DSN - May 2019

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MAY 2019

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Community Pharmacy Accreditation: The path to value-based care. ™


ervice specific and scalable, The Compliance Team’s Exemplary Provider® accreditation for Community Pharmacy gives independents as well as chains a cost-effective means to validate quality claims across the full spectrum of your business operations and patient care practices. In addition to being Medicare approved for Part B— DMEPOS, our proprietary operations-based

accreditation process can easily expand to cover compounding, infusion, specialty drug, travel/ retail clinic, long-term care, and telepharmacy services; topped off by Patient-Centered Pharmacy Home™, our program for advanced Rx practices. For more details, call us at 215 654 9110 or visit our web site: TheComplianceTeam.org.

YEARS 1994-2019 *The Compliance Team, Inc. is approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to accredit Part A-Rural Health Clinic, Patient-Centered Medical Home, and Part B-DMEPOS providers.

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MAY 2019

Pharmacies in Supermarkets P.74

Panning for Gold Retailers’ ongoing search for the right talent

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TPMS Third Party Management System

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Vol. 41 No. 5 DrugStoreNews.com


40 Counter Talk

with GMDC | Retail Tomorrow’s Patrick Spear

26 NACDS Annual Roundup Products coming soon from manufacturers

42 Counter Talk with Synergy Group’s Bill Pizzico

46 CBD Product Spotlight

44 One-On-One

Hot new offerings in the CBD and hemp category

with Green Roads’ Laura Baldwin Fuentes

50 Focus On: Functional Remedies

94 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

56 Laboring to Find Workers How retailers can attract employees — and keep them around

INSIDE BEAUTY 62 Multicultural Road Map


How companies can reach multicultural beauty consumers

8 Editor’s Note

68 Splish Splash

10 Industry News 24 Products to Watch 30 Counter Talk with CV Sciences’ Douglas “Duffy” McKay


The bath and body care categories cash in on consumers’ little indulgences

72 Spotlight On: Hair Care


34 Counter Talk

74 Supermarket Sweep

with Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy’s Jamie Weiner Riskin

Supermarket operators look to partnerships to build out their pharmacy operations

36 Counter Talk

80 News

with Chapman University School of Pharmacy’s Lawrence “L.B.” Brown

HEALTH 82 Do You Hear That? The ear care category finds opportunity across generations


88 Products

Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

CONSUMABLES 90 Candy and Snacks


Innovations keep the category fresh for demanding shoppers

DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rates: Manufacturers, schools, libraries and all others allied to the field $119. Canadian subscribers $129. Foreign subscribers $225. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, Circulation Fulfillment Director, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. For change of address, six weeks notice to Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200 is requested. Give old and new address and zip code. If possible, enclose address portion from cover on previous issue. Subscription changes also may be emailed to drugstorenews@omeda.com, or call 847-564-1468. Vol. 41, No. 5, May 2019. Copyright © 2019 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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Sunnier Skies Worry has given way to cautious optimism as retailers implement strategies to fend off Amazon By Seth Mendelson


oy, was I wrong — well, at least I hope so. At the 2018 NACDS Annual Meeting, I was pretty certain that the mass retail industry I have come to know over the last 35-plus years was on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown. A combination of digital retailing, changing consumer shopping patterns, and the simple fact that many said retail was just not as profitable as it once was, led me and many others to believe that our industry was on the verge of a complete meltdown. The result, many feared Seth Mendelson Editor in Chief/ was that more and more chains would go out of business Associate Publisher and many of the survivors would be left in a state of perpetual desperation. Was the sky falling? Well, many people involved in retail said it could be. What a difference a year makes. There was definitely a different feeling in the air at this year’s event, again at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., in late April. No gloom and doom were present as retailers and suppliers seemed to agree that, in a very short time, many are coming to the grips with the fact that Amazon and its ilk simply are becoming another type of competition, and they can be dealt with in the same way as other retail operations. Strong financial earnings and healthy stock prices are not hurting the situation either. Retailers are awash in optimism and those good feelings are encouraging many of the more progressive merchants to take the right steps to compete with their digital rivals on their own playing field and to make consumers feel more comfortable in their traditional stores. Happy days, of course, can be fleeting. The mass-retail community must remain committed to doing all they can to stay ahead of the curve. Innovation absolutely is necessary as is staying aware of consumer demands and needs.

Amazon and its ilk simply are becoming another type of competition, and they can be dealt with in the same way as other retail operations. NACDS served its needs again, bringing the industry together both to discuss ideas on how to keep things moving in the right direction and to celebrate a great year through a great lineup of speakers and sessions and some very nice nighttime events. But, now the hard work starts and that means that retailers and their suppliers must develop more plans to keep the momentum moving forward. The goal is simple: We need to make sure that the optimism felt at this year’s event is once again felt next year when we all meet again on the white, sandy beaches of South Florida. dsn


An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Vice President, Publisher Eric Savitch (856) 489-3336, esavitch@ensembleiq.com Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Associate Managing Editor David Salazar (212) 756-5114, dsalazar@ensembleiq.com Senior Editor Sandra Levy (845) 893-9573, slevy@ensembleiq.com Desk Editor Maria Manliclic (212) 756-5093, mmanliclic@ensembleiq.com Online Editor Gisselle Gaitan (212) 756-5138, ggaitan@ensembleiq.com SALES & BUSINESS Beauty Director Laura Fontana (440) 724-4369, lfontana@ensembleiq.com Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Brand Marketing Manager Mary Ellen Magee (856) 419-8411, mmagee@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@ensembleiq.com Director of Audience and Data Gail Reboletti (224) 231-6363, greboletti@ensembleiq.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, destey@ensembleiq.com Creative Director Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com Art Director Amy Kelkenberg PRESIDENT Consumer Goods Retail Business Jennifer Litterick (647) 946-9219, jlitterick@ensembleiq.com CUSTOMER SERVICE Having a problem with your subscription? Send us full details with the mailing label of the last copy you received, along with your telephone number. Write to: Circulation Fulfillment Director, Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200 Northbrook, IL 60065-3200; email drugstorenews@omeda.com; or call (847) 564-1468 CIRCULATION LIST MANAGER Elizabeth Jackson MeritDirect (847) 492-1350 x 318. REPRINTS PARS International, LF-Reprints@parsintl.com, (212) 221-9595 x435, tinyurl.com/LF-reprints. Single copy price is $20 for a regular issue and $100 for a statistical issue. PERMISSIONS For permission to reuse material from Drug Store News/DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) please access www.copyright.com or contact the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 646-2600, (855) 239-3415. CCC is a not-for-profit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of uses.

CORPORATE OFFICERS Executive Chairman Alan Glass Chief Executive Officer David Shanker Chief Financial Officer Dan McCarthy Chief Operating Officer Joel Hughes Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several


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The Compliance Team Focuses on ValueBased Care Model

MyBite Takes Honors at ECRM Event MyBite Vitamins won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Hers Multivitamin during ECRM’s Weight Management, Sports Nutrition,

Vitamin & Hemp Solutions EPPS in April. Real Ketones was the finalist for its Real Ketones Prime D+ product. The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during the EPPS meetings. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation and packaging. “MyBite Vitamins has created a new way of bringing excitement to the multivitamin category, and Real Ketones has done a fantastic job creating a product that addresses the demand for keto products,” said Tony Giovanini, senior vice president of HBC at ECRM, said. “They are both examples of suppliers delivering innovation to help retailers differentiate their assortments.” MyBite Vitamins offers a full line of vitamins, including multivitamins for her, him and children. Additional wellness boosts include calcium, sleep, beauty, immune and energy. Every bite is only 25 calories or fewer per piece, vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher-certified, and free of artificial colors and flavors, company officials said. The winning MyBite Vitamins Hers Multivitamin offers the newest vitamin delivery system from Kate Jones and Marty Rifkin, the creators of gummy vitamins. This multivitamin is a bite-sized piece packed with chocolate, smooth caramel, roasted peanuts and a whipped center. MyBite Vitamins were developed to look and taste like a chocolate or candy treat, with a flavor profile that enables this new delivery system to appeal to millennials, Gen Xers and boomers. “After doing extensive consumer taste tests, it was clear that MyBite has more mass appeal than ordinary gummies” Jones said. “These little bites are packed with essential nutrients to help you feel healthy and happy — body, mind and taste buds. The multivitamin is expertly formulated, gluten-free and vegetarian. For only 25 calories, you can enjoy a vitamin free of artificial colors, flavors or added preservatives.” Real Ketones was founded to help consumers learn about and experience the benefits of ketones as part of their overall health regimens. In addition to its products, each customer receives daily guidance, keto tips, grocery lists, recipes and motivation directly to their email or text, as well as access to one-on-one support through their app profile. Whether their customers have questions or just need some extra motivation, they can send a message directly to one of the Real Ketones team members.


Eyeing the need for pharmacies to provide advanced services to patients with chronic conditions and to lower healthcare costs, The Compliance Team is introducing a pharmacy accreditation program meant to act as a road map to value-based care. “Pharmacy Services with Chronic Care Management and Patient Centered Pharmacy Home [accreditations] address advanced-level MTM, prescription care planning and care coordination with prescribers,” said Sandra Canally, founder and CEO of the Spring House, Pa.-based company. “Additionally, TelePharmacy [Accreditation], where allowed by state regulation, expands the care offerings to patients in areas that normally would not have access to a value-based pharmacy model,” she said. Canally also said that value-based care is being driven by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as other payers, in order to get better care for individuals, better health for populations and lower costs. “Payers are using incentives to improve care and tying payments to value,” she said. “There are core standards within the accreditation program that focus the pharmacy on their value-based model. More importantly, a third-party validation of the pharmacy’s quality will give them a competitive edge to payers and potential prescribers for collaboration. For those of us in health care serving patients, or, more importantly, that have a family member on multiple medications, ineffective or lack of medication management is a huge problem. Pharmacy and primary care working together in a more coordinated effort is part of the solution.”


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©2019 Unilever XTM19011

Visit marketplaceinsights.unileverusa.com or call your Unilever Representative to learn more about our insights to drive future growth.

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Conair Debuts Lip Plumping, Antiaging Light Therapy Device Personal care appliance company Conair is expanding its True Glow offerings with a focus on lip care. The Stamford, Conn.-based company is introducing the True Glow Light Therapy Solution – Anti-Aging Lip Care and Plumper, a portable device the company said is clinically tested and proven to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The rechargeable device comes with relaxation goggles and uses 28 medicalgrade LED lights to provide antiaging benefits. Conair said it can help reduce the appearance of lip creases, vertical lip lines and smile lines at the corner of the mouth, as well as boost collagen and elastin production, which can help make lips fuller and plumper. “Light therapy works from the inside out to increase firmness and stimulate collagen, making lips look younger,” said Amanda Petruzzi, True Glow marketing manager at Conair.


Edgewell Personal Care to Acquire Shave Brand Harry’s Edgewell Personal Care is growing its brand portfolio. The Shelton, Conn.based company has announced a definitive agreement that will see it combine with shave brand Harry’s in a $1.37 billion cash-and-stock transaction.

Through this combination, the companies said they will look to bring together their complementary capabilities to create a next-generation product platform with potential for growth and value creation. “The combination of Edgewell and Harry’s is a pivotal step forward in further transforming our organization and strengthening our competitive position and ability to drive sustained growth and value creation,” said Rod Little, Edgewell’s president and CEO. “Building on Edgewell’s and Harry’s complementary strengths, our combined company will have leading brands and omnichannel capabilities that are essential to meet the needs of the modern consumer and win in today’s market environment. We are excited about our future and the opportunities we have to deliver superior long-term shareholder returns as a next-generation CPG platform.” As part of the combination, Edgewell, which makes the Schick brand of razors, and Harry’s said they are looking to create a platform that enables building and scaling the next generation of impactful consumer brands. “When we launched Harry’s six years ago, our vision was to create a grooming brand that better met our needs as consumers, and over time, a CPG platform that creates brands people love across more categories. Together with Edgewell, we see a significant opportunity to continue delivering on that vision, leveraging Edgewell’s advanced technology and global footprint alongside our customer-first approach, brand-building expertise and omnichannel capabilities,” said Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider, the co-founders and co-CEOs of Harry’s. Under the terms of the agreement, approximately 79% of the total value of the transaction will be paid in cash and 21% will be paid in Edgewell common stock. Upon completion of the transaction, Harry’s shareholders will own roughly 11% of Edgewell, the companies said.


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Spa Sciences’ Sima Offers At-Home Dermaplaning Device Spa Sciences’latest product is looking to

bring the dermaplaning experience to consumers’ homes. The Miami-based company’s Sima device is an at-home dermaplaning tool that uses sonic technology of up to 15,000 movements per minute to remove unwanted facial hair, buildup and dead skin cells. Spa Sciences said unlike in spa dermaplaning treatments that require a visit every 7-to-10 days, Sima offers the ability to complete the process at home. Sima is rechargeable and comes with eight singleuse dermaplaning heads (a two-month supply) and a charging cord. The threespeed device allows users to customize their treatment by finding the right speed for them. It also is cordless, allowing for a full range of motion, the company said. Spa Sciences said that after 14 days of use, 96% of users reported that their skin

looked more radiant, and 100% said their skin felt softer and looked smoother, and the product was simple to use.

The Relief Products Brings Overnight Eye-Relief Ointment to Shelves The Relief Products is expanding its col-

lection of homeopathic eye care offerings. The Reno, Nev.-based company is rolling out four ointments meant to be used overnight to relieve conditions that worsen at night, including pink eye, blepharitis, eye fatigue and allergies. Each of the new preservative-free ointments also includes an active ingredient for sleeplessness, which the company said makes it easier to fall asleep, the company said. The new products are: • PinkEye Relief PM, which temporarily relieves such nighttime pink eye symptoms as burning, watering, swelling, sensations of grittiness, and overnight crusting of the eye; • Eye Lid Relief PM, which offers relief of such blepharitis-like symptoms as crusting, gritty lids, swollen and red lids; • Eye Strain Relief PM, which temporarily relieves such nighttime eye strain symptoms as dry eyes, eye strain with headache, eye fatigue, blurry vision, and double vision; and • RedEye Relief PM, which is formulated to relieve such nighttime red eye symptoms as burning, stinging, itching, watering of the eyes, redness, and dry eyes. The Relief Products has launched the ointments at Walgreens, where they retail for $10.99 each.



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Clio Looks to Be Shoppers’ plusOne Clio, the makers of the plusOne

line of sexual wellness products, feel quite comfortable with the line’s place in the market now, after introducing the items last fall and retooling and refining them ever since. Officials at the Newtown, Mass.based company said they have been listening to consumer feedback and learning from shoppers regarding what they specifically wanted from the category. The result, they said, is a more “luxurious experience” at the same low price point — as low as $15 — that Clio always has offered. The line features a four-piece collection: The plusOne pocket-size Vibrating Bullet,

“rabbit”-style Dual Vibrating Massager, Vibrating Ring, and the multiuse Personal Massager. Each product is crafted with

body-safe silicone, is waterproof, and features rechargeable lithium ion batteries and a quick-charging USB cable.

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AbbVie’s Skyrizi Gets FDA Nod AbbVie has received the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa), an interleukin-23

Optimum Nutrition Introduces Crispy Protein Wafers Optimum Nutrition has added new options to its growing line of proteinpacked on-the-go snacks. The company now is offering ON Protein Wafers

layered with a protein-enhanced crème filling. “Most of us remember wafer sandwich cookies from when we were kids,” Sarah Teeter, director of marketing at Optimum Nutrition, said. “Our new ON Protein Wafers have that same amazing crunch and sweet center, but deliver a grown-up serving of complete protein in the protein-enhanced filling.” Available in four flavors — vanilla crème, chocolate crème, raspberry chocolate crème, and mocha crème — each wafer delivers 15 g of protein, 6 g of sugar and between 190 to 210 calories, the company said. “For a long time, it seemed consumers had to choose between convenience and good nutrition,” Teeter said. “ON has made it a priority to create convenient snacking options that deliver the great taste people want with a better for you nutritional profile. Indulgence, convenience and nutrition do not have to be mutually exclusive.” ON Protein Wafers can be found at sports nutrition retailers.

