Latest homeopathy launches drive category
With the homeopathy category continuing to grow, companies are rolling out new products to meet demands of consumers increasingly seeking alternative products. Here are a few recent additions to the category.
Boiron adds to Arnicare line
Boiron has launched Arnicare Roll-on and Arnicare Roll-on Twin Pack. The products deliver Boiron’s popular Arnicare Gel in a new no-mess application method. The Boiron Arnicare line relieves muscle pain, stiffness, swelling from injuries and bruising, the company said. The single active ingredient is Arnica montana, a mountain plant from the daisy family. It has no traditional strong medicine smell and is free of fragrances, dyes and parabens. Arnicare cools and refreshes upon contact and is residue-free, nonsticky, nongreasy and water-based, Boiron said. Roll-on products make up roughly 10% of the external analgesics category and are growing at the rate of 91% in mass market outlets, the company said, noting that its twin pack is positioned for active consumers to keep one at home and take one with them. Boiron’s Arnicare line includes creams, an ointment, oral medications and an arthritis pain formula. The line, which is scent-free, fulfills a niche for external pain relievers made from natural active ingredients.
Hyland’s launches Stress and Sleep line, adds to non-NSAID line
Hyland’s has launched the Harmony line, a collection of three products featuring all-natural active ingredients to help tackle stress, sleep struggles and associated tension and irritability that come with fatigue. The collection consists of Awaken natural fatigue relief; Calm natural relief of anxiousness, nervousness and irritability; and Rest, for occasional sleeplessness and restlessness due to stress. Hyland’s also is reintroducing ArnicAid and ArniSport, natural pain relief options the company said helps athletes recover from intense training. The natural alternatives to NSAIDs are formulated for athletes and are sold in Hyland’s on-the-go packaging for ease of use, Hyland’s said. The quick-dissolve tablets provide natural relief to the symptoms of injury and overexertion. Hyland’s ArnicAid and ArniSport leverage the equity of arnica montana, but with additional active ingredients to more fully address post-workout aches and pains, allowing the athlete to realize a more complete recovery. ArnicAid is optimized for relief of pain from injuries, which responds best to ice and rest. ArniSport is optimized for relief of pain from overexertion, which responds best to heat and movement.
Zicam extends its line of cold remedy products
Homeopathic cold remedy Zicam Wild Cherry Lozenges not only shorten colds, but they soothe sore throats and coughs, too, according to the company. Zicam said the wild cherry flavor lozenges are clinically proven to shorten a cold when taken at the first sign. Individually wrapped lozenges make it convenient to take anywhere, so the consumer can have them handy at that first sniffle, sneeze or scratchy throat. The wild cherry flavor, with cooling menthol, contains two formulations of zinc and is nondrowsy and non-habit forming.
Capitalizing on homeopathy’s big break
Homeopathic remedies are coming to the rescue of consumers seeking a unique way to combat illnesses and other maladies.
According to SPINS, for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 12, sales of homeopathic medicines in multi-outlet stores totaled more than $437.3 million, a 12.5% increase compared with the same period the previous year. The biggest segment was cold and flu at $174.4 million, followed by pain relief at $84.9 million and children’s at $81.6 million. The biggest percentage gain was in digestive, which totaled just under $1.9 million in sales, but saw a 58.7% increase.
In addition, it appears that the Internet is helping sales. Industry officials have said that many shoppers are going online to find out more about what homeopathic remedies can do for them, and where to buy these solutions. Meanwhile, large retailers are helping consumers find these products by posting information about homeopathic products on their websites. CVS Pharmacy, for example, has a section on its website that lists homeopathic treatments by condition, as well as articles summarizing studies that evaluated the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies for each condition. The Walgreens homeopathy website neatly arranges the homeopathic remedies by condition, including allergy and sinus, pain relief and digestive health. Rite Aid also has a homeopathic remedies page and an herbs A-to-Z page.
Retailers’ online approaches highlight something that manufacturers know well — that the category is no longer a niche.
“Homeopathic medicines have been widely embraced by consumers and the medical community,” said Gary Wittenberg, vice president of national accounts at Newtown Square, Pa.-based Boiron USA. “Consumers no longer expect homeopathic products to be found just in natural product stores. They have come to expect a variety of these products at food, drug and mass.”
In fact, Wittenberg said Boiron’s two flagship lines, Arnicare and Oscillococcinum, are widely available at national and major retail chains. They also are merchandised in various sections of the stores to make it easier for consumers to find the products. For instance, Arnicare Bruise and Calendula topicals can be found in the first aid aisle. Boiron’s recently launched Arnicare Footcare is located in the foot care section.
