The natural trend hits cough-cold aisle
Echoing growing consumer interest in cleaner ingredients that’s coursing through center store, the cough-cold aisle is playing host to an increasing number of natural products.
“Natural continues to be a big factor in this category,” Philip Gentlesk, principal at Bedford, N.H.-based Lanes Brands, said. “Retailers have to offer natural alternatives to conventional products. A lot of them are making a point of doing that.”
Lanes Brands currently is preparing a major relaunch of its Jakemans cough drops with a new look this year. “The changes we’ve made to the packaging makes a modern appeal while retaining that nostalgic apothecary look and feel,” Gentlesk said.
And consumers aren’t just interested in natural products for themselves — parents are a key demographic that manufacturers are working to appeal to, as well.
“Natural is the new normal,” Worth Anne Herrell, co-founder of Dallas-based Oilogic Essential Oil Care, said. The company markets products with essential oils as natural remedies. “Millennial parents are seeking solution-oriented products that meet the needs of their unique child. Our Stuffy Nose & Cough [essential oil product] is highlighted as a natural solution to desperate parents who are seeking help to comfort their child, who most likely is too young to take over the counter medication.”
Rather than only seeking natural remedies once they’re already sick, consumers are increasingly looking for immune-boosting products to keep them from catching the latest bug. One of the beneficiaries of this trend has been EZC Pak, which makes five-day immune support packs with supplements that include Echinacea, zinc and vitamin C.
“EZC Pak is leading the charge in terms of new natural product offerings in the cold and flu category,” Sarath Malepati, medical director at PPC Group, said. “This subcategory of combination immune support products is among the fastest growing overall in cold and flu. We had quadruple digit store growth in 2017, and plan to keep the pedal to the metal in 2018 as our distribution continues to grow.”
Another preventive OTC area seeing innovation is hand sanitizer, as more consumers look for products that can offer multiple benefits — something Jessica Postiglione, co-founder of New York City-based Olika, said, which the sanitizer upstart is looking to capitalize on. “Consumers are keen on multitasking products, whether it’s a multisymptom cold relief medicine or a hand sanitizer that both protects and moisturizes the skin,” she said.
Olika last year introduced Birdie — a 2-in-1 hand sanitizer containing a spray and dry wipes. “Consumers are consistently expecting more,” Postiglione said. “The brands that stay ahead of the curve are the ones which continue to innovate across all aspects of their product, from packaging and formulation to online presence, relevance and personality.”
A balm-y cold season
Cold weather doesn’t just bring sniffles and sneezes — it also can bring dry lips. The lip care segment is tied to cough-cold — which this year is bringing lip balm manufacturers a boon.
“Cold, dry weather and illness both really impact our business because we are merchandised in the cough-cold planogram,” said Jona Mancuso, vice president of marketing at Franklin, Wis.-based Carma Labs. “The more people who come down the aisle for illness-related reasons will generally have a positive impact on our business.”
That being the case, in the same way that sales of cough-cold products are off to a fast start, so are lip balm sales. “Pre-season, September [and on] looks like we are off to a slightly faster start than prior years,” Mancuso said.
The trend toward natural also is resonating among consumers seeking relief from dry, irritated or chapped lips. “Natural is one of the most important consumer trends across all personal care categories,” Mancuso said. “Natural/organic personal care shoppers are buying more now than they ever have.”
Mancuso said Carma Labs is looking to capitalize on both of these trends in the coming months with the line extension across its Carmex Comfort Care brand of a natural offering this spring and the extension of its Daily Care Tube three-pack in flavors that officials said have broad appeal. Multipacks in particular have been drawing more of consumers’ dollars recently.
“Multipack category volume has continued to increase year-over-year,” Mancuso said. “Over the past four years, it’s grown from 14% of the category to 18% of the category. That is something we expect to continue as our retailers look to increase their average unit retail.”
OutPlay launches LactiGo workout gel
OutPlay earlier this week introduced its patent-pending flagship sports performance product LactiGo, a fast-acting topical gel that helps relieve soreness.
“LactiGo has changed the way I train my players. We can go harder for so much longer and not have the soreness that would normally be associated with that kind of volume of work. This is a revolutionary product with astronomical results that will change college sports,” Je’Ney Jackson, former director of football strength and conditioning, Kansas University, said.
Exercise physiologist Chad Macias and nutritionist Tim Sharpe collaborated on a study of LatiGo through the University of Western States that was published in 2016 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Exercise Physiology. Using elite male soccer players from the Italian Serie League as test subjects, Macias and Sharpe reported an “increase in aerobic and anaerobic work capacity” following the use of LactiGo.
“LactiGo is the real deal. The study conducted by Chad Macias and Tim Sharpe using elite soccer players as subjects proved that the gel enhances sports performance in a big way and is safe,” Brad Dieter, OutPlay scientific advisory board chair, said.
A 100ml (3.4 fl oz) bottle of LactiGo retails for a suggested $29.99.