Link Copied

We shopped at GNC and Vitamin Shoppe to see which supplement store is better

We went to a Jersey City GNC first. We aren't big fitness people and don't usually frequent nutrition supplement stores, so we didn't know what to expect.

We went to a Jersey City GNC first. We aren't big fitness people and don't usually frequent nutrition supplement stores, so we didn't know what to expect.
Share Slide

A sign in the window let us know that we could get 50% off something if we bought two items.

A sign in the window let us know that we could get 50% off something if we bought two items.
Share Slide

We entered the store with an open mind. The space was not so big — only a few aisles or so — but it was organized in a way so that someone who was unfamiliar with the products could maneuver with ease.

We entered the store with an open mind. The space was not so big — only a few aisles or so — but it was organized in a way so that someone who was unfamiliar with the products could maneuver with ease.
Share Slide

A pyramid of containers with GNC Wheybolic protein caught our attention.

A pyramid of containers with GNC Wheybolic protein caught our attention.
Share Slide

We took a good look at the store and were happy to find that everything was extraordinarily neat and spacious, even for a store on the smaller side.

We took a good look at the store and were happy to find that everything was extraordinarily neat and spacious, even for a store on the smaller side.
Share Slide

We found a neat display of energy drinks and GNC-brand electrolyte water. Many of these products were going for less than $3 each.

We found a neat display of energy drinks and GNC-brand electrolyte water. Many of these products were going for less than $3 each.
Share Slide

There were also some refrigerated drinks nearby. Some of the drinks were a part of a mix and match deal, where you could buy five and get one free.

There were also some refrigerated drinks nearby. Some of the drinks were a part of a mix and match deal, where you could buy five and get one free.
Share Slide

There were tons of different vitamin supplement options. We found a section of GNC Earth Genius supplements filled with key nutrients for a diet ...

There were tons of different vitamin supplement options. We found a section of GNC Earth Genius supplements filled with key nutrients for a diet ...
Share Slide

... as well as a whole section devoted to vitamins and health supplements for women and kids.

... as well as a whole section devoted to vitamins and health supplements for women and kids.
Share Slide

But most of the products in the store seemed to be protein-based and tailored to customers that wanted to bulk up. A large segment of the store was devoted to different protein powders and supplements.

But most of the products in the store seemed to be protein-based and tailored to customers that wanted to bulk up. A large segment of the store was devoted to different protein powders and supplements.
Share Slide

Some of the protein supplements had flavors that looked like they could be tasty — like this mint chocolate chip ice cream jug from Syntha 6.

Some of the protein supplements had flavors that looked like they could be tasty — like this mint chocolate chip ice cream jug from Syntha 6.
Share Slide

There was also a selection of "Woke AF" high stimulant pre-workout dietary supplements. They were meant to maximize energy and focus.

There was also a selection of "Woke AF" high stimulant pre-workout dietary supplements. They were meant to maximize energy and focus.
Share Slide

A store associate directed us to a shelf filled with free samples of different protein-infused products. There was even a cinnamon churro-flavored dietary supplement with zero grams of sugar.

A store associate directed us to a shelf filled with free samples of different protein-infused products. There was even a cinnamon churro-flavored dietary supplement with zero grams of sugar.
Share Slide

Nearby, we found an interesting gadget that measured a person's height, weight and body fat percentage to calculate a person's body mass index (BMI). It cost $1 to use.

Nearby, we found an interesting gadget that measured a person's height, weight and body fat percentage to calculate a person's body mass index (BMI). It cost $1 to use.
Share Slide

We were surprised at the number of different GNC products on sale, such as these eco-friendly $0.99 tote bags.

We were surprised at the number of different GNC products on sale, such as these eco-friendly $0.99 tote bags.
Share Slide

We also found a GNC protein shake container near the back of the store.

We also found a GNC protein shake container near the back of the store.
Share Slide

Our favorite section was the snack section, which featured different protein-infused chips, cookies, and bars — and most of them actually looked delicious.

Our favorite section was the snack section, which featured different protein-infused chips, cookies, and bars — and most of them actually looked delicious.
Share Slide

These Quest Protein Chips came in a variety of flavors and were less than $3 a pouch.

These Quest Protein Chips came in a variety of flavors and were less than $3 a pouch.
Share Slide

Before we left, we took a look at the weight management section and found this triple fat burner for about $13.

Before we left, we took a look at the weight management section and found this triple fat burner for about $13.
Share Slide

We left GNC without buying anything. Most of the products seemed tailored to men looking to bulk up, though we appreciated the free samples and BMI machine in the store, which made the shopping experience more interactive. Overall, GNC seemed like a great stop for nutrition and vitamin supplements.

We left GNC without buying anything. Most of the products seemed tailored to men looking to bulk up, though we appreciated the free samples and BMI machine in the store, which made the shopping experience more interactive. Overall, GNC seemed like a great stop for nutrition and vitamin supplements.
Share Slide

Next, we visited a Vitamin Shoppe. Unlike the GNC we visited, this store was not located in a mall, but instead on a busy corner in Manhattan's Financial District.

