Matt Chittock considers why natural health retailers are best placed to help children bounce back after the pandemic

Lockdowns. Isolation. Virus fears. Whichever way you look at it, it’s been a torrid couple of years for children and their parents. 

And while kids might be naturally resilient, we’re all still working through the after-effects of the pandemic: from mental health repercussions to poor diets and more disordered eating.  

Sometimes it can feel like an uphill struggle for carers. Especially with overwhelmed NHS services. But the positive news is that natural health retailers are well placed to get kids back on track, offering practical and safe health advice to continue helping families through.

“The kids’ VMS market has grown significantly over the last three years – largely due to the impact of COVID-19,” explains Jen Julian, marketing and product director at BetterYou. “Health stores have a real opportunity to utilize this growth by offering a high-quality range of products and expert advice to what can often be very confused parents,” she explains.

The D word
Parents might be confused about a great many things (where did I put my keys again?) but, according to retailers, vitamin D supplementation isn’t necessarily one of them.

“I think that the parents we see coming through the door are incredibly clued-up on vitamin D nowadays,” says Jon Inder from Greenlife in Totnes. “It’s constantly in the media and I think that helps get the message across that everyone needs to take it. It’s definitely one of our most requested vitamins overall, alongside magnesium and vitamin K.”

But how much is enough vitamin D? New research published in JAMA Open Network, studying 800 healthy two-week-old infants, found that there were no benefits to supplementation over the recommended dose in relation to cognitive development.

That being said, the real problem could be that many children aren’t getting anywhere
near enough vitamin D in the first place – especially in poorer communities. This is despite UK Government advice recommending all babies and children aged one to four should take a daily vitamin D supplement throughout the year. 

“The kids’ VMS market has grown significantly over the last three years – largely due to the impact
of COVID-19”

“This study shows that, in well-nourished children who have enough vitamin D in their blood, the recommended dose of vitamin D is sufficient to support normal brain and cognitive development,” says Carrie Ruxton from the Health and Food Supplements Information Service.

“However, in the UK, many children do not fall into this category as vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in some communities. Further studies in children from ethnic minority groups, and from poorer families, are certainly needed. In the meantime, parents can be reassured that they are doing the best for their babies and children by following official advice to give a daily vitamin A, C and D supplement.”

It’s a similar story for omega-3. Recent research from Statista suggests that people in the UK are just not getting enough, especially through oily fish. According to the report, ‘an average of just 146 grams of fish was purchased per person per week for household consumption’ [2006-2020]. That leaves supplements brands to pick up the slack. 

“Oily fish is always top of the list for choices of the highest amount of omega-3,” says Roz Kadir, clinical nutritionist and adviser to Equazen. “An alternative for those struggling to get the recommended intake would be to consume fish oil supplements such as Equazen. The formulation of omega-3 and 6 is clinically proven, with a good balance for those who want to integrate their diet with these beneficial nutrients.” 

Intuitive eating
Meanwhile, very sadly, the number of children and young people with an eating disorder has tripled during lockdown, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The London Centre for Intuitive Eating has launched an online course for nutrition and healthcare professionals who work with children to help combat this problem.

“We often go to great lengths to ‘get’ children to eat – offering things like sticker charts for eating a piece of broccoli, or cutting sandwiches into fancy shapes, or saying ‘just one more bite’,” says ‘anti-diet’ nutritionist Laura Thomas.

“But none of this sets kids up to have a positive relationship with food and their body; in fact, the harder we try to make kids eat, the more likely it is to backfire.

“This course offers a brand-new perspective on feeding kids, based on trust and respect, and building on the latest research in this area.”

Elsewhere, there’s been positive research into nutritional protein formula Grow Daily Boys+, which is aimed at bulking boys up.

“Intervention with a multi-nutrient, protein-rich formula was effective at increasing weight and body mass index (BMI), mostly from fat-free-mass and muscle mass, in short and lean prepubertal male adolescents,” explains lead researcher Michal Yackobovitch-Gavan, PhD, dietitian and researcher for Schneider Children’s Medical Center.

Infant inspiration
Finally, despite the problems children face, it’s important to remember just how much parents (and society at large) can be inspired by little ones. 

Kevin Troy co-founded Coraline Skincare in 2020 as a gift to his daughter, Coraline. “When Coraline was born we discovered that she had Down’s syndrome and two holes in her heart,” he explains. “Her sensitive skin also reacted badly to many products which claimed to be ‘natural’. This is not something that any parent should have to experience. The more we learnt about many of the preservatives and other chemicals that are used in lots of ’natural brands’, the more we realized that many other families must be experiencing the same thing as us.”

