When it comes to your health, quality nutrition is essential. Yet many supplement companies on the market today offer vitamins and minerals that are packed with artificial colours, synthetic fillers and preservatives. Enter VITUS Wholefoods, a brand built on the idea that nutrition should come from real food. We spoke with co-founder Peter Harwood about why they source their products from nature instead of a lab and how the welfare of animals, and the planet, is a core focus of the company.
Today I am joined by Peter Harwood, director and co-founder of VITUS Wholefoods, a vegan nutrition company famous for its commitment to cruelty-free supplements made with high-quality ingredients that are sourced from real foods. This Australian-based, family-owned company is helmed by husband and wife co-founders Peter and Mandy Harwood, their daughter Tess Harwood, who is Head of Creative and brand designer, Company Director Andrew Harwood and a supportive cast of employees, partners and retailers.
Welcome to AMR, Peter. Let’s start with some basics. Can you share the story of how you started VITUS. What was your motivation?
Peter: I started in the industry through choice some 35 years ago. I’ve always been passionate about health and fitness and decided that I wanted to work in an industry that I was genuinely interested in. I’ve been vegan for over 4 years now and can’t believe how much better I feel. I was previously pescatarian and then vegetarian. In starting VITUS, I identified a gap in the market and also our business and, we decided to develop a pure wholefood-based range of nutritional supplements. We don’t use any additives, sweeteners or preservatives. We also freshly package and oxygen seal our products in environmentally friendly packaging.
How does VITUS stand out from other nutrition companies?
We only develop, market, and sell products that we truly believe in.
We are a vegan, family-owned brand and are passionate about what we do. This means we only develop, market, and sell products that we truly believe in. We are a vegan brand in the truest sense and will not consider using ingredients that have been tested on animals. Also, we extensively source only the best possible ingredients to provide nutrients at an exceptionally high level.
Why is it important to choose nutrition that is sourced from wholefoods, rather than artificial or lab-produced ingredients?
Most vitamin and mineral supplement brands use synthetic forms of nutrients.
We believe that nature has the answers, especially when combined with a healthy lifestyle and fitness. Most vitamin and mineral supplement brands use synthetic forms of nutrients, whereas we believe that your body deserves natural nutrients directly sourced from the desert, ocean and plants. Natural nutrients are also highly absorbed by the body.
The company’s values are centred around a ‘life-giving promise’. Can you expand on what that means?
Our VITUS products are produced to give life, not take life, including the lives of animals. We provide our customers with the benefits of our products whilst never using any animal derived ingredients or animal testing. We develop all of our products to enhance the life of customers with minimal impact on the planet. After all, the Latin meaning for VITUS is ‘life giving’.
That’s definitely a comprehensive, cruelty-free approach to nutrition, one that is very welcome! Speaking of, do vegan nutritional requirements differ from those of non-plant-based diets?
A balanced vegan diet will prevent many modern health issues, whereas non-plant-based diets will contribute to many health problems. It could be argued that it’s important to make sure you get enough Vitamin B12 on a vegan diet, however the same could be said for a non-plant-based diet, as many people across all diets are often deficient due to animal factory farming practices.
We’ve explored the important of a cruelty-free and wholefood-based approach to nutrition, but it’s equally clear that sustainability is also very important to VITUS. What are some of your eco-friendly initiatives?
All of our products are packaged in recyclable glass jars or compostable pouches. Sustainability is in our company’s DNA, and this includes using biodegradable puffed corn for packing parcels for the past 20 years, before it was fashionable.
I’ve looked at your extensive range of products, you seem to have something to cover every core nutritional need. Do you have a favourite product?
Definitely Spirulina, the planet’s most nutrient rich wholefood! I have taken Spirulina for over 25 years as it gives me energy, immunity and strength.
So then, how do VITUS products factor into your everyday life? What does your nutritional/supplement routine look like?
For me, it’s a mid-morning post workout smoothie, loaded with VITUS powders, bananas and blueberries with soy milk. I will typically include the VITUS Vegan Multi, Vegan Protein, Vitamin C, Immune-D, Vegan B12 and Spirulina.
And for those looking to make a start on improving their health through upgrading their nutrition, how can people incorporate more essential vitamins and minerals into their diet?
Nutrient deficiency is a big issue that can lead to serious health problems. VITUS products provide the nutrient boost to make sure that you are reaching your RDI’s. Our products can be mixed with smoothies and most of them can be incorporated into food recipes.
Care to share any sources of inspiration, past, present or future, that have helped you along your journey of healthy living?
Before starting Planet Health, the parent company of VITUS, I worked at Blackmores for 10 years and was definitely inspired by Marcus Blackmore’s passion for our industry. Reading Anita Roddick’s book, the founder of the Body Shop, many years ago was also very inspiring. I’m inspired by people doing what they believe in and who can create a business from their passions.
So, what’s next for VITUS? Any top-secret, future plans you can let us in on?
We have several new product development projects that we are working on. Most consumers aren’t aware of how unnatural some supplement products are and the impact that many have on animal welfare and the environment. We are motivated to educate consumers and develop health solutions that are ethically sourced and sustainably produced.
Before we let you go, there’s a tradition we have where we like to ask our guests for their insights on the many challenges we face today, challenges both as individuals, society and the planet itself. In your own words, what’s a modern remedy for these issues?
For people I believe that exercise and good, vegan nutrition is key. For me, the biggest issue for the planet is animal farming and animal product consumption which is contributing substantially to global warming and the declining health of our population. If everyone went plant based there would be a massive reduction in heart disease, cancer, and the modern-day viruses we are currently dealing with. Go vegan!
Peter, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. It was great to learn more about VITUS and your comprehensive approach to health and nutrition. ■
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