Hikma Launches 100th Injectable Hikma Pharmaceuticals is marking the launch of its 100th injectable product with the U.S. introduction of its vancomycin hydrochloride for injection. The product is available

inhibitor, for the treatment of moderateto-severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for either systemic therapy or phototherapy. “The complex nature of psoriasis and the variability or loss of treatment response over time can prevent some patients from achieving their treatment goals,” said Kenneth Gordon, a principal investigator at the ultIMMa-1 pivotal trial and professor and chair of dermatology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “In clinical trials, risankizumab demonstrated high levels of skin clearance that persisted through one year. I’m pleased the dermatology community now has a new option that can help patients achieve and maintain a high level of treatment response.” AbbVie vice chairman and president Michael Severino said, “The approval of Skyrizi is an important advance in the treatment of adults with plaque psoriasis who are seeking high levels of durable skin clearance that can be maintained over time. Skyrizi builds on AbbVie’s legacy in immunology, expanding our portfolio to help meet the evolving needs in psoriatic disease and reinforcing our continued pursuit of innovations that improve care for people living with immune-mediated conditions.”

in 5-g, 10-g and 750-mg dosage strengths. “Vancomycin hydrochloride for injection is an essential antibiotic used by hospitals to treat patients who have failed to respond to a number of other antibiotics, and it’s another important addition to our growing U.S. portfolio,” said Dan Motto, Hikma’s executive vice president of commercial and development, injectables. The drug is indicated to treat infections caused by susceptible strains of methicillin-resistant staphylococci, patients who can’t receive or haven’t responded to other treatments for vancomycin-susceptible organisms, and staphylococcal endocarditis, among other infections. Sales of the product in the three dosage strengths were $247 million for the year ended February 2019, according to IQVIA data.



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Teva Rolls out Generic Vesicare Teva Pharmaceutical has launched its generic version of Vesicare (solifenacin succinate) tablets.

The tablets, available in 5-mg and 10-mg doses in the United States, are a generic of Astellas’ branded product and are indicated for the treatment of overactive bladder in patients with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency and urinary frequency. “About 33 million Americans have overactive bladder. We’re proud to offer another treatment option for this common condition,” said Brendan O’Grady, Teva executive vice president and Head of North America commercial. Overactive bladder often is characterized as the strong sudden urge to urinate that often is difficult to control, the company said. Vesicare tablets had annual sales of more than $955 million in the United States, according to IQVIA data as of February 2019.

Rembrandt Revamps Deeply White + Peroxide Toothpaste Rembrandt’s Deeply White + Peroxide whitening toothpaste has a new and

improved flavor. The brand said the revamped product offers more toothpaste per tube and helps teeth appear three shades whiter in just one week. “The season for weddings, graduations, parties and reunions is upon us. With these occasions come many reasons to smile. Rembrandt toothpastes offer one of the fastest and most effective options for whitening teeth,” said Don Cumming, Rembrandt global brand director. “So, when a camera captures those big moments, be confident that your smile is looking its best.” In addition to the toothpaste’s whitening power, it also is meant to strengthen and restore the enamel and deliver a blast of peppermint flavor. It contains ingredients that help fight tooth discoloration, Rembrandt said. Rembrandt Deeply White + Peroxide is made with enamel-safe ingredients, comes in a new 3.5-oz. size and retails for $6.99. It can be found at such retailers as CVS Pharmacy, Amazon, Albertsons, Safeway, Meijer and SuperValu.



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HRG Picks Five Hot Launches April product introductions that could catch the consumer’s eye


amacher Resource Group once again has pored over recent product launches to find the hottest ones to designate as Products to Watch. HRG’s new product team sifted through 244 new products in April — 6% of which were OTCs, 31% of which were wellness products and 63% of which were beauty items — and chose five that stood out for their innovation and potential on the shelf.


Biofreeze Pain Relief Patch


Schiff Neuriva Plus Brain Performance Capsules


Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion


Vagisil Scensitive Scents Dry Wash Spray


Tums Ultra Chewy Bites Cooling Fruit Fusion

Adding to the Biofreeze brand’s portfolio of external analgesics, Performance Health introduced the Biofreeze Pain Relief Patch in a five-count box. The product is formulated to last up to eight hours and offers a mess-free application that can target painful areas. Neuriva, a line of brain-focused vitamins from Reckitt Benckiser’s Schiff vitamin brand, rolled out its latest offering in April. The Neuriva Plus Brain Performance Capsules contain six natural ingredients and are formulated with the goal of fueling six brain performance indicators — focus, memory, learning, accuracy, reasoning and concentration. The product is sold in 30-count bottles. Bayer’s Coppertone sun care brand is bringing consumers a children-focused product to its Pure & Simple line. The product is free of parabens, PABA, dyes, fragrances, alcohol, sulfates and oxybenzone. It also includes natural botanicals and zinc oxide to provide sun protection. Combe’s Vagisil brand is growing its Scensitive Scents line with the new Dry Wash spray. The product is formulated to be sensitive-skin friendly and hypoallergenic, with a focus on offering on-the-go freshness without water. Tums Ultra Chewy Bites are meant to offer a cooling sensation in the mouth and throat while being chewed to alleviate the burning sensation that commonly accompanies heartburn. The GSK Consumer Health brand’s latest offering is available in 28-count bottles. dsn



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Good Things to Come Companies at the NACDS Annual Meeting previewed products set to hit stores soon By Seth Mendelson


he NACDS Annual Meeting again gave the industry a chance to look at some of the hot products about to hit retail shelves. To give retailers a better idea of what may be coming down the pike, Drug Store News previews a sampling of these items. Here are some of what was discussed at the four-day event in West Palm Beach, Fla. last month.

LORNAMEAD Bar soap sales may not be setting the world on fire, but officials at Lornamead are very happy with the performance of their Yardley brand. The seven SKUs in the line are priced at $1.29 for a single bar and $1.99 for a two-bar package. “It is pretty incredible what we are accomplishing,” said Randy Sloan, president of the Harrison, N.Y.-based company. “We have solid growth because we play to the trends that consumers are looking for. That includes natural ingredients and oils, no parabens, no animal testing and a great value, where consumers get a quality product at a great price point.” Sloan said the newest addition to the line was an activated charcoal product, which was launched in January. “The Yardley consumer is a great impulse purchaser who will help build store traffic,” he said. “Plus, there are solid margins there for retailers.”

MEDLINE INDUSTRIES Executives at the Northfield, Ill.-based company, a leader in the sale of skin care products in the hospital and healthcare segments, said they want to take their expertise on that


side of the business and move it to the retail world. Starting in January, Medline began shipping three SKUs of its Remedy Dermatology Series to retail. The products in the line are hypoallergenic, and free of fragrances, aloes, phthalates and sulfates, company officials said. The 3-oz. product has a suggested retail price of $4.99, the 8-oz. product is priced at $11.99, and the 12-oz. product is $13.99. “We have taken our institutional knowledge with this product line and brought it to retail,” said Dawn Sicco, the company’s senior vice president of retail and marketing. “We have a 36% market share on the institutional side in skin care. Now, we want to transfer that to retail. We think there is a big market there for items that answer the call of more and more consumers who want natural items.”

Sicco said another advantage for Medline is the fact that consumers have become aware of the product while at hospitals. Yet growth will depend on building awareness of the product at retail and educating both retailers and consumers to its many benefits. “They say, ‘Where can I get these items at retail?’” she said. “Now, we are giving them this option.”

SHERALVEN ENTERPRISES The Edgewood, N.Y.-based company is the U.S. distributor for 100 Bon, a line of fragrances that are 100% natural, affordable and refillable. The products also are made without petrochemicals, artificial colors or synthetic ingredients. The 1.7-oz. fragrance has a suggested retail price of $42 and an everyday price of $34.99, while the 0.5-oz. fragrance has a suggested retail price of $19 and an everyday price of $12.99. Steve Koss, the company’s president, said the line features nearly 40 SKUs, though


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NACDS ANNUAL PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS 13 products, featuring 13 different scents, would be emphasized in the United States. “Every fact we see shows that the trends are towards natural products,” he said. “We have seen it with food, with beauty and now with fragrances. A larger and larger percentage of consumers are looking for all-natural products to put on their bodies.” Koss also said that along with the affordable price points, 100 Bon offers highquality merchandise. The product is manufactured by Robertet, a major fragrance producer in France with an “incredible reputation” for developing great products and specializing in all-natural fragrances. “Now it is just about getting the word out to consumers about these products and showing retailers that we support them, including with displays that tell their story.”

QUEST PRODUCTS The Pleasant Prairie, Wis.-based company acquired Seattle-based OraHealth earlier this year and is pushing that company’s main product, OraCoat Xylimelts, a line of oral-adhering discs designed to reduce the symptoms of dry mouth. OraCoat features three variants — Xylimelt, Xyligel and Xyligum — and six SKUs, all designed to relieve dry mouth by stimulating the saliva glands. Price points range from $3.99 for a 12-pack of Xylimelts to $10.49 for a 40-count box. “The Xylimelt product is the only product on the market that allows dry mouth sufferers to take when they go to bed,” said Mark McGreevy, Quest’s vice president of business development. “This is a growing category as more and more people are suffering from dry mouth. Retailers can benefit by carrying products that are both high margins and high repeat purchases.” McGreevy also said that the line is being heavily marketed to dentists through a sampling program.

STUDEX The Gardenia, Calif.-based company is offering two SKUs in the aftercare ear-piercing segment to go along with its ear-piercing services that are offered around the world. According to Mac Ritchie, the company’s executive vice


president of sales and marketing, Studex averages about 30,000 ear piercings per week. Now the company also is focusing on the aftercare market, offering a gel that is designed to be used immediately after the ears are pierced to protect the ear from infections, and a lotion that is designed to accomplish the same goals. “Aftercare is a critical component of the ear-piercing process,” Ritchie said. “We are trying to build awareness about how

important it is for people to maintain good hygiene after having their ears pierced. Ritchie also said that retailers should consider using their ear-piercing services, noting that a four-store test with CVS Pharmacy has turned into a 50-store program. “This is something that cannot be done online,” he said. “It is amazing what impact our services have on driving traffic and a new demographic into stores.” dsn


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Getting it Right The regulatory landscape around CBD is difficult, but important to understand By Douglas “Duffy” McKay

H Douglas “Duffy” McKay, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, CV Sciences


emp seeds and hemp stalk have never been controlled substances in the United States, so hemp seed oil, hemp milk and hemp-based cosmetics have been popular and legal natural products for decades. On Dec. 20, Congress passed the Farm Bill, which removed the entire hemp plant — and its extracts — from the Controlled Substances Act. Legal hemp returned to America at the same time when scientists continued to learn more about the benefits of cannabidiol, or CBD, one of more than 100 nonintoxicating cannabinoids found in hemp. The food, supplement and cosmetic industries quickly embraced access to hemp and flooded the market with products. However, the Food and Drug Administration quickly responded with a clear message — CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are not permissible additives to these products because both these cannabinoids are the active ingredients in approved prescription drugs (THC in Marinol and CBD in Epidiolex). However, a hemp extract that contains CBD is different than purified and crystalized CBD. In fact, extracts derived from the full hemp plant contain a rich array of compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, chlorophyll and fatty acids. More importantly, FDA recently conceded that hemp extracts differ from the approved pharmaceutical drugs and initiated a process to clarify the pathway by which products, containing cannabis or cannabisderived compounds, may be approved for market. According to New Frontier Data’s Hemp Business Journal, CBD led the 2018 hemp market categories with a $390 million market. By 2022, it predicts that number to more than triple to $1.3 billion. Currently, retail sales only make up $1 million for the category. By 2022, New Frontier Data estimates the mass-market CBD will be worth $430 million. The future flexibility of admissible CBD products, as determined by FDA, will influence the future CBD market environment. Even with all the potential products, there’s still room for the pharmaceutical pathways.

The Hemp Business Journal sees the market for Epidiolex in the United States and the European Union reaching $625 million within three years. The price tag exceeds $30,000 per year, but that is what it takes to get a pharmaceutical through the drug development pipeline and approved. These incentives must remain in place to encourage future development of additional cannabinoidbased medicines. A shifting legal landscape, a patchwork of state regulations and evolving public opinion fuels growth in the cannabis industries. The emerging markets are leaps and bounds ahead of regulators. Lack of regulatory clarity and oversight creates blurred lines between cannabis-derived drugs, food, supplements and recreational products. Companies marketing isolated CBD in drinks and gummies could be viewed as culpable of adding an active pharmaceutical ingredient to the food supply. Three distinct cannabis industries exist: the pharmaceutical, the hemp-based foods and supplements, and the state-based recreational marijuana. From the same plant, each of these industries create different products with different intended uses under different regulatory frameworks. A product being developed as a pharmaceutical has different expectations than a product used to supplement the diet, or a product used to get stoned. It is appropriate that a pharmaceutical product has rigorous manufacturing controls, minimal variability in composition, and rigorous clinical trials to prove benefits for a specific disease. Different regulatory frameworks are appropriate for different intended uses. Retailers are a critical stakeholder in ensuring that the food, supplement and cosmetic cannabis industries are sustainable and successful. To realize the potential of CBD, we need three distinct categories of cannabis products. Retailers should ensure the products sold stay in their lane. Retailers who take basic steps to ensure the sale of compliant CBD products do their part in securing long-term success for all. dsn


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WHAT WE DO MAKES A DIFFERENCE. In the new and emerging hemp CBD market, many companies claim to be the best or most trusted, and it can be hard to know who to believe or what brand to choose. Being industry experts, we know it’s more than just the products that matter. That’s why, at PlusCBD Oil™, what we do is truly dif ferent. + SPINS Rating Proven: #1 Selling Hemp CBD Produc ts + Human Clinical Testing Proving Ef ficacy + Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) Self-Determination + Ver tically Integrated - Of fering Full Traceability – From Seed to Shelf ™ + cGMP, Auditable, Q A /QC Laborator y + Independent Third-Par ty and DNA Testing + QR Codes on Ever y Label for Increased Transparency + Members of Essential Trade Organizations + Unparalleled Education, Sales, and Marketing Support + Widest Produc t Selec tion Available


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Food for Thought Pharmacists can serve as nutrition guides to promote improved patient wellness By Jamie Weiner Riskin

T Jamie Weiner Riskin, clinical assistant professor, department of pharmacy practice, Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy


here is no mystery. Food and medicine go hand in hand. Studies and guidelines repeatedly instruct our patients to stick to a healthy lifestyle — “Eat this, don’t eat that.” We’ve all heard the tale of the pharmacist who rings up a patient for atorvastatin along with a half gallon of full-fat ice cream. It’s not a surprise to hear that obesity is a public health crisis and basically the culprit behind pretty much every chronic disease. In this day and age, with so many “quick fixes,” when it comes to weight loss and dieting — keto, fasting, eat carbs, do not eat carbs, go vegan, eat like a Neanderthal — what is right, what is wrong? Nutrition reaches far beyond weight loss or counting carbs for patients with diabetes. It seems that every day, new literature emerges demonstrating how food is medicine. The value of food is deeper than lifestyle modifications; it has become part of the healing process itself. Just adding 1 tablespoon of turmeric a day to your diet can reduce inflammation. Who knew? Not to mention many medications, themselves, can lead to nutritional deficiencies. For example, metformin depletes vitamin B12. Pharmacists naturally are at the center of it all. Before we carve out our role, we need to know what we do not know — or maybe we do not even know what we do not know. Do pharmacists need to be masters of all things nutritional and functional medicine in order to be helpful? At what level or depth do we need to educate our patients? Perhaps we lack comfort or confidence to have “that talk,” thinking we are not specialists. Who are we to give advice? Are we afraid to offend our patients? Do we assume there is no chance they will ever change, so why even try? Or is the real question, how on earth can we find time to do this? There already are so many other things we are expected to do, and not enough time to do it, let alone take a break

to use the restroom. From medication therapy management and immunizations to two-step verification, our plates are full. Sure, this would be nice, but this is not on our metrics reports. The reality is that this is our job. We took an oath that we would “assure optimal outcomes” for our patients. We have to find a way to uphold this oath. It is just a matter of prioritization. We are only doing half of the work, if we counsel a patient on a medication without talking about the role of food.

