Marketing is persuading consumers to buy vitamin supplements they do not need, according to consumer watchdog CHOICE.
Unnecessary product segmentation and confusing labeling is making it difficult for consumers to know if they really need multivitamins, CHOICE suggested.
Products are advertised to appeal to specific target groups – despite there being little difference in the ingredients, according to CHOICE, which singled out boys’ and girls’ Bioglan Kids Gummies Multivitamins.
“The products are identical – the only difference is that one packet features Disney Princesses and the other features characters from the movie Cars,” said CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just.
Seventy-three percent of first-time mothers-to-be buy vitamins and 37% of Australians aged 14 and over buy vitamins in any six month period.
“Marketing messages, often backed up by high profile sporting celebrities, give the impression that we all need multivitamins to be fit and healthy ,” said Just.
“If you have a healthy diet and you’re not a person with specific nutritional requirements, there’s a good chance you’re wasting your money. At 20 to 70 cents per day for multivitamin products we priced, the ‘worried well’ can spend several hundred dollars a year simply by taking a daily pill.”
CHOICE has called on manufacturers to apply uniform labeling information to make it easier for consumers to make comparisons.