Future Trends: Self care, wellness shift to drive innovation in new, emerging health segments
No matter where you stand with regard to Obamacare or the American Health Care Act that Congress is debating even now, one factor is certain: The cost of health care — and the consumer’s share of that cost — is only going to grow.
“At the beginning of his administration, President Trump and his leaders in health care put out five principles for healthcare reform,” Mike Tarino, principal at Tiltas Solutions, shared with attendees at a recent Nicholas Hall conference. “For our industry, the most important statement is the [one concerning tax credits] and health savings accounts. The indication here is that the administration is interested in moving control of the financial resources more toward consumers.”
That will contribute to more OTC purchases for two reasons. First, self care is inherently less expensive and more convenient than any treatment provided by a primary care team. Second, preventive care will help reduce those out-of-pocket expenditures even more. “In the next 12 to 18 months, given the current climate of health care, you’re going to see more services in the retail landscape,” Brian Owens, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail, told Drug Store News. And both cost and convenience will figure prominently for consumers, he said. “I see lower-income shoppers, specifically, running to [retail] health clinics to get lower-cost solutions versus going to urgent care [or] primary care.”
This shifting of the cost burden already has sparked a new way of approaching health care, from seeking acute sick-care solutions to more of an ongoing wellness lifestyle mindset. As consumers, payers and the government all rethink what health will look like in this country, and as retailers and their supplier partners innovate new ways to deliver on that wellness promise, expect some new, emerging OTC segments.
“From the consumer standpoint, health care is happening wherever people want to access it, increasingly outside the traditional legacy healthcare system,” Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, health economist for Think Health, told DSN. “The retail pharmacy can become a hub for health and health care in the community. I would forecast expanding switch and categories for more self care options. Consumers want that, and this particular FDA … would point to expanding categories and more options.”
Many of those segments are emerging now. Both the Food and Drug Administration and Congress are working toward creating a nonprescription hearing aid category. As more Americans realize the number of health conditions tied to better sleep, that category is evolving from the simple sale of sleep aids to the presentation of a holistic sleep solution. The trend of consumers who have grown hungry for greater transparency and “cleaner” labels as they shop for food are looking for the same in their medicines, creating a demand for more natural OTCs.
“For more than one-third of Americans, food is now seen as a better medicine than [traditional] medicine,” noted Larry Levin, EVP of consumer and shopper marketing and thought leadership at IRI. “Do drug stores need to think about assorting more food and beverage products that play into health and wellness? [Because] it’s not just about OTC and that competitive framework, it’s much wider. OTC manufacturers need to realize that their competitive set is much wider than the tunnel they play in now.”
“[Food] is the area consumers really want to deal with the most,” Sarasohn-Kahn said. “Nobody really wants to take medicine. People would rather project-manage health through food as prescription. From a public policy standpoint, we’re seeing more Medicaid programs that coordinate with SNAP benefits at the state level, cooperating with farmer’s markets and grocery programs to expand benefits.”
As more U.S. couples decide to pursue a family later in life, that’s creating additional fertility challenges and the need for wellness solutions throughout the entire pregnancy process, from preconception through delivery. And the whole self-care movement is creating greater awareness around disease prevention, a factor that feeds the opportunity for more vaccination services provided at retail pharmacy.
“There are still large, untapped opportunities within the retail setting,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC. “We see this as an opportunity to drive this legacy, upstream healthcare mindset to last-mile retail,” he said. “[There are] a lot of opportunities to design new category management systems for retailers based on care transition.”
Marketing pain relief to all ages
Aging baby boomers have been a prime market for OTC analgesics, but the oldest members of society don’t have a monopoly on aches and pains. A new marketing campaign for Prestige Brands’ Anacin seeks to address this fact by aiming squarely at the millennial generation.
“We think there is an opportunity for Anacin to participate and get involved with the millennial consumer,” said Joseph Juliano, VP of marketing for analgesics, eye care and marketing services at Prestige Brands. “For consumers who don’t necessarily have a brand that they relate to in the analgesic space, we have repositioned Anacin to fill that void.”
