UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. — A new line of products from AllerMates is helping parents of children with allergies better protect kids against exposure to unwanted allergens. AllerMates, a line of bright, fun, whimsical character-driven wristbands, dog tags and lunch boxes feature 14 original characters that help alert teachers and caregivers to a child’s allergies.
The characters represent the most common allergies (e.g., peanut, nut, gluten/wheat, milk, egg, shellfish, penicillin, insect sting, latex, pollen, fish, soy, sesame and cat) and are designed to be fun and positive. The line is supported by a website that offers tips and general information about allergies, as well fun games and activities based on the characters. Wristbands and dog tags retail for $6.99, lunch boxes sell for $19.99.
Shoppers still spending on pets
American consumers still are spending on their pets. The American Pet Products Association estimated that consumers will spend nearly $53 billion on their pets this year, an increase of nearly 4% over 2011 spending.
A recent survey from CouponCabin.com found that 75% of pet owners said the state of the economy did not affect their spending on their pet. More than 20% of respondents said they spend $51 to $100 per month on their pets.
While pet owners are spending, they are looking for deals. In its March 2012 Pet Owner Survey, Packaged Facts reported that 73% of pet product buyers agreed they look for lower prices, special offers and sales on pet products, while only 11% said they do not.
Pet OTCs are a growing segment of the pet care category, and a recent study from Packaged Facts predicted that pet medication sales will have annual gains of 10% by 2015 — both driving consumers to the drug store.
Green and natural products also are a growing segment of the category, not only in food products but in grooming products and accessories. CVS, for example, carries a line of organic cotton dog collars from Ruffin’it.
Not content with just throw-and-fetch games anymore, consumers want more interactive, intelligent and treat-dispensing puzzle type toys for pets. Owners also are more particular about pet odors, and a flurry of new air freshening systems, sprays and deodorized bags continue to enter the market.
Drinks still high on energy
There’s plenty of pep left in energy drinks. “Energy drink performance accelerated in 2011, and we expect strong growth once again in 2012,” said Gary Hemphill, SVP of Beverage Marketing Corp.’s information services division. “The energy need-state is large, and demographics for the category have begun to broaden, which has helped to continue the strong growth.” The segment now represents more than one-tenth of the total carbonated soft drink market, according to Beverage Digest.
Rumors circulated in May about a Coca-Cola/Monster acquisition or partnership. While the possible pair-up appears to have fizzled, Monster has been a hot property in the energy drink category and still is on the rise. The No. 2 brand in the category has been nipping at Red Bull’s heels. Red Bull holds a 45% dollar share and saw sales increase nearly 14% across all three outlets for the 52 weeks ended April 15, according to SymphonyIRI Group data. Monster Energy has a 21% dollar share but saw sales increase 17% during the same period.
Monster Energy Co. is growing its volume through innovation. The company’s Monster Rehab line — made with tea and juice, and lower in calories than traditional Monster — and its super-concentrated M3 are bringing new users to the category. Java Monster, a coffee/energy drink combo, also has been a strong introduction. The company recently launched Ubermonster, a nonalcoholic, premium fermented malt beverage, into the growing kombucha segment. The product is packaged in 16.9-oz. glass bottles with a crown closure.
Red Bull also recently launched Red Bull Total Zero, which has no calories, sugar or carbohydrates. The new introductions are designed to attract new users. Men in the 18- to 24-year-old age range still are the primary consumers of energy drinks, but research from Mintel indicated that more consumers ages 25 to 34 years have embraced the beverages.