“When you become a parent you automatically understand that your children will be the
ones who experience the results of our decisions”

Troy says that the brand’s onus is on ‘simplicity’, which is reflected in both the purity of the ingredients and also the packaging.

“Parents want [our] packaging to be as sustainable as it possibly can be,” he says. “When you become a parent, you automatically understand that your children will be the ones who experience the results of our decisions in the present moment. All of our soap packaging is made using recycled and recyclable card boxes. The pots for our balms are entirely plastic-free – they look and behave like plastic but are actually made using waste wood shavings from the wood industry and plant binders, and are compostable. Our glass is miron glass which is very much reusable or recyclable.” 

So, what does Coraline think of the range made in her name? “Coraline is currently pre-verbal so isn’t using any words yet, but we have used our soaps and skincare on her since she was born, and she seems to like it,” says Troy.

Making ‘better’ choices
“The [kids’ VMS] category is known to be fun and vibrant, so I’d recommend that stores focus on creating eye-catching displays, with window takeovers driving footfall, enticing parents to come inside and shop the offering,” BetterYou’s Jen Julian advises retailers. “Colouring competitions, stickers and reward charts are all fantastic ways to engage with children and their parents in store. Back-to-school promotions start at any time after the kids break-up from school up until mid-September, so activity should be focused throughout this period to maximize the opportunity and the sentiment in the market.” 

Key BetterYou products for kids include:
• Multivitamin Kids’ Daily Oral Spray: a simple way to give children the vitamins they need to work, relax and play throughout their day
• Immune Health Kids’ Daily Oral Spray: post-COVID, immune health is a worry for many parents. This easy-to-use spray helps protect kids from everything doing the rounds in the playground
• Vitamin D+K2 Kids’ Daily Oral Spray: vitamin D is now on every parent’s radar, making this a health-store staple
• Magnesium Sleep Kids’ Whizz-popping Bath Flakes: a soothing blend adding some snap, crackle and pop to bathtime
• Magnesium Sleep Kids’ Body Lotion: a topical approach to easing kids into bed without the stress
• Magnesium Sleep Kids’ Body Spray: parents can spray-on and soothe children’s entry into the world of sweet dreams.


The fuss-free way to get their vitamins everyday

Tel: 01226 814030
E: [email protected]

Getting children to eat a balanced diet can be challenging at times and ensuring they are getting all the nutrients they need can sometimes feel impossible – that’s why supplementation is so useful.
We’re the experts when it comes to smart nutritional support, so we’ve developed a range of products perfectly tailored for ensuring children get all the nutrients they need to grow and develop.
We’ve teamed up with the wonderful folk at The Roald Dahl Story Company to bring a world of imagination to our products. Our brand-new kids’ range of supplements have been designed with children in mind.
BetterYou Kids’ Oral Sprays are quick, easy, and fun to take and have been taste-tested by kids to make supplementing more enjoyable for them and you. These unique formulations are delivered directly into the bloodstream via the cheek for enhanced absorption, bypassing the digestive system where many nutrients struggle to be absorbed.
BetterYou’s Kids’ Magnesium Sleep range is expertly developed to support a restful night’s sleep for little ones. The specially selected ingredients create a soothing and calming effect on the body, and when used as a part of a child’s bedtime routine, helps them to fall into a deeper, more sustained sleep cycle, enabling them to wake more refreshed. Our magnesium products have been dermatologically tested, paediatrician approved and are easy to apply to little ones’ skin.
All the packaging is planet-friendly and 100% recyclable. Plus, our formulations are palm oil and palm oil derivative free and are suitable for vegetarians or vegans.


Super Stars from Natures Aid

Natures Aid
Tel: 01772 686231
E-mail:  [email protected]

Super Stars are a brand-new range of children’s supplements designed to help children aged 4 – 12 feel ready to take on the world.
• No Added Sugar • Delicious Flavours • No Artificial Sweeteners • With Games & Education
Created by natural health experts, Natures Aid, the development of Super Stars has been guided by forty years of experience, supported by extensive consumer research, and shaped by feedback from real parents and kids.
Already leaders in infant nutrition, Natures Aid are excited to launch Super Stars as the ideal follow-on range to their best-selling Mini Drops for infants and children aged 0 – 5 years.
Launched in June 2022, the Super Stars range includes both chewable tablets and liquids; child friendly formats which proved a hit with the parents and kids interviewed as part of Natures Aid’s consumer research.
Natures Aid also recognise that flavour and taste are important to consumers, so their development process prioritised delivering delicious flavours, without compromising on a promise of no added sugar.  Super Stars use only natural flavours, and the chewable tablets are formulated with Xylitol, which is tooth friendly (consumption of foods or drinks containing xylitol instead of sugar contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralisation).

