HEALTH

Breaking the seasonal mold

BY Michael Johnsen

Such chronic skin conditions as psoriasis and eczema have taken an anti-itch category known for its summertime seasonal sales spikes — because of such acute needs as poison ivy and bug bites — and have made it a year-round destination category. For the 52 weeks ended April 19, sales of anti-itch solutions totaled $551.9 million, representing growth of 7.8% across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI.

“In the past, the category’s been viewed strictly as a seasonal category,” said Justin Brown, VP sales at Cosmederm Bioscience. “This category actually is a year-long problem [for consumers].”

That’s apparent with the number of successful line extensions in the anti-itch space. Both Beiersdorf and Chattem have launched extensions addressing diabetic skin care and eczema for Eucerin and Gold Bond Ultimate, respectively, and the products are moving exceptionally well. Sales of Eucerin totaled $17.3 million for the 52 weeks ended April 19, according to IRI, on growth of 67.5%. And Gold Bond Ultimate generated $13.9 million on 183.2% growth.

Eczema is one of the more prevalent conditions that drive consumers in search of an anti-itch solution. The National Eczema Association estimates that as many as 31.6 million Americans have eczema today, with 17.8 million suffering from moderate to severe cases.

One of the niche problems that Cosmederm identified is a significant itch associated with dry skin itch conditions, Brown said, noting that the typically dry winter weather exasperates such conditions as psoriasis or eczema. Cosmederm has marketed against that condition in the fourth and first quarters to great success, he said.

Aging skin is another way to segment the anti-itch category. “It’s a real quality-of-life condition [for seniors],” Brown said. “They can’t sleep through the night because their skin is irritable and itchy.” Senile pruritus impacts as many as 20.5 million seniors, Brown said.

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Bricks beat clicks: Retailers steal online share

BY Michael Johnsen

Walmart, Costco and Rite Aid are three retailers driving significant traction in vitamin, mineral and supplement sales, TABS Group reported in May, helping to take share away from such online retailers as Amazon, which captures 36% of all online vitamin traffic, even as sales overall were up 3% to $11.8 billion. These three mass market leaders combined for $3.4 billion in vitamin sales representing 29% of all vitamin sales, according to TABS Group. Mass market has recaptured lost share from 2014 due to the surge in light buyer penetration, TABS Group noted.

Online vitamin sales hit $1.9 billion in 2014, surpassing Walmart’s sales of $1.7 billion, TABS Group reported. “All online outlets saw declines, with the primary cause being the drop in sales among heavy buyers. Amazon’s decline in share was much less pronounced since it draws a disproportionate amount of its sales from light buyers,” said Kurt Jetta, president of TABS Group. “Given that vitamins is among the most highly developed online categories in the consumer packaged goods industry, this study adds an important data point that suggests online sales in CPG have peaked with the existing online shopping technology.”

Within overall VMS, sports nutrition continues to be a booming business representing $2.6 billion in sales. The TABS Group survey found that 37% of adults 18 years and older have purchased sports nutrition products in the last year. “The results from the survey highlight that sports nutrition is a category deserving of more space and support in mass market outlets,” Jetta said. “With half of all sales already occurring there, that number has considerable upside, particularly given retailers focus on millennials.”

The sports nutrition category has 50% more men heavy buyers than women heavy buyers, and Hispanics are two times more likely to be heavy buyers than non-Hispanics. Among adults in the core 18 years to 44 years age group, 74% of Hispanics have purchased a sports nutrition product in the last year compared with 50% of non-Hispanics.

The TABS Group Vitamin and Sports Nutrition study of 1,015 U.S. consumers was conducted in April.

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Senators’ dietary supplement amendments catch CRN’s ire

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition last week opposed three proposed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act that would impact the sale of dietary supplements on military bases. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., have offered three amendments that are opposed by CRN "because they are duplicative of current laws, create unnecessary and overly burdensome requirements for military personnel and do nothing to solve current, real enforcement concerns at the Food and Drug Administration."
 
Specifically, the amendments would require the nation's military to track the use of dietary supplements among military personnel and monitor adverse event data. A third amendment would require those supplements sold on base to be certified by a third party. 
 
“Like Sens. Blumenthal and Durbin, we want our soldiers who choose to take dietary supplements to have access to quality products and to responsibly incorporate them into their health regimens," CRN president and CEO Steve Mister said. “We also share concerns about products containing stimulants such as DMAA and similar ingredients that are illegally marketed both to soldiers and to civilians as dietary supplements. Unfortunately for the troops, Sens. Blumenthal and Durbin’s solution is to offer amendments to a defense authorization bill that duplicate current laws for reporting suspected adverse events from these products; create overly-burdensome monitoring of supplement use by military personnel; and limit access to a wide range of dietary supplements by service men and women."
 
According to a 2012 study, more than 53% of soldiers use dietary supplements, CRN reported. 
 
HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" last month aired an expose criticizing the availability of adulterated sports nutrition supplements to the nation's military in a segment titled "In Harm's Way" that the industry criticized.
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