Nutrition reaches far beyond weight loss or counting carbs for patients with diabetes. It seems that every day, new literature emerges demonstrating how food is medicine. The value of food is deeper than lifestyle modifications; it has become part of the healing process itself. Food. It’s that simple. Turn on your television and download a cooking app, and educate yourself on how to cook, how to grocery shop, what foods taste good together, and what can be substituted for what. We live in a time when this is a hot topic, whether it’s at the supermarket, talking to other parents on the soccer field, or scrolling through social media. It would be hard to find someone who has never heard of whole wheat pasta by now. How can we possibly teach our patients how to navigate this lifestyle unless we do it ourselves? We, pharmacists, have the opportunity, ability and knowledge to help our patients not just “diet,” but make lifestyle modifications to lead healthier, better lives. dsn


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Making the Grade How to really help your pharmacy techs get into pharmacy school By Lawrence “L.B.” Brown

E Lawrence “L.B.” Brown, associate dean of student affairs and professor of pharmacoeconomics and health policy, Chapman University School of Pharmacy


very year, pharmacy technicians join the ranks of students vying for a seat in a pharmacy school. Many of these technicians have years of pharmacy experience, are highly skilled and are great with patients. Their pharmacists believe they would make great pharmacists and write glowing letters of recommendations for them. However, they become shocked or dismayed when they find out their technician didn’t get admitted. As the associate dean of student affairs for the past five years, I can tell you the No. 1 reason why your technicians do not get admitted — and, in fact, the reason they most likely did not even get offered an interview — their GPA. I can’t tell you how many applications from technicians I have reviewed over the years with a GPA of less than 2.5. I even have had technicians who apply with a GPA less than 2.0. When they get their denial letter, their response always is similar. One, they really, really, really want to be a pharmacist. Two, they know their grades aren’t that good, but that isn’t an accurate reflection of their abilities. And three, everyone at work says what great pharmacists they would be. I have no doubt that if you have had a technician ask you for a letter of recommendation, rarely have you asked about his or her GPA. And if you did, the technician’s answer was likely a nonanswer like “I’m doing pretty good.” I think most pharmacy schools would rather have a veteran pharmacy tech than someone with no pharmacy experience, however, grades do matter. We understand the challenge of working full time as a pharmacy technician and taking classes at the same time, but grades do matter. We understand that grit and passion to become a pharmacist is important, but grades do matter. This is a short summary of how I explain the importance of grades to students who have a low GPA. First, at the end of the day, the purpose of pharmacy school is so that students can gain the expert level of knowledge needed to keep

patients safe as a pharmacist. Second, in order to have a good chance of making it through pharmacy school and gaining that expert level of knowledge, they need to enter with a sufficient level of knowledge from their undergraduate courses so that they will be able to learn and pass the more difficult pharmacy courses. Third, the applicant’s undergrad GPA gives schools an indication of their current level of knowledge and their potential to successfully get through pharmacy school. Finally, the one thing worse than not getting into pharmacy school this year would be getting in and then failing out during the first semester or first year.

As the associate dean of student affairs for the past five years, I can tell you the No. 1 reason why your technicians don’t get admitted — and the reason they likely didn’t get an interview — their GPA. So, getting back to the point of this article, what you can do to help your technician get into pharmacy school is to stress the importance of studying and getting good grades in school. While a 3.5 GPA or higher would be best, the technician at least should be shooting for a 3.0 cumulative GPA. If you really want to mentor your technician and help him or her get into pharmacy school, you can’t shy away from discussing grades. And if the tech really wants your help, she should be willing to share with you the unofficial copies of her transcripts after each semester or quarter, because having her spend 5-to-6 years of her life taking courses part-time, only to apply with a very low GPA and get denied, does not help her or the pharmacy profession. dsn


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Getting Card$mart About Cards Designer Greetings’ store-within-a-store concept brings value to shoppers and stores Steven Gimbelman, CEO and president of Designer Greetings, said that the company’s Card$mart program drives business to retail stores.

Steven Gimbelman, CEO and president, Designer Greetings

Why should an existing store think about giving up prime space in their location? Steven Gimbelman: The Card$mart Store-InA-Store concept drives traffic to the store as the product is sold to the customer at 50% off published retail. While the cost to the customer is “half” the price, Card$mart greeting cards do not sacrifice on the quality of what is being offered. Card$mart products are equivalent to the competition’s high-end full price card lines. Moreover, while the customer will receive quality product at a value price, the likelihood that they may purchase more units will ultimately drive up retail sales. What products are offered in Card$mart Store-InA-Store? CardSmart’s primary vendor and parent company, Designer Greetings, offers the most extensive title selection in the industry with more than 22,000 card titles. In addition, Card$mart provides a Preferred Giftware Vendor Program, which is an exclusive benefit to the retailer, whereby the store owner gains access to top gift vendors across multiple gift categories. In addition, part of Designer Greetings’ array of product is their premier gift wrap line, known and recognized nationally as the branded “Glitterwrap” program. This program includes the essential gift wrap items such as; gift wrap, roll wrap, gift bags, bows, and ribbons, all in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit every customer’s need. Designer Greetings is proud to employ a staff of talented artists from around the globe; the attention to detail that they give their award-winning cards satisfies customers and meets the needs of every important occasion. From year to year, Designer Greetings’ product has been awarded the industry’s highest honor, the “Louie Award.” This award recognizes the most outstanding greeting cards, invitations and announcements in the U.S.


What separates Card$mart from the other card and gift companies? For more than 20 years, Card$mart has been the only nationally recognized value brand of card and gift shops in America with the attractive and successful value proposition of “50% off, every card, every day” concept. Having a nationally recognized value brand not only entices customers to view the location as a destination shop, but also help attract new customers seeking to purchase high quality cards at a value price. This unique shopping experience offers buyers multiple options within a single drug store. While the pharmacy industry boasts revenues in the billions, despite what many people believe, the greeting card industry holds its own — at a healthy $6.5 billion industry.

What are the advantages for pharmacies and drug stores across the U.S. when they decide to install the Card$mart Store-In-A-Store concept? A top advantage for the pharmacy and drug stores throughout the nation is that Card$mart out values the other national chains. The other card publishers sell cards at full price to the consumer. Given that card prices have risen dramatically in recent times, the discerning shopper is discouraged by the high retail, yet the demand for a special card for a special occasion remains consistent, forcing the consumer to go elsewhere. With Card$mart, the shopper can purchase cards, all the time, at 50% off the published retail price, without sacrificing quality. Such appealing pricing drives traffic to the store. In addition, data has shown that the Card$mart customer will purchase more units of cards, ultimately improving the retailer’s profit, an advantage every retailer is seeking.


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C A L L F O R A F R E E C AT A L O G T O D AY : 8 0 0 . 6 5 4 . 6 9 6 0 CO DE : CS- M AY


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Meet at the Summit GMDC’s Selfcare Summit aims to reimagine the in-store consumer healthcare experience By Patrick Spear

S Patrick Spear, president and CEO, GMDC | Retail Tomorrow


ince 1970, Global Market Development Center|Retail Tomorrow has been the leading nonprofit trade association dedicated to serving general merchandise and health, beauty and wellness retailers, wholesalers, suppliers and service/solution providers. However, as we approach 50 years of industry service and leadership, we at GMDC|Retail Tomorrow have been working to transform from our retailer-centric past to a consumer-focused organization. Our current aim is helping nonfood brick-and-mortar retail to not only survive, but also to thrive, remain relevant and grow in a time of online disruption by responding to consumers’ needs. Part of this work includes reimagining our annual HBW conference to what we now are calling the Selfcare Summit. E-commerce and the unprecedented migration of products from physical stores to online has led to a decline in foot traffic for many retailers. Yet the self-care movement, combined with the rise of healthcare costs, is driving new consumer habits and buying patterns — and store traffic. Research shows consumers are seeking a broader selection of health-and-wellness services and solutions within retail as they take active roles in controlling their personal health outcomes. The $64 billion nonprescription health segment is growing an aggregate 1.4% across food, drug and mass retailers, and consumers now, more than ever, want local, natural and personalized products and solutions that help them to look good, feel better, prevent disease, treat chronic conditions, and improve their quality of life. Retailers are beginning to recognize and respond to this shift in an effort to enhance the shopping experience and capitalize on future health-related brick-and-mortar visits. Walgreens last month announced a partnership to bring primary care doctors to some of its Houston stores. CVS Health currently is testing a retail concept called HealthHub in which the pharmacy will incorporate a range of healthcare

services and products, including nutrition counseling, health-and wellness-classes and medical equipment, at a select number of pharmacies also in Houston. The launch of Selfcare Summit represents our evolving focus from connecting suppliers and retailers to fostering uncommon partnerships between retailers, suppliers, healthcare leaders, clinicians, beauticians, innovators and disruptors, among others. These partnerships ultimately can create more opportunities for consumers to access the wellness-oriented products and services they demand. The only industry gathering focused exclusively on the consumerization of health care and how the self-care movement is reshaping health care, Selfcare Summit will incorporate portions of the former HBW conference, including face-to-face meetings between retailers and suppliers. The summit also will introduce industry-first offerings during which new companies and innovators will have the opportunity to present new products and services to retailers and consumers, leading to real-time feedback and insights.

Research shows consumers are seeking a broader selection of health-and-wellness services and solutions within retail. Health care strategic advisory firm Health:Further also will provide learning track programming at Selfcare Summit focused on accelerating innovation and integrating healthcare solutions into existing retail models. Other learning track topics will include New Collaborative Healthcare Models; The Selfcare Consumer and the Retail Roadmap; Future Stores (Retail Tomorrow); and Natural Selfcare/CBD. Selfcare Summit will take place from Oct. 3 to 7 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis. For more information, visit selfcaresummit.org. dsn


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Healthcare + Retail A Perfect Partnership for the New Health, Beauty & Wellness Economy Introducing an event focused on why – and how – consumers are embracing proactive care by seeking accessible and interactive methods while assuming more responsibility for their wellness. Retail is uniquely positioned to help shoppers fulfill this personal journey while also reinvigorating and reimagining the shopping experience.

5 Days of Learning, Planning, & Opportunities for Growth Through face-to-face pre-scheduled meetings, networking opportunities, product discovery, and industry-leading insights, the Selfcare Summit provides a unique space for industry advancement and uncommon collaboration across adjoining industries.

Who is Attending... Retail Executives • Product Manufacturers • Healthcare / Medical Professionals Service / Solution Providers • Startups / Entrepreneurs • Thought Leaders & Influencers Consumers • Beauty Advisors • Dietitians / Nutritionists • Marketing & Insights

Register at SelfcareSummit.org

Contact Us: info@gmdc.org or 719.576.4260

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The ‘Check Strategy’ Light Drug chains can grab a larger share of the food service business, but it requires effort By Bill Pizzico

A Bill Pizzico, president and CEO, Synergy Group


t one time or another, every person who owns a car has had the dreaded “check engine light” come on. When it happens, most truly do not know what it means, what is wrong, or how long they can continue driving before their trip to the mechanic becomes necessary. They know something is wrong, but they rationalize and delay because all is good for now. The car is running, and maybe the light will go out. In today’s marketplace, changes are coming at lightning speed no matter your position in the supply chain. Whether you are a manufacturer or retail operator, chain or independent, the time is right to act on that blinking strategy light. The past decade has turned on “check strategy” lights in market segments from supermarkets to convenience stores, each with channel problems, ranging from product assortment, inventory, logistics management and customer profiling. Drug store food service, in particular, also will be a challenge to your marketing department, your merchandising group, your communications strategy and, above all, your boardroom. Now is the time to take those tasks head-on and make your trip to your boardroom to see what the light is really telling you. You will learn that this new market segment has very quietly and, with little notice, jumped to the front of your action agenda. The convergence of retail and food service now has matured into a very real market channel with the biggest advantages to drug stores being the constant customer traffic and a firm knowledge of your customer profiles. Candidly, right now, drug store operators have a small slice of this $200 billion pie, with a very cautious product assortment in their refrigerated cases. Yet the opportunity is there. Cold case prepackaged foods “to go” are plentiful. Today’s operators, no matter the segment, are in full tune with what shoppers are looking for — quality, convenience and variety. Whether you are a manufacturer or operator, chain or independent, the time is right to act on

that blinking strategy light in venues that go well beyond the traditional store formats. Consumers are buying what they want wherever they may be shopping, and in whatever format these three criteria are available. No longer will the traditional market segments or formats be without a food offering in some convenient and distinct, qualitydriven presentation. Absolutely check your strategy light, or you will find yourself on the side of the drug store food service highway watching your customers drive to a competitor down the street. Developing a drug store food service strategy starts with recognizing the light is blinking, finding out the requirements and then acting on them. You can start your strategy check with these five keys to getting past the blinking light: 1 Know firmly how much space you can dedicate to food service; 2 Know exactly which suppliers to call for product assortment assistance and logistics management. You can certainly look to broadline distributors, but a closer look at convenience store distributors may serve you well as a “jump start” and, perhaps, someone to grow with; 3 Keep your assortment simple to start. Look to sell by dates not being too far out, so your customers know you are presenting fresh food; 4 Buy quality, not price, and have your own internal focus groups within your stores and corporate offices. After you have made your common-sense selections, call in your distributors of choice to see if they can accommodate; and 5 Identify a brand strategy. It will be a brand solution for today and tomorrow. The more you control your brand, the more you can control your message, product assortment and pricing. Take your “check strategy light” seriously. It is not necessarily predicting doom, but may be spotlighting the opportunity that takes your business to its next level of performance. dsn


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PLMA’s 2019 Private Label Trade Show

Store BrandsMake Things Happen Wizards beware. PLMA’s 2019 Private Label Trade Show is coming. The biggest show ever. Buyers from supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers and online retailers. All major product categories. Food and beverages, health and wellness, cosmetics and beauty, household and kitchenware. Plus, more organic and natural exhibitors. Find out more about how your company can take advantage of PLMA’s great annual event. Telephone (212) 972-3131 or email exhibit@plma.com

Nov.17-19 • Chicago Presented by the Private Label Manufacturers Association Visit www.plma.com

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CBD Road Map Green Roads looks to help companies navigate the growing category


ith retailers and consumers becoming more and more interested in the CBD market, and more questions sprouting up about the category, Drug Store News sat down with Green Roads’ co-founder and licensed compounding pharmacist, Laura Baldwin Fuentes, to talk about the category. Drug Store News: There are a lot of questions about CBD out there, how do you help answer them? Laura Baldwin Fuentes: CBD is a hot topic in the world of pharmaceuticals for good reason. Every day, new research emerges revealing the support this compound can offer. If you’re adding CBD to your shelves, you need to be ready for an abundance of common questions from customers. People who want to do what’s best for their own health often get lost in the flood of misinformation out there. At Green Roads, a key part of our vision is to lead the CBD industry in education. We hear from many people who are not comfortable with the idea of a cannabis product, but who are curious about CBD after hearing people they know rave about what it brought to their life. You can be a valuable resource for these customers and build trust in your brand when your staff is properly educated. We make it a priority to get as much accurate information out there as possible. That’s why we want all of our retailers to feel confident when speaking to customers about CBD. DSN: A lot of consumers ask whether CBD has psychoactive properties. LBF: CBD is nonintoxicating. There’s every reason to think you can add CBD to your everyday health routine any time of day, any day of the week. You’ll see a lot of people write or say that CBD is nonpsychoactive.