 Super Stars packaging also includes a fun element for kids, with in pack games and education to help children enjoy taking their vitamins and learn more about the benefits.

The Super Stars launch range consists of:
• Multivitamin & Mineral Chewable Tablets (Cherry Flavour)
• Bone Support Chewable Tablets (Strawberry Milkshake Flavour)
• Vitamin C Chewable Tablets (Cherry Flavour)
• Omega 3 Liquid (Lemon Flavour)
• Immune Support Liquid (Blackcurrant Flavour)
Super Stars will be supported by a comprehensive marketing support package, including a brand-new Instagram channel! Follow @naturesaidjuniors, a new hub for all things children’s health, for fun facts and games.


Vitamin E Lotion With Calendula

Tel:  0800 083 0356
E-mail: [email protected]

A fragrance-free light moisturiser for use all over the body. With natural Vitamin E and Calendula which is valued for its soothing, antiseptic qualities.
It is suitable for all skin types, (scars, dry skin, moisturising) and protects against the harmful effects of exposure to sun, wind and environmental pollution. Vitamin E is readily absorbed and helps keep the skin healthy and moisturised.
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. No animal ingredients. No lanolin. No added perfume or colour. Not tested on animals. Paraben free.  


NEW Baby Biotic

BioCare Ltd
Tel: 0121 433 3727
E-mail:  [email protected]

Baby Biotic contains 1 billion clinically-researched live bacteria strains L. rhamnosus GG, B. breve & B. infantis – the most predominant species in healthy infants. The live bacteria are microencapsulated for 5x more power. This unique technology of Probiotical® coats the live bacteria, increasing the activity 5x, making it equal to 5 billion live bacteria. Baby Biotic is dairy-free & free from artificial colours, preservatives & flavours, and there is no need for refrigeration. It is easy to administer drops in a warm feed, on a sterile spoon, or placed onto the nipple 1 drop at a time, and is suitable for breast-fed and formula-fed babies from birth.


Organic Babies Skin Care – Goodness That You Can Trust

Green People
Tel: 01403 740350
Email: [email protected]

Specialists in sensitive skin, Green People’s Organic Babies collection of certified organic infant skin care offers parents peace of mind, using only the purest of plant extracts to support a healthy skin barrier.
Packed full of age-old herbs such as Chamomile, Calendula and Lavender, this range is eczema-friendly and suitable for sensitive skin.
Green People offers a collection of 6 essential baby products, plus 2 beautiful gift sets welcoming new arrivals into the world.
Every product offers families the best for baby whilst also being kind to the environment.


HayMax™ organic drug-free allergen barrier balms

HayMax Limited
Tel: 01525 406600
E-mail:  [email protected]

Hay Fever? Dust and Pet Allergies? HayMax Kids is suitable for children.  Sporting two super heroes on the box, they stand out on the shelf. No chemical nasties or colouring, just 100% natural ingredients. Drug-free and non-drowsy, so suitable for children as well as pregnant and breast-feeding mums. Certified organic with over 50 awards. Proven in university studies to trap over a third of pollen, plus dust and pet allergens, before they enter the body. Also the bright, attractive new look HayMax triple tin remains exclusive to independent retailers and the 3 for 2 offer is margin maintained. Wow!


Helios ABC for Children

Helios Homeopathy Ltd
Tel: 01892 511555
E-mail:  [email protected] 

Award winning ABC from Helios contains three homeopathic remedies, Aconite, Belladonna and Chamomilla.  This combination has a long history of traditional use for childhood teething, fevers, sore throats and earache.  Homeopathy has a large part to play in supporting health naturally, offering gentle, safe and effective alternatives for common complaints for all the family.  ABC comes in lactose free, organic sucrose pill form, in our easy to use, single dose dispenser. For information on all our award winning remedies please contact us.


