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Can The Vitamin Shoppe Compete With Pure Telehealth Platforms?

Can The Vitamin Shoppe Compete With Pure Telehealth Platforms?

With Whole Health Rx, The Vitamin Shoppe is entering the telehealth game as consumer interest in GLP-1 weight-loss drugs surges

The Vitamin Shoppe is launching a telehealth service, Whole Health Rx, that connects consumers with licensed healthcare providers that offer access to nutritional supplements and GLP-1 drugs such as Ozempic and Mounjaro, as well as compounded versions of semaglutide and tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Zepbound.

The move positions Whole Health Rx to compete with other similar platforms, such as Noom Med, Henry Meds, Eden and Sequence. While the new platform will initially focus on weight management, Whole Health Rx plans to expand into other health verticals.

“Whole Health Rx by The Vitamin Shoppe is a meaningful evolution in our company’s mission to consistently and comprehensively support the health needs of our customers,” The Vitamin Shoppe’s CEO Lee Wright, said. “As a pioneer in the wellness space since 1977, The Vitamin Shoppe is uniquely positioned to offer a truly holistic approach to weight loss that unites proven pharmaceutical interventions with our unmatched expertise in nutrition support and whole-body health.”

Wright was appointed as CEO last year after The Vitamin Shoppe’s parent company, Franchise Group, announced its intentions to go private through a $2.6 billion management buyout

Whole Health Rx consumers begin with an online questionnaire regarding their medical history and health goals. If approved for a prescription, orders will be filled through Whole Health Rx’s pharmacy partners and delivered in the mail. Patients also have access to online resources through the platform to support their decision-making in their health journey.

credit: The Vitamin Shoppe

Supplements geared towards weight loss support (such as protein, multivitamins, probiotics and fiber) will also be available for Whole Health Rx users, as well as in-store and online at The Vitamin Shoppe. 

“Data shows that a significant percentage of the population is not meeting the daily requirements for key nutrients, such as vitamins C, D, and magnesium,” said Brian Tanzer, director of scientific and regulatory affairs at The Vitamin Shoppe. “This problem will be further exacerbated by the use of GLP-1 medications, which decrease overall food intake. Whole Health Rx is a multidimensional service that can help ensure individuals have the proper nutrition information and products to manage weight loss in a healthy and effective manner.”

Monthly medication subscriptions start at $219 with introductory pricing ($269 at regular price), with no insurance required.

Brands & Retailers Make Wellness Play 

Wellness products, particularly those in the supplement, vitamin and functional food and beverages space, have been a key focus of retailers in the last year — and for good reason.

Consumers are on board with vitamins and supplements; they were the second-most-popular consumer packaged goods category purchased during Amazon’s October Prime Day in both 2023 and 2022. 

Target deemed 2024 the year of health, rolling out over 1,000 wellness products on its shelves, including many exclusive to the retail brand. 

It’s apparent that brands are targeting Gen Z, keenly aware that young people are willing to cut back on other luxuries to have more money to spend on wellness products.

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Ghost, a supplement and sports nutrition brand, presents colorful, youth-centric packaging with flavors geared towards young consumers — such as Chips Ahoy!, Oreo, Nutter Butter and Sour Patch Kids. The company also sells a product marketed to gamers, with nootropics and other ingredients it says are geared for focus and energy.  

Weight-Loss Foods & Supplements Emerge

There is also an emerging market for non-injectable weight loss options and products intended to support those who have transitioned off of Ozempic and other semaglutide products.

credit: Supergut

GNC introduced Total Lean GlucaTrim, an over-the-counter supplement that it says supports healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. The caffeine-free product includes Berberine, a compound extracted from various plants and dubbed ‘Nature’s Ozempic.’ 

Supergut, a prebiotic superfood brand, recently partnered with GNC, including its popular Gut Health GLP-1 Booster – a high-fiber prebiotic mix. The company, which launched in 2022, aims to naturally trigger the release of the GLP-1 hormone with fiber, sending a signal to the brain to slow digestion and elicit a feeling of fullness.

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