That’s not technically correct. They’re trying to convey that CBD is different from THC, the compound that produces the high associated with marijuana. We use the term nonintoxicating to convey the same point because it is more accurate. At Green Roads, we make products that contain only non-detectable levels of THC. The legal limit is 0.3%, which is already far too low to produce a high. While some brands are right at the legal limit, we reduce the level of THC of our products even further, just to reassure people. DSN: What is a broad-spectrum hemp oil and how is it different from CBD? LBF: Full-spectrum oils include all elements of the plant from which it is derived. That means the oil has other cannabinoids, terpenes and chlorophylls. People use this term to differentiate the product from CBD isolates, which you can think of like concentrates. CBD isolate is often an ingredient in a product rather than a product on its own. By definition, THC is part of the full spectrum of a hemp plant. As such, we use the term broad spectrum because we want to reflect that we’ve reduced the THC in our product to non-detectable levels. Research indicates that full and broad-spectrum oils may be a more natural way to consume CBD than taking isolates. DSN: What’s the most ideal CBD formulation to offer consumers? LBF: We design CBD products to fit into a wide range of lifestyles. Oils are an excellent part of a daily supplement routine. CBD oils have a high bioavailability. That means your body can absorb and use the supplement quickly and efficiently. If you need a convenient, on-the-go way to take CBD when needed, then gummies might be the way to go. Many people appreciate being able to keep track the milligrams of CBD they consumed through gummies, as

Laura Baldwin Fuentes, Green Roads cofounder and licensed compounding pharmacist

well. We pride ourselves on product consistency for exactly this reason. If you’re looking for some on-the-spot relief and support, the topicals are a great option. DSN: How do retailers and their customers know they’re getting the real deal with the CBD products they offer? LBF: This is an excellent and important question. It makes sense that your customers would ask about product quality. After all, this is a young industry. There are many news stories about inauthentic products or inconsistent ingredients. That’s why we lead the way with product QR codes that link directly to batch-specific third-party lab sheets. We believe consumers have a right to know that the products they are taking don’t have heavy metals, pesticides or microbes in them. CBD is the most exciting health story of our generation. The more we all do to distribute accurate information, the more we can help people find natural, alternative support for their overall well-being. dsn


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CBDecisions, Decisions DSN shines a light on recent innovation in CBD and hemp products By David Salazar


ith a category as busy as CBD and hemp products, one of the challenges for retailers looking to dip their toes into the increasingly attractive and profitable category is knowing the options that are available for them to merchandise. To help make sense of a category that is inundated daily with new products and manufacturers, Drug Store News has rounded up some of the hottest new launches from category mainstays and newcomers across the potential CBD/hemp spectrum.


95% organic ingredients, are vegan — formulated with a combination of fruit pectin and tapioca— kosher and non-GMO. “I wanted to make sure it met and exceeded as many standards as possible,” De Forest said, noting that it’s meant as a daily supplement, with each bottle lasting roughly a month. “This is what I would call a healthand-wellness maintenance product to be taken the same way you would take fish oil,” De Forest said. “You can use this on a daily basis for overall stasis and balance in the body.” De Forest said the next run of the product, which has a suggested retail price of $59.99, would feature gorilla-shaped gummies.


Green Gorilla is no newcomer to the CBD space, but the company, which currently is in 1,400 retail outlets nationwide, has been focusing on product innovation, recently introducing its Hemp CBD Gorilla Gummies. Sold in 60-count bottles that offer a total of 300 mg of CBD, the gummies are available in the Ultra Wellness Berry Medley, which contains three flavors — strawberry, mixed berry, and the company’s proprietary Gorilla Berry flavor. COO Steve De Forest said the product was in development since last summer, with much of the focus going to making it a product that as many consumers as possible could enjoy. The gummies, which contain


to be refrigerated and has a two-year shelf life,” said Julie Wilson, BeTru’s president and co-founder. “You can turn your bottle of water or your favorite juice into a really powerful formulation, whether it’s for sleep, focus or energy — a lot of people like to get all three.” Each beverage drop variety, each of which has a suggested retail price of $29.99, includes ingredients meant to help with consumers’ needs. Dream contains valerian root and tryptophan, Focus includes the amino acid GABA, and Energy includes naturally derived caffeine and taurine. The CBD also is uniquely derived to be free of THC, chief marketing officer Brad Halpern said. “We use a proprietary extraction method, so there are no solvents,” Halpern said. “Depending on the extraction, whether it’s CO2 or butane, the processes use solvents. Our process doesn’t, and our product is third-party tested by two different places, which found no heavy metals whatsoever and no THC. It won’t show up on any drug test, not even trace amounts.”

GREEN ROADS MUSCLE & JOINT HEAT RELIEF As popular as tinctures are, they don’t offer the most versatile — or tasty — method of sublingual CBD delivery. Seeking to remedy this, BeTru Wellness developed its line of Phytonutrient Beverage Drops. Available in three formulations — blueberry acaiflavored Focus, mixed berry-flavored Dream and natural citrus-flavored Energy — the product is meant to allow consumers to infuse any beverage with a CBD formulation for their needs. “This is really convenient because people have these powerful formulations that they can carry with them — it doesn’t have

External pain relief has been one of the cornerstone categories upon which companies have built out the CBD category. Though Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based Green Roads has a catalogue that runs the gamut from tinctures and terpenes to edibles and products for pets, the company’s most recent launch is focused on relieving physical discomfort


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CBD PRODUCT ROUNDUP accompanying stiff joints and muscles, as well as bruises and cramps. Green Roads’ Muscle & Joint Heat Relief is a roll-on that incorporates its CBD formulation with menthol, capsicum, vitamin E and natural botanicals to help bring targeted relief for consumers’ achy spots. The pharmacist-formulated roll-on includes 250 mg of CBD to help combat inflammation, as well as an advanced heating technology to soothe soreness. It has a suggested retail price of $59.99.



As CBD gains popularity, manufacturers are realizing that it can be used as more than a salve, tincture or supplement — it also can play a role in the grooming process. That was the inspiration behind men’s grooming brand Scotch Porter’s limitededition line of CBD beard care products. Originally launched on Cyber Monday last year and revived with a Brooklyn pop-up shop on April 20, the four-SKU line includes beard wash, leave-in beard conditioner, beard balm and beard serum. Founder Calvin Quallis, who started Scotch Porter from a barbershop he opened after leaving a corporate job, focuses on using nontoxic and botanical-based ingredients. The company has expanded to skin care, facial care and personal care, but beard and hair care have remained a focus.

Companies looking to make the benefits of hemp more widely available are trying to provide it in a familiar form. Enter Functional Remedies’ Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil Capsules. Available in 10- and 25-mg strength, the product includes the company’s proprietary lipid-infused, single-origin, full-spectrum hemp oil. In this month’s issue of DSN (see page 50), Functional Remedies’ chief science officer Tim Gordon highlights why the company focuses on using full-spectrum hemp extract to provide an optimal range of phytonutrients to the body’s endocannabinoid system. “Quite simply, our bodies need more than CBD alone — they need full-spectrum hemp oil to combat endocannabinoid deficiency to bring balance to our lives and move us closer to our eternal quest for optimal wellness,” Gordon wrote. The capsules, sold in 30-count bottles, are available on Functional Remedies’ website as a one-time $79.99 purchase, or a subscription that reduces the price by 10%.


HARMONY HEMP’S NEUROCOMFORT RELIEF GEL Salt Lake City-based Harmony Hemp launches products guided by its motto to “Treat your system, not your symptoms.” Pain relief, in particular, is an area where the company sees opportunity to offer an alternative or adjunct to prescription medication. “Hemp products containing CBD clearly provide a more traditional, holistic approach in treating many common health issues,” Harmony Hemp founder Courtney Roundy told Drug Store News in January.

“Treating the endocannabinoid system with CBD will bring homeostasis to individuals, and has been found to be a promising, natural treatment for many common health issues.” The company’s NeuroComfort Relief Gel aims to help treat pain by bringing CBD’s properties to bear in a gel formulation that comes in two strengths — 500 mg and 1,000 mg of CBD. The product also is formulated with menthol, arnica and capsaicin for effective neuropathic relief. The 500mg product has a suggested retail price of $34.95, with the 1,000-mg strength retailing for $54.95. In February, the product received the DSN/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award at ECRM’s Hemp/CBD Health and Beauty Care EPPS. Besides the Relief Gel, Harmony Hemp’s NeuroComfort line also includes a lotion and roll-on gel, each of which also come in 500-mg and 1,000-mg strengths.


For most companies, creating a product with one on-trend ingredient would suffice. Cannuka not only uses two hot ingredients — CBD and manuka honey — it does so in beauty, a category that has been slower on the CBD uptake than wellness and OTC. Cannuka’s CBD Calming Eye Balm is among its line of skin and bath products that combines CBD and manuka honey to create a hydrating balm meant to moisturize, refresh and protect under-eye skin. The balm starts to cool to the touch and warms on contact to help soften skin and reduce fine lines, puffiness and dark circles. It also contains vitamin E, hemp seed oil, rosehip oil and free fatty acids. The product has a suggested retail price of $38. Cannuka said that its products are certified cruelty-free by PETA and are made with natural ingredients. dsn


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Building a Brand Retailers Can Trust By most accounts, the CBD/hemp category is about to explode on retail. Merchants need to pick their partners carefully. By Seth Mendelson


y some estimates, more than 1,000 companies across the country now are producing and marketing CBD and hemp products to retailers and consumers. A month from now, or maybe in just a week or two, that number could be 10% or 20% higher. By this time next year, it could double or even triple. Welcome to the world of what is arguably the hottest category to hit the retail scene since the prerecorded video boom of the mid1990s. With the CBD/hemp category’s potential, not to mention its unique nature, it seems that more and more companies and even individuals are looking for a piece of the pie in this fledgling market, all hopeful that their brand will hit the proverbial jackpot and become a product of choice with consumers. So how does a company stand above the competition in this category, especially as the vast majority of retailers said they feel that vertical integration and supply chain transparency are of the utmost importance? More importantly, how do retailers pick their partners to ensure success and safety? Officials at Functional Remedies want to make it clear to the retail world that they are one of the most professional operations in a category that is filled with amateurs. The 5-year-old company prides itself on its vertical integration process that offers quality control, starting from seed development, planting and harvesting to final production in its 25,000 sq. ft. laboratory to the finished product being placed on retail shelves. “We meet with a lot of retailers and we tell them that we are not interested in going to market right now, we are interested in going to market right,” said the Superior, Colo.-based company’s CEO Anthony Mazzotti. “We make it clear to them that our strategy is to do this safely and conservatively in a way that protects our retail partners and, ultimately, the consumer.” Despite all the hoopla surrounding the category — especially given the legal and government regulatory issues involved with these segments — retailers still are taking a very cautious approach, even as legislation and publicity quickly change the playing field. Most importantly, the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, a form of cannabis with lower THC levels than marijuana.


It also passed the baton on the regulation of the category from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Food and Drug Administration, which is drawing up its own set of guidelines for the manufacturing and sale of the products. The legislation has opened the floodgates, with some analysts predicting that with strong signs of intense consumer demand, this could be a $20 billion industry within four years. That is potentially great news for retailers involved with the category, but also a cautionary tale on how to proceed and what suppliers need to work with to ensure success. Mazzotti said that retailers should look for suppliers that offer complete vertical integration over its manufacturing process. Functional Remedies easily fits that bill, especially since the company was started in Colorado, a state with tough regulations for hemp and CBD. “Right now, Colorado is the only state that regulates the category


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from seed to shelf,” said Mazzotti, who joined the company as CEO in early 2018 after serving as a consultant to it for a few years. “Much of that legislation is a result of the efforts of our chief science officer, Tim Gordon, who has worked with several states and federal agencies to help craft hemp industry guidelines. What we are selling requires testing throughout the process. As we ship our products across the country, we have the proper documentation from the time we put the seed into the ground to when it is packaged and shipped.” Yet, Mazzotti and his team also noted that as part of its global mission to bring lives into balance with the most efficacious products on earth, it is stressing the importance of educating retailers and consumers. That is even more important given all the legal and ethical issues in the marketplace around these products, as well as what they do and how they are developed. “There is a lot of confusion among retailers,” he said. “They do not know what they can

and cannot say. Functional Remedies is on a quest to educate consumers and retailers.” Mazzotti also said, “They need a plan and they have to stick with that plan. But, first, they need to understand the legal and regulatory issues involved with this category, and then they must understand the category from an efficacious standpoint of what products are actually working.” Mazzotti was quick to add that the category is full of companies that rapidly are jumping into the space to take advantage of what many said is a green rush of CBD and hemp items invading the marketplace. “We have been in business for five years, but Tim has been involved with the science of cannabis plants for more than 20 years, crossbreeding and improving hemp strains to produce the most nutrient-rich plants from genetically-superior seeds,” he said. “Many of these new companies are just marketing companies. They don’t understand the ecosystem.”


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Mazzotti continued and said, “In fact, retailers do not know what they don’t know. My recommendation to retailers is that they do their due diligence and determine what they should be asking a potential supplier as they build up this category. To help, we have created a two-page vetting sheet of questions retailers should be asking.” Gordon concurred: “That hits the nail right on the head. Retailers need to recognize the importance of due diligence and getting to know the supply chain, as well as the value of third-party testing. It’s also vital to our business, that’s why we make the certificates of analysis available on our website for every batch we produce.” Functional Remedies has exploded on the scene since its founding in 2014. The privately-held company currently offers seven SKUs in capsule, tincture and salve formats, and with suggested retail prices ranging from $50 to $80 each. “Our company was founded shortly after the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill,” Gordon said.

Its first big break came when Colorado-based Lucky Markets, a Kroger subsidiary, agreed to carry the line shortly afterwards. “It took a lot of work and effort by our sales and marketing teams and a leap of faith by the Lucky folks to bring CBD and hemp-based products into their stores. They went with three companies and we were one of them, and we are still there in Colorado, as well as other states where Lucky operates.” Today, Functional Remedies is carried in more than 400 stores coast-to-coast, and Mazzotti said sales grew by an impressive 267% in 2018 and are on track to grow by nearly 800% this year. “We actually think they will grow even faster once the regulations from the FDA come into play and individual states follow suit,” he said. “When that happens, the growth will really be off the charts.” Retailers, Mazzotti said, are ready to jump in, though with some natural hesitation by their legal teams. “The consumer demand is there and retailer buyers are saying that they should get involved so they do not miss the boat,” he said. “But the attorneys are telling them to be cautious and to make sure that the regulations are in place to protect them and mitigate any risk.”

Today, Functional Remedies is carried in more than 400 stores coast-to-coast, its sales grew by 267% in 2018 and are on track to grow by nearly 800% this year. He thinks that retailers in states that are most friendly to CBD and hemp, including Kentucky, Colorado and North Carolina, will rush to get the products on store shelves as soon as possible, while retailers in the less friendly states, specifically California, will be more cautious. “It will go on a state-by-state basis,” said Gordon, who graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in

Optimizing Health Starts with Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil While CBD is in full swing and gaining popularity, understanding that hemp oil — containing CBD in addition to a full array of other phytonutrients — is the most effective option for creating the internal balance known as homeostasis. While CBD is good, full-spectrum hemp oil is better. Full-spectrum hemp oil contains cannabinoids, terpenes, polyphenols, and many more phytonutrients that represent nature’s intended balance in the hemp plant. Based on these facts, and despite the public notoriety of the acronym, I believe the future of the CBD is full-spectrum hemp oil. Let’s talk about why full-spectrum hemp oil


is superior to CBD alone. It starts with understanding the ECS, or endocannabinoid system — arguably the most important regulatory system in the human body next to the central nervous system. The ECS regulates balance or homeostasis on all bodily functions down to a cellular level. To function at its best, the ECS requires the full array of hemp phytonutrients. Inspired by the famous assertion of Aristotle, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” Raphael Mecchulam, known as the patriarch of cannabis research, sought to uncover the synergy of the compounds within the hemp plant. His quest led to conclusive research showing the

many benefits of full-spectrum hemp oil as part of a daily health regimen or in treatment protocol. With today’s fast-paced environment and societal pressures causing undue stress to so many, our ECS is working overtime and is likely in a deficient state. Our bodies need these essential hemp phytonutrients. Quite simply, our bodies need more than CBD alone — they need full-spectrum hemp oil to combat endocannabinoid deficiency, to bring balance to our lives, and move us closer to our eternal quest for optimal wellness. —Tim Gordon, chief science officer, Functional Remedies


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horticultural science. “Once the FDA regulations are in place, the states will have the opportunity to enact their own laws that might be stricter, but not looser, than the federal guidelines. California, right now, is a sleeper, but it is the ultimate game-changer. The bottom line is that retailers need to prepare for the future and be prepared for the regulations — federal and state — that will soon be coming down.” Finally, Mazzotti said there will be a weeding out of suppliers in the market, with larger companies getting more involved and smaller players, without the financial support or product efficacy, driven out of the market. “We stand out as a leader in the category because of our investment in consumer research and behavior, the highest quality products, the largest production capacity, and because we offer category-leading marketing support,” he said. Functional Remedies, both Mazzotti and Gordon feel, is ready

to take on the challenge. Besides a pipeline of new items, including some in the pet category, the company is kicking up its marketing efforts by enhancing its relationship with pro golfer Scott McCarron and sponsoring a PGA tournament in Biloxi, Miss. It also is offering in-store marketing to educate consumers at the point of sale. “I think we are in a great place,” Mazzotti said. “We have the efficacious products and the best financing in the country. And, we are moving to condition-specific formulas and will expand our products to cover different industries.” “In the end, the companies that will dominate this market will be the ones that have the most efficacious products backed up with sophisticated marketing and powerful educational support. And, these are the three things we are focused on and three places where we stand out from the crowd.” dsn

The Vetting Process How can retailers vet potential partners in the CBD and hemp categories? Officials at Functional Remedies have compiled a list of questions merchants should ask their potential suppliers in this category to ensure they are worthy of working with them. Here are some of those queries: Is the entity a “real” manufacturer, or a marketing company? Does the entity own its own seed genetics (and intellectual property)? Does the entity have a single origin source for raw materials to ensure consistent product? Is the source of the raw material

• • • •


• • • • • • •

compliant with the 2014 Farm Bill? Is the source of the raw material regulated from planting to harvest by a state regulatory program? Does the entity grow and harvest its own hemp? Does the entity own and operate its own extraction equipment? Does the entity own its own proprietary extraction method and formulations? Does the entity own its manufacturing and production facilities? If so, are its facilities GMP compliant and certified? Does the entity have its own quality

• • • •

checking and quality assurance programs in place for the entire chain of custody of raw material? Does the entity have every lot of products third-party tested for purity, active ingredients, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, etc? What is the entity’s true product supply capacity? How well funded is the entity? What is the company’s long-term financial sustainability? Is educating the consumer on the difference between hemp and CBD important?


