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Plug pizzazz

BY Michael Johnsen

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. — Cirrus Healthcare Products recently added a little pediatric pizzazz to its line of earplugs for swimming and sound protection with two new character licenses — SpongeBob SquarePants and Hello Kitty.


Sales of ear care products were up 3% to $47.2 million across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended April 15, according to 
SymphonyIRI Group data.


The ultra soft earplugs employ the same technology as the antimicrobial earplug BioEars — soft silicone earplugs that use ACTIValoe.


Cirrus over the next 12 months will be releasing an additional 10 uniquely printed, themed ear care products, the company stated.

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Supplements, allergy drive eye segment

BY Michael Johnsen

Eye care supplements have become a big growth driver within eye care sets, and for good reason — baby boomers aren’t getting any younger and they plan to see their great grandkids play in the sandbox someday, so eye health is paramount. 


Bausch & Lomb’s Preservision multivitamin leads the charge with growth of 14.7% and $50.5 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended April 15 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), according to SymphonyIRI Group data. Alcon’s ICaps eye vitamins garnered 11.9% on the way to $22.3 million in annual sales, and Bausch & Lomb’s OcuVite generated $21.4 million in sales, up 28.2%.


According to the latest American Eye-Q survey conducted annually by the American Optometric Association, both baby boomers and their elders have greater awareness around such conditions as glaucoma (39% and 42%, respectively) and diabetic eye disease (38% and 43%, respectively).


As big as the baby boomer — and older — demographic is, allergy is another significant driver behind trips to the eye care aisle, and represents a much broader potential patient base. According to a recent Vistakon online survey, more than 2-in-5 consumers suffer from mild to moderate eye allergy symptoms on a daily basis.  


To that end, at least two suppliers are targeting major eye allergy product launches this year at NACDS Marketplace. Akorn, which last year acquired Advanced Vision Research, is adding Eye Itch Relief to its TheraTears lineup. The new product will become part of an entire system addressing eye allergies that incorporates TheraTears Lubricant Drops and SteriLid Eyelid Cleanser into the regimen. 


Parlaying the awareness generated by its pediatric cough-cold products, Similasan is line extending its homeopathic offerings with Kids Allergy Eye Relief to help establish a branded destination within pediatric cough, cold and allergy sets. Similasan is coupling that launch with Kids Irritated Eye Relief for multisymptom relief from redness, burning, stinging and grittiness.

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Prevention playing key role in 2012-2013 cough-cold products

BY Michael Johnsen

Could cough-cold category managers be a victim of their own success? Could the reason that not nearly as many consumers came down with some sort of upper respiratory illness this past season be credited to a build-up in cough-cold prevention products?


As much as the answer is “No,” there is no denying that going into cough-cold season, prevention is top of mind among consumers, especially those not looking to take any time off of work. And that prevention play is being supported by a number of products coming to market this year.


Airborne is line extending its immune-support health formulas with two energy formulations — Airborne Plus Energy — that are formulated with B vitamins in place of caffeine for prevention-minded consumers who are looking for a little boost of energy over cough-cold season.


GoJo Industries, the original marketer of the Purell brand, is launching Purell Advanced behind a $14 million marketing campaign. Planning to generate as many as 272 million impressions, the marketing will stress that “formulation matters” with a claim that one squirt of Purell Advanced kills as many germs as any other brand.


And Oasis Consumer Healthcare’s Halo oral antiseptic ought to make a big splash in the 2012-2013 cough-cold season — the new product was voted “Best New Product” by retail buyers attending an ECRM event.

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