HEALTH

GSK launches smoking-cessation program at Walmart

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — GlaxoSmithKline recently tapped Emmy-nominated choreographer, “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancer and recording artist Mark Ballas to headline the company’s Blueprint to Quit smoking-cessation program. The star has been smoke-free for more than six months thanks to the comprehensive, two-part quit-smoking Blueprint to Quit resource available exclusively at Walmart.

Blueprint to Quit combines two resources for quitting smoking: online behavioral support through QuitNet and nicotine replacement therapy like Nicor-ette or Nicoderm CQ.

“Practicing the utmost discipline in so many parts of my life, I didn’t expect quitting smoking to be a struggle,” Ballas said. “The program allowed me to tackle tough cravings, stick to a plan that worked for me and seek support when I need it.” Ballas developed a series of “Quit Steps” videos to illustrate the journey he took to becoming smoke-free. They show how he was able to get through tough moments, his experiences with the NicoDerm CQ patch, the QuitNet behavioral support program and how support from his friends and family was the key to his success.

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HEALTH

‘Tis the year to lose weight

BY Michael Johnsen

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, leading up to January 2013, 45% of Americans made a New Year’s resolution. Of those, 38% were weight-related resolutions. In fact, losing weight was the No. 1 resolution, beating out “getting organized” and “spend less, save more.”

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

But this year’s resolutions may carry a little more weight with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Not only will there be an overall emphasis on realizing and maintaining a healthy weight from employers and healthcare payers, but also Medicaid will expand weight-loss counseling to its constituents at little or no cost.

That suggests sales of weight-loss aids will be less impacted by seasonality, while the overall category continues to grow. The category currently stands at $5.4 billion on a growth rate exceeding 8%, according to DSN estimates.

And it’s a savvier consumer shopping weight loss. “[As many as] 95% in the diet category now actually research online before they buy,” noted Jeff McHarg, general manager North America for Soho Flordis. And they’re looking for clinical evidence, he said, and for a simplified regimen. “They want something they can understand how it works,” he said. “People don’t see [weight-loss products] as a magic pill anymore, they see it as a weight-loss aid.”

Nutrisystem continues to make waves at retail, joining its five-day weight-loss starter kit with more traditional meal replacement bar and ready-to-drink shake offerings. Nutrisystem is placing a lot of weight behind its retail roll out — president and CEO Dawn Zier told analysts in October that retail sales accounted for 5% of the company’s revenues in 2013. She expects that to double in 2014.

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Sales of adult gummies rise

BY Michael Johnsen

The gummy delivery form of vitamins is the single-largest source of growth for the vitamins, minerals and supplements category, having realized a 29% rate of growth, which translates to $125 million in annualized sales growth.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

“Within the gummy delivery form, 65% of the sales are now represented by the adult life stage products, and only 35% are children-based,” Doug Jones, Pharmavite spokesman, shared with DSN. “While adult gummy sales have increased 51% for that 52-week period, children’s gummy sales are flat versus a year ago.”

It’s that opportunity to ramp up sales in adult gummy vitamins that has Church & Dwight significantly bullish on the category. The company last month announced plans to expand its gummy vitamin production capacity through the addition of a new production line to be constructed at its manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania. Construction began in 2013, and the line is scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2015.

“Our gummy vitamin sales are growing at a 20% rate to approximately $300 million in annual net sales in 2013,” James Craigie, chairman and CEO told analysts in December. “We believe the future prospects of the gummy vitamin category are strong, as more adults switch from traditional vitamin pills to gummy vitamins.”

Pharmavite recently increased its presence in the gummy vitamin space with the introduction of three gummy products — Nature Made Adult Gummies Multi+Omega-3; Immune Complex with Zinc; and Energy B12.

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