Portable foot relief
Profoot’s PROcure Epsom Salt Rub Gel earlier this year was among the innovations dubbed Product of the Year by Kantar TNS. The honor represents one of the largest consumer-voted awards for product innovation, where winners are backed by the votes of 40,000 consumers in a national representative survey.
“We are honored that PROcure Epsom Salt Rub was selected as 2018 Product of the Year Award winner,” Dan Feldman, president of the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based foot care and first aid company, said. “Our products are powered by science and enriched by nature to offer pain-relief solutions that are not only safe and family-friendly but innovative as well. PROcure is committed to bringing a smarter, safer approach to the first-aid aisle — and the fact that 40,000 consumers voted us the No. 1 product in pain relief is a testament to that approach. Our Epsom Salt Rub takes away the hassle of trying Epsom Salt (taking a bath) so anyone can experience pain relief on the go at a great value.”
In addition to the 2018 Product of the Year Award, PROcure earned a 2017 Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal for both its Epsom Salt Rub Gel and its new Hydrocortisone + Calendula Cream.
Walking the right path
Merchandising is the key to boosting foot care sales
The treads may be wearing thin in the foot care category, where overall sales across U.S. multi-outlets are down by 10% or more, though there may yet be opportunity with those silver foxes making their daily mall walks. Insoles and shoe inserts have long had household penetration in the high teens among the coveted baby boomers demographic.
“Baby boomers and the aging of America help foot care in general,” Steve Head, Implus executive vice president of sales, said. “Foot issues come with age. But that being said, household penetration stubbornly stays in the high teens and that makes the category not have the growth we’d all like to see.”
To help differentiate the foot care set and drive the traffic against the category that will help sustain overall foot health, Head suggested merchandising within the planogram based on condition. He noted that condition-based merchandising has done well in the case of plantar fasciitis, which creates pain in the heel of the foot and affects roughly 2 million people every year, according to the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, most of them between the ages of 40 years and 60 years old.
“People have foot issues that move beyond just comfort,” Head said. “If you have plantar fasciitis, the shoes aren’t going to magically fix that; you really need to get either a plantar fasciitis orthotic or sleeve to address that issue. That’s one of the things that has been driving a lot of success.”
In the past year, Implus has brought a plantar fasciitis sleeve to the market that has worked very well, Head said. “That’s the easiest opportunity [to capitalize on]. It’s easy to understand and altogether different.”
There also may be an opportunity to market foot care products to weekend warriors in the mass channel.
“Weekend warriors are more inclined to get an insole that may help with their athletic endeavors in food, drug and mass outlet,” Head said. “[But], if they’re a more serious competitor, they tend to get that product in a sporting goods environment. That’s helping drive the premium insole piece of the business. Everyone’s trying to be more active. … And the more you’re on your feet the more they tend to hurt.”
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, or SARMs, are a class of ingredients that can pose a threat to consumer safety, particularly in the bodybuilding and fitness communities. The Council for Responsible Nutrition, recognizing the safety threat, in February launched a consumer education initiative designed to raise awareness of the segment, whose role as an adulterated supplement segment gives mainstream operators a bad name.
“Bad actors tarnishing the reputation of responsible industry must never be tolerated. CRN and its member companies fully support the FDA’s efforts to crack down on companies unlawfully manufacturing products containing SARMs,” Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN, said. “We hope that fitness organizations, sports clubs, personal trainers and coaches across the country will join CRN and its members in taking a stand against SARMs.”
Through its consumer education initiative, CRN said it wants to amplify recent warnings from the Food and Drug Administration and support U.S. Anti-Doping Agency efforts to alert athletes to the dangers of SARMs, which include increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and liver damage. To inform the bodybuilding and fitness communities, CRN created a #SARMsCanHarm toolkit for fitness organizations that includes customizable flyers, newsletter material and social media content.
“We are grateful for the organizations helping us deliver responsible industry’s firm message: SARMs are dangerous, illegal and have no place in dietary supplements or in any sports nutrition regimen,” Mister said.
SARMs are prohibited under the S1 Anabolic Agent category of the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List. They often are listed “ostarine” or “andarine” ingredients in adulterated products falsely labeled as dietary supplements.