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Laboring to Find Workers A strong economy is not helping retailers find quality employees. Now what? BY BARRIE DAWSON


hile the current robust economy is good for most people, it has created a labor shortage for mass retailers and the pharmacy counter that stretches from the most menial job levels up to the corporate offices. The solution to filling vacant jobs with competent people involves everything from making some cost-free attitude adjustments to effectively implementing automation and artificial intelligence. Let’s face it: Children dream of becoming astronauts and ballerinas, and teenagers aspire to become doctors and lawyers. Unfortunately, there is nothing innately attractive about working at a mass retail chain. These are few people’s top choice for a career, and when wages are low, hours are long and recognition is scarce, such low-end retail jobs can seem more like nightmares. “Grocery and pharmacy have trouble attracting labor, and clearly it’s partly because of the very low level of unemployment at the moment,” said Hart Posen, an associate professor of management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business. “It’s also a result of what they’ve chosen — and this was a decision made many years ago — to be low-wage, low-benefit and, consequently, sort of a low-skill environment.” Workers may tolerate low wages and unaccommodating schedules when jobs are scarce, but the tables have turned. In today’s climate, workers have options and retailers that want to retain their employees must accept that and adjust. “Wegmans, the place people want to work, does not pay the highest salaries,” John Stanton, professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, said of the supermarket chain. “As a matter of fact, the companies that pay the highest salaries are often the worst places to work. The reason why they have


to pay higher salaries is that’s the only way they keep people.” Stanton relayed the story of a young man who worked part-time in a supermarket while attending college. The store manager willingly worked around the young man’s class schedule each week, but then the store hired a new manager. He only cared about the store’s needs and refused to consider the student employee’s class schedule. Even though he enjoyed the supermarket job, the young man was forced to quit. Retail managers who treat low-level workers like disposable diapers often are left with a mess to clean up. When workers quit nowadays, someone else usually is not waiting to fill the vacancy. Employee turnover, or churn, costs money because incoming workers have to be found, hired and trained. “It’s hard enough to hire folks into the store,” said Marc Rousset, a partner at Boston-based global Oliver Wyman management consultancy. “There’s a ton of cost pressure, where you can’t just easily raise wages. That has a massive impact on the bottom lines of these companies — even the slightest changes in wages. You have to design around the talent you’re going to get.” Posen cited Costco as an example of a big-box retailer that reaps benefits from having what he calls “a unique staffing model. They pay higher wages. They promote from within to managerial positions. They offer good benefits. And the quality of their workforce is higher. That’s a purposeful choice,” he said. Retail managers also can make purposeful choices that will allow their stores to attract and retain employees. They can foster a sense of unity and teamwork by recognizing work that’s done well, reward extra effort, honor workers’ scheduling needs, and offer group and individual incentives. None of these things has to cost a dime.


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COVER STORY “The issue is not so much getting labor as it is keeping labor,” said Stanton, who pointed out that younger workers — members of Generation Z and some of the younger millennials — are much more demanding of what they expect from a business. “If you have a manager today saying, ‘Here’s how we run the business, take it or leave it,’ they’ll leave it. In days of yore, people really wanted a job more than anything, and they put up with a lot of stuff.” Rousset said that while the lower-end jobs seem to be hit the hardest by the labor shortage, there is a lot of competition for analytical talent at the corporate level, as well. “Banks and industries like health care are willing to pay a lot, so retailers in general have always had a harder time attracting that kind of talent,” he said. “You see some retailers who are opening hubs in very desirable areas, be they San Francisco, New York, Chicago, to try and improve the propositions to the younger, more technically savvy talent out there.” Of course, the big question is: Can the mass retailer attract the best workers for its across-the-board job vacancies? “You have to have a competitive wage to be considered,” Rousset said. “I think a lot of folks tend to be around the same amount as a starting point, but where I think a lot of emphasis has gone is on making it a more manageable lifestyle, so there’s a lot of movement on benefits, whether it’s health care, time off, retirement options and sick days. In store labor, at the lower end, predictability on schedules and being able to get a good shift [are] also a big part of it.”

While pharmacy’s primary labor challenge is the shortage of technicians, and a shortage of schools that will train them, the rest of mass retail faces a demand for more and better services from their customers. While pharmacy’s primary labor challenge is the shortage of technicians, and a shortage of schools that will train them, the rest of mass retail faces a demand for more and better services from their customers. Patrons want to order groceries and healthcare items online and have them delivered. In the store, they want to buy precooked meals, fresh flowers and decadent baked goods. They want access to a store pharmacist, as well as attend an in-store cooking class, be advised by a nutritionist and consult a health clinician. Skill is the common denominator among all of those services, and skilled labor costs money. The challenge for store management is to decide which services to offer and to be sure those services are profitable for the store. “We are bringing new and more expensive human labor into the process,” said Bill Bishop, chief architect and co-founder of Barrington, Ill.-based retail advisory website Brick Meets Click. “So, the companies have to figure out two things, and neither is that easy. First of all, they have to figure out how to effectively do the new jobs. The other part of what companies need to do as a result of this is to get paid for the additional value added by these services.”


Finding the Right Hire Recruiters can help themselves find the workers their chains need by using social media more effectively and changing their approach to hiring. Asking job candidates to spend time filling out a lengthy application on the company website is out. Connecting with potential employees via LinkedIn and Facebook is in. That is the word from Tonita Proulx, a business partnerships specialist at Envano, a digital marketing firm in Green Bay, Wis. She helps recruiters find and connect with the helpers they need. “The way we go about doing things has changed, but for some companies, the way they’re having people apply is the same old digital way it’s been for the last 15 years,” Proulx said. “The major shift we’re seeing that is helping recruiters is really understanding where people are and what the best way is to get a human connection with them.” Proulx, who has a 20-year background in digital marketing, offers three suggestions to recruiters: Do not just go to a career fair with the idea of making job seekers aware of your company. Have someone there who can conduct on-the-spot interviews with job candidates, and be ready to extend a job offer; LinkedIn offers tools to connect job seekers and potential employers. Post a mini version of your company’s website there because the profile and resume information for many candidates already are on file. The idea is to bring the job application to the candidate, not the other way around; and Target the types of employees you want via Facebook. One grocer saw value in recruiting retirees to work at the store level. Instead of posting an ad directing them to fill out an application on the store’s website, the grocer posted an inquiry to find out who might be interested. Those retirees who wanted to learn more simply provided their names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers so the store recruiter could contact them and start a conversation. That helped the grocer determine who the serious candidates were and prevented both sides from having to go through the time consuming and often discouraging application process. Jobs are plentiful and labor is scarce. That means the times have changed, and so must the mind-set of the employer. Proulx advises her retail clients to understand the people they’re trying to recruit and do what they can to make the application process easier. People aren’t going to want to wrestle with applications on company websites, only to have those applications land in a black hole somewhere. “A lot of these tools were put in place over the last 20 years to make it easier for businesses,” she said. “Some of the tools are now making it easier for the people.” “I’ve talked to recruiters who are jumping in and trying to reach and engage people in the social tools,” she said. “They really don’t know how to do it the right way because their mentality is still, ‘How do I make it easier for me, not the candidate?’ It’s really a mind-set change for organizations, along with a process change, that needs to occur. It’s about the customer, also known as the person being recruited, not the recruiter.” — Barrie Dawson

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COVER STORY Some smaller chains and independent markets may opt not to offer precooked meals and fresh-baked treats because of the facility and labor costs. Instead, they might emphasize other forms of customer service. Some larger chains that feel compelled to offer all the extras because their competitors have them then must decide whether to ratchet up the cost of a store-prepared meal or depend on incremental sales to make the service worthwhile. The theory is if the pharmacist, baker or in-store chef brings customers into the store, those consumers are likely to fill their shopping baskets while they’re there. “I think you’ll find it takes a fair amount of time for companies to learn the skills and to get paid for it,” Bishop said. “My guess is that there are some people moving up that learning curve quite a bit faster than others, but they’re still on the learning curve, so it’s not minting money for them.” While additional services are changing the face of the supermarket workforce, so too is automation. Self-checkout stations have been around for years, but robots now are able to do some of those menial tasks stores cannot find workers to perform. Add in the emerging influence of artificial intelligence, which will revolutionize analytics at the corporate level, and it’s clear the retail labor picture is becoming more complex by the day. While there is nothing new about automation, there is a danger in putting too many people out of work. If robots and other automated devices dehumanize the store experience, why wouldn’t consumers simply buy online? Yes, robots that scrub floors and

perform other menial tasks are becoming more prevalent, but experts said store employees more likely are to be retrained to perform some “new” functions than let go. “The bottom line is the introduction of technology has never really been a bad thing,” Stanton said. “Just think about this: Televisions, cellphones — all of these things in general have had a positive effect. I’m not worried about, ‘Oh, we’re going to put people out of work.’ We’re going to change the work that people do.” dsn

Searching for Pharmacy Technicians Tom Maez, divisional vice president of pharmacy workforce management and staff procurement company Rx Relief, knows the supply of new pharmacy technicians has not kept up with demand — and he understands why. “When we started coming out of the recession in 2011, pharmacy technician orders led the way,” said Maez, whose staffing firm is based in Fresno, Calif. “That was what signaled to us, ‘Hey, something’s changing.’” Several reasons why pharmacy technicians are in short supply exists. Maez said the typical pharmacy tech training program runs 6-to-9 months and, at a public university, can cost $8,000. Not only are students not earning any income while in school and incurring debt, they typically will earn roughly $15-to-$18 an hour, or only about $40,000 annually, after certification. For someone who is a family’s primary breadwinner, $40,000 does not go very far. “The number of people going into those training schools is decreasing, and the number


of seats available to train technicians has decreased,” Maez said. “That’s contributed to a shortage of pharmacy technicians in retail and hospital, and just about every other setting they work in.” Maez also cited the 2015 closure of Corinthian Colleges as being another factor in the pharmacy technician shortage. CCI was a huge network of colleges in the United States and Canada that offered degree and certificate training in many occupations. However, the college went out of business after being assessed $30 million in Department of Education fines for misrepresentation. From his experience, Maez knows of no colleges that offer both PharmD and pharmacy technician programs, and there is no on-thejob bridge from being a pharmacy technician to becoming a pharmacist. Those who earn PharmD degrees usually need at least six years to complete the program. During the mid-1990s, pharmacy

technicians were plentiful, but pharmacists were not, Maez said. He has seen the number of California schools offering PharmD programs more than quadruple since he graduated in 1985. Is that kind of renaissance on the horizon for pharmacy technicians? “Techs can be working with some very sophisticated processes for making chemotherapy drugs, making IV medications, and doing nutritional support medications,” Maez said. “Those require a very high skill set, and when you come out of a tech training program, you’re not ready to handle any of those high-end duties. Those technicians are starting to make $25 to $30 an hour now, and they’re in demand.” If the demand remains strong despite the higher wage, becoming a pharmacy technician should become more attractive. That, in turn, should create a need for more sophisticated training. —Barrie Dawson


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The Hair Care Spectrum Retailers need to keep up with trends to compete in the multicultural space By Nora Caley


ant to get more involved with the booming, yet changing, multicultural beauty category? Welcome to the club. From porosity tests and co-washing to competition from KoreanAmerican-owned beauty supply stores, retailers have much to consider if they want to compete in this market, which some industry officials said is growing at a consistent double-digit annual rate. So, the onus is on those retailers that want to succeed in the category. First, they need to stay up-to-date on category trends. Second, they need to promote the fact that they carry these items in store. Third, they need to give the category the right amount of space to satisfy the consumers’ different needs and demands in the market. Meanwhile, they also need to keep a close eye on competitors in the area and see just what they are doing to gain the consumer’s attention in this category. “We are seeing [that] the multicultural consumer is increasingly relevant to retailers today,” said Rahul Chaudhary, CEO North America of Chicago-based Namaste Labs, which makes ORS Hair Care products. “We have seen the spending power of this consumer segment grow pretty dramatically.” That is especially true for hair care products. Growth in this segment is being driven by, among other trends, consumers’ changing attitudes about how much they should


do to their hair as multicultural shoppers are more interested in keeping their hair in a natural state. “[They] are willing to pay more than the general market for their hair,” Chaudhary said. “They are very engaged with their hair, and want to express themselves without damaging their hair.” One way to do that, he said, is through wigs and weaves, and ORS Olive Oil Fix-It brand is launching those products. In addition to expressing themselves, consumers also want to take care of their hair, and they are going online to find more information. One topic that is earning much attention online is porosity, or hair’s ability to absorb moisture. Porosity tests include a

float strand test, in which the person takes a hair from her comb and puts it in a bowl of water. If the strand sinks quickly, the hair has high porosity. If the strand floats, it has low porosity. “Retailers need to understand porosity because consumers are researching it,” said Psyche Terry, founder of UI Global Brands based in Frisco, Texas. “This market is heavily trend focused and heavily swayed, and they purchase based on what they learned. If they don’t find it in retail, they will make it themselves.” Urban Hydration, a brand of UI Global Brands, launched its Honey Collection for low-porosity hair. Plant-based ingredients are very on-trend


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MULTICULTURAL right now. “I am seeing more competitors moving into ingredient stories,” Terry said. “They are saying ‘This is what honey does for your hair,’ or ‘This is what eucalyptus does for your skin.’”

