HEALTH

New moms seek natural, organic baby products

BY Michael Johnsen

As more millennials start to have babies, retailers from coast to coast are targeting these new parents with an array of natural and technologically-advanced products, and a more “mom-friendly” baby care offering.

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

“We believe first-time moms of this generation are very much seeking natural healthcare solutions to treat their children,” said Les Hamilton, EVP at Hyland’s, which markets homeopathic baby care formulas used to treat everything from teething pain to colic, according to IRI.

Marketers said that like parents of past generations, millennials seek out products they know are safe and effective. More than ever, they noted, that has come to mean natural formulas and organics.

“The new generation of first-time parents understands that organic is not just a marketing buzzword,” said Melinda Olson, CEO of Earth Mama Angel Baby, which offers an extensive line of organic pregnancy, post-partum, breast-feeding and baby care items. “They use it as a true yardstick with which to gauge safety, purity and label transparency.”

While suppliers like Hyland’s and Earth Mama have seen their product lines attract mothers seeking natural and organic alternatives, others have targeted millennials’ love of technology.

Church & Dwight, for instance, recently debuted the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled pregnancy test stick. The Pregnancy PRO digital pregnancy test syncs directly to the First Response app on a user’s mobile device.

For some retailers, attracting millennial moms has gone beyond just rethinking their baby care mix.

Supermarket chain Hy-Vee, for instance, has set aside space in more than 50 of its stores across the Midwest for what it-calls “mother’s rooms” — areas that are equipped with comfortable chairs, a table, sink and diaper-changing table.

“The purpose of our mother’s rooms is to reduce barriers to breast-feeding by providing mothers with a private, quiet place to feed their children,” senior communications manager Tina Potthoff said. “As customers’ expectations and schedules continue to change, establishing this important space is taking a big step in creating an extraordinary customer experience.”

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First Response Rapid Result sales swell

BY Michael Johnsen

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A mainstay of Church & Dwight’s First Response line, the First Response Rapid Result pregnancy test has been one of the strongest-performing items in the pregnancy test kit market over the past year. Data from IRI showed that for the 12 months ended May 15, sales of First Response Rapid Result increased by 34.1% to $15.3 million, making it the fifth best-selling pregnancy test in the country and 1-of-3 First Response products among the category’s 10 top sellers. Coupled with a significant increase for the First Response Gold pregnancy test kit (up 34.5% for the year), Rapid Result helped Church & Dwight remain as the No. 2 marketer of pregnancy tests, second only to private-label kits.

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

Marketers say that the First Response Rapid Result’s ability to isolate and detect the pregnancy hormone in the user’s urine and provide results that are 99% accurate in just one minute has made it popular with women by helping to reduce the time that women anxiously wait for results.

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Reaching expectant moms early is key

BY Michael Johnsen

While a slight uptick in the birth rate in 2014 gave hope to marketers of baby care products, recent data showed that the trend was short-lived.

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

According to a report released earlier this year by the National Center for Health Statistics, there was an unexpected drop in the number of babies born in the United States in 2015. Demographers had anticipated that the number of births would rise in 2015, as it had in 2014, but concluded that the lingering impacts of the recession and housing collapse are keeping many women from choosing to have children.

While the unexpected decline in the number of babies born across the country has raised concerns among marketers of everything from pregnancy test kits to baby formula, most are heartened by demographers optimism for the near future. History, they note, is likely to repeat itself.

After slumping for nearly a decade in the late 1960s and early 1970s, births picked up in the 1980s and 1990s — those babies are now the generation known as millennials and are about to hit the years that people are most likely to become parents.

And, they noted, with women waiting until late in life to have children, they are often in better financial shape to afford the products they need to raise that child, making them more likely to become loyal baby care shoppers.

“It is important to start educating and building relationships early with expecting moms as they are actively educating themselves and planning for the care of their baby,” said Jeff Vernimb, general manager at Moberg Pharma North America, which recently relaunched its line of Balmex diaper rash creams and healing ointment with new packaging, a revamped website and a multifaceted promotional campaign. “New moms also tend to be loyal to the first brand they try because they are hesitant to risk a change once they are comfortable with a routine.”

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