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HEALTH

Brands reflect better nutrition options

BY Michael Johnsen

The top three brands in this year’s list of breakthrough brands, defined as those brands either introduced within the 52 weeks ended Dec. 25, 2016, or those brands that experienced blockbuster incremental growth in that time frame, feature the leading meal-replacement solutions on the market today in Premier Protein, Clif Bar and SlimFast, according to IRI. A fourth brand — Quest Nutrition’s Quest Bars — also ranks high on the list. It’s reflective of the consumer need for products that embody an aspirational health- and-wellness direction that many U.S. consumers are pursuing.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

Another four breakthrough brands that really drove sales across all OTC aisles in 2016 all share one common denominator — a need state driven by a baby-boomer consumer. According to calculations from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, 15% of the U.S. population already accounts for 30% of the spend in over-the-counter solutions. Four meal-replacement solutions represent better nutrition options that have one of several pathways to success.

Premier Protein and Quest Nutrition, for example, are both realizing growth via increased distribution. Post Holdings CFO Jeff Zacoks attributed 40% of Premier Protein’s recent growth to improved distribution and 60% to velocity. “The product is very well received, customer loyalty is very high, repeat rates are very high and household penetration is very low,” he told Wall Street analysts in February.

Quest also is riding a significant growth trajectory following its introduction into mass outlets like Walmart last year. “Now that our bars are mature enough that we have the consumer visibility and pull-through, we’re able to go to mass channels,” Tom Bilyeu, Quest Nutrition president, told Drug Store News this past summer.

Clif Bar continues to deliver on its “all-natural” and “purpose-driven” reputations, catering to both active lifestyles and consumers interested in the philanthropic pedigrees of the brands they buy, as evidenced by Target’s inclusion of the brand in its “Made to Matter” product portfolio several years ago.

And SlimFast continues to capitalize on a strong weight-loss heritage. Healthier snack and meal-replacement solutions will continue to matter in 2017. According to a January Harris Poll, this year one-quarter of Americans are actively seeking to lose weight.

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DME sales trending up

BY Michael Johnsen

With the oldest of the baby boomers celebrating birthday No. 71 in 2017, sales of durable medical equipment and the kind of home health products that help transition patient care from hospital settings to the home in the retail setting have only one direction to go. And that’s up.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

The overall expenditure on durable medical equipment, or DME, including items not available through retail like bed accessories, in 2017 is projected to reach $50.6 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 4.7% through 2020, according to Harris Williams & Co.

That kind of positive momentum already is being realized at retail, noted Steve Light, VP consumer health at Cardinal Health. “Since the launch of Hospital Quality at Home [in 2015], we’ve seen a positive trend in consumption,” he told Drug Store News, regarding home health product selection for the 46% of family caregivers who provide complex chronic care following a hospitalization.

Two of the major retail players in home health products have made significant acquisitions in the past year to round out their overall product portfolios. Drive DeVilbiss in October acquired the durable medical equipment brands in Canada from AMG Medical that includes AquaSense, Airgo, Hugo and Profilio. The company also launched its Inspired by Drive product portfolio.

Similarly, Compass Health, which supplies such brands as Carex, AccuRelief, Apex, Bed Buddy and TheraMed, last year acquired the kinesiology tape StrengthTape from Endevr and the value-oriented ProBasics brand from Invacare.

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HEALTH

Aromatherapy makes plenty of ‘scents’ for retailers

BY Michael Johnsen

For those retailers bold enough to sniff out a fresh opportunity, at least as far as the mass merchant space is concerned, aromatherapy realized some rosy sales gains in 2016. Citing Nielsen data, Piping Rock reported the aromatherapy opportunity in mass is racing along at an annual growth trajectory of 121%, reaching $44 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 31, 2016 across all outlets combined.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

“This segment is growing 15 times faster than the next growing [natural] segment,” noted Steve Holzbach, Piping Rock senior category development manager. And that blockbuster growth is not coming at the expense of any other category, he added. It’s all incremental — and another reason for consumers to shop the VMS aisle.

“When we talk to consumers, they’re looking for more than just ‘physical’ health and wellness,” Derek Bowen, chief marketing officer and general manager, Nature’s Bounty, told Drug Store News. It’s expanded into the mental and spiritual arena that used to play very well in the specialty setting or online, but has now migrated to mass outlets, which is what makes an adjacency to VMS ideal. “It’s not just people looking for a fragrance experience. It’s people [who] are looking to go deeper into that emotional well-being.”

Part of the appeal to this category is the repeat business that’s generated after initial trial. Consumers first buying into the category invest in the scent diffuser, after which it’s a matter of buying refill modules to repeat that wellness experience. “The category is growing,” Bowen said. “It has a nice trajectory in terms of velocity.” According to Bowen, the two primary rooms within the house where aromatherapy is practiced are the bathroom and the bedroom, which makes for optimal crossover opportunities.

The majority of shoppers (roughly 80%) are female, Holzbach said. And the category indexes high among Hispanic (104) and African-American (110) shoppers, according to Piping Rock research.

Aromatherapy also may appeal to the baby boomer shopper, Bowen added. “Remember, baby boomers are still the heaviest purchasers of mass fragrances in drug and mass. It’s a very pro-fragrance consumer segment.”

Nature’s Bounty recently introduced a new line of aromatherapy essential oils under the Nature’s Origin banner. The line includes an essential oils kit designed to attract new shoppers, as well as a “Travel with Scents” line available as an easy-to-carry inhaler. There also are a number of different delivery formats being introduced as part of the Nature’s Origin line, including roll-on applicators.

Piping Rock also continues to innovate within the category, and in February infused its aromatherapy line with three new sensory products — a body cream, a body oil and a bubble bath. “These new products offer a therapeutic approach to beauty for a holistic approach to aromatherapy,” said Kimberly Vigliante, SVP sales and marketing at Piping Rock. Coupled with the soothing scent of Piping Rock’s most popular essential oil — lavender — the products add a gifting opportunity to the health-and-wellness aisles.

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