Which vitamin and supplement brands are in the guide?
There is certainly no deficiency of brands selling vitamins in the UK, so we decided to cover a variety of brands that largely fall into 3 categories:
1. Multinational pharmaceutical & health giants
Centrum is owned by Haleon, which was previously the consumer healthcare arm of pharma giant GSK (GlaxoSmithKline). Haleon is 33% owned by Pfizer.
Sanatogen and Berocca are both owned by Bayer, the German multinational that acquired the lawsuit-prone herbicide producer Monsanto back in 2018.
Boots straddles the pharmaceutical and health and beauty sectors, whilst Seven Seas is owned by personal care leviathan Procter & Gamble.
2. Specialised vitamin, supplement, and nutrition companies
Vitabiotics – the UK market leader – and the Orkla-owned Healthspan both use medical-style branding, similar to that of the pharma giants, and their products are often found on the shelves of pharmacies.
Viridian, BioCare, and FSC (Food Supplement Company, not the Forest Stewardship Council!) are more commonly found in health shops but retain a somewhat clinical brand identity. BioCare is ultimately owned by an elusive nutrition company based in China, for which we were barely able to find a single policy detail.
Other nutrition companies eschew pharmaceutical aesthetics in favour of looking as grounded in nature as possible. Nature’s Plus, A.Vogel, Holland & Barrett, and Floradix are primarily the preserve of health stores, alongside a plethora of similarly named brands (Nature’s Aid, Nature’s Best, Nature’s Answer … you get the picture). Others, like Ethical Nutrition, are tiny companies that sell solely online.
3. Companies owned by Nestlé
Finally, a whole category unto themselves, are the companies that are ultimately owned by the world's largest food & beverage processing company, Nestlé.
We’ve included Solgar, Nature’s Bounty, Puritan’s Pride and Garden of Life in this guide, but Nestlé are also behind a range of specialised supplement brands such as Vital Proteins, OptiFibre, Vitaflo, Pure Encapsulations, Klean Athlete, Minami and more!
A company that admits that the majority of its products do not meet a “recognised definition of health” apparently wants to remedy your unhealthy diet! We don’t think it's overly cynical to be sceptical about companies that purport to sell both the poison and the antidote.
Nestlé’s acquisition of Garden of Life, back in 2017, was particularly disappointing. Garden of Life uses fully traceable ingredients and most of its products are USDA-certified organic. Were it not owned by Nestlé, it would likely sit near the top of our table. Unfortunately, the number of small, independent ethical brands will likely continue to shrink so long as corporations see profit in our health.