Natural Ingredients

Natural and organic beauty products and multipurpose beauty products are among the hottest trends, said Juan Morillo, brand ambassador and product specialist at OKAY Pure Naturals in Miami Gardens, Fla. “Customers want beauty products without harsh chemicals, such as sulfates and parabens,” he said. “They want products that will nurture, nourish and improve their hair and skin, and the answer to that is found today in natural products.” Shoppers in the multicultural space are looking for natural products that feature such ingredients as shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, neem oil, witch hazel, aloe, peppermint and honey. “These natural ingredients are chock-full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help resolve certain issues like dry skin and brittle hair,” Morillo said. The do-it-yourself trend has been growing over the last few years, Jolorie Williams, vice president of marketing at Creme of Nature/ Revlon, said. Multicultural consumers go online to research ingredients, then shop for different bases and ingredients they can mix and match to detoxify and cleanse their hair. The brand recently launched the Clay

and Charcoal line to make the at-home process easier. The collection features such natural ingredients as rhassoul clay, bentonite clay, activated charcoal, certified shea butter and coconut oil. “Multicultural consumers are extremely involved in learning and knowing what ingredients are being used on their hair,” Williams said. “They are actively researching and educating themselves about the most innovative and newest ‘it’ ingredient that promotes overall hair health and growth, and prevents breakage.” Those ingredients include argan oil in Creme of Nature with Argan Oil from Morocco, honey in the Pure Honey line, certified shea butter and coconut oil. Another trend in the marketplace is scalp health. “Based on our extensive research in the market, opportunities to formulate natural products to promote scalp health are immense and growing rapidly in the space, in addition to improving overall hair health and growth,” Williams said.

Function Over Form

Natural products and natural hair are important trends in multicultural beauty. “What we have seen most in all parts of the world is the search for products and natural results,” said Inocencia Manoel, founder of Inoar Professional Hair Products in Miami. “A great example of this is that curly hair is back again.” Manoel also said that Inoar already had anticipated this trend with its Divine Curls Collection.


Consumers also are looking for products that have a story, Manoel said. Inoar soon will bring vegan lines to the United States — an extension of the company’s policy of never testing products on animals. Later this year, Inoar will bring a coconut collection formulated with coconut oil in a 100% botanical and vegan formula, and with ingredients that moisturize and enhance hair growth, to the United States. Products that promote growth and moisture are the hottest segment in multicultural beauty now, said Malinda Edwards, brand innovations manager at Mielle Organics in Crown Point, Ind. “Consumers are focusing on strength, hydration and moisture,” she said. The brand offers the Moisture Rx Collection, designed to provide intense hydration locking moisture into every hair strand. Moisturizing and enhancing hair growth are goals for many consumers, and some manufacturers are positioning their products as having broader appeal than the multicultural audience. “People are finally realizing you don’t need to be a multicultural brand or a general market brand, so to speak,” said Jim Travagline, founder of Sashapure, a Red Lodge Beauty brand. “You can be a brand that speaks to hair problems, whether that’s hair repair or whatever the case may be.” Consumers look for these products within the health and beauty aisle or in the natural sets — always in the multicultural beauty area, Travagline said. “You look at what the problem is with your hair, and you look for the company that you know that makes something for your hair.” Sashapure, which offers hair care products made with USDAcertified organic and sustainably harvested sacha inchi oil, plans to launch a skin care line in 2020. Products that help to detoxify skin, hair and scalp, including charcoal and African black soap, also are on-trend now. “Consumers are focused on wellness, and scalp care is at the root of healthy hair,” said Nicola Chung, senior director of hair care innovation at Sundial Brands, maker of SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage brands. “Scalp care is frequently overlooked, as many people have a tendency


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MULTICULTURAL to overload hair with products and forget to clarify and remove buildup.” The company recently launched the African Black Soap Bamboo Charcoal collection, and said that there was community demand for hair care and scalp solutions with this ingredient enhanced with bamboo charcoal.


Another trend is co-washing, or conditioneronly washing. A co-wash is a multitasking cleansing conditioner that gently refreshes the hair without stripping oils, said Shaherra M. Rolen, brand manager at Revlon Realistic in Marietta, Ga. “Co-washing is starting to get popular among naturalistas,” she said. Natural hair enthusiasts are an important audience for the brand. “We want to encourage women to love themselves the way they are and to enjoy the journey.” Revlon Realistic recently added several products to its lineup: Smoothing Gel, Sweat Resistant Edge Control, Co-Wash and Finishing Oil. “Keeping your edges nice during summertime can be challenging,” Rolen said. Summer also is the time of new hair styles and colors. “With the weather warming up, we are seeing our consumers adding color to their hair, such as blonde or red, to coincide with the spring and summer seasons,”


Dametria Mustin, global marketing director at Cantu, said. “We also are seeing a continuance of protective styling, where our consumers are wearing braids, faux locs and twists to decrease tangling and shedding, but increase hair growth, particularly during months where travel increases and consumers are on the go.” To help with this, Cantu, a brand of Stamford, Conn.-based PDC Brands, launched new hair masques and styling gels. Manufacturers said retailers can thrive in this space if they offer information. “Education is key at shelf for consumers [and] information about ingredients and their benefits and origins, as well as tips for using the products,” Sundial’s Chung said. “Helping sales associates better understand offerings and need states also are important for guiding consumers to purchase effective products.” It helps if the staff knows what the products can be used for, and be able to give advice. “Having this knowledge and information is necessary, and it builds trust with the consumer,” OKAY Pure Naturals’ Morillo said. Social media also plays a role in building trust with consumers. Millennials and Generation Z lead the buying power at retail, Creme of Nature/Revlon’s Williams said, so retailers should partner with influencers, YouTubers and beauty enthusiasts for in store promotional events, experiential activations and other activities that

can help them connect with consumers and drive sales. Styles change, and consumers get much information from YouTube videos and other online sources. Retailers need to offer solutions for most style options, said Roslyn Chapman, founder of sales management company The Chapman Edge in Chicago. “The retailer needs to hone in on what that is,” she said. “A solution should be available to her in every store.” For example, Chapman said, several degrees of hair curls exist, so the assortment should have products for the various hair textures. Also, retailers should offer products for men, especially hair and beard care items. Retailers not only are competing with beauty supply stores, but a large class of trade that is super stores that cater to the multicultural shopper. “Everything in there is for someone that has textured hair or is of color,” Chapman said. “It makes you feel like you are in a special experience.” These stores, many of which are owned by Korean-American families, still are growing. While they have selection as their advantage, food, drug and mass market retailers can compete by offering convenience and good customer service. Opportunities for retailers to participate in this growing category exist. “The future is multicultural,” Morillo said. “Addressing these consumers and their needs is essential for growth in the market.” dsn


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Splish Splash Bath and body care products look to bring luxurious moments, relaxation to shoppers By Sandra Levy


inally, a category consumers are not in a rush for — well, at least in one manner of speaking. For most consumers, especially millennials, instant gratification is the name of the game. Yet, when it comes to their bath rituals, they are in slow motion, favoring bath care products that will help them unwind and relax. That is why retailers that are seeking to clean up in this market are awash with a wide selection of products that would please the most discerning spa aficionados. The proof also is in the pudding, with sales growing and retailers noting that suppliers are bumping up price points — and profit margins — as consumers look for better items. Chicago-based market research firm IRI said body wash sales came to about $2.6 billion and bath fragrances/bubble bath reached $375.7 million in U.S. multioutlets for the 52 weeks ended March 24. With consumers also favoring products that provide a fun experience, it’s no surprise that bath care manufacturers are thinking out of the box and innovating with items that are exciting and pique interest.

Little Indulgences

In recent years, bubble bath, a category mainstay, has become somewhat passé as consumers look for a flashier way to bring excitement to their soak like the bath bomb. For manufacturers, they represent a way for consumers to unwind. For example, Fort Collins, Colo.-based Salus Bath & Body offers various bath bombs, including infused argan oil and hemp under the company’s Whole Made Bath brand. Others are meant to offer fresh scent profiles, and the company also has a line of natural stone-inspired Geode Mega Bath Bombs, which are made to look like geodes.


“We worked to create a really eyecatching design, and we created blends based off of each stone. There is one for every month, as well as a rose quartz,” Elijah Cordova, Salus’ creative director and media manager, said. “We launched this product based upon the peaked interest in crystals, geodes and the zodiac. Being located in Colorado, we see lots of interest around this, and we felt inspired to turn that interest into a bath bomb line.” Bath bombs also are a focus for Washington, D.C.-based Soapbox. David Simnick, the company’s CEO and

co-founder, said bath bombs represent incremental sales in the bath category because, in addition to being fun for consumers, they are a one-time use item, yet have healthy price points for retailers. For example, the company’s 4.5-oz. bath bomb retails for $4.99. “One of the trends we’re seeing with bath bombs is that while consumers are still looking for that surprise and delight with the fizz and colorful aesthetic, there’s a push toward less glitter and more toward therapeutic aspects, and or a benefit,” he said. Aromatherapy benefits, as well as transparency in ingredients, are focuses of Sacramento, Calif.-based Lifearound2angels, founded by Ningzi Sun in her home in 2015 because she wanted to create bath bombs without harsh ingredients for her two daughters. Now, the company has a 22,000-sq.-ft. warehouse that churns out 46 bath bombs with floral, fruit and candy scents, such as vanilla, rose, lavender, melon ball and mango. The bath bombs come in different size packages, ranging from a four pack to a 12 pack. “We use shea butter and healthy oils to moisturize the skin. The bath bomb is packed with a lot of healthy scents that help you to relax,” Sun said. “Each one of them smells different and looks different. They come in a ball shape, and the top is decorated with Epsom salt and some flower petals. They are fun, they smell good and are a good value,” she said. Though not in the bath bomb business, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Village Naturals Therapy also is looking to bring some benefits to bathers with its Chronic Pain & Fatigue Bath Soak and Body Wash. “The line is specially formulated with a blend of powerful ingredients like Epsom salt, arnica and ginger to help combat not only soreness, but also the fatigue associated with these


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BATH conditions,” said Rachel Joy Swardson, senior marketing manager of new product development at Village Naturals. “Our goal is to support the return of energy, strength and joy to those in pain.”

Mask Off

Self-care is part and parcel of the bath category, and one trend in that space — masks — is moving beyond simply providing benefits to the face. Yes To, based in Pasadena, Calif., has begun making body masks to be used on the stomach and buttocks. Company CEO Ingrid Jackel said one of the trends in the body care category is connected to a recent phenomenon that has extended wellness and self-care to all parts of the body. “It has given rise to the body positivity movement, coming from the self-care movement that extends to parts of the body that we used to hide and be ashamed of. Now, millennials are showing off with pride, accepting diversity in body types, shapes and sizes,” Jackel said. “These are fun and effective products to embrace consumers’ shapes. Yes To’s Booty-Ful paper masks come in four varieties, with such benefits as retexturizing, tightening and fighting acne, while its Belly Up paper masks come in two varieties. That’s not to say that face masks are on the way out. Rahway, N.J.-based Spalife’s products offer a more luxurious mask experience, with offerings that include the rose water-infused hydrogel lace face mask and an antiaging collage gold face mask. Owner Linda Harari said a big part of her business is providing affordable luxury. “I’m constantly repackaging and reinventing different ways in which the customer feels they can afford to indulge,” she said.

Cleaning Up

As with bath bombs, consumers in this category are moving away from more traditional forms that have been dominant. This even includes something as steadfast as bar soap. Kennebunk, Maine-based Tom’s of Maine has noticed the trend, with the company’s senior brand manager, Liz Eddy, highlighting a shift to body washes as part of an interest in transparent ingredients.


“People are starting to think not only about the food they eat, but also about what they put on their body,” Eddy said. “As they are being more mindful about ingredients, they’re looking for brands that have truly natural offerings and don’t have sulfates.” The brand entered the body wash category two years ago and now offers three Tom’s of Maine Natural Moisturizing Body Washes that are priced starting at $7.99.

Officials at Amityville, N.Y.-based Sundial Brands, maker of SheaMoisture, also have noticed the trend and sought to provide products that deliver on various consumer demands. The company recently rolled out SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration 2-in-1 Bubble Bath and Body Wash. “We innovate for an audience that has a high demand for natural ingredients,” said Alexis Adams, director of bath and body. Sundial’s parent company, Unilever, also is innovating around offerings meant to get shoppers clean by debuting a distinct delivery method — mousse. The company sells Dove Body Wash Mousse in three varieties. “Dove Body Wash Mousse is our first ever body wash mousse with essential oils — coconut, argan or rose — and provides an instant, rich creamy lather in a pampering and indulgent format,” Nick Soukas, Unilever’s North America vice president of skin cleansing and baby care, said. “And while it’s half the number of ounces as our regular body wash, the concentrated formula provides two times the uses per ounce compared to our regular body wash formula.” Amid these shifting trends, manufacturers suggested several ways retailers might capitalize on them. Soapbox’s Simnick sees the category as a prime candidate for building incremental steps through related items by creating an assortment that combines self-care and an experiential offering. “Consumers may be looking at purchasing a low-cost body wash, but you have the opportunity to trade them up into a higher ring and/or additional rings and build the whole cart by providing an experiential bath item like a loofah or bath bomb in the same aisle as the stand-alone body washes,” Simnick said. Yes To’s Jackel said that retailers shouldn’t be afraid to lighten up the category, while thinking beyond longtime focuses. “In terms of merchandising, it’s important to bring a little more focus to different parts of the body,” she said. “Consider the body positivity movement. It’s a generation that behaves differently in their shopping behavior. Bring a little more fun and entertainment to the category.” dsn


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SPOTLIGHT ON: HAIR CARE Garnier Whole Blends Garnier Whole Blends Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner with Coconut Oil & Cocoa Butter Extracts contain a moisturizing and lightweight formula infused with a tropical fragrance of coconut water and vanilla. The products help quench and soften dehydrated hair. Retailing for $4.49 each, the shampoo and conditioner can be found at Garnierusa.com and at mass retailers nationwide.

SheaMoisture 100% Argan Oil SheaMoisture 100% Argan Oil is part of the brand’s multifunctional collection that offers a solution for dry, dull, damaged and aging hair, as well as skin. Pressed from plants with healing and medicinal properties, the product looks to soften and smooth hair. Consumers can find the oil at Target.com, where it retails for $5.39.

TRESemmé Botanique The TRESemmé Botanique Color Vibrance & Shine Intensive Mask nourishes hair, adds shine and maximizes color vibrancy. Containing a blend of pomegranate and camelia oil, the mask is paraben-free and dyefree, and safe to use on color-treated hair. The mask retails for $1.99 and is available at mass-market, food and drug retailers.

Suave Professionals For consumers with natural hair who are looking to provide moisture to their tresses, Suave Professionals for Natural Hair Nourish & Strengthen Leave-in Conditioner is formulated to moisturize dry and damaged hair. The leave-in conditioner helps protect against breakage and detangles hair as well. The product, which is ideal for curly to coily hair, retails for $4.99. It can be found at Walmart.com, and at such stores as Family Dollar, Dollar General and CVS Pharmacy.



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Market Leaders Supermarket pharmacies use partnerships to navigate their broader clinical roles By Sandra Levy


upermarket pharmacies are having a moment. Once relegated to obscured locations in the store, they now are no longer hidden from customers’ sight, nor thought of as merely an added convenience. Moving away from the staid count, pour, lick and stick role they once had, supermarket pharmacists increasingly play an important clinical role with a focus on patient outcomes. Indeed, supermarket pharmacies and their pharmacists have taken their rightful place, alongside pharmacy chain behemoths in terms of volume and services, simultaneously fulfilling scores of prescriptions and providing a host of services that range from disease state management and immunizations to medication therapy management and home delivery. What’s more, many supermarket pharmacies are managing the prior authorization process and are getting more involved with high touch specialty drugs, enabling clinical interventions and better patient outcomes. In 2018, supermarkets with pharmacies accounted for 7.2% of U.S. prescription revenues and 12.4% of 30 day equivalent prescriptions dispensed, according to The 2019 Economic Report on U.S. Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers. For 2018, the report estimated that prescription revenues at supermarkets declined by 4.4%, but 30-day prescriptions dispensed increased by 1.6%, said Adam Fein of Pembroke Consulting, an author of the report. Yet, supermarket pharmacies also are facing the same headwinds that the entire pharmacy industry is. That means requiring companies to get smart about their offerings through partners whose solutions can help them handle increased prescription volume while expanding their clinical roles to boost outcomes and improve profitability.


Schnucks uses central-fill solutions to enable in-store pharmacist-patient engagement.

