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Homeopathy spells opportunity

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK —Health and wellness is no longer a niche market dominated by a small group of consumers who populate the checkout lines at specialty natural grocery retailers. According to a recent Hartman Group study titled “Reimagining Health + Wellness 2010,” 54% of all consumers have tweaked what they have traditionally thought of as health and wellness. And younger consumers are more likely to have made changes to their thinking in the past year. That spells opportunity for products that have always held a slant toward healthier lifestyles in mass outlets, specifically homeopathic medicines.

A separate Hartman Group study released earlier this year, commissioned by homeopathic manufacturer Boiron USA, found that it’s that younger demographic that may be perusing nonprescription aisles for better-for-you medicines. “The research…shows that shoppers most often purchase natural [over-the-counter] products in nontraditional channels,” Ludovic Rassat, Boiron USA president and CEO, told Drug Store News earlier this year. “In the study, shoppers were asked what’s the most important purchasing factor besides price/value. ‘Easily being able to find the product where I shop’ ranked second only to effectiveness. This creates an opportunity for those retailers to expand their health-and-wellness offerings,” he said. “It’s a long-term change that reflects how consumers view their lives and the products they purchase. While 27% of shoppers have successfully used a natural/alternative OTC medicine in the past, 55% have not but are interested in trying.”

“First-time consumers are not always seeking a homeopathic medicine intentionally, but rather are finding it as an option within a category,” noted Hyland’s president Dale Nepsa. “The safety aspect, and the fact that [those medicines are] 100% natural, often drives the selection of a homeopathic option. It is after their first successful trial with homeopathic medicines that they begin to educate themselves more on the category itself.”

Consumers in search of healthier medicines may not be the only driver of homeopathy-style solutions, added Ted Karkus, chairman and CEO of ProPhase Labs. “On a marketing and messaging level, ‘natural’ remedies are benefiting from the overall green marketing movement in this country. Additionally, the economic situation has broadened the consumer base for the mass retailer. More higher-income knowledge-seekers, who traditionally are interested in homeopathy, are choosing to shop at mass retail,” he said. “And finally, thanks to broader media coverage, increased information online and increased interest among doctors and pharmacists, all consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about the value and efficacy of homeopathic remedies.

According to the Boiron consumer study, 82% of shoppers are attempting to limit their overall usage of traditional OTC products. A sizable number of shoppers consider purity/healthfulness (42%) and lack of chemicals/irritants (31%) to be important factors in choosing OTC products.

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Giant Eagle awarded for green efforts

BY Allison Cerra

PITTSBURGH Giant Eagle has received four awards from the Environmental Protection Agency for its eco-friendly practices and sustainability efforts, the supermarket retailer said.

Giant Eagle was the recipient of the EPA Montreal Protocol award, the GreenChill environmental award, the GreenChill building certification and the EPA Smartway transport partnership perfect performance score.

“Our multiple partnerships with the EPA are a significant piece of our overall sustainability strategy, which also includes our energy management efforts and recycling initiatives,” said Shelly Sponholz, Giant Eagle SVP real estate and development. “We truly believe that our environmental commitment is a vital part to the success of both our communities and our business, as so many of the sustainable projects we undertake produce tangible benefits to each.”

Giant Eagle operates stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.

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Retailers urge Congress to reject Chinese currency legislation

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. As members of Congress move to try and force China to revalue its currency, the renminbi yuan, retailers are weighing in on the issue.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents more than 200 retailers, manufacturers and suppliers, asked lawmakers Friday to reject legislation under consideration Friday morning by the House Ways and Means Committee that would pressure China on its currency by imposing tariffs on products imported from there.

 

Alarge share of consumer products sold in the United States are made in China, and in many cases are no longer made in the United States. Thus, placing tariffs on goods imported from China could force retailers to pass the costs onto consumers.

 

 

“Provoking tension with our trading partners doesn’t come without costs, and we should choose our battles carefully, especially given the great amount of uncertainty in markets at this time,” RILA VP international trade Stephanie Lester said. “It makes little sense to enact harmful policies that will spark a bilateral conflict over currency with one of our largest trading partners and fastest-growing markets for American exports, given almost stagnant economic growth.”

 

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