Last month, OLLY Nutrition announced that its upcoming acquisition by Unilever. Co-founded in 2014 by Eric Ryan in San Francisco, OLLY Nutrition is a vitamins, minerals, and supplements (VMS) supplier known mainly for its gummy vitamins and supplements. However, the company also sells snack bars and protein powders. In a Unilever press release, Ryan stated:
We are thrilled to work with Unilever to grow the OLLY brand and amplify our mission, culture, and commitment to helping people feel happy inside out (1).
Unilever is a transnational corporation which owns over 400 brands in into four divisions: Foods, Refreshment, Home Care, and Beauty & Personal Care (2). This stable of brands includes household names like Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Degree, Dove, Hellmann’s, Knorr, Lipton, Noxzema, Pond’s, Q-tips, Suave, and Vaseline (3).
Although the deal’s terms are still private, OLLY Nutrition will continue to be headquartered in San Francisco. Moreover, Ryan will continue to manage OLLY in the role of Chief Growth Officer. Also, OLLY’s current COO, Gerry Chesser, will become the company’s CEO.
Changing the Face of Vitamins
OLLY is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Eric Ryan, the man behind eco-friendly Method. Known for its personal-care and household products, Ryan sold Method to Ecover in 2012. After that, he needed a new challenge. The result is OLLY (4).
Finding OLLY’s Niche
Founded with over $6.5 million in ‘startup money (5), OLLY has 35 products in its lineup. These products address a range of wellness issues from energy and sleep to stress and skin care. OLLY gummy vitamins primarily target millennials and focuses on benefits instead of ingredients. As Ryan says:
For years brands have focused on the ingredients of their products. With OLLY we sell the benefit. So instead of selling biotin, we sell beauty. Instead of selling melatonin, we sell sleep. To me, it was such an obvious thing to do that I can’t understand why no one had done it before.
What’s more, OLLY’s wellness products have extremely simple, easy to remember names like Beauty and Sleep. To top it all off, the supplements come in sweet, gummy forms which further boosts their appeal. The reason that he chose chewable gummies rather than pills is because Ryan wanted people to have a good experience when taking vitamins.
Without a doubt, Ryan’s vision led to OLLY’s resolute success. As a result, the fast-growing brand caught Unilever’s attention and led to the planned acquisition. Amanda Sourry, President of Unilever North America said:
We are delighted to welcome OLLY Nutrition to our portfolio of brands. OLLY is a strong, innovative brand in the fast-growing health and well-being space, and nicely complements our businesses in Beauty & Personal Care and Foods & Refreshment. OLLY’s focus on making nutrition delightfully easy aligns closely with Unilever values and our continued commitment to improving people’s well-being (1).
Unilever’s acquisition of OLLY is not finalized and must first pass all regulatory approvals and closing conditions.