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Mintel: Products with low/no/reduced sodium claims on decline

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — It seems that the number of products touting low/no/reduced sodium claims have declined over the past few years, despite the increased awareness about risks of over-consumption.

New Mintel research found that globally, launches of foods with low/no/reduced sodium claims declined 5% over the 2010-2011 period, appearing on just 2% of total food launches in 2011. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, North America had a 26% new product launches carrying low/no/reduced sodium claims in 2011, compared with 32% in 2010 and 28% in 2007. This compared with Europe, which had 35% of new product launches carrying these claims, and Asia-Pacific, which came in third with 19%.

Mintel also found that about 54% of U.S. consumers said they limit their use of packaged snacks and other packaged foods because they think they have too much salt or sodium, while 53% said they are concerned about the amount of salt or sodium in their diets. However, it seems consumers will not give up salt easily. In the United States, for instance, 60% of restaurant diners typically order what they want instead of what is healthy. Moreover, when it comes to products flavored with a nonsodium or salt alternative, almost half (46%) of consumers in the U.S. think that they don’t taste as good as their traditional counterparts.

"A large percentage of the global food industry remains wary of the commercial impacts of reducing salt in their products," Mintel global food and drink analyst Chris Brockman said. "This anxiety is well-founded, with many products positioned as low sodium forced off the shelves prematurely in recent years due to poor sales. Manufacturers struggled to find workable salt substitutes, forcing many to rapidly pull them from the market. Efforts are being made to offer consumers alternatives to sodium. However, existing salt replacements have not caught the imagination of consumers. Consumers are concerned about salt intake, but are not willing to compromise on taste."

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Old Spice celebrates its Champion scent with new ad campaign

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice brand debuted on Tuesday its new NFL marketing campaign centered around the Old Spice Champion scent lineup, featuring Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings.

Jennings, who won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers, will appear as the brand’s newest Old Spice spokesman in a series of humorous television and print advertisements showcasing the countless ways that Old Spice champion and "Believing in Your Smellf" can help guys overcome adversity and win on and off the football field.

Developed with Portland-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, Old Spice’s "Believe in Your Smellf" NFL campaign features seven TV advertisements all communicating the benefits of Old Spice Champion. The ads also will live on Old Spice’s social media channels on Facebook and YouTube. The campaign will begin with the debut of the 30-second spot “Film" during the NFL Kickoff game on NBC — Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants — on Sept. 5. The subsequent spots will roll out over the course of the NFL season.

Targeted toward guys, Old Spice’s NFL "Believe in Your Smellf" campaign will appear primarily during NFL programming on NBC, FOX, ESPN and NFL Network. In addition, digital ads will appear across a number of sports, entertainment, humor and men’s interest outlets.

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Meijer offers generic Lipitor for free

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In what could symbolize the so-called "patent cliff" that an executive from healthcare market research firm IMS Health spoke of at a recent trade show, a regional mass merchandise chain is taking what used to be the world’s top-selling drug and giving it away for free.

Meijer announced Tuesday that it would offer generic versions of Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) for free at all of its 199 pharmacies, saying it would be the first retailer in the Midwest to offer such a program. The program is the fourth free-drug program offered by the retailer over the last six years.

"We’re pleased to announce that our customers will now be able to fill their generic cholesterol-lowering atorvastatin calcium prescriptions for free in all of our pharmacies," co-chairman Hank Meijer said. "In keeping with our commitment to provide low-cost solutions for the families we serve, the free cholesterol-lowering medication program is another way to help the customers who rely on our pharmacies."

Before it lost patent protection, in November 2011, Lipitor had sales exceeding $7 billion per year in the United States. Ranbaxy Labs was the first to launch a generic version when the drug’s patents expired, and Ranbaxy’s own market-exclusivity period expired in May of this year. At the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference last month, IMS VP industry relations Doug Long said during a presentation that "We’re in the teeth of the patent cliff," which refers to a period taking place over the next few years when a wave of expirations of several top-selling drugs’ patents will occur, eventually leaving many therapeutic indications such as cholesterol heavily commoditized and dominated by multiple generics.

"This initiative will have a huge impact because the cost of pharmaceuticals is frequently a barrier to getting appropriate treatment," West Michigan Heart cardiologist and Spectrum Health Meijer Heart Center Cardiac Catheterization Labs director David Wohns said. "The biggest way to reduce the risk of heart disease comes from treating cholesterol. To have that drug available for free has the ability to impact countless lives."


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