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Hangover prevention attempts move to supplement aisle

BY DSN STAFF

PLYMOUTH, Minn. —Approximately 33 million adults between the ages of 25 and 64 drank five or more alcoholic beverages on at least one occasion between January and June 2007, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that’s the sweet spot—an older, more professional demographic—that many marketers of hangover remedies are finding for their products. It’s not college kids binging on beer who need that hangover remedy, but the executive consuming two to three drinks entertaining clients at night and making the company’s sales pitch the following morning.

According to Amerilab Technologies, a company that in January featured its new hangover preventive product, Drinkin’ Mate Hangover, during the ECRM Vitamin, Diet & Sports Nutrition conference in Destin, Fla., more than 55 million Americans overindulge at least once per month. “Definitely moving up the age ladder,” said Lance Nelson, vice president of sales and marketing at Amerilab. “The 21-year-olds are still part of that grouping, but they’re not the primary target. It’s the 40-year-old on a fishing trip who plays poker at night and then gets up at 5 a.m. to go fishing.“

That means there may be as many as 2 billion occasions to use such products as Drinkin’ Mate, Nelson estimated. Accordingly, Amerilab estimated a 1 percent penetration into this market would generate a brand with sales between $12 million and $24 million.

Already, Living Essentials has a more-than $13 million brand in Chaser—the dietary supplement hangover remedy merchandised in the analgesic section of many drug stores. That brand ranked No. 27 in Drug Store News’ 2007 top 150 Niche Brands list, comprised of data provided by Information Resources Inc., and was one of three fastest movers on that chart, with annual growth of 676 percent.

Amerilab, however, is pitching to move that product placement out of analgesics—a destination center for consumers seeking immediate pain relief—and place it in the dietary supplement aisle, a section more in tune with a preventive message. “Everything in our media…preventive is top of the list,” Nelson said, suggesting consumers may be headed for the dietary supplement section for the product, he said. There has been some initial push-back from retailers in placing the product in dietary supplements, Nelson said, “but the walls are coming down.”

Amerilab currently is test-marketing Drinkin’ Mate in the Midwest, and the company plans to use a $6.3 million advertising budget encompassing radio and print advertising, as well as event sampling through 2008 to help drive trial. In drug store tests, Amerilab has averaged moving 0.3 units per store per week and for 2008 projects more than $8.5 million in sales, including sales through bars and liquor stores.

And on the horizon might be Rescue Beverage Corp., with its effervescent hangover remedy, the Cure. While the Cure currently only has limited distribution through the Northwest and on Amazon.com, president and chief executive officer Robert Scholl has been fine-tuning the company’s sampling efforts to reach an older demographic, including sampling at Denver Broncos games, he said.

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Sturken to celebrate his fifth year at Spartan by ringing NASDAQ bell

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores’ chairman and chief executive officer Craig Sturken is slated to ring the NASDAQ opening bell on March 3 in celebration of his fifth anniversary leading Spartan, the company announced Thursday.

 “It is an honor to ring the opening NASDAQ bell in celebration of our fifth successful year since transforming into a consumer-centric organization and refocusing our business on our core distribution and retail operations,” Sturken stated. “We have been in the grocery business for more than 90 years and this is our eighth year as a public company, which is marked by our ability to develop and execute successful business strategies in a highly competitive market.”

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Unilever to reorganize company structure

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONDON Unilever, whose brands include Axe, Sunsilk and Dove, has announced that it is restructuring the company and combining its home and personal care segment and food segment into a single category structure.

Ralph Kugler, president of home and personal care, will step down in May at the Annual General Meetings after 29 years of service. The roles of president of home and personal care and president of foods will be merged under the leadership of Vindi Banga, currently president of foods.

To reflect the company’s focus on growth in developing markets, Central and Eastern Europe will be managed within an enlarged region comprised of Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. Western Europe will become a standalone region.

In other moves, Kees van der Graaf will retire in May from the Unilever board and from his role as president of Europe after a 32-year career with Unilever.

Harish Manwani, currently president of Asia/Africa, will lead the new expanded region. Doug Baillie will serve as president of Western Europe, having previously served as chief executive officer of Hindustan Unilever.

“These measures build naturally on the changes of recent years and give us an organizational structure even better placed to advance our growth agenda. At the same time, I want to express my deep appreciation to Kees and Ralph for the significant contribution they have made over long and distinguished years,” stated Patrick Cescau, group chief executive.

In addition, James Lawrence, currently chief financial officer, will be proposed in May for election as an executive director of Unilever. This change will mean that the Unilever board will be comprised of two executive directors and 11 non-executives.

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