Garden of Life Microbiome Formula Kids+ 5 Billion CFU

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail:  [email protected]

Garden of Life Microbiome Formula Kids+ offers a guaranteed 5 billion probiotics across 14 different strains plus vitamin C from organic amla berries, 400iu vitamin D and prebiotic fibre to help promote immune system and digestive health. USDA certified organic, gluten, dairy and soy free, no added sugar and a tasty organic berry cherry flavour in a chewable tablet. Formulated by Dr David Perlmutter, America’s brain health expert, a board-certified neurologist, #1 New York Times bestselling author and expert in the human microbiome. Contains no carriers, fillers, artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives.


Multivitamin Gummies For Children

New Leaf Products Ltd
Tel: 020 8087 2046
E-mail:  [email protected]

UK Best Selling Gummies! Our Multivitamin gummies for kids are extremely popular and for a good reason! Each soft delicious gummy contains 11 essential vitamins for immune support, Bones & joint health and more. Our gummies are gluten free as well as being vegan society certified. Made with real fruit juice, and does not contain any artificial colours or flavours. Join our thousands of satisfied customers today!  


ChildLife Essentials Vitamin D3, Natural Berry Flavor and Gripe Water For Babies and Infants

Organax LTD
Tel: 020 8124 3007
E-mail:  [email protected]

ChildLife Essentials Gripe Water contains organic Ginger, organic Fennel and organic Dill. Ginger may help comfort babies experiencing nausea, gas, bloating, and stomach cramps resulting from colic, while fennel may help relax a spasmodic colon and release trapped gas in colicky babies. Dill may work to settle the stomach and calm the digestive tract in toddlers. ChildLife Vitamin D3 is made especially for infants and children. Alcohol-free, natural ingredients, optimum absorption, and great tasting natural berry flavor. 


Berry Bursts Omega 3 for Kids (DHA, EPA + Vitamins A, C, D &E)

Lamberts Healthcare Ltd
Tel: : 01892 554313
E-mail:  [email protected]

Lamberts® Berry Bursts have been specially formulated for those aged 3 years and over. Chewing the soft capsule releases a burst of delicious natural blackcurrant flavour and delivers essential omega 3 fatty acids alongside the vital vitamins A, C, D and E.

The unique blend is produced using one of the most sophisticated purification processes that minimises any ‘fishy’ aftertaste. The omega-3 fatty acid DHA, is essential for healthy brain function and the vitamins A, C, D and E help to support a healthy immune system, as well as healthy skin, teeth, bones, and eyes.


Children’s Vitamin D3 & K2 Sublingual Spray™

Wholesale Health Ltd
Tel: 01606 889905
E-mail: [email protected]

Good Health Naturally’s sublingual Vitamin D3/K2 Spray™ for infants and children delivers fast and effective absorption. Together, D3 & K2 play a crucial role in the uptake and reabsorption of calcium and phosphorous, supporting the healthy development of bones and teeth. Plus, a daily dose of Vitamin D3 is critical in maintaining the immune system throughout all stages of life. Each spray delivers D3 200iu, allowing flexible dosing to suit the requirements of infants and children as they grow. This convenient spray is a ‘no taste’ sugar-free formula. Spray into the mouth or onto food. Vegan. 30ml (approx. 220 sprays).


Orange & Grapefruit Soap Bar

Friendly Soap
E-mail:  [email protected]

This bar will wake you up with a zing and put a spring in your step! Orange and grapefruit essential oils perfectly complement the rich moisturising coconut oil, olive oil and creamy shea butter. 

All Friendly Soap products are handmade and packed using recycled and recyclable materials, every aspect of the manufacturing process is squeaky clean too, from the meticulous sourcing of natural ingredients right through to low-energy production methods. They are a living wage employer registered with The Vegan Society and Cruelty Free International. 


Junior-vit® For Healthy Growth & Development

HealthAid Ltd
Tel: 020 8426 3400
E-mail: [email protected]

Children need a regular intake of vitamins to help them grow strong and healthy, but kids can be fussy eaters and it can be tough getting them to eat a healthy balanced diet. Junior-vit® a comprehensive balanced formulation, rich in Vitamins and Minerals, especially, B, C, D, Iron Zinc, Copper, and is enriched with trace elements. Junior-vit® provides essential nutrients that children need for optimum growth and development.  It is a great tasting tutti-fruity flavour chewable tablet, perfect for those who have difficulty swallowing,

Junior-vit® retails at £8.49 for 30 tablets. Contact HealthAid Ltd on 020 8426 3400 for purchase and stockist information or visit