Next, we visited a Vitamin Shoppe. Unlike the GNC we visited, this store was not located in a mall, but instead on a busy corner in Manhattan's Financial District.
Share Slide

Interestingly, this store was also advertising a buy one, get one 50% sale, but this sale was limited to optimum nutrition products for high performance. Another sign let us know we would be able to find some snacks here as well.

Interestingly, this store was also advertising a buy one, get one 50% sale, but this sale was limited to optimum nutrition products for high performance. Another sign let us know we would be able to find some snacks here as well.
Share Slide

There was also a protein powder pyramid here, which made us wonder if such a display is a staple in every health and nutrition store.

There was also a protein powder pyramid here, which made us wonder if such a display is a staple in every health and nutrition store.
Share Slide

The interior of the store was smaller than GNC and seemed a lot more disorganized. Some products were on shelves so high up that they required a ladder to get to them.

The interior of the store was smaller than GNC and seemed a lot more disorganized. Some products were on shelves so high up that they required a ladder to get to them.
Share Slide

The aisles were also narrower than those at GNC.

The aisles were also narrower than those at GNC.
Share Slide

The store was also pretty messy. Toward the front of the store, there seemed to be a display table with different products, but it was blocked by a bunch of empty boxes.

The store was also pretty messy. Toward the front of the store, there seemed to be a display table with different products, but it was blocked by a bunch of empty boxes.
Share Slide

In fact, a lot of the already small store was made more cramped by the presence of boxes and other objects that seemed out of place.

In fact, a lot of the already small store was made more cramped by the presence of boxes and other objects that seemed out of place.
Share Slide

This massive air conditioning unit was blocking an entire section of an aisle and was an unsightly addition to the store.

This massive air conditioning unit was blocking an entire section of an aisle and was an unsightly addition to the store.
Share Slide

We even found what appeared to be a huge bag of trash in the back of the store.

We even found what appeared to be a huge bag of trash in the back of the store.
Share Slide

It looked like the store had just received a shipment of different products, which explained a lot of the chaos we were witnessing.

It looked like the store had just received a shipment of different products, which explained a lot of the chaos we were witnessing.
Share Slide

But in certain places, the mess was still unbearable.

But in certain places, the mess was still unbearable.
Share Slide

When it came to products, we found a lot of items that were similar to or the same as those we had found in GNC. There was a large selection of multivitamins ...

When it came to products, we found a lot of items that were similar to or the same as those we had found in GNC. There was a large selection of multivitamins ...
Share Slide

... as well as some superfood products with antioxidants and energy, similar to some products we had seen at GNC.

... as well as some superfood products with antioxidants and energy, similar to some products we had seen at GNC.
Share Slide

Of course, there was a large selection of protein supplements and powders.

Of course, there was a large selection of protein supplements and powders.
Share Slide

We even found some Syntha 6 products that offered similar flavors as GNC.

We even found some Syntha 6 products that offered similar flavors as GNC.
Share Slide

We questioned the large sizes of some of the protein supplements. Lifting one of these bags probably constituted a workout by itself.

We questioned the large sizes of some of the protein supplements. Lifting one of these bags probably constituted a workout by itself.
Share Slide

We also found some testosterone support products that were enclosed in glass towards the back of the store.

We also found some testosterone support products that were enclosed in glass towards the back of the store.
Share Slide

There didn't seem to be any Vitamin Shoppe-brand merchandise in the store. We found a plastic protein shake holder for sale, but it didn't have any Vitamin Shoppe logo on it.

There didn't seem to be any Vitamin Shoppe-brand merchandise in the store. We found a plastic protein shake holder for sale, but it didn't have any Vitamin Shoppe logo on it.
Share Slide

The snack selection was similar to the one at GNC, but this protein popcorn stood out to us, especially the cotton candy flavor, which looked too tasty to be good for us.

The snack selection was similar to the one at GNC, but this protein popcorn stood out to us, especially the cotton candy flavor, which looked too tasty to be good for us.
Share Slide

Before we left, we decided to pick up a multivitamin — the women's health section had a bunch of options, but we settled on this Vitamin Shoppe-brand tablet.

Before we left, we decided to pick up a multivitamin — the women's health section had a bunch of options, but we settled on this Vitamin Shoppe-brand tablet.
Share Slide

At the check-out counter, we found some more snacks.

At the check-out counter, we found some more snacks.
Share Slide

In terms of offerings, Vitamin Shoppe and GNC were practically on par with one another. But the interactive add-ons and organized store layout of GNC won us over and made it the store with the better shopping experience.

In terms of offerings, Vitamin Shoppe and GNC were practically on par with one another. But the interactive add-ons and organized store layout of GNC won us over and made it the store with the better shopping experience.
Share Slide
More from our Partners