Filling Smarter

At the center of Johnson City, N.Y.-based Innovation’s pharmacy automation offerings is its PharmASSIST systems, which provides flexibility in fulfillment and higher levels of efficiency. The Model 4 is a selfcalibrating dispenser, which allows immediate on-site auto calibration of medicines. The PharmASSIST RDSx is a robotic dispensing technology designed for high volume industrial applications and a high throughput, as well as reliability. Each RDSx fills up to 300 prescriptions an hour. “In fulfillment, our operators today are looking for ways to make the actual production of the prescriptions as safe and as efficient as possible,” Doyle Jensen, executive vice president at Innovation, said. “We’re seeing that accomplished through a shift to a highly evolved central fill model, where the most amount of technology can be deployed to drive the lowest product cost per prescription. It also gives them the flexibility from that same central fill as a point

for home delivery or mail. We see people in the supermarket space adding both of those services into their models.” Pharmacists spend between 80% and 90% of their time filling prescriptions, Jensen said. “By moving that production to a centralized automated facility creates the time for them to provide patient services,” he said. One supermarket pharmacy that looks to Innovation to enable clinical interventions is Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, a $10 billion company with pharmacy representing some $1.4-to-$1.5 billion in sales. The chain operates 213 pharmacies across western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana. Each store averages more than 2,000 prescriptions a week, and roughly 40% of the chain’s volume is filled via Giant Eagle’s central fill facility. “Innovation provides the technology for us to take the filling process out of the store and bring it into the robots in the central facility, and the communication to move that data back and forth, Jim Tsipakis,


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PHARMACY | SUPERMARKETS Giant Eagle’s senior vice president of pharmacy, said. “More importantly, it allows us to concentrate our valuable pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ resources for services. The real value is the human interaction and the high touch that we want to be able to provide to our patients,” he said, noting that it also serves as a differentiator for the chain by ensuring a pharmacist is available to handle patients’ health-andwellness needs.” Schnuck Markets, which has 107 retail pharmacies located across Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, also relies on central fill for enabling patient engagement. “Central fill allows the majority of maintenance prescription refills to be processed off-site in order to allow our pharmacy teammates to spend more time with their patients at the store,” Brigid Elam, the chain’s director of retail pharmacy, said. “In addition to improving service levels, utilizing the central fill process decreases the cost to fill and helps optimize overall inventory levels. Also, our stores and patients are supported by a call center and central processing center.” Elam said that Schnucks is offering a plethora of clinical services that focus on a total health-and-wellness offering that also includes nutrition. “We have partnered with Strand platform to improve efficiencies with offering more clinical services, including diabetes self-management education, smoking cessation counseling and blood pressure checks within our current retail workflow,” she said. “This is in addition to the robust full-service immunization program we offer that includes travel health and our MTM programs,” she said. McKesson High Volume Solutions, based in Malvern, Pa., is making headway with central fill services to free up pharmacists. HVS vice president Joe Tammaro said the company is seeing that supermarket pharmacies’ per-store prescription volume is typically higher than in the traditional drug store industry. “The needs for some solutions to take that volume away and free up pharmacists’ time to do value-added services is even more pronounced in the supermarket industry than in the traditional drug store industry,” he said, noting that HVS provides automation to supermarket


pharmacies for centralized off-site prescription filling that can be purchased or offered as a service a per-prescription fee. “One of the biggest advantages of HVS is that we are a systems integrator. We select the best technology from a number of other vendors, and integrate and implement that together so it’s the best of the best, not just one technology that we own and you have to use,” Tammaro said. Robotics not only are used for central fill, though. Some supermarkets prefer to have in-store automation that can work alongside the staff to streamline the process of filling prescriptions. Kansas City, Mo.based ScriptPro has a compact line of three robots — CRS 75, CRS 150 and CRS 225 — aimed at supermarket pharmacies. “The CRS 150 is the most popular among supermarket pharmacies. It can easily fit into a grocery store pharmacy, and 150 tends to be the sweet spot for the number of [drug] cells that you need in a grocery store,” ScriptPro CEO Mike Coughlin said. In addition to filling the prescription, the robot labels the prescription and puts auxiliary messages on the label, such as certain foods patients should avoid or any issues regarding driving that might be affected by the medication. “The robot will go to the drug cell and do some verification check. It will activate the drug cell to drop the pill into the bottle and then it will print and apply a label, and

then bring it out on a conveyer,” Coughlin said “There are about 10 steps required to manually perform this process that are eliminated by the robot. The pharmacist then can interact with the patient and coordinate their other prescriptions that should be refiled at the same time.” Time-saving tools aren’t limited to robots, either. Such administrative tasks as prior authorization can be automated to make the patient’s experience better and remove a timeconsuming process from pharmacists’ workflow. McKesson Prescription Technology Solutions offers CoverMyMeds, an electronic prior authorization platform that can automate the process of getting insurer approval for certain medications and help track requests. “Our IntelligentPA solution expedites the process within pharmacy systems by initiating a request automatically when a prior authorization is most likely to be required based on historical data,” Caitlin Graham, CoverMyMeds vice president of pharmacy, said. “This helps reduce manual prior authorization reviews through auto-determination; eliminates the need for phone calls and faxes; and creates a consistent, electronic process for all pharmacists and techs across the pharmacy chain, providing the opportunity to spend more time with patients and less time with administrative tasks.”

Easier Intervention

While automation provides supermarket pharmacists with the time to offer more services to patients, there is a need to identify patients who might benefit from interactions while offering services that set stores apart. New York-based Amplicare’s Medicare plan comparison software, Amplicare Match, offers a touchpoint that makes the supermarket pharmacy into a resource at an already frequented destination. “[Medicare plan comparison] is a really useful way for pharmacies not only to acquire new patients that are in these grocery settings, but also retain consumers who are also pharmacy patients,” Amplicare CEO Matt Johnson said. “It also opens up the opportunity to address other interventions with patients.”


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PHARMACY | SUPERMARKETS Among the interventions available are immunizations, which Johnson said Amplicare Restore helps manage. “We can tie [immunizations] into Amplicare Assist, the notification system, so that pharmacies are prompted at the right time and place in workflow for an intervention like vaccination,” he said, noting the open enrollment period is a good time to suggest a flu vaccine to patients. “This ensures seniors are getting their flu vaccine while coming in to get their plan comparison done or to get their refill.” Amplicare Restore also assists with managing drug induced nutrient depletion, which Johnson said drives patient adherence and increases OTC sales for the supermarket. Patient intervention tools are of particular interest to such distributors as Cardinal Health, which recently acquired mscripts, a tool that offers patient adherence and engagement solutions through a mobile- and web-based health management platform. “Cardinal Health is excited to broaden the capabilities we deliver to our customers that serve to strengthen the relationship between healthcare providers, payers, pharmacies and patients,” Debbie Weitzman, the company’s U.S. pharmaceutical distribution president, said.

Untangling Logistics

Ensuring patients are aware of pharmacy sevices is an essential component of making them available, and also is something supermarkets tend to have difficulty with, according to Claire Biermaas, group vice president of strategic health at Conshohocken, Pa.based AmerisourceBergen. “One of the challenges we see a lot of times, especially with any pharmacy that has a footprint within a larger business, is that there’s marketing and branding activity for the entirety of that chain. We help customers make sure they’re connecting the pharmacy marketing to the larger brand,” Biermaas said noting that AmerisourceBergen also offers merchandising programs to help tailor offerings to what operators want to emphasize. “If they want to focus on diabetes or women’s health, we have resources and expertise to help them make decisions about where they want to focus,” she said.


Amplicare’s software aims to make pharmacy interventions easier.

With prescription volumes increasing, inventory management is one of the most challenging areas of pharmacy operations. “Inventory is their most expensive investment,” said Nathan Chapman, vice president and general manager of Irving, Texasbased Supplylogix, which offers inventory optimization solutions. “Certainly, where the cost of drugs continues to get higher, we can really help these pharmacies optimize the inventory that they have across their entire chain and really align with them on what is their inventory strategy.” Supplylogix’s Pinpoint Order system can look at demand history, as well as pull in the upcoming refills and help to determine if supermarket pharmacies have the right product available at the right time. “We take care of the algorithms behind the scenes so that within your pharmacy, you can focus on the patient. We are focused on ensuring that our solutions and our tools help free up some of that time you may be spending on trying to order, when to order and how much to order,” Chapman said. Supplylogix’s Pinpoint Transfer provides the ability to balance inventory across stores.

With generics making up roughly 9-in-10 prescriptions filled in the United States, per the Association for Accessible Medicines and IQVIA, supermarkets also need an effective generics purchasing tool, according to AmerisourceBergen’s Biermaas. She said the company’s PRXO Generics program looks to simplify the purchasing process while helping contain costs. “If they order from this program, they reach certain tiers and they get certain rebates. We’re helping them buy better through the platform,” Biermaas said. “The platform educates the pharmacist as you are building your order to make sure you’re optimizing based on your contract.” Monitoring the pharmacy’s financial performance also is critical when juggling reimbursements both from prescription drugs and an expanding suite of clinical services, said Christopher Smith, director of product strategy, pharmacy at WinstonSalem, N.C.-based Inmar. “We endeavor to simplify the back-end transactions and help our clients understand the finances in a variety of ways, whether it’s on transactional-based products, or


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PHARMACY | SUPERMARKETS analytics products and services that help amplify and help them understand those transactions,” Smith said. Later this year, Inmar is launching Pharmacy Analytics On Demand, a dashboard-enabled product that will allow pharmacies to be better informed about their business and see how they are performing against other pharmacies in the landscape.

Broader Scope, Connected Store

Many supermarket pharmacies are branching out into specialty pharmacy, further broadening their pharmacists’ clinical roles. Schnucks has six stand-alone specialty pharmacies and three in store specialty pharmacies. It also has a Specialty Care Center, staffed with a pharmacist during food pantry hours, which serves as a resource to discuss medication challenges with patients and support the community. Noah Tennyson, Schnucks director of specialty pharmacy, said as specialty drug

approvals rise and become more selfmanageable for patients, the need for specialty pharmacies is growing. “It is important to offer specialty pharmacy services to our patients in order to best achieve therapy goals,” Tennyson said. “Specialty drug therapies are often very expensive and require extensive monitoring and patient support.” Giant Eagle has a specialty pharmacy in Ohio and in Pennsylvania, concentrating on such conditions as hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, oncology, HIV and neurology. The chain also employs a nurse and dietitian — the latter of which can help tie in the store’s food offerings. “These disease states are really complex and require a higher level of attention to detail and a higher level of patient interaction, and we make sure that we go over the top in service,” Tsipakis said. So, what does the future hold for supermarket pharmacies? “Supermarket pharmacies are becoming a destination for nutrition, health and wellness,”

Schnucks’ Elam said. “Consumers are becoming more aware of their food options and how they impact their overall health. Our pharmacies are positioned well for this change in destination for pharmacy customers.” Innovation’s Jensen envisions a bright future. “Those supermarkets that are embracing technology and alternative delivery models for the prescriptions have lots of future growth opportunities as opposed to those who don’t,” he said. Tsipakis also is optimistic. “It’s an exciting time for pharmacy. Certainly, there are some headwinds we’re all facing as an industry and profession, but the ability to take care of patients and make a difference in a patients’ lives has not change,” he said. “If anything, it’s gotten more important. As pharmacists and pharmacies, we play a very important role in make sure that therapy medication prescriptions are dispensed, administered and executed flawlessly, and we are helping curb healthcare costs.” dsn


Alkem’s Generic Diovan Launches as Sartans See Recalls

It has been a tough year for many players in the “sartan” generic drug category as the Food and Drug Administration recalled dozens of medications in this class due to potentially cancer-causing impurities. Known as angiotensin II receptor blockers, or ARBs, these medications treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Beginning in the summer of 2018, the FDA announced that some generic versions of the ARB medicines contain nitrosamine impurities that do not meet the agency’s safety standards.


Nitrosamine impurities, including N-Nitrosodimethylamine and N-Nitrosodiethylamine are probable human carcinogens — a substance that could cause cancer — as is N-Nitroso-Nmethyl-4-aminobutyric acid. Nitrosamines are known environmental contaminants found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products and vegetables. The most recent recalls to hit manufacturers include certain lots of American Health Packaging’s valsartan that were recalled in March, as well as lots of losartan from Teva, Legacy Pharmaceuticals and Torrent Pharmaceuticals, all of which were recalled in April. Despite the glum news, there has been some good news for some generic sartan manufacturers. First, not all ARB medicines have been recalled. Additionally, in anticipation of drug shortages in the sartan class, the FDA prioritized the review of Alkem Laboratories’ new generic of Diovan (valsartan). The drug was green-lighted on March 12. Following this positive news, on April 4, the FDA identified 40 ARB medications that do not contain any known nitrosamine impurities. The FDA expects this number will increase. Finally, the FDA said it is not objecting to temporary distribution of specific lots of losartan that contain impurities above the interim acceptable intake limit, for a short period of time.


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Now Hear This Ear care is a growing category thanks to aging baby boomers — and earbuds By Nora Caley


hat do the royal wedding, unicorn cake and earwax have in common? They were among the many topics that had huge increases in the number of Google search queries about them in 2018, as measured by Google Trends. According to the site, topics including “How to clean earwax out of earbuds,” “How does earwax form?” and “YouTube


earwax removal” increased 200% or more over the past year. Searches for “Can hearing loss be reversed?” and similar topics also rose. As interest in ear care topics increases, so does the opportunity to merchandise products that can help consumers find solutions. Manufacturers said they are launching innovative remedies for earwax issues and other forms of ear discomfort while also

developing items related to hearing loss. It is up to retailers to make sure consumers get the right information about these health issues and can find the products in stores. “Ear care is doing remarkably well,” said Yann Pigeaire, vice president of marketing at Similasan in Highlands Ranch, Colo. “There is a lot of growth in the earwax segment.” Similasan manufactures homeopathic remedies that include ear drops, eye


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HEALTH | EAR CARE drops and cough remedies. The company’s Ear Wax Relief and Ear Wax Peroxide Free Removal Kit had a 28% sales increase in the first quarter. Pigeaire said several hypotheses exist to explain why earwax product sales are thriving. One theory is that baby boomers are driving these sales because older adults are getting to an age when they are using hearing aids, which tend to be associated with earwax buildup. “This is an issue that gets worse as you get older,” he said. According to the Alexandria, Va.-based American Academy of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery foundation’s 2017 update of recommendations on diagnosis and treatment of earwax, or cerumen impaction, excessive or impacted cerumen is present in 1-in-10 children, 1-in-20 adults, and more than one-third of the geriatric and developmentally delayed populations.

Better Ear Care

People have long tried to remove wax from their ears by using cotton swabs and other objects, but these methods can cause harm. Also, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery foundation, excessive ear cleaning can irritate the ear canal, cause infection, and even cause the cerumen to become further impacted. It added that people should not use cotton swabs, hair pins, toothpicks, car keys or other objects in the ear as these can cause a perforation in the ear drum. Consumers now are looking for safer ways to clean their ears. “There have been several news stories lately about the dangers of cotton swabs versus the correct way to clean ears,” said Joseph Juliano, vice president of innovation, Canada, and consumer insights at Prestige Consumer Healthcare in Tarrytown, N.Y. The correct way, he said, is with such OTC earwax removal drops as Debrox, which uses microfoam cleansing action. Self-care is another trend that is helping to boost sales of earwax-related products. “People are not wanting to go to the doctor, or their out-of-pocket cost has increased,” said Elyse Dickerson, co-founder and CEO of Fort Worth, Texas-based Eosera. “They figure out how to solve problems by


searching online, then going into stores.” Once they go into the stores, consumers often find that the ear care section is much smaller than eye, skin, dental and other health sections. That has been true for years, Dickerson said, but now retailers have an opportunity to expand the segment with innovative products. Eosera launched its earwax dissolving product, Earwax MD, in 2017. The product is available on Amazon, in CVS Pharmacy stores and, more recently, in Rite Aid stores. Eosera also offers Ear Pain MD, which the company developed after speaking with audiologists and healthcare providers. “The top reason children go to the doctor is ear pain, and the No. 1 driver of ear pain is ear infection,” Dickerson said. “So doctors can write a prescription to treat the infection, but not necessarily to treat the pain.” New this year are Ear Itch MD and Wax Blaster MD, an ear irrigation tool.

