Banking on natural trend, MusclePharm looks to expand retail penetration
DENVER — MusclePharm earlier this week reported significant progress towards expanding its reach through retail, thanks in part to the recent launch of its Natural Series, a line of plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO premium products that appeal to an expanding customer segment that seek organic alternatives to the traditional nutritional products and supplements.
"The launch of Natural Series has presented an opportunity for MusclePharm to expand not only its product range but also our distribution reach," Brian Casutto, EVP sales and operations, MusclePharm, told investors Monday. "One very positive development during the quarter was getting Natural Series into Sprouts Farmers Market," he said. "Sprouts is a major natural grocer and household name across the U.S. It operates 270 stores nationwide and is renowned for being a leader in the affordable and healthy food market which is exactly the consumer base Natural Series is targeting."
Beyond Sprouts, MusclePharm is in ongoing discussions with additional potential retailer distribution partners, Casutto said. "Our distribution strategy remains to drive MusclePharm products through both brick-and-mortar and online outlets. While brick-and-mortar stores continue to face challenges, we are confident that the broad rollout of Natural Series, combined with exciting upcoming new product launches, will drive the expanded sales through specialty retail channels and chains such as the Vitamin Shoppe."
Within the online segment, MusclePharm continued to see strength in online sales in the second quarter, driven by an expanded contribution of Amazon and several other online retailers. Amazon accounted for 12% of the company's total revenues in the second quarter, up from 6% in Q1 of 2017.
More consumers choosing smartwatch over activity trackers, NPD Group says
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – With the introduction of new devices, new features and updates to hardware and operating systems alike, 2017 has brought a number of changes to the smartwatch market.
As of June 2017, nearly 9% of U.S. consumers aged 18 and over owned a smartwatch, up almost 1.5 percentage points from the six months prior.
“Rumors of the smartwatch’s demise have been greatly exaggerated and we expect to see stronger growth in the next 18 months, compared to 2016,” stated Weston Henderek, director, Connected Intelligence. “Many of the early growth projections for the smartwatch were, simply put, unrealistic. But in reality, a 9% ownership level is a pretty healthy start for the market after just a couple of years. We expect the next round of product upgrades will lead to more first-time smartwatch purchases, as well as upgrades for those with existing devices.”
Currently, smartwatch ownership is controlled by the millennial generation, which has 13% ownership penetration. However, as use cases broaden, shifts in smartwatch ownership will follow. In fact, the male/female split in the category is now the lowest it has ever been at 60% male – indicating a more mainstream audience. Additionally, despite higher pricing than activity trackers, smartwatch ownership is highest among the lowest income category (less than $45,000 per year), with 34% of smartwatch ownership penetration.
“While strong ownership in the lowest income category may seem counter intuitive, it is likely driven by a large number of buyers in the service industry who need a device to check incoming notifications when they can't reach for their phone,” Henderek said. “Overall, increased features and functionality was the No. 1 reason respondents chose a smartwatch over an activity tracker. Some of what we are seeing demonstrates a natural evolution of the device as a home control hub on the wrist, for one, and continued evolution of product capabilities will be key to winning over consumers.”
According to the latest WEAR Report Industry Overview and Forecast from NPD’s Connected Intelligence, growth in the category will continue, with a nearly 60% ownership growth expected from Q2 2017 through Q4 2018, driven in large part by anticipated new product introductions from market leaders.
This forecasted growth will result in nearly 15% of U.S. consumers aged 18 and over owning a smartwatch by 2019.
Increasing features and capabilities are key differentiators for smartwatches, which will further contribute to their growth over the forecast period. While use cases such as receiving notifications/texts, activity tracking and news updates are still the most highly reported among smartwatch owners; use cases such as controlling music, using as a device to control pictures and video and home automation are growing.
In fact, 15% to 21% of smartwatch owners are already utilizing their devices for those types of activities daily.
Hy-Vee ties new diabetes lifestyle management program to on-site dietitians
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee on Friday announced it now offers a Begin for Diabetes lifestyle management program, in addition to its existing Begin and Begin 4 Kids programs. All three options are led by registered dietitians in Hy-Vee’s 244 stores across its eight-state region.
“About 29 million Americans have diabetes and managing the disease can come with a significant learning curve,” stated Kristin Williams, SVP and chief health officer at Hy-Vee. “Our registered dietitians are here to help educate and support program participants on their journey to making their lives healthier and happier.”
Hy-Vee’s Begin program provides building blocks for weight management through detailed journals and recommendations for healthier eating, including biometric screenings. More than 15,000 individuals have completed the 10-week lifestyle management program. The company also offers a four-week Begin 4 Kids program that emphasizes food groups, activity and eating for good health, along with the Hy-Vee KidsFit program and website that encourages children to get excited about moving and exercise.
“Whether the goal is to prevent or manage a diabetes diagnosis, lead a healthier lifestyle or ensure children learn about healthy eating habits and exercise, Hy-Vee is committed to optimizing each customer’s well-being at every life stage,” Williams added.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in three adult Americans, or 86 million people, have pre-diabetes and nine out of 10 of them do not know they have it. To further address this epidemic, Hy-Vee recently launched a pilot initiative in 50 stores that helps pre-diabetic individuals lead healthier lives. The intent is that this pre-diabetic program will also be rolled out to all Hy-Vee stores in the near future.