HEALTH

Probiotics still have room to grow in digestives

BY Amanda Baltazar

Ten years ago the word probiotics wasn’t known, and five years ago it was a new word to most Americans. But thanks to the marketing of Activia yogurt by Dannon, which started in 2006, these microorganisms have garnered national attention. After Activia took the dairy market by storm, other foods fortified with probiotics, as well as probiotic supplements, followed suit.


Probiotics are live microorganisms said to be beneficial to gut health and digestion. And Americans are lapping up the information. Sales of probiotic vitamins three years ago were $10.1 million, but in the 52 weeks ended April 16, sales rose 24.8% to $46.9 million in the United States, according to Nielsen.


“People are becoming more and more interested in actively managing their health,” said Scott Popham, director of external relations for Procter & Gamble, whose product Align is one of the category leaders.


P&G launched Align in 2009, and the company has relied on the science behind its brand. According to Popham, “We hang our hat on the data behind our products, and we always make sure we have the highest standards of safety. And we have 10 years of research behind our product. So I think that’s really where we differentiate ourselves — through our science.”


The latest company to enter the probiotic market is Schiff Nutrition International, which recently purchased the rights to the OTC probiotic supplement brands Sustenex and Digestive Advantage from Ganeden Biotech. 


Both of these products contain the proprietary GanedenBC30 (BC30, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) probiotic technology. “Our focus is to deliver shareholder value by building premium brands and leading innovation,” said Tarang Amin, president and CEO of Schiff Nutrition. “By acquiring the rights to the leading probiotics technology, we have entered a new, rapidly expanding category that creates accretive growth opportunities.”


He added: “We believe BC30 has many inherent physical properties that make it superior to other traditional probiotic organisms. We intend to leverage this enviable technology and grow the Sustenex and Digestive Advantage lines. In addition, we plan to capitalize on Schiff’s brand-marketing know-how, provide incremental marketing investment and use our well-established customer relationships to increase distribution.”

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Precise heats up analgesics

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — McNeil Consumer Healthcare’s foray into heat patches has proven a success. Tylenol Precise is the No. 2 brand across heat and ice packs, falling in behind Pfizer’s ThermaCare. Within its first year on the shelf, Tylenol Precise has generated $6.1 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended April 17, according to SymphonyIRI Group data across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart). 


The Tylenol Precise patches retail for around $7.99.

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New niches fuel multivitamins

BY David Van Howe Jr.


Findings from the past year show that vitamin sales have been stronger than most other health and beauty categories. The recent emphasis placed by vitamin and nutritional supplement manufacturers on new multivitamin brands has delivered positive results. SymphonyIRI Group reported that, in the 24 weeks ended May 15, multivitamins outperformed the total vitamin category. 


In particular, multivitamins engineered to reach a specific clientele are flourishing. Pharmavite, the maker of Nature Made vitamins and nutritional supplements, has reaped the benefits of such innovation. “In the past year, age- and gender-specific products have been trending upward,” said Doug Jones, Pharmavite’s corporate communications and public relations manager. 


Other manufacturers are following suit. Bayer recently launched One A Day Petites, a line of multivitamins specifically formulated to address women’s health issues. SymphonyIRI numbers showed that sales for One A Day Women’s 50+ Advantage multivitamins were up 9% over the past year, while sales for One A Day Women’s Prenatal multivitamins have increased by a robust 24% over the same period. With such a wide variety of vitamin options available, Bayer also is encouraging consumers to use the personalized selector on the website OneADay.com, which recommends products to meet the consumer’s personal needs. 


The future success of multivitamins may come down to basic user-friendliness. Because swallowing large pills once was a discomforting ordeal, especially for seniors, many companies focused on addressing that dilemma. For its part, Pharmavite has found that consumers prefer soft gel tablets. “Soft gels are easier to swallow than tablets, despite being larger pills, because they are coated,” Jones said. 


Also worth noting is the recent strong performance of store-brand multivitamins. Numbers indicated private-brand sales over the past year were up more than 5%, which was greater than the overall category growth. That trend, however, appears to be changing, largely on the strength of such national-brand gummy vitamins as Bayer’s One A Day VitaCraves, and Northwest Natural’s VitaFusion. 


So, in the days of SKU rationalization, are multivitamins creating new users or are they fragmenting the vitamin market? Jones believed it is the former. “From the data we’ve received,” he said, “we’ve brought new customers into the category, which makes our retailers very happy.”

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