HEALTH

Packaged Facts: Pet drug sales to reach $6.7 billion in 2011

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — While sales figures for pharmaceuticals are frequently reported on, drugs for people’s four-legged friends also are a money maker.

According to Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, retail sales of pet medications — including sales through retail stores, online retailers and veterinarians — will reach $6.7 billion this year.

A new report from the firm, "Pet Medications in the U.S.," mass market channels are the least involved in pet medications among retailers. But online pharmacies, including those of Target and Walmart, have expanded their product range. Currently, according to the firm’s May-June 2011 Pet Owner Survey, 71% of prescription-only heartworm medications and 40% of nonprescription flea and tick spot-ons continue to be sold through veterinarians, which for many years "have been in the catbird seat" in pet medication sales.

"The underpinnings of the U.S. pet industry remain strong, and the outlook is especially favorable for all things pet-related," Packaged Facts publisher David Sprinkle said.

In some ways, trends driving pet medications seem to mirror the ones driving human medications. "Taking into account market drivers including the aging pet population, pet obesity and the heavy involvement of major pharmaceuticals companies, pet medications sales should return to their pre-recession rates of growth over the next few years, with annual percentage gains projected at 10% by 2015."


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Survey: More people aware of probiotic benefits, but misperceptions remain

BY Michael Johnsen

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A new survey from Dannon released Wednesday revealed that Americans are more familiar than ever with probiotics.

The annual benchmarking survey, which interviewed 2,000 Americans ages 18 years and older, tracks awareness and perceptions of probiotics. It found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are familiar with the term “probiotics,” up from about half in 2009. Currently, 45% of Americans consider themselves very or somewhat knowledgeable on the subject, compared to 36% in 2009. In addition, the survey found that Americans are making health-conscious decisions about the foods they eat, with 6-in-10 saying they have made food purchases driven by health concerns.

Despite these positive findings, many myths and misconceptions surrounding probiotics and digestive health remain, Dannon noted. To help address Americans’ concerns and confusion, Dannon is partnering with registered dietician Keri Glassman, founder and president of Nutritious Life and author of The O2 Diet.

“Through our partnership with Keri Glassman, we hope to help elevate Americans’ understanding of the factors that affect digestive health, including what we eat,” said Miguel Freitas, director of health affairs for Dannon. “Probiotics have become increasingly popular in the past several years, but our annual survey shows that there are still some misunderstandings about what they are and how they work, which can lead to confusion for consumers.”

Here are some of the common myths and misperceptions uncovered by the survey:

  • Nearly one-quarter of survey respondents (22%) believed that all bacteria can make you sick;

  • One-third of respondents feel uncomfortable eating foods that contain bacteria; and

  • 30% of Americans are unaware that different strains of probiotics have different benefits.


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Clif Bar renews Honda LA Marathon sponsorship

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES — Clif Bar on Tuesday boosted its commitment to the Honda LA Marathon with a two-year sponsorship for 2012 and 2013. Clif Bar will provide Honda LA Marathon runners with an array of sports nutrition made with organic ingredients, including Clif Bar energy bars, Clif Shot energy gel and Clif Shot Bloks energy chews.

"We’re very excited to partner with the Honda LA Marathon for the next two years, expanding a relationship that’s been in place for much of the past decade," said Brooke Donberg, field marketing manager for Clif Bar. "This is one of the nation’s great marathons, and we hope to help race participants achieve their goals, both during training and on race day."

"Clif Bar is a perfect fit for the Honda LA Marathon," LA Marathon COO Nick Curl said. "We are particularly pleased to have such strong support from outstanding brands like Clif Bar, who understand the Marathon’s reach both in Los Angeles and across the country."


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