Nary a day goes by — especially in the cold winter months from December to March — that the media is not talking about the cold and flu season. This season may have been one of the worst in a while and, while consumers agonize, the fact is that retailers have an excellent opportunity to profit off of this category.
But, it also is increasingly clear that product innovation is crucial to the success of the cough-cold category. More than 300 retailers and manufacturers gathered for the ECRM Cough-Cold conference in Chicago in February, all eager to see what steps can be taken to get shoppers even more engaged with this growing, yet complicated category.
Here is what some manufacturers are offering in the months ahead:
The Chandler, Ariz.-based company is offering two SKUs in its BlisterBalm line. The protective lip treatment has a suggested retail price of $14.99, and the cold sore and fever blister treatment has a suggested retail price of $18.99. Both were released to the retail trade in the fall of 2017.
“We use an array of natural fatty alcohols as the key ingredients in our products,” Thomas Vadeboncoeur, the company’s senior vice president of global marketing, said. “It is a natural for retailers looking to offer their consumers an alternative, and will produce incremental sales.”
He said that the cold sore product, which contains 100% natural jojoba botanicals, is designed to limit the length of time of an outbreak. The lip treatment is designed to moisturize the lips and delay the onset of future outbreaks.
The company has introduced day and night formulas in the baby oral pain products, both priced at $9.99 for a 125-tablet bottle, for the relief of pain irritability and swelling due to oral discomfort.
“This is to address a sizeable hole in the $40 million a year baby pain relief category,” Hyland’s president Les Hamilton said. “We believe there was strong pent-up demand for a new Hyland’s baby relief product. Consumers were looking for a product with our name on it in this category, and we believe that this will help retailers recapture dollars that went missing in this segment.”
Oilogic Essential Oil Care
Based in Addison, Texas, the company is offering a wide range of products for babies, toddlers, children and adults. Its adult line features five SKUs — itch relief, headache/tension, sinus/allergy, cough-cold and rest/sleep — each with a suggested retail price of $9.99.
“Our products are 100% pure essential that have been diluted for topical application,” Jordon Morrow, Oilogic’s managing partner, said. “Our products feature a roll-on that makes it easier for the consumer to use. We think this will result in incremental sales for retailers and compliment other medicines in each respective segment.”
Out of Africa
The Marina Del Ray, Calif.-based company is adding eczema cream to its Shea Baby line of products. Noting that many babies suffer from eczema, Out of Africa founder Victor Lulla said that the new product, which is totally natural, will address this issue. The item will be added to the Shea line, which has six other SKUs, around April 1 and has a suggested retail price of $11.99.
Products in the Shea Baby line use unrefined shea butter, from the shea nut, that is designed to retain all of its healing properties. “Young parents are focusing on natural products for their children,” Lulla said. “We think this is a timely addition to a line that is just growing and growing in popularity.”
Company officials said that shea butter helps moisturize the body and face, as well as restore elasticity to the face and reduce wrinkles and blemishes. They said it also helps to reduce acne and scarring.
When it comes to condoms, officials at Okamoto feel that less is better. The company is offering its .004 condoms, a six-SKU line, in aloe and regular styles. Both styles are available in three-count, $6.24 suggested retail price; 10-count, $19.99 suggested retail price; and 24-count, 41.99 suggested retail price, boxes.
“This line offers a soft, sheer product that still serves as a barrier, but does not feel like one,” Yu Tadano, a sales manager at Okamoto, said. “We are offering consumers a condom that is more comfortable to use and gives more pleasure. The consumers love it and retailers love it because of their great margins.”
As with most condom manufacturers, Okamoto is targeting women as they push ahead with sales of .004, with company officials stressing that both older and younger women very often make the buying decisions on condoms and which ones to purchase.
The Bridgewater, N.J.-based company has announced the national launch of its Zicam Cold Remedy Medicated Fruit Drops. Offered in an assortment of fruity flavors — orange, lemon and cherry — the soft, chewable drops will help consumers shorten the length of their cold when taken at the first sign of symptoms, company officials said.
The drops are made from a unique formula that shortens a cold when taken at the first sign. Unlike other cold medicines, Zicam Cold Remedy products do not simply mask symptoms; they shorten colds so consumers can get back to what matters most to them, faster.
“Coming down with a cold is an unpleasant experience. In addition to dealing with symptoms, we can also feel more isolated and lonely,” said M’lou Walker, CEO of Matrixx. “At Zicam, we are always looking for ways to show our consumers that we are there for them. We are passionate about helping people get back to feeling better, so they can enjoy time with their family and friends. With our new Medicated Fruit Drops, we hope to bring a delectable mix of flavor into cold shortening, while making a difference in people’s lives.”
“We recognize that consumers are looking for more choices in form and flavor when in the cold aisle, so we are always innovating new ways to shorten colds,” Lori Norian, vice president of marketing at Matrixx, said. “We care about those using our products, and with our new Medicated Fruit Drops we aimed to create another delicious, yet unique, way to get better faster. Early results are showing that consumers agree.”