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The global vitamin and supplements industry is thriving. Estimates of its trajectory vary, but one is that vitamin sales will rise to $8.9bn in 2028 from $6.7bn now — an annual compound growth of 6%. According to the US’s Council for Responsible Nutrition, three-quarters of Americans use nutritional or dietary supplements. Vitamins D and C and zinc lead the pack.

The sector was given a push by the Covid pandemic, especially before a vaccine became available, as consumers desperately grasped at immunity. But the invisible driver behind the vitamin sector lies in the earth’s soil...

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