The new “Feel Better Fast” campaign includes print advertising and a heavy dose of social and digital marketing, including the use of frown and smile emojis to represent the before-and-after effects of using the aspirin product. In fact, the company added emojis to Anacin’s packaging to tie in with the millennial-focused marketing theme.
Also new from Prestige Brands, and appealing to consumers across generations, is BC Sinus Congestion and Pain, an extension to the regionally popular BC line of OTC analgesic powders. BC Sinus Congestion and Pain touts a “triple-action formula” that includes acetaminophen for pain relief and fever reduction, along with a decongestant and an antihistamine to relieve sneezing and itchy eyes, nose and throat. The product is positioned as relief for cold and flu symptoms with the “speed of powder.” “We saw that particular space as an area that we needed to compete in,” Juliano said. “We are in the process of shipping that to customers as we speak, so we are excited about that.”
Prestige Brands also recently extended its Ecotrin aspirin line with Ecotrin Arthritis.
Internal analgesics — which includes feminine pain relievers, liquids and tablets — eked out a 0.6% gain in sales to a total of $3.9 billion for the 52-week period ended June 11, according to IRI.
External analgesic rubs, by contrast, saw sales rise in double digits (17.5%) to $673.8 million.
Interest in topical analgesics will continue to be driven by consumers’ interest in leading healthier lifestyles, according to a recent blog post on the topic from research firm Euromonitor International.
Lidocaine patches, available as topical OTC analgesics since 2015, have captured the interest of consumers, observers noted. Among the relatively new introductions in this subcategory have been Zim’s Max-Freeze Patches with lidocaine and menthol from Perfecta Products. Unique packaging minimizes the retail shelf space occupied by Zim’s Max-Freeze Patches, according to the company.
Also, Bristol, Tenn.-based NFI Consumer Products, the parent of the Blue-Emu brand, last year partnered with Prosolus to introduce Lidocare, an OTC pain patch that delivers 4% lidocaine locally, providing up to eight hours of pain relief. “After the triple-digit growth Blue-Emu has experienced, we are truly excited about continuing to provide pain relief to all of our NFI consumers through this launch,” said Susan Gregory, CEO of NFI Consumer Products, when announcing the new Lidocare product last year.
The product rolled out nationally to Walgreens and CVS last spring, and to other retailers later in the year.
Hormel Foods names new CytoSport CEO
AUSTIN, Minn. — Hormel Foods on Friday named Lisa Selk CEO CytoSport. Selk will steer the CytoSport enterprise as it continues to focus on new product innovation and expanded distribution of its sports nutrition products. Selk brings more than 20 years of experience building consumer packaged food brands including Skippy peanut butter, among others.
“Lisa is a true CPG branding and marketing expert,” stated Don Kremin, Hormel Foods group VP Specialty Foods. “Lisa has successfully led innovation and brand growth, and is passionate about delivering exceptional products to the marketplace. I am confident that she will bring a consumer-centric focus to the CytoSport line of products and will continue to lead the outstanding innovation that has become a hallmark of the company over the last several years.”
Selk assumes the leadership post of CytoSport after serving as marketing director for a portfolio of brands at Hormel Foods including Skippy peanut butter, Herb-Ox bouillon, House OF Tsang Asian foods and divisional innovation. She also sits on the Justin’s board of managers.
Selk joined Hormel Foods in 1998 as food scientist in the research and development department. She held management and leadership roles in the specialty products division and the meat products division, serving as both the divisional innovation manager as well as manager for the Hormel refrigerated entrées and Hormel Always Tender businesses. Selk went on to be a key leader in corporate innovation where she led numerous companywide innovation projects, including new product launches.
Selk is a graduate of North Dakota State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in food science and a master’s degree in cereal science. Selk also graduated from the University of St. Thomas where she secured her master’s in business administration, and most recently attended the Kellogg School of Management’s Executive Development Program.