Natural Trend

In ear care and health and beauty care in general, consumers also are looking

for natural products. “The rising costs of health care, coupled with consumer concern over potentially harmful ingredients, has resulted in an evolution to natural alternatives to allopathic medical care,” said Susan Hanson, COO at The Relief Products in Reno, Nev. TRP offers homeopathic remedies that include Ring Relief and EarAche Relief. Consumers want to treat their acute and chronic conditions with OTC medications, so retailers have an opportunity to grow the ear care market by adding safe, affordable, homeopathic remedies. “A knowledgeable, health-conscious consumer base is currently driving marketplace demand and will continue to do so for years to come,” Hanson said.

Retailers Can Help

Retailers play a role in educating shoppers about the various products. “Education on shelf, guiding people through the differences of each product would help the shopping experience,” said Prestige’s Juliano. On-shelf information especially is necessary


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HEALTH | EAR CARE in ear care because many of the shoppers are looking for immediate relief. Juliano also said that such seasonal promotions as merchandising and information about swimmer’s ear during warm weather months also can help increase turns and add value to the category. Prestige Brands is launching Debrox Swimmer’s Ear Relief this summer. The ear care category is growing, and Similasan’s Pigeaire cautioned that retailers should make sure they do not have out-ofstock situations around these sought-after items. “There’s always a risk your forecasting doesn’t always keep up with recent trends,” he said. “It’s up to retailers to keep an eye on this.” Ringing in the ear is another issue that consumers need relief from, and Similasan recently launched Ear Ringing Remedy. “Ear ringing is an annoying issue if you have it,” Pigeaire said. “It’s a difficult problem to solve.” Hearing loss is another problem that consumers hope to solve, and retailers can become destinations for diagnostic screening services. San Leandro, Calif.based iHEAR Medical offers the iHEAR test, which enables consumers to test their hearing at home. The company recently launched a version that retailers can use in store. Hearing care products are a new category for many retailers, Adnan Shennib, iHEAR founder and CEO, said. “Projected revenues from this category by retailers can expand significantly by the availability of OTC hearing aids in the very near future.” The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 allows certain hearing aids to be sold without requiring a prescription. As retailers get into the OTC hearing aid business, marketing and education for both consumers and store staff will be keys to success. “This will help point everyone to new products, which are available to consumers now,” Shennib said.

Less Noise

Ear plugs are another segment that is gaining popularity in the ear care category as consumers seek ways to prevent hearing loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to loud


noise, including a one-time extreme loud sound or listening to loud sounds for a long time, can harm the inner ear, overwork hair cells in the ear and cause hearing loss. People also buy foam ear plugs to help them sleep while traveling next to the snorer in their life, or in other settings. “We have a national epidemic on our hands, Americans are sleepless,” Doug Pick, president of business development and founder of Hearos in Latham, N.Y., said. “They don’t want to take drugs. They are looking for [medicinefree] solutions.” Hearos, which was acquired by Protective Industrial Products in 2018, offers foam ear plugs for musicians, worker safety, sleep and other uses. The company also has the Pretty in Pink brand of pink ear plugs and offers private-label ear plugs in various

store colors. “We have a reliable supply,” Pick said. “While others may be sourcing overseas, our factory is right across the border in Mexico.” Among its newest products is Just For Kids Ear Plugs, available on Amazon. Children still have their thousands of inner ear cells intact, so they hear things more loudly than adults. “When you see kids crying in restaurants, it’s because it’s too loud,” Pick said. One factor that helps retailers sell ear plugs is that there is general acceptance of the products. “When I started Hearos 27 years ago, putting something in your ears was funny,” Pick said. “There has been a cultural transformation, and people are not concerned with what people think about them.” dsn


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HEALTH | EAR CARE PRODUCTS Eosera Adds Solutions Earwax MD manufacturer Eosera expanded its lineup of ear care products with Ear Itch MD, designed to alleviate itching ears. It comes in an easy-to-use spray to deliver relief right where the person needs it most. It is safe for ages 2 years old and older, and contains pramocaine. When properly applied to the external ear canal, this formula works to anesthetize the area and thus relieve itch in the ear canal. Also new from Eosera is Wax Blaster MD, an ear irrigation tool that is easy to use and provides more control than a standard rinsing bulb, the company said.


iHear Offers In-Store Hearing Test IHEAR Medical, which offers an at-home screening test for hearing, has added an in-store version. The new iHEAR In-Store Hearing Screener will complement the iHEARtest-OTC, which the company said is the only FDA-cleared home hearing screening kit currently available at major drug store chains and independent pharmacies.


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Good ’N Plenty A flood of product introductions is one of the top reasons candy and snack sales are thriving By Carol Radice


Nuts that have extended each brand’s portfolio and met consumer demands. Brandi Unchester, marketing director for confections and seasonals at Allendale, N.J.based Promotion in Motion, said despite all the growth, there still is white-space opportunity in the category. Her company, best known for its line of gummy and sour candy products, has been innovating the category with new shapes, colors and flavors. The company’s Gummi brand lineup

has six SKUs, including its leading Gummi Party and Sour Party SKUs, followed by the distinct combination of soft drink favorites in Gummi Soda Pops and rounded out by Fruit Rings and Seriously Sour. It also plans to launch Berry Party this fall. “Consumers are always on the hunt for something new and interesting,” Unchester said. “Innovation, both with flavors and textures, has played a key role in increasing gummy candy consumption.”

Photo courtesy of Zolli Candy


ales of confectionery and snack items — both in stores and online — are, well, pretty darn sweet. Helped by a steady stream of innovation and increasing demand from consumers looking for more choices, the categories are booming. The confectionery market accounts for $35 million in sales, while snacks and cookies amount to roughly $51 billion in revenue, according to the National Confectioners Association. The excitement of what’s new, according to industry officials, is stimulating impulse sales while attracting both fans and new consumers to the candy and snack aisles. While new product sales account for approximately 3% of overall packaged goods sales, that number more than doubles with the confectionery category, and in the snack category, it represents nearly 5% of sales. The candy category, in particular, has been on a fast track the past five years. A closer look at growth during this time shows that sales in the candy category and, in particular the non-chocolate segment, have increased by a third, growing more than $1 billion from 2012 to 2018, according to market research company IRI. Mike Gilroy, vice president of trade development and sponsorship at Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery, said snacking, which is becoming a regular part of consumers’ daily routines, is a good thing for retailers and suppliers. “The majority of consumers are snacking at least once a day, if not more,” he said. “This shift has provided confections and snacking manufacturers the opportunity to introduce new twists on fan favorites to excite shoppers.” He pointed to recent examples from his company’s own lineup, including Combos Jalapeno Cheddar, M&M’S Snack Mix and Dove Chocolate Covered Dusted


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Dennis Spiller, vice president of national sales at Fairfield, Calif.-based Jelly Belly, said that while it is true consumers are willing to indulge in something sweet, they also want portion control options and nutritional information provided on the front of the pack. To address this, Spiller said the industry is moving away from laydown bags in favor of stand-up pouches that are resealable. Given the impulse nature of confections, Jelly Belly officials always are looking for alternative display options to help retailers create additional selling opportunities and drive incremental sales. “We continue to bring unique seasonal offerings forward and offer a number of display vehicles for secondary locations,” Spiller said. “Taking advantage of these options will not only drive additional sales for our retail partners, it will also help consumers find our products, especially our fun, licensed products that are only around for a short period of time.” The marshmallow segment also has been growing and, based on the new product and packaging innovation being seen, officials at Just Born, makers of the Peeps brand of products, anticipate sales will continue to increase. Keith Domalewski, director of marketing at the Bethlehem, Pa.-based company, said one of the consistent factors in the candy category is that fans always are on the hunt for new ways to enjoy their favorite treats. “With Peeps,


we strive to find the perfect combination of tradition and innovation, which is why we continue to offer our classic Peeps Chicks and Bunnies, while also creating unique flavors and new products for our fans to enjoy,” Domalewski said. “We have a portfolio of great, on-trend flavors, including Cotton Candy and Fruit Punch, as well as some playful and unexpected flavors like Pancakes and Syrup and Root Beer Float.” Interestingly, while consumers purchase marshmallow candy mainly for consumption, Domalewski said that the secondary usage is as an ingredient. “For Peeps, our consumers purchase the candy primarily to eat, but roughly one-third of our fans purchase it for other uses. This can range from crafts and decorations to science experiments and gaming activities,” he said. “We continue to innovate with these usage occasions in mind.” Additionally, Just Born also produces Mike and Ike, and officials with the company pointed out that the sour-flavor trend has been seeing steady interest as of late, especially from teenagers and young adults. In fact, Domalewski said that sour candy has become the second-largest flavor segment and accounts for almost one-fifth of all non-chocolate candy sales. LOL, makers of Zolli Candy, the leading brand of healthy candy in the United States, has played a key role in re-energizing interest in the sugar-free candy segment. The

company, based in Commerce Township, Mich., has created a line of natural-flavored candy that is plant-based, sugar-free, glutenfree, and free of the top seven allergens. While overall sales of sugar-free candy have declined slightly year over year, sales of Zolli Candy grew 290% in 2018 over the previous year, and the company said it anticipates that its growth possibly could triple in 2019. Some of the largest consumers of its candy are mothers, Gen-Xers and baby boomers. “From food allergies to reactions to artificial dyes to diabetes, consumers are more informed today and go out of their way to find foods they can have,” Alina Morse, the company’s teenage product inventor and CEO, said. “With so few options in sugar-free treats, making something that tastes great and is good for you helps make candy eating an option again for more and more people.”

Innovation in Focus

Many officials at snacking companies understand the importance of being front and center when it comes to understanding what consumers want and delivering it to them. East Hanover, N.J.-based Mondelēz International recently created SnackFutures, an innovation hub aimed at unlocking growth opportunities in snacking around the world. Key areas of focus will be on well-being snacks and ingredients, as well as premium snacks. Tim Cofer, executive vice president and chief growth officer at Mondelēz International, said the goal of the innovation hub, which officially launched in November, is to discover and unleash on trend, innovative snacking ideas. In April, Mondelēz announced that The Kitchen, Israel’s only food tech-focused incubator, joined SnackFutures. “We’re looking to collaborate with the best and brightest talent in advancing the future of snacking,” Cofer said in a prepared statement. “We know we don’t have all the answers within our four walls, so we’re on a mission to create an unconventional ecosystem of partners.” Jelly Belly recently introduced Jelly Belly Recipe Mix. What makes this different


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from the company’s other products is that two flavors have been combined in each bean, one on the inside and one on the outside, creating new one-of-a-kind combinations. The new flavors include Lemon Meringue Pie, Chocolate Covered Banana, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Blueberry Muffin, and S’mores. According to Spiller, Jelly Belly beans in this mix are made at Jelly Belly’s peanutfree factories. While the company is known for using real ingredients, the new Peanut Butter & Jelly flavor is made without peanuts, so it is peanut-free and safe for those with peanut allergies. Promotion in Motion recently rolled out Original Gummi FunMix, a line of gummy and sour candy focused on variety. “We provide an assortment of shapes, colors and flavors that you can’t get anywhere else,” Promotion in Motion’s Unchester said. At the National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo, Promotion in Motion will be featuring its full Original Gummi FunMix lineup, including new pack sizes. The company also will be entering the seasonals space with its new Mini Gummi and Sour Party trick-or-treat packs in 22- and 44-count laydown bags. Just Born recently debuted Mike and Ike Mega Mix Sour! The package features 10 sour fruity, chewy candies, and according to company officials, the candy already has developed a large fan following. It also updated its Mike and Ike packaging to feature bright, eye-catching fruits that highlight the flavors of the candies inside. Additionally, two retro flavors are coming back for the summer — Cherri and Bubb and Strawberries ‘n Cream. “Fans look forward to the innovative flavor varieties we offer, in addition to limited-time-only offerings,” Just Born’s Domalewski said. Just Born also updated its Hot Tamales packaging, adding a burst to the front of the pack, calling out that it’s America’s No. 1 cinnamon-flavored candy. The brand also recently introduced its Fire & Ice variety as a limited-time-only offering, which features a mix of two candies — classic cinnamon and cool mint — in each box.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery has been busy introducing new items as well. The company has seen tremendous interest in its recent M&M’S Caramel Launch, and at the Sweets and Snacks Expo, the company will be sampling its latest innovations, including M&M’S Chocolate Bar, M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Chocolate Candies, Extra Refreshers and Starburst Duos. Additionally, the company is planning to unveil its 2020 merchandising guidelines. Mars’ research found consumers are craving a holistic approach that connects the in-store and online experience, so they can find what they are looking for quickly and at any point in their day. According to Gilroy, these insights and strategic new product launches are designed to drive both sales and total category growth at Mars. “As shoppers migrate to buying more items online, they are using their mobile devices to do so, which means they are making purchase decisions more quickly,” Gilroy “With the rise of the quick-trip mentality, retailers need to employ every tool they can to immediately grab the attention of the shopper, lead them down the confection aisle, and help them easily identify the products they need.”

Chip Chip Hooray

Kellogg’s has expanded its Pringles line with Pringles Wavy, a thick, wavy-textured chip, in two bold flavors — Applewood Smoked Cheddar and Fire Roasted Jalapeno. Officials at the company said the grilling-inspired flavors were picked to appeal to trendsetting consumers in search of something new and different. The Battle Creek, Mich.-based company also is expanding its Cheez-It offerings with Snap’d. The real cheese, thin, crispybaked snack is available in Double Cheese, Cheddar Sour Cream & Onion, Cheddar & Bacon, and Jalapeno Jack flavors. “While we’re new to the crispy-thin category, we know that these lighter snacks are in demand,” a company spokesperson said. “In fact, today’s snackers prefer thin, crispy, munchable snacks 75% of the time, and 91% of them snack multiple times per day,” she said. dsn


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Pet Category Impacts the Whole Store Pet passion is key to customer engagement By David Orgel

T David Orgel is an awardwinning business journalist, industry expert and speaker. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting, delivering strategic content and counsel to the food, retail and CPG industries.


here’s something about the pet category that is becoming more apparent. Even retailers that do not emphasize pet products need to understand this point. I’m not referring to the fact that pet products have turned into highly profitable businesses for a wide range of retailers, although that is important. My point goes beyond this. I’m addressing the growing pet passion of customers. Pet is now more than a category. It’s a topic that connects to consumers so viscerally that its power has gone well beyond the pet aisle. It holds the key to customer engagement across the store. Given that this is a column about pet, you’d probably expect to read some corny pet language like how consumer engagement helps you win in a ‘ruff’ retail climate. But if that’s what you’re expecting from this column, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. Instead, let’s look at what’s driving the surge in pet momentum. For the first time, consumers want everything for their pets that they have themselves, including specialized diets and premium foods. There’s an all-important generational driver to this trend. Here’s how it was stated in a DSN article last year: “The growth in millennial pet parents and the trend toward humanizing pets have led to an increased demand for high-quality premium pet products.” However, pet is a topic that defies the rules because it’s real impact goes beyond products and sales. For pet, you also need to examine softer measurements of success with customers. These include good will, community building, customer engagement, traffic boosting, viral social posts, and more. After all, today nearly 70% of all U.S. households own a pet, with dogs by far the most popular, according to a Forbes magazine piece citing APPA data. Retailers need to understand the importance of connecting with pet-owning families in new and

deeper ways. Good examples of what this looks like already exist. Consider a recent pet initiative from retailer Walla Walla’s Harvest Foods, based in Washington State. The company discovered late last year that a local pet shelter was running low on food supplies. The retailer sprang to action, not only by alerting the community via social media, but also by offering a 10% discount on pet food purchased for donation to the shelter. The initiative grew pet sales considerably. But the company gained more than sales. Cashiers received lots of positive comments from customers. Shoppers posted highly positive feedback on social media.

Retailers need to understand the importance of connecting with pet-owning families in new and deeper ways. The retailer successfully had engaged with the local pet community, and even won a merchandising award from National Grocers Association. Another retailer that understands how to engage with pet-loving consumers is Coborn’s, based in St. Cloud, Minn. This retailer has been growing its e-commerce program called CobornsDelivers, and its delivery drivers are coached on how to build good customer