it had almost 3,000 stockists throughout the country, and was turning over about $5 million, annually.
For P&G, the acquisition means seizing an opportunity in the growing vitamins, minerals and supplements industry — one of the fastest-growing parts of the over-the-counter health sector.
Kumar Venkatasubramanian, senior vice president at P&G Australia and New Zealand, said the Voost brand has “high affinity amongst millennials, driven by disruptive packaging and sought-after attributes”.
Those attributes include the taste of the products, as well as the fact that they are free of sugar and preservatives. Many are also vegan-friendly, he noted.
In a statement, Siebel himself said he set out “with a mission to disrupt the effervescent category”, and in particular to cater to millennial consumers.
Now, he said the brand is leading the category in Australia. It’s on the shelves in big-name grocery and pharmacy retailers in Australia, and has distributors in Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK.
Siebel added that he is “incredibly proud” of what he and the team has achieved in seven years.
The acquisition will help “elevate the brand to a new level”, he added, including launching in more markets, worldwide.
For Siebel, the shift to entrepreneurship followed some 30 years in the consumer goods sector.
Having started his career with a 16-year stint at Woolies, he spent five years at Franklins, before moving to Sakata Rice Snacks, where he spent seven years establishing the rice cracker brand in Australia.
“It was the highlight of my life,” Siebel reflected in an interview with SmartCompany in 2016.
“We got really lucky, we were in the right place at the right time,” he added.
“The [rice cracker] category just exploded from a $5 million category to a $110 million category.”
He later took on the general manager role at Herron Pharmaceuticals, and an executive role at Coles.
But, with Voost, Siebel seemingly got ahead of another trend about to explode.
According to Market Research Future, the market is seeing a compound annual growth rate of 6.7%, and could be worth more than $108 billion by 2025.
That’s being driven by an increasing focus on preventative healthcare, and an increasing awareness of health and wellbeing issues; simultaneously, the middle class is growing, and more people have disposable income.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to an increase in consumers looking for ways to boost their immune systems, although the market has been fragmented by disruption to supply chain issues, the research notes.
The news also follows a period of coronavirus-related growth for P&G.
In January, the global behemoth reported an 8% increase in net sales for the previous quarter, driven by a pandemic-related cleaning boom. In its filings, the company said Americans were cleaning and sanitising 30% more than before the pandemic.
It also noted a 15% uptick in dishwasher cycles, a 20% increase in the use of air freshener, and a 15% increase in paper towel usage.
SmartCompany contacted Proctor & Gamble and Voost, which declined to comment further.