“Consumers are speaking with their wallets and are looking for more personalized healthcare options like homeopathy,” Wittenberg said. “Ultimately, the big win is that consumers are using homeopathic and natural products concomitantly, and therefore increasing retailers’ market baskets.”
More accepted and growing
The homeopathic remedies category is continuing to grow, according to Yann Pigeaire, director of marketing at Similasan in Highlands Ranch, Colo. “In eye care for instance, which is Similasan’s main business, homeopathic eye drops grew approximately 8% year-to-date,” he said. “The other eye drops grew less than 4%.”
The consumer trend that is driving the growth is that people are trying natural alternatives first, or in conjunction with conventional remedies. “This is true not only in eye care, but also cough-cold and other categories,” Pigeaire said. Among Similasan’s newest products is Ear Ringing Remedy drops for people who suffer from ringing, or other such sounds as buzzing or roaring, in the ears. The formula, developed by Similasan’s formulator in Switzerland, contains such active ingredients as mustard seed extract.
Others agree that homeopathic remedies are gaining recognition and becoming mainstream. “The homeopathic category is continuing to be accepted in a broader consumer base,” said Les Hamilton, president of Los Angeles-based Hyland’s. “The consumer is looking for natural alternatives and homeopathic items to provide the safe and effective relief they are looking for.”
It helps that retailers have embraced the category and made homeopathic remedies more easily accessed than before. “Natural is still a driving factor in the consumer choice today,” Hamilton said. “Natural products, including homeopathy, will continue to expand into new categories as the demand for retailers to carry these items will grow.”
Hyland’s offers baby oral pain relief products for day and nighttime, Restful Legs and new Restful Legs PM, as well as a new product brand under the Dr. Wise name. The company said this new line of five items addresses key indications associated with menopause and the changes a woman experiences as she progresses through this natural state. “We have been very pleased with the retailer acceptance of the new brand and look forward to helping our female consumers at this stage of life,” Hamilton said.
Another trend driving sales in the homeopathic category is people taking their health matters into their own hands. “The wellness industry is exploding across categories,” said Kim Knoblauch, brand manager at Nelsons, a British company with U.S. headquarters in North Andover, Mass. “Consumers are taking a more active role in both their physical and mental well-being.”
In response, retailers are merchandising homeopathic products in mainstream stores in line next to big OTC options. Among the winners, Knoblauch said, are products that reduce stress and support a healthy sleep cycle, as these are gaining share and helping consumers round out their holistic approach to well-being.
“Retailers recognize that consumers want what they want where they shop, regardless of drug class or category,” Knoblauch said. “Food/drug/mass retailers traditionally have had small natural sets with a handful of natural channel brands. We’re seeing those natural brands move in line with the vitamins and supplements.”
Essential oils are another huge trend, said Puneet “Guru” Nanda, founder of GuruNanda in Buena Park, Calif. They are especially popular among women between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. “Essential oils are not something new,” he said. “The oils are from biblical times. Look at frankincense and myrrh and the wise men.”
Nanda said within the segment, the three most popular oils are lavender, peppermint and tea tree. For years, essential oils were available in such stores as Whole Foods at high retail prices. Now, GuruNanda has brought them to Walmart. By using its “Aromatherapy from Farm to You” approach, the company is able to keep costs down and make 42 different oils available at the mass retailer, he said.
“The essential oils business was in the hands of perfumers and flavorists for the last 50, 60 years or more,” Nanda said. “We saw an opportunity to bring high quality essential oils by sourcing it from farm to customers in a very efficient way.”
The oils GuruNanda offers use real oil, not synthetic versions that perfumers, flavorists or flavor chemists specialize in. “We are bringing 100% natural oils,” he said. “That is not the case with some other companies.” Frankincense is one of the offerings, and the oil is supposed to help the user stay focused, centered and relaxed. The company also offers such blends as Thrive to help purify, energize and boost immunity; Calm Muscle to relax muscles and minor aches; and others.
A regulatory complication
There are some headwinds as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last December that it was proposing a new, risk-based enforcement approach to drug products labeled as homeopathic. The agency said that it has not updated its homeopathic drug enforcement policies since 1988, and that it needed to “better address situations where homeopathic treatments are being marketed for serious diseases and/or conditions, but where the products have not been shown to offer clinical benefits.”
The FDA’s draft guidance, “Drug Products Labeled as Homeopathic Guidance for FDA Staff and Industry,” outlined its risk-based approach and listed the factors that would make the FDA prioritize enforcement action against a homeopathic drug product company. The factors included, for example, if a drug labeled as homeopathic contained a controlled substance, was reported to have adverse events or safety issues, or if the drug was administered other than orally or topically, meaning by injection.
