In 2020, health and wellness business GoodnessMe launched its online marketplace, offering Australians a range of healthy, nutritious food and organic beauty products from the comfort of their own home. By the end of 2021, the business had grown 600 per cent despite supply chain and logistic issues, propped up by its nutritionist-backed product range and the changing demands of Australian customers. According to the CSIRO, the Australian health food sector is estimated to be worth $2
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rth $25 billion by 2030, and could make up about 10 per cent of the total food and agribusiness sector.
Initially, GoodnessMe started as a subscription box service sending health food products and samples to subscribers each month to introduce new nutrition-led brands to customers around the country.
Off the back of the success of the subscription boxes, it made sense to launch an online marketplace, where customers could then purchase the products they had enjoyed in the subscription boxes, said GoodnessMe founder Peta Shulman.
“The goal was to take the guesswork out of the shopping experience. Customers can be really overwhelmed and confused when trying to determine what is healthy and what’s just marketing,” Shulman told Inside Retail.
Shulman founded GoodnessMe after she was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and was looking for healthier, nutritious food to support her treatment. During that experience, she discovered there was a limited product range available at supermarkets.
Health foods typically make up a fairly small portion of supermarket shelves, and even that small amount of space is competitive, said Shulman.
However, an online marketplace dedicated to health food means GoodnessMe can offer a much broader range of products to a wider, dedicated customer base.
GoodnessMe also employs a team of nutritionists to inspect each product, ensuring it meets the business’ criteria. At this point, the marketplace houses over 3,000 products.
This approach was key to the marketplace’s success and simplifying the customer journey, according to Shulman.
“Building brand trust can be really difficult, and I think that knowing the strict process the brands on our site go through makes it easier for our customers to trust them,” Shulman said.
“What’s considered healthy has become very confusing these days, and we think the customer shouldn’t need to be a mathematician to be healthy. We want to highlight brands that are refusing to compromise on ingredients and nutrition.”
The consumer response has been overwhelming, Shulman said, and has allowed some harder-to-find products to flourish.
“A lot of health food stores shut down during the pandemic, and there’s an enormous opportunity in the online space for a trusted brand to really own that market,” Shulman said.
Throughout FY22, the plan is to keep growing the marketplace’s range of products, as well as overhauling the website to make it easier for customers to ‘ritualise’ their online health food shopping. With these changes, Shulman believes the business sales will triple through the next year.
You are what you eat
Australians have been moving toward a healthier lifestyle for years, but Covid-19 has helped put things in stark relief: not only are people more focused on their health, but the ability to work from home, and cook their own meals has made it easier to make the shift.
Given the current climate, mental health organisation Beyond Blue has also recommended a nourishing balanced diet can play a key role in helping people cope with added stress and anxiety.
“During tough times, it can be tempting to sideline healthy heating, [but] eating a nourishing, balanced diet helps with our overall sense of wellbeing,” Beyond Blue said.
“A healthy approach to food is vital for supporting mental health.”
This growing focus on eating healthy has been an opportunity for GoodnessMe, with a growing number of people taking care of themselves, and being interested in alternative brands.
“[At the peak of the pandemic], you had more people at home who were snacking more often, but also being conscious of trying to be healthier, and obviously they wanted items delivered to their door,” Shulman said.
“The other advantage was that since items weren’t being seen on supermarket shelves, which essentially does the marketing for them, many brands were looking for alternative ways to put their products in the hands of customers.”