Antacids to drive growth

BY Michael Johnsen

Heading into 2014, there are a number of growth drivers across the digestives space. There’s the possible switch of Nexium into over-the-counter aisles, brands like Imodium are experiencing a resurgence with their return to the shelves, and Chattem is bringing the venerable Rolaids brand back into the digestives fold.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

The biggest piece of the digestives pie is antacid tablets, however, and while the category is presently trending down by 1.6% to slightly less than $2 billion — according to IRI data for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 6 across total U.S. multi-outlets — it is out of this category that many of the 2014 growth drivers will originate.

“Antacids play an important role in the overall digestive health category,” noted Tracy Nunziata, marketing director for Bayer HealthCare’s Consumer Care. “[The category] has among the highest household penetration rates of all the digestive health segments, at 37%.” Bayer recently boosted its presence within the space with the launch of Alka Seltzer Fruit Chews. That brand as a whole is up 422.4% in sales to $7.2 million.

Should Pfizer’s application to switch Nexium be approved, presumably after the patent expires in May, a $6 billion book of prescription business in the United States will make its way to antacid aisles, according to IMS Health data compiled from 2012. That suggests the latest proton-pump inhibitor to make the switch could dwarf sales of the No. 1 antacid tablet Prilosec OTC.

Chattem earlier this fall unveiled its plans to re-introduce the iconic Rolaids heartburn-relief brand to the U.S. market. Chattem will support the re-launch of Rolaids with a fully integrated marketing campaign featuring chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri.


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