The FDA also noted that guidance represents the current thinking of the FDA, is not binding and does not establish legally enforceable responsibilities.
For its part, the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists released a statement that the group shares the FDA’s commitment to protecting public health, and noted, “The draft guidance would not materially affect the vast majority of homeopathic drug products available in the United States, given these products’ wide margin of safety and manufacturing according to current good manufacturing practices.”
Expanding the sexual wellness set
Innovations in merchandising, approach drive growth
The sexual revolution — at least at mass retail stores — is exploding. Now, the question is whether the increased emphasis on store shelves will lead to more volume from this complex category.
A look at the sexual wellness sets at many retail outlets would find a healthy selection of family planning products and an ever-expanding variety of sexual intimacy products. While the focus is still on health and wellness, manufacturers have said that innovation — alongside a move toward comfort and pleasure — should help push sales higher.
According to IRI, a Chicago-based research firm, for the 52 weeks ended July 15, total U.S. multi-outlet sales of male contraceptives totaled nearly $353.7 million, a decrease of 2.8% compared with the same period the previous year. Unit sales at just over 40 million decreased 3.25%.
“Sales have been relatively stagnant,” said Jared Maraio, senior director of brand strategy at Boston-based Global Protection. “Breakout products are taking share from other products and not bringing new people to the category.”
The solution, he said, is innovation, and Global Protection recently launched several products designed to encourage people to use condoms and lubricant. One new product, Ultra Feel, is in a 2-in-1 with a super thin condom that features a micro-roll base and an integrated separate pouch containing 2 ml of water-based lubricant.
“There is only so much lubricant you can get inside the condom, so you can decide how much lubricant you want to be using,” Maraio said. “Very few people use lubricant with condoms even though the FDA recommends it, so this will improve comfort.”
Lubricant sales in particular are a bright spot in the sexual wellness aisle. According to IRI, multi-outlet sales of personal lubricants totaled more than $13.05 million, up 4.29% compared with the same period the previous year. Global Protection’s Silk is a lubricant that contains no gluten, parabens or glycerin oil, and is pH-balanced for women’s bodies to prevent yeast infections.
The innovations, Maraio said, are a response to consumer feedback about comfort and other concerns. Because improved lubricants can help increase comfort, the innovation can encourage more condom use, which has overall pub-
lic health implications.
“Only 26% of consumers are using lubricant with condoms, so there is a big educational opportunity,” Maraio said. “These are the types of conversations we are having with retailers — how to encourage and grow the category rather than trade share from one hot product to another.”
One way innovation is growing the category is by bringing specialty retail consumers into the food, drug and mass category, according to Mike Woolard, CEO of Valencia, Calif.-based United Consortium. “What we saw was the lubricant category was down 2% in mainstream retailers, but up 7% globally, so something was amiss in mainstream,” he said. “We believe it’s lack of innovation and choice.”
The company recently launched Muse, a brand of flavored lubricants that Woolard said will help drive traffic back into category. The three flavors — crème brûlée, mint chocolate and salted caramel — are designed to spice up the evening, or for a special occasion, he said. “That is an advantage we have over the current manufacturers,” Woolard said. “Why would you use a water-based lubricant when you can use a flavored water-based lubricant?”
Also new are single-use trial-size packets that Woolard said can be ideal for travel, so people do not have to pack a bottle of Muse lubricant. To help retailers drive sales, the brand offers floor displays and shelf displays. “We designed displays that catch your eye,” Woolard said. “Until now, retailers had the opposite approach, not to bring attention to the space.”
A changing audience
As the sexual wellness assortment changed, the messaging around the category has changed, too. Trojan Brand Condoms, a brand of Ewing, N.J.-based Church & Dwight, has launched a campaign reintroducing Trojan Man. The company said the character, which was introduced more than 20 years ago, is an advocate for safe and pleasurable sexual exploration. On TV and social media, Trojan Man offers witty, sex-positive advice and a variety of Trojan condoms, as well as encourages people “to explore with confidence.”
The campaign reflects one way the category is adapting to a shifting audience.
“The culture around sex and relationships is changing,” said Stephanie Berez, Trojan’s brand director. “People are having less sex; they’re finding new forms of intimacy and waiting longer, yet they are also being riskier in their actions. Today’s landscape is more confusing and challenging than ever, resulting in endless questions and the search for answers.”
