Wellness drives sales in digestives, probiotics

Sales in the digestives aisle going forward look positive, especially as an aging population begins paying closer attention to healthy diets, including the right amount of dietary fiber to keep things “regular” and supplementation with probiotics for overall digestive health. 

Awareness is certainly on the rise, and awareness drives sales. According to the Natural Marketing Institute’s “Health and Wellness Trends Survey,” awareness of the term “probiotics” grew from 9% in 2002 to 60% of American adults in 2009. Such food manufacturers as General Mills and Kellogg’s increasingly are touting the benefits of fiber. “We’ve done a lot of education, especially around whole grains and fiber,” Karlis Nollendorfs, General Mills’ senior customer insights manager, told executives during a seminar at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace conference. “We recognize that a lot of people want to eat more [healthily].”

But the largest piece of the digestives pie is antacids, and this is another bright spot, with new players sparking increased advertising across the segment. For the 52 weeks ended June 12 across food, drug and mass (minus Walmart), sales of each of the major brands were up, with the exception of the largest brand — Procter & Gamble’s Prilosec OTC, which was only down 3.2% despite new competition. And sales of Prilosec OTC were only down 3.2%, according to SymphonyIRI Group data, despite the introduction in the past two years of generic competition and two new proton-pump inhibitor products. Even GlaxoSmithKline’s venerable Tums franchise is significantly up — 210.1% to $87.4 million. 

And according to findings from a recent survey fielded by Braun Research on behalf of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, heartburn mostly remains a self-treatment condition. Of the 1,004 surveyed, 39% only “occasionally” discussed frequent heartburn symptoms with their doctors and 19% “never” initiated that conversation.


 The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Digestives Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

Login or Register to post a comment.