HEALTH

New stomach remedy Di-Gel to provide New York Black Friday shoppers much needed relief

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Di-Gel Products on Friday announced a "Di-Gel Comfort Zone" with complementary, clean restrooms will be established in downtown Manhattan the day after Thanksgiving to help alleviate some of the discomfort from Thanksgiving meals the day before and the long retail lines associated with Black Friday. 

The "Comfort Zone" will be open to New York City shoppers from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the east sidewalk of 5th Avenue between 17th and 18th streets and will provide clean, free restrooms, a heated tent, phone charging stations, comfortable seating and samples of Di-Gel.

Di-Gel is a fast-acting, all-in-one solution for consumers in need of digestive relief. The fast relief is due in part to the product’s dual benefit of having both an anti-gas and antacid use. “We really want this event to be about rewarding New York shoppers and making them a little more comfortable during a very hectic time of year,” stated Bernie Kropfelder, EVP and general manager of OTC at ILEX Consumer Products Group, the parent company of Di-Gel Products. “We all overdo it at times, and we often pay for it with an upset stomach. Di-Gel is the solution for when that catches up with you.”

The product launched early November with the brand tagline “When you overdo, Undo.” To check out the brand’s latest television commercial, click here

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Reckitt Benckiser ups the ante for Schiff business with a 23.5% premium to Bayer buyout offer

BY Michael Johnsen

SLOUGH, England — The battle for Schiff Nutrition is on. Reckitt Benckiser on Friday commenced its previously announced tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Schiff Nutrition — a provider of branded vitamins, nutrition supplements and nutrition bars in the United States and elsewhere — for $42 per share in cash, or approximately $1.4 billion.

“For Reckitt Benckiser, this acquisition would provide a powerful entryway into the large and rapidly growing $30 billion global VMS market," stated Rakesh Kapoor, RB CEO. "This market would be the largest consumer healthcare sector in which we operate. It is an ideal addition to Reckitt Benckiser’s new strategic focus in global health and hygiene, and would give us immediate scale in VMS in the USA. It also plays well to our consumer marketing, innovation and go to market capabilities.” 

Reckitt Benckiser’s offer represents a premium of 23.5% over the $34 per share transaction announced Oct. 30 by Bayer HealthCare and Schiff. Reckitt Benckiser’s offer is subject to Schiff terminating their merger and related agreements with Bayer HealthCare and will expire at 9 a.m., New York City time, on Dec. 14.  

“We are confident that the VMS market drivers, notably changing demographics and increased awareness of the health and wellness benefits of VMS products, will provide significant long-term growth potential in what is currently a very fragmented market," Kapoor said. 

Bayer Healthcare in October signed a merger agreement to acquire Schiff Nutrition International, which fields several prominent supplement brands, including Digestive Advantage, MegaRed, Move Free and Airborne. Those four products accounted for 70% of all Schiff sales, noted Marijn Dekkers, Bayer CEO, during an analyst call announcing the deal. "This acquisition will strengthen Bayer’s leading OTC business and complement our existing nutritionals business with well-established strong brands," he said. 

Schiff generated net sales of $259 million for its fiscal year ended May 31. On Sept. 18, Schiff announced that net sales for fiscal year 2013 were projected to grow between 43% and 46%. Expected sales growth included contributions from new products and brand building, as well as Airborne, which was acquired by Schiff on March 30. 

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GNC product partner and AquaHydrate board member Mark Wahlberg heralds new sports drink distribution

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES — In the wake of a summer rebranding campaign aimed at active, health-conscious consumers, AquaHydrate on Thursday announced expansion of its distribution through GNC. 

The AquaHydrate line offers consumers "Supercharged Hydration," a combination of key electrolytes and alkalinity that helps restore balance to the body. While many sports and vitamin drinks hover around a 4 pH (relatively acidic) and most bottled water between 7 and 7.5 (pH neutral), AquaHydrate stands at a pH value of more than 9 (relatively alkaline).

"GNC and AquaHydrate are the perfect match. We already know the vast majority of our consumers are regular shoppers of GNC," stated John Cochran, CEO of AquaHydrate.

"I am excited to see AquaHydrate partnering with GNC for nationwide distribution," stated Mark Wahlberg, AquaHydrate board member. "AquaHydrate will be a great complement to the Marked line of supplements, as well as the wide array of performance products available at GNC."

Earlier this year GNC partnered with actor/producer Mark Wahlberg on the launch of Marked, a new nutritional supplement line designed to meet the demanding lifestyles of fitness consumers. The Marked line — consisting of seven sports and active nutrition products — was designed by GNC scientists and wellness experts in partnership with Wahlberg.

As part of that partnership, Wahlberg has served as the leading brand ambassador and will drive the marketing approach for the Marked product line. 

AquaHydrate also has distribution in Whole Foods, Vitamin World, Sprouts, Albertsons and across several convenience outlets.  

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