Berez said that condoms are facing headwinds with the growing number of options to manage sexual well-being, including pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and long-acting reversible contraception, or LARC. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PrEP is a way for people to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. Also according to the CDC, LARC options as IUDs or implants have seen an increase. The key to messaging around these trends has been highlighting protection against sexually transmitted infections.
“As a category, we need to continue adapting to the changing landscape and educate young people on the importance and benefits of using condoms,” Berez said. “Trojan wants to continue to remind people that condoms are still the only method of preventing both STIs and unintended pregnancy.”
Manufacturers also are targeting an older demographic, especially women who are entering perimenopause. The onset of perimenopause is typically age 40, and such symptoms as mood changes, adult acne and vaginal dryness are due to hormone flux and eventual decline.
“There are over 85 million women in North America who are perimenopausal and menopausal,” said Chia Chia Sun, founder of Damiva in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. “The first millennials will enter perimenopause in three years as the eldest millennial women are 37 [years old] in 2018.”
The company manufactures labial and vaginal moisturizers, and recently introduced two breast products. Mary by Damiva is a probiotic nipple cream for optimal breastfeeding, and Dolly by Damiva is a breast balancing cream for breast tenderness due to menstruation, perimenopause and menopause.
Consumers are looking for products that are efficacious, high quality and natural. “Chemical toxins are much more hormonally disruptive as women enter menopause,” Sun said. Also, women are seeking products that are innovative because of their unique needs, affordable because women will require these products often over time, transparent due to the selectivity and sophistication of the older woman, and multigenerational because millennial mothers who are having children at an older age also now are entering perimenopause.
As with the larger consumer packaging goods space, ingredients are the subject of increased focus from consumers in the sexual wellness category. “Consumers are starting to understand organic in a big way,” said Wendy Strgar, CEO and founder of Good Clean Love in Eugene, Ore. “Organic lubricant is our most popular product.”
The company offers Good Clean Love Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant made with aloe vera and infused with lemon and vanilla, and is designed for the most sensitive skin types. The product contains no petrochemicals, parabens or gluten, and is vegan and cruelty-free. The company also offers BioNude Ultra Sensitive Natural Moisturizing Personal Lubricant, with patented Bio-Match technology that the company said may help protect the sensitive vaginal ecosystem, while also providing maximum natural glide.
“This system is a lot like gut health. When we strip our gut of good bacteria, we mess up the equilibrium,” Strgar said, noting that the water-based products are iso-osmotic, designed to mimic the body’s natural lubrication.
Out from behind the counter
One segment of the family planning category that has changed is emergency contraceptives. Plan B One-Step, which Pittsburgh-based Foundation Consumer Healthcare acquired last November, is, according to the company, the top-selling SKU in OTC in retail dollar sales in the United States, and an important backup option for millions of women. Regulatory changes a few years ago that brought emergency contraceptives out from behind the pharmacy counter helped the growth.
“Before the over-the-counter approval of Plan B One-Step in 2013, the product’s previous placement behind the counter was one of the single greatest barriers to access and timely use,” said Tara Evans, marketing director for women’s health. “Through intense consumer demand for this critical women’s health product and robust retailer alliances, Plan B One-Step is now available nationwide at nearly 38,000 retail stores without a prescription or ID, and is used by millions of women every year.”
Foundation Consumer Healthcare partners with major retailers across the country on behalf of Plan B One-Step to offer an empowering consumer purchasing experience to women nationwide. The company’s role, Evans said, is to ensure the consumer is educated on Plan B One-Step and can access the product when she needs it. The growth is part of the bigger evolution of the family planning category. “Consumers demand easier and more convenient access to a variety of important family planning products,” Evans said. “Companies, manufacturers and retailers alike are responding to this call.”
Another company looking to respond to this need is Combe, which launched its emergency contraceptive, Preventeza, in May. The White Plains, N.Y.-based company, known for its Vagisil line of products, got into the emergency contraception space in an effort to change the conversation around how people think about it, according to co-CEO Keech Combe Shetty.
“There’s a lot of misinformation around sexual health and the role of emergency contraceptives,” Combe Shetty said, noting that though 1-in-2 women might need an emergency contraceptive, less than 20% will end up using one when needed.
“The conversation has been about taking it after the fact, and I don’t think that’s how it should be approached,” she said. “The natural conversation to have about emergency contraceptive is that it should be part of your sexual wellness arsenal.”
Though Combe Shetty said that in the weeks after Preventeza’s launch, the emergency contraceptive category grew at a rate higher than the previous year.
“For us, with this launch, profits are really secondary,” she said. “We launched Preventeza trying to shift that conversation. It’s really about access, choice and availability for women.”