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Interview: Drugstores which contain pharmacies and parapharmacies regarded as a development opportunity for the dietary supplement market in Poland

Agnieszka Owczarek ekspert marki Noble Health

PMR talks to Mrs Agnieszka Owczarek, the CEO of Noble Health, the Polish manufacturer and distributor of dietary supplements, about the company’s expansion plans and the development prospects of the Polish dietary supplement market.

Justyna Kukian: Could you please tell us about the origins of Noble Health?

Agnieszka Owczarek: The origins of the company are related to my visit to China, where I noticed that women looked young with the assistance of natural fish collagen. When I returned to Poland I decided, together with the partners, to start dealing with dietary supplements. In 2009 we established the company Noble Health as a distributor of dietary supplements. Soon, however, we decided to create our own products. The first was Collagen (now known as Class A Collagen) − a dietary supplement which contains natural fish collagen and hialuronic acid.

The production of our own products began in 2010, and we immediately decided to build a brand based on expertise. We therefore started to cooperate closely with research centres. We also have an advantage in the size of the company (the company employs 11 people at present), and thus a shorter decision-making process.

In addition, although we often use new innovative formulas, we also turn to traditional, proven, often forgotten blends, giving them a new form.

At present, the portfolio embraces 3 lines, including 9 SKUs. The Beauty Line includes Class A Collagen; the Slim Line includes Get Slim Morning, Get Slim DayTime, Get Slim Night, Get Slim Cellulite and Hydrodren; and the Health Line includes Duo Spirulin, Provital Activ + and Prodetox Activ +.

This year we plan to double our revenues from product sales in comparison with those of 2014.

The company distributes its products via both the pharmacy and non-pharmacy channels. Which is more promising for the sales of dietary supplements?

We started sales from beauty salons and SPAs because we estimated that cosmetologists and beauticians spend at least 30 minutes with a client and that this is enough time to get to know their needs and convey the necessary knowledge regarding proper holistic care, consequently encouraging them to buy products.

I then decided to introduce our products to the Rossmann chain, which has the largest distribution network in Poland. This step would guarantee us, along with more widespread distribution, an increase in production capacity and a larger group of customers.

I tried several times to make direct contact with subsidiaries of the Rossmann chain, but it transpired that because of the narrow range we could not cooperate with them directly.

I then contacted wholesalers, one of which delivered our proposal to Rossmann. The offer was accepted, but we had to wait approximately half a year before the products appeared on the shelves. Today, our products are distributed at more than 1,000 Rossmann shops. We have been cooperating for four years.

Our appearance on the pharmacy market began with a Super-Pharm Poland, which combines two concepts − drugstore and pharmacy, like Hebe, whose several shops also include a pharmacy. Furthermore, our products are also available through the Nowa Farmacja and Gemini pharmacy chains and we are already negotiating with others.

In general, we are observing the pharmacy market closely, along with its development toward the concept of a drugstore which includes pharmacies, as this provides a greater opportunity to promote products at such shops. Several chains are testing such concepts.

We have launched our supplements to Ziko Apteka, which has opened the Ziko Dermo chain of parapharmacies, another promising distribution channel.

Does Noble Health plan to introduce any new products?

In the near future we plan to introduce a new product lines − cosmetics and functional food. I am a supporter of natural ingredients and extracts, and our products will, therefore, be natural and organic. We cannot, at this stage, reveal a great deal about the new products, but one of them will be a health bar.

Do you plan to enter any foreign markets?

Our appearance on the foreign markets is our next goal, and we therefore attended this year’s International Trade Fair in Bologna. As a result of the contacts acquired there, we will soon start cooperation with partners based in France, Italy and Greece. In addition, we are finalising an agreement with partners in the United Arab Emirates. We will operate on foreign markets as we do in Poland, whereas our marketing strategy will be tailored to foreign customers.

What are the prospects for the development of the dietary supplement market in Poland?

It is forecast that the dietary supplement market in Poland will grow. An opportunity for the greater development of this market is presented by the trend on the pharmacy market in Poland described above − combining the concept of a drugstore with a pharmacy and parapharmacies. This creates more opportunities for promotion and more flexible cooperation.

In the case of dietary supplements it is not enough to develop a formula and create a product. It is now important to deal with the appropriate tests and certificates, and then to stand out on a market which is very competitive because the largest distributors work mainly with major players.

From our perspective, Poles are increasingly willing to buy dietary supplements and have a greater awareness of the best products to choose – they study their composition, explore the subject, benefit from expert advice, etc. The trend of wellbeing in Poland has become a reality, a lifestyle.

Source: PMR raport, 2015

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