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HEALTH

Probiotics are ringing the register

BY Michael Johnsen

Probiotics are one of the better-selling categories within the VMS space, as evidenced by the number of growing probiotic brands on the top 10 mineral supplement brand chart, which is where IRI captures many of the probiotic SKUs. While market-leading mineral supplement brands Nature Made and Nature’s Bounty certainly include probiotics, i-Health’s Culturelle brand is the best-selling pure-play probiotic brand with $123.1 million in sales on 8.9% growth across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI.

According to i-Health market intelligence, more and more consumers are researching probiotics online and are coming to the store with a specific brand in mind. In fact, as many as half of consumers know the brand they plan to purchase before walking through the doors, and most of them are going to the digestive aisle in search of their probiotic of choice.

“Consumers are becoming more savvy and are looking for specific probiotics [strains],” Michael Bush, president and CEO of Ganenden, told Drug Store News. Not all probiotic strains are created equal, he added, as some strains are better at improving immunity health, for example, while others are better at resupplying the gut flora to reduce adverse side effects associated with antibiotics, such as diarrhea.

According to Ganenden, which licenses the branded probiotic GanedenBC30 to food manufacturers, 70% of consumers are aware of probiotics, and 54% are willing to pay more to trade up for a food or beverage containing a probiotic. “The mom buyer is typically buying for the immune benefits of a probiotic,” Bush said. “The probiotic industry is working together to help consumers understand it’s all about the strain.”

(Click here to view the full Special Report: Weight management, sports nutrition and vitamin)

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RB completes Mead Johnson acquisition

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — RB on Thursday announced the completion of the acquisition of the Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, which folds the two infant and child nutrition powerbrands Enfa and Nutramigen into RB's existing health portfolio.

Aditya Sehgal"The closure of the acquisition marks an inflection point in RB's evolution to become a leader in consumer health care," stated Rakesh Kapoor, CEO RB. "By combining the best of RB's global scale with MJN's science-based innovation, RB is well positioned to deliver further value for all stakeholders. We continue to execute on our strategy of providing innovative health solutions for healthier lives and happier homes to millions of people around the world."  

Mead Johnson will initially operate as a separate division within RB and be led by Aditya Sehgal, who joins RB's executive committee. Aditya's previous roles included responsibility for RB's operations in China and North Asia, RB's global health care division and RB's North American business.

Mead Johnson's infant and children's nutrition business will increase RB's revenues in consumer health by approximately 90%, as well as its developing market scale by approximately 65%.

 

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Amazon Go readies for launch as Shanghai’s MobyMart makes the rounds

BY David Salazar
SEATTLE and SHANGHAI — As Amazon prepares for the wide launch of its Amazon Go service, Forbes is highlighting a similar concept in Shanghai, MobyMart, which is a remotely driven mobile store that allows members to board the vehicle, scan their items using the app and be on their way.
The MobyMart mobile store such products as lunch, snacks and over-the-counter medicine, and allows for customers to order such products as electronics for pick-up at nearby full MobyMart stores. The vehicles also come with a drone that can deliver to customers within a three-mile radius and are able to tell warehouses when they are low on stock.
The company behind MobyMart, Wheelys, projects that the MobyMart vehicles — which are set to be completely driverless by next year — will cost about one-tenth the cost of building a full store. To read the Forbes report click here.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Amazon has recently posted a recent job listing that has raised speculation that the online giant plans to roll out its checkout-free convenience store concept, Amazon Go, soon. The job listing  seeks a senior real estate manager for Amazon Go, based in Seattle and including travel.
Amazon posted a laundry list of executive responsibilities for the job. These include: developing and executing a strategic real estate plan; site selection and acquisition; developing relationships with key landlords, developers, and brokers; and collaborating with architecture, construction, and engineering teams.
Amazon Go debuted in December in Seattle,  in a beta format open only to Amazon employees. (It was expected to open to the public in early 2017, but its opening has been delayed.) The 1,800-sq.-ft. store is powered by what Amazon calls “just walk out technology,” which allows it to be completely free of any type of checkout.
Shoppers click on the new Amazon Go app as they enter the store, and hold their smartphone to a scanner similar to an airport security line.  Every time the customer picks up an item, it is automatically added to their virtual cart. (If the shopper puts the item back on the shelf, the item is automatically removed from the cart.) Once the customer leaves the store, their purchase is billed to their Amazon.com account.

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