HEALTH

Harris Poll uncovers 4 flu prevention strategies people turn to before flu shot

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK – Flu season is nearly here and almost one third of all adults (32%) do not think that having a flu shot will help them avoid getting the flu. In fact, less than half (43%) agree strongly that flu shots will help them avoid it, according to the latest Harris Poll, released Wednesday. On top of that, many people seem not to worry about the flu at all. Over four in ten (42%) adults believe that “people take the flu season too seriously.” 
 
A lot of things are seen as essential when dealing with the flu. Majorities say that all of the following are “must-haves”: tissues (75%), hand soap (64%), cough drops/throat lozenges (58%), cold medicine (54%), cough medicine (53%), pain reliever (53%) and vitamin C (51%). Almost half (49%) also see hand sanitizers as essential.
 
These findings help to explain why a majority of the public did not get flu shots before or during previous flu seasons.
 
To keep from getting the flu, the majority of adults strongly agree that the following can help them avoid getting sick during the flu season more so than a flu shot:
 
  • Washing hands frequently (69%);
  • Being well rested (63%); and
  • Maintaining a healthy diet (54%).
Almost half (48%) believe strongly that dressing appropriately for the weather will help them do this, while substantial minorities feel strongly that getting a flu shot (43%), taking vitamins (37%) and using hand sanitizers (37%) will help them to avoid getting ill.
 
Older Americans (those 70 or over), who are especially vulnerable to the flu, are the most likely to strongly believe in the effectiveness of flu vaccines (75% matures vs. 47% baby boomers, 35% gen Xers & 33% millennials) and the least likely to feel the same about homeopathic remedies (8% vs. 14%, 18% & 29%, respectively). 
 
In addition, almost one in five adults (19%) strongly believe that homeopathic remedies will help them. 
 
Keeping the flu bug at bay may mean avoidance of other people or places, including kids. Half (51%) of adults say they limit their contact with children during the flu season and 35% avoid public transportation. When it comes to germ-ridden objects, doors – and their knobs and handles – (32%) top the list of things Americans believe are most likely to hold germs, far ahead of phones (19%), toilets and toilet handles (5%), remote control devices (4%), sponges (4%) and money (4%).
 
However, if they actually do come down with the flu, what people want and expect if they do get the flu varies. Over eight in 10 (81%) adults “just want to be left alone.” While 66% try to “tough it out” and keep going to work, contrary to CDC recommendations that those sick with flu-like symptoms stay home and avoid human contact. Meanwhile, 40% expect to be pampered by their spouse or family members.
 
The Harris Poll surveyed 2,225 U.S. adults online between Oct. 14 and 19, 2015.
 
 
 
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NBTY revs its engine for breakout year in 2016

BY Michael Johnsen

 

NEW YORK — In 2016, NBTY is preparing to blow the doors off of the VMS growth engine — which industry-wide is currently gaining sales at a 4% clip and reaching $6.6 billion in sales, according to the latest IRI tabulations. During a media day in midtown Manhattan Tuesday, NBTY leaders raised the hood on its plans to increase sales and circulate value among their retail partners through a combination of product innovation and market insights both driven by technology. 
 
The U.S. arm of the 145-year-old multi-national company, freshly stocked with successful CPG veterans from such companies as the Coca-Cola Company, L'Oreal and Abbott Nutrition, is excited to bring a new focus to VMS and sports nutrition merchandising, leaders shared with Drug Store News
 
“We have a lot of new leadership in place,” Brian Wynne, president, NBTY Americas and CEO US Nutrition, said. “These are folks that come from some of the finest consumer packaged goods companies in the world, and that's intentional. We wanted to bring in the top talent,” he said. “In all cases we brought in folks [who] have actual experience running businesses sometimes two or three times larger than the size of the business we brought them in to lead here, because we intend to grow into that size.”
 
Pair those new leaders with the core NBTY team responsible for growing the company to more than $3.2 billion in overall sales, and you have a potent recipe for success. "We also have a lot of leaders within the organization that have been with NBTY for a long time and helped build this business," Wynne said. "We believe it's the harmony of the new folks along with the people who helped build this company that, done right, will be a competitive advantage for the company going forward."
 
Wynne said that NBTY will be realizing that growth through five key strategies: 
  1. Differentiated brands;
  2. New marketing model;
  3. Focus on supply chain efficiency and productivity;
  4. Great customer service; and
  5. Best talent in the industry.
“We fully intend to be an engine of growth for our customer's business because our category is going to be a growth category for our customers and we're going to be growing faster than the category,” Wynne said. “We fully intend to be a contributor to our customer's top-line growth.”
 
NBTY is investing in technology to help stimulate all facets of its business — from marketing and consumer insights to supply chain efficiencies and product innovation. For example, reaching consumers today is all about connecting to them on the medium with which they are most engaged: their mobile devices. 
 
“The consumer is looking for that frictionless experience,” NBTY’s new chief marketing officer Andre Branch said. “When they go in store or whether it's online, you want it to be seamless," he said. "We know there is opportunity there and we want to be out front [and] uncover how we unlock that opportunity.”
 
NBTY is also looking to bring their retail partners technology behind consumer insights — why they buy and how they make their puchase decisions.
 
“It's a commitment for us that we believe that we have to bring to our retailers and that we're really bringing out much more formally and with much more emphasis than [NBTY] has potentially done in the past,” said Andrew Archambault, NBTY chief customer officer. “We are committed to putting value back into the category … we are taking steps to invest in the science around pricing, behavior, number of tiers,” he said, adding that he is working with retailers on the issues of reinventing  the shelf and optimizing pricing within the category. 
 
When it comes to product development, the company is making signficant investments into a three-pronged strategy that it hopes will bring to market new and differentiated products that consumers will seek out on the shelf. NBTY said that the products the company will be bringing to market will build on a heritage of scientific credibility, deliver a real enhanced consunmer experience and represent a product that feeds emerging trends in the marketplace. Delivering on that strategy will generate a "science of compliance," NBTY's chief scientific officer Matthew Roberts said in an area where consumers looking to improve their individual health and wellness are more likely to do so.
 
Here's a quick look at the NBTY leadership looking to drive growth in the U.S.: 
 
  • Wynne joined NBTY in January 2015 and is a 25-year industry veteran who comes to NBTY from the Coca-Cola Company where he most recently served as SVP strategy, franchise relations and transformation for Coca-Cola North America Group;
  • Archambault joined NBTY in November 2014 and is responsible for executing customer strategy, increasing customer loyalty and retention and ensuring a consistent customer experience across the wholesale retail network. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, most recently serving as VP and managing director for Bacardi USA;
  • In April 2015 Branch joined NBTY, where he leads consumer and customer marketing efforts while focusing on strategies to further build NBTY’s brands. Branch brings more than 20 years of brand-building experience to the role from companies including Kraft Foods, Diageo and, most recently, L’Oreal; and
  • Roberts joined NBTY in May 2015, prior to which he was the divisional VP of global product research and development for Abbott Nutrition, where he helped bring many new products to market each year. Roberts is leading the company’s innovation efforts by creating and executing product development strategies, enhancing product offerings and driving product advancements.

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New leaders emerge

BY Michael Johnsen

Consolidation across the OTC industry created new leaders in the OTC category in 2015, noted Robert Sanders, EVP healthcare practice leader at IRI. With the incorporation of Merck’s OTC business into Bayer, the company perhaps best known for Bayer Aspirin and One A Day multivitamins became the top player, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Consumer.

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

GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis also finalized their joint OTC venture in spring 2015, creating another OTC force that’s greater than its parts.

That vendor consolidation may mean there are brand divestitures on the horizon in 2016, Sanders said. Immediately after a merger, there are synergies realized through the elimination of duplicative infrastructure, Sanders noted, so those merged portfolios have a little time before individual product lines need to meet internal sales hurdles. “Look for more of that kind of [divestiture] activity toward the end of 2016 once all the transition has happened. There’s less disruption and these companies can sort out which brands are strategic,” he said.

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