Watch out for Vitamin D


It is a continual source of fascination how trends in consumer markets gather pace, particularly when there is no obvious commercial entity funding the growth. This is particularly interesting in the health arena. A good example (and one to watch) is Vitamin D. For those who don’t know, Vitamin D is the vitamin that is created by sunshine, 15 minutes per day in the midday sun apparently does the job. There’s also plenty of it in liver, fish oil and eggs, so if you miss the sun you can still get your fix.

Nobody has worried about it too much for the last 20 years but suddenly it seems to be back on the agenda. It all started with news that cases of Rickets were on the rise ( a bone disease in children caused by lack of Vitamin D ). This was followed by a fair bit of publicity around the the fact that sunblock doesn’t allow the rays through that are required for Vitamin D synthesis.

All of the publicity then seems to have woken up the medical profession who have started testing for Vitamin D levels in children.

Of course, savvy food businesses, who supply or are involved in the supply of fish, eggs, oils etc have seen an opportunity with a very persuasive selling point “High in Vitamin D”. The net result is we are all starting to be bombarded with brand ‘Vitamin D’.

As if that wasn’t enough, a recent research study has shown a strong link between low Vitamin D and dementia. Although not yet proven that this is a cause and effect it certainly suggests that extra Vitamin D may be a good thing and may even stave off dementia.  I would imagine we are about to see more and more focus on Vitamin D from both the medical profession and every commercial organisation who could benefit.

I don’t think there is a Vitamin D marketing board, although if there is, they should be basking in the glory.

In fact, what the Vitamin D story really demonstrates is that trends are often started by new and unexpected news, in this case the reappearance of Rickets. Once out in public and on the radar the interest creates it’s own news and the trend builds momentum leading to further investigation. The whole thing snowballs and it can happen very quickly.

These types of trends cannot be predicted in advance because they are built on unexpected news. No forecaster or futurologist will see them coming but if you can spot them unfolding and move quickly they are a genuine opportunity.