Online health food brand Arborvitae expands brick-and-mortar presence in Australia

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Arborvitae's range of offerings include supplements for joint health and managing blood glucose level. ©Arborvitae
Arborvitae's range of offerings include supplements for joint health and managing blood glucose level. ©Arborvitae

Related tags Australia brick and mortar online retail

Aussie supplement firm Arborvitae, which started off as an online health brand, is expanding its brick-and-mortar presence in the country with a listing deal for 3,400 pharmacies.

The New South Wales-based firm​ has recently sealed a deal with Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API), where two of its bestsellers, a joint health and a blood glucose and cholesterol regulating liquid supplements, will be available in API’s network of chemists.

This follows the firm’s previous deals with health foods retailers such as GoVital and more recently, with pharmacy chain Blooms the Chemist in July.

Speaking to NutraIngredient-Asia​, general manager Matthew Harris said the firm’s “conservative estimate”​ was that the additional sales from API would bring in AUD$2mil (US$1.36m) in the first 12 months of the partnership.

Focusing on pharmacies as a retail channel, the firm hopes to expand its reach from 400 to 1,000 pharmacies in the next six months.

“There are a lot of supplements where people will go to the supermarkets to self-select.

“A product like Arborvitae is fairly new in that anti-inflammation area and the consumers may require some advice. And so, the endorsement from the pharmacists is very important to us,” ​Harris said.

Selling at AUD$69.95 (US$47.87) per bottle, the liquid supplements are priced at the premium end, but sales have been brisk.

Harris pointed out that some of the Blooms the Chemist outlets have reordered its products two to three weeks after stocking the first batch of products.

“We did a store allocation of 48 units to each store and within two to three weeks, many of the stores were reordering, so I think some of the stores were quite surprised with the sales volume.

“It is also quite an expensive product because the main active ingredient is quite expensive…We rather charge a premium price but get effective results rather than just put a small amount of the active ingredient and the product not work.”

The firm’s products contain Pycnogenol, a French maritime pine bark extract which can reduce inflammation.

Some outlets are even selling about 150 units per month, Harris added.

Inward expansion

The firm hopes to further its presence in physical stores in Australia.

Harris revealed that the firm has been in talks with Priceline Pharmacy, where it has been working with 35 outlets on an independent contract basis.   

The plan is to work on an agreement where the products will be available nationally over 400 stores next year.

It also hopes to work with other pharmacy chains such as TerryWhite Chemmart and Advantage Pharmacy.

Outward expansion ​ 

As for overseas, it is in talks with partners to bring its products into the online and physical space in Vietnam.

“The forecast is a fairly large number of purchases, so we are really excited about Vietnam as our first entry into South East Asian market,”​ Harris said.

The deal is set to finalise in the upcoming weeks and the firm hopes to start the first shipment to Vietnam in early January.

Its other overseas markets at present is New Zealand, and they have also received queries from Chinese and Canadian consumers.

“Interestingly, the Chinese market has started to show some interest in Arborvitae. So locally here in Australia, we are getting interest from some local Chinese customers and also from customers in China.

“Vietnam and China will be our two big opportunities at the moment.” 

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