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Supplementing saves real healthcare dollars

BY Michael Johnsen

The results of two recent studies support the financial healthcare savings of using supplements. A new health economic study shows potential healthcare savings of $12.7 billion per year if U.S. adults would increase their dietary fiber to about 25 g, the minimum level recommended by health experts for adults. Currently, less than 1-in-10 Americans meet their daily fiber needs.

The study, carried out by an independent team of researchers in nutritional sciences, epidemiology and health economics from Exponent Health Sciences, evaluated the direct medical costs associated with regularity problems among adults in the United States. The research team developed a model to determine the potential money that could be saved through preventive, lifestyle-related measures, in this case, increasing dietary fiber intake.

Also according to the study, if only half of the U.S. population increased their dietary fiber intake by just 3g a day, there could still be more than $2 billion in healthcare cost savings.

A separate study found that there is an average of $3.9 billion per year in avoidable healthcare utilization costs to be realized if all U.S. adults older than 55 years diagnosed with age-related eye disease were to use lutein and zeaxanthin dietary supplements at preventive intake levels, according to a new economic report recently released by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

“Smart prevention is protecting your health and also protecting your wallet. Age-related eye disease poses risks that are debilitating and expensive, so supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin can help reduce those risks,” said Duffy MacKay, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs for CRN.

The report, “Smart Prevention — Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” was compiled by Frost & Sullivan, which conducted a systematic review of scientific studies that looked at the relationship between lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation and the risk of an ARED-attributed event, then applied a cost-benefit analysis to determine the cost savings.

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Gummy vitamins, nutritional benefits rise

BY Michael Johnsen

The VMS and diet aid/sports nutrition markets together command $11.9 billion in total retail sales, excluding specialty channels, and is growing at a steady clip.

Specifically, vitamins, minerals and supplements sales totaled $6.4 billion across total U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended March 23, according to IRI, up 2.5%. That growth is primarily coming out of the adult multivitamins, glucosamine and chondroitin, and omega-3 segments, noted Laura Mahecha, industry manager of health care for the research firm Kline, in a recent blog. Along with private-label nutritional products, Vitafusion (Church & Dwight), Centrum (Pfizer) and Schiff (Reckitt Benckiser) contributed to gains in this category.

Gummy vitamins remain particularly hot. According to C&D’s chairman and CEO James Craigie, gummy vitamins represent only 6% of total adult vitamin sales. “The adult gummy segment has already doubled in size in the past 18 months, and that still leaves 94% of the total category as upside,” he said. And C&D is looking to seize the gummy opportunity. “We doubled our ad spending on gummy vitamins in 2013, and we are increasing our advertising spending by at least 30% in 2014 to continue to divert adults to our delicious-tasting gummy vitamins.”

Meanwhile sales of weight-control products are up 4.7% to $3.1 billion while sales of meal-replacement bars are up 13.5% to $2 billion.

According to IRI’s 2013 New Product Pacesetters report, the most prevalent addition to nutrition brands was fiber and/or whole grains, which were found in 42% of new consumables launches. In addition, the report suggested that “dieting” has evolved into “nutritional management.” Consumers are looking for products that remove or limit less desirable attributes, such as calories and sugar. BelVita Breakfast Biscuits proved to be a good source of sustained energy provided through grains. And General Mills launched four Pacesetter Fiber One brands, each offering up to 40% of the daily value of fiber.

And the diet-aid program Nutrisystem will be making a big splash this year as the company makes its national retail launch. The company has generated $8 million in retail sales over its first quarter with its distribution through 2,500 Walmart locations. Channel expansion will be focused on mass and club outlets with a test line approach before expanding nationally, the company reported, with its first test going through Target.

To see the charts that accompany the article, click here.

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Purell differentiates itself with seasonal scented hand sanitizers

BY Michael Johnsen

Focusing on the on-the-go consumer niche, GOJO Industries’ Purell hand sanitizer has helped to bring brand relevance back to what was a commoditized category only a few years ago. Today, sales of its new Purell Advanced line have reached $20.5 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 29, 2013, across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. And with a growth rate of 65%, consumers can’t seem to get enough of it.

And now GOJO is further differentiating its line of germ-killing gels with seasonal scented offerings, which according to Tim Cleary, sales VP for Purell Consumer, currently command 14.4% of the category. “People are looking to move away from that functional germ kill experience to experiential,” he said. With the primary target being moms, the scented offerings create multiple purchase opportunities.

Some of its upcoming fragrances yet to be launched include watermelon splash and ocean kiss, Cleary said.

Purell Advanced also holds another point of differentiation over other brands. Last year, the company released results of a series of independent lab studies testing the ability of instant hand sanitizers to meet Food and Drug Administration Healthcare Personnel Handwash germ-kill requirements at various dosage levels. Purell Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer formulations contain a patent-pending blend of ingredients that maximize the impact of alcohol on bacteria while maintaining skin moisture for optimal skin health, Cleary said.

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