Need for fiber supplements booms
NEW YORK — As many as 16% of those Americans who take supplements actively take a fiber supplement, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition 2016 Annual Survey on Dietary Supplements. And usage skews younger — 21% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years old who supplement take fiber, compared to 9% of adults over the age of 55 years who take a supplement.
That means there may be an opportunity to entice more seniors to take a fiber supplement. A 2014 Frost & Sullivan report on the healthcare-cost savings associated with supplementing determined that if U.S. adults over the age of 55 years old with elevated cholesterol took a specific amount of psyllium dietary fiber supplements, it could lead to cumulative healthcare savings of $19.9 billion — between 2013 to 2020 — by reducing CHD disease-related medical events by 11.5%.
“The need for fiber is only growing,” said Lou Machin, managing director at Lifelab Health. “Consumers of all ages are not getting the recommended amount from diet alone, so supplementation — if it’s made easy to take — is key.”
According to Lifelab consumer research, there are several “must haves” when it comes to fiber supplements. Consumers want a fiber supplement that’s easy to mix, not gritty or chunky, palatable, includes an option for either flavored or not flavored, odorless and quick to take.
“Seniors have multiple health issues and are concerned that the products they take are not adding any chemicals or GMO and gluten to their diets,” Machin said. “They already take medicines for various health issues, so the last thing they want to add is a fiber product that isn’t as natural as possible.”
Lifelab Health’s NuSyllium
Lifelab Health in August introduced NuSyllium. NuSyllium’s 100% certified organic fiber blend is free of artificial additives, GMOs, gluten, dairy, tree nut and peanut, and has zero trans fat. NuSyllium Organic Natural Fiber promotes digestive health and regularity, including occasional constipation; helps lower cholesterol levels and promotes heart health; helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and supports weight management by helping to feel full between meals.
Probiotics see robust growth
NEW YORK — New findings that support the use of probiotics in treating a variety of disorders are helping to create interest in the category, according to Kline’s “Digestive Health, Immunity, and Probiotics: U.S. Market Analysis and Opportunities” published in late August.
“We have seen several new probiotic launches recently appealing to specific conditions or groups of consumers, such as immune support, women’s health and children’s immunity,” said Laura Mahecha, Kline’s Healthcare Industry manager.
Product delivery has changed. While most probiotics on the market still are available in tablet or caplet forms, new delivery systems — such as drinks, sodas, chews, cubes, liquids, gummies, fizzy powders and prefilled straws — are becoming more popular.
Probiotics, including combined probiotics with prebiotics, experienced robust growth fueled by a strong consumer interest due to supporting research studies, new product innovation and increased advertising. In addition, such companies as The Clorox Co. and Royal DSM are increasing distribution of their respective brands being sold in the food, drug and mass retail outlets. Royal DSM, with its digestive health brands Culturelle and UP4 A Happier Inside, acquired in 2016, holds a significant 13.5% market share across all channels, Kline said.
“Consumers are looking for high-quality products they can trust, and there is increasing demand for supplements to be supported by scientific studies and positive clinical trial outcomes to evidence their efficacy,” said Alexa Wood, brand manager at Bio-Kult. “Also of interest to consumers is the number and types of bacterial strains used, with evidence indicating that having a more diverse range of bacteria within the gut confers the greatest health benefits.”
Bio-Kult’s Infantis dietary supplement
One probiotic to keep tabs on is Bio-Kult’s Infantis. Bio-Kult crossed the pond late last year and is making significant inroads with its U.K. multistrain probiotic brand. “Multistrain products, with their potential to exert their effects throughout the gut and benefit a greater number of digestive conditions, are particularly popular,” brand manager Alexa Wood said. Infantis contains seven probiotic strains along with omega 3 and vitamin D to boost an infant’s GI health.
Antacids drive dollars as PPIs open to store-brand competition
NEW YORK — Last month, the last of the branded proton-pump inhibitors was opened to store-brand competition as Perrigo brought a Nexium 24HR equivalent to market. Speaking with analysts, Perrigo president and CEO John Hendrickson expected private label to grab at least a 25% share of the $300 million in Nexium 24HR sales. “It’s been three years without having a store-brand equivalent to Nexium,” Hendrickson said. “We have the other PPIs in our portfolio, but not that.”
That doesn’t bode well for the gastrointestinal tablet category, which was relatively flat with a slight decline of 0.6% to $3.2 billion across multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 13, according to IRI. No more PPIs are expected to switch, which means that growth pipeline is no longer available.
GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Tums antacid business has historically performed counterintuitively to the category. With each new antacid advancement that’s brought to market — from H2 blockers to PPIs — sales of the immediate-relief calcium carbonate antacid continue to grow. And this year is no exception, sales of Tums totaled $70.5 million for the period, up 25.5%, while sales of the premium-positioned Tums Smoothies were up 10.6% to $55.9 million.
Sales of McNeil Consumer’s Imodium AD tablets were up 48.9% to $41.6 million in the period. Late last year, McNeil successfully defended its Imodium AD patent against store-brand competition.
Reformulation sparks sales resurgence
Bayer also is realizing a sales resurgence of its Alka-Seltzer brand in the digestives aisle, following a reformulation of the brand that was introduced this spring. Sales of the brand were up 53% to $25.9 million. “The reformulation is based on the consumer trend moving toward single-indication products, [treating] upset stomach and heartburn,” Andre Schmidt, U.S. medical affairs VP for Bayer Consumer Health, told Drug Store News.
The liquid side of the gastrointestinal business looks more promising. Overall, sales of $1 billion were up 2.1%, with brand leader Miralax up slightly by 1.2% to $201.5 million and Pepto Bismol up 5% to $93.1 million.
Long-term brand building
A brand to watch is Prestige Brands’ recently acquired Fleet line of laxatives. Sales of Fleet tablets were flat for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 13, with $25.4 million, and the Fleet liquid formulations were down slightly by 1.5% to $20.5 million. But the brand is about to get an infusion of advertising and support from its new parent. “Its overall business performance in our first full quarter of ownership was in line with our expectations, and included strong 7% revenue growth,” Ron Lombardi, president and CEO of Prestige Brands, recently told investors. “Our priorities for Fleet are now shifting into long-term brand building and incremental supply chain opportunities,” he said. “Fleet was in a bit of a better shape in terms of the things that they had in their pipeline when we acquired the business, but we’re going to come at it with a much longer view and a much bigger investment opportunity than the previous owners.”