HEALTH

Nielsen: Dollar stores a destination for basic household products in recession

BY Michael Johnsen

ORLANDO, Fla. The economic downturn has been a boon to dollar stores, which attracted increased consumer spending in 2008, including spending among high and middle income shoppers, according to a report issued by The Nielsen Company on Tuesday.

Nielsen’s analysis of consumer shopping habits shows consumers at all income levels shopping more at dollar stores, with high income shoppers spending 18% more at dollar stores in the second half of 2008, compared with the prior year.

Dollar stores are outpacing major consumer packaged goods channels among both low and high income shoppers. According to Nielsen, an estimated 65 million U.S. consumers shopped at dollar stores in 2008.

“The troubled economy and rising costs in healthcare, education and food have caused everyone — even those with high incomes — to rethink where they purchase basic household goods,” stated Jeff Gregori, VP retail services for The Nielsen Company. “Five years ago, shoppers weren’t sure what they would find in a dollar store. Today, dollar stores are delivering more consistent selection and value, and consumers are shopping dollar stores more regularly to fulfill their basic CPG needs.”

However, despite the increase in spending among high and middle income shoppers, low income shoppers are still the primary dollar store customer. According to Nielsen’s research, 45% of dollar store sales are from low annual household incomes (below $30,000), 47% from middle incomes (between $30,000 and $99,900), and only 8% from high incomes (greater than $100,000).

The most loyal dollar store customers tend to have low incomes and live in small towns and rural areas or in urban centers. Senior couples, senior singles (particularly widows) and younger families with children are more likely to shop in dollar stores only occasionally, relying on other retail channels to meet the rest of their household needs.

In terms of products, dollar stores have become a regular shopping destination for everyday household staples. Among those who regularly shop at dollar stores, the most commonly purchased household items include paper goods, such as napkins and paper towels, detergent, trash bags and cleaning and laundry supplies. The most common edible items are candy, snacks and cookies.

“With more shoppers having positive experiences at dollar stores, there is a significant opportunity for dollar stores and CPG manufacturers to build loyalty and expand into new product categories, such as food and beverages and select health and beauty care,” Gregori said. “There is also a potential growth opportunity in exploring dollar store private label offerings in both edible and non-edible products. The challenge for dollar stores and CPG manufacturers is to get the product mix right to meet the needs of their traditional customers as well as new customers with higher incomes.”

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Infant cereals without phytate may allow absorption of more nutrients

BY Michael Johnsen

BEIJING A study published April 28 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology indicated that removing phytate from infant cereals may have a beneficial effect on iron and zinc bioavailability when those infant cereals were reconstituted with water.

Cereals are considered a rich plant source of carbohydrate, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and are therefore are usually introduced to an infant’s diet between the ages of four and six months. However, cereals are also rich in antinutrients, which can decrease the absorption of such critical nutrients as iron, calcium and zinc because of their high ability to chelate and precipitate minerals.

The research was conducted by Carmen Frontela of the University of Murcia (Spain).

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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New Elations formula delivers improved joint comfort

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI According to a recent clinical study, newly-formulated Elations drink supplement with increased boron delivers improved joint comfort in as little as six days, the Elations Company stated Monday.

“By increasing the level of boron, which studies have shown helps to address some of the causes of joint discomfort, we are providing consumers a fast, safe, effective way to obtain improved comfort for their joints,” stated Robert Sarama, Elations Chief Scientist. “These benefits coupled with the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin and an easily-absorbed, refreshing, convenient drinkable form, osteoarthritis sufferers are addressing the source of discomfort and creating building blocks for healthier, more flexible joints.”

The new Elations formula will replace the current Elations product on store shelves beginning in May 2009. The addition of boron will not affect the price of the product, the company stated.

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