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Consumer awareness boosts probiotics

BY Michael Johnsen

Probiotics are fast moving from a “what’s that?” category to a “what’s hot” category. Most people today know the health benefits associated with probiotic use — a 2010 MaCorr Research consumer survey reported that 73% of consumers correctly identified probiotic use, up from only 47% in 2007 — and that’s thanks in large part to the educational efforts of Procter & Gamble with its Align launch two years ago, and prior to that, Danone with its Activia yogurt launch.


Now advertising for the category is moving into a product differentiation phase. In addition to P&G — which according to reports has switched gears from educating consumers on probiotic use to promoting specific use of Align — there is Schiff Nutritional, which earlier this year acquired probiotic brands Sustenex and Digestive Advantage.


“The integration [of the probiotic brands] is now complete,” Schiff CEO, president and director Tarang Amin told analysts in September. “In the first quarter, we turned on advertising support and are pursuing further distribution opportunities.” With that acquisition, Schiff will be looking to increase trial across a category already realizing more than 80% annualized growth, according to SymphonyIRI Group data.

 

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.

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WAG offering free 
diagnostic screenings

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens last month announced its offer of free blood-pressure checks, along with complementary healthcare professional consultations, as its contribution to the Million Hearts campaign, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


“Participation in this campaign is another example of the opportunity our pharmacists and Take Care Health [System] providers have to drive positive health outcomes through their face-to-face interactions with patients,” suggested Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens.


And Crawford should know — Walgreens has been providing free screenings for some time now. The chain in February announced its Walgreens Way to Well Commitment, promising more than $100 million in preventive healthcare resources, health testing services and charitable programs over the next four years.


And the pharmacy’s AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour has been traveling around the country, providing an expected $14 million worth of free health tests, including total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference and body mass index.


Walgreens already has realized the kind of impact complementary testing can have — between November 2009 and November 2010, Walgreens administered nearly 300,000 blood glucose and A1C tests with more than 25% of patients testing “at risk.”

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Chill out

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVING, Texas — Unwind from the grind. That’s the tagline iChill Beverages is using to compel consumers to pick up its iChill relaxation shot, the yin to 5-Hour Energy’s yang.


If sales of 5-Hour Energy, or any energy shot for that matter, are any indicator, sales executives at iChill Beverages won’t be “chillaxing” anytime soon. Across the single-shot category, sales are up 37.7% to $189.7 million, according to SymphonyIRI Group across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 7.

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