With the green revolution came the Filipinos’ increased interest in a healthier lifestyle and well-being. The 1998-2011 National Nutritional Survey shows that a reported an increased awareness and usage of herbal and food supplements are due to the following top 3 reasons: A)They make me healthy, B) It was doctor-recommended and C) I am not getting enough vitamins from the diet.
The concept of using herbal remedies as cures to diseases is not entirely new to us. Filipinos have long relied on herbs, teas and other plants for alleviation and cures, especially in rural places where there are few drugstores, let alone hospitals. Sometimes a person would even prefer being brought to an albularyo than go to a doctor for medicine.
With the onset of the millennia, entrepreneurs have somewhat “exploited” this tradition and as such are selling teas and other organic concoctions with fantastic claims of not just curing or alleviating sickness, but also with added whitening, slimming, anti-oxidant and memory-enhancement benefits. A simple trip to your local drugstore and you’re faced with lots of health and food supplements that promise a “better” you.
It is very fortunate that for this article, we were able to sit down with the makers of the newest health supplement, Vitapack, and learn more about this new player in the health, wellness and beauty market. We interviewed the President of Everest Pacific, Mr. Arthur P. Bautista.
When you left Splash in 2009 as the AVP for R&D, what made you think of setting up your own business? Why choose health supplements in particular?
I wanted to create a product that I was familiar with, first and foremost. Also, my extensive experience in R&D for Splash made me realize that there are a lot of products that one can create and invest in, and yet it was so frustrating because most of these never push through in the pipeline. There were so many limitations, either logistically or due to budget constraints. It then became my dream to create a product that would be natural and effective but affordable for everyone. And that’s how I eventually came up with Vitapack.
There are so many food supplements in the market today that also offer similar, if not the same, benefits as Vitapack. We are all interested to know how your product differs from the other key players in the industry.
Aside from offering just one benefit per product, we also want to offer convenience to the user and value for money. As the name denotes, Vitapack 3-in-1 Beauty Pack offers three capsules that are comprised of Glutathione, L-cysteine and Calcium Ascorbate to whiten skin; Slimaluma, Chromium Picolinate, Yerba Mate and Ginger Root to aid in slimming; antioxidants such as Garlic, Green Tea, Turmeric, Gotu Kola and Grape seed extracts improve one’s immune system.
Our Vitapack 3-in-1 Energy Boost Pack was created for people who lead a stressful and fast-paced lifestyle such as students, athletes, call center agents, office workers and others that are always on the go. It features real Coffee extract and Green tea for mental alertness, Vitamin B Complex, Gotu Kola and Bacopa Monniera which work together as memory enhancers, and Calcium Ascorbate, Grapeseed Extract and Andrographis Paniculata for a stronger immune system.
Furthermore, I personally did research and handpicked all of our ingredients. Our products are priced way lower than most: Vitapack 3-in-1 Beauty Pack is only P65/sachet (or P650.00 per box) and our Vitapack 3-in-1 Energy Boost is only P30/sachet (or P300.00 per box). Essentially, you are saving about 25% on Vitapack than you would purchasing these separately from other brands, and you only have to take one pack per day. I’d like to add that we are also proudly FDA approved (FR# 86178) and our products are manufactured in a CGMP facility.
Consumers might groan and exclaim that there are so many whitening products already, why create another one?
It is precisely this way of thinking that urged us to create a 3-in-1 product. We are not only offering “another whitening product”, but we are also offering antioxidant and vitamins as well for a relatively more affordable price. Based on our research and FGDs, whitening products and supplements are one of the current trends but we wanted to take it a step further. Additionally, please bear in mind that our liver naturally produces glutathione and whitening or lightening is just a side effect of it. Therefore, at the most a user will only experience a “glow” and natural lightening (based on the skin tone one was born with) and not a ghostly whitening effect as some other brands claim.
Your packaging is quite interesting as the capsules are packed by 3’s. Can you tell us more about it?
We’ve noticed that Filipinos don’t really buy the full bottle because most health and food supplements are expensive, and result to purchasing these in tingi which we believe is not hygienic and prone to contamination. To resolve this, we are offering our products at a much lower SRP and our capsules come in an easy to carry sachet. It’s very economical and convenient to just stash these in your bag, purse or pocket for travelling.
In this cut-throat world of health & beauty, what are some of the things you had to contend or deal with in order to get your products out there? What marketing strategies did you implement in order to boost sales or create brand awareness?
Since we wanted Vitapack to be readily available for everyone, we initially offered Vitapack to several malls and establishments and we were fortunate that Watsons took an interest in our products and agreed to exclusively carry them for one year. We also participated in the recent launch of SM Beauty Within and also hosted an event at Convergys Technohub for the promotion of Vitapack Energy Boost for call center agents.
Vitapack Energy Boost ad with Chieffy Caligdong
We also approached several celebrities to endorse our products, but had difficulty as most were already tied up to different brands or just not interested. Later on Emilio “Chieffy” Caligdong, Co-Captain of the Philippine Azkals, agreed to endorse the brand as he personally takes Vitapack Energy Boost and truly believes in its energy boosting effects.
We were also able to tap Michelle Paloma, an international model, to endorse Vitapack Beauty for us. We are just on the first phase of our marketing program and we plan to eventually make Vitapack available in all major malls.
What you should know before jumping on this health craze
Inquirer reports that Filipinos spend more than P75 billion a year on these products and the Department of Health is well aware of these food and health supplements flooding the market today. They have since issued a warning to consumers, advising them to do their homework and not get instantly enticed by celebrity endorsers and their fantastic claims. The DOH also urges companies to be transparent about their product ingredients and methods.
Additionally, learn to check the “No Therapeutic Claims” and “FDA Approved” labels which are plastered on boxes and bottles. Ultimately although there is nothing wrong with improving oneself, these products are not drugs and at best, are supplements to a good, well-balanced diet, regular exercise and a generally healthy lifestyle.
Mr. Arthur P. Bautista is a graduate of BS Pharmacy from UP Manila; a licensed Pharmacist; former Research Specialist, Faculty Member and Chairman of Industrial Pharmacy Department, UP Manila; and was the AVP for R&D of Splash Corporation from 2004-2009.
For more information on Vitapack please visit http://www.vitapack.com.ph/.
Image from On Beauty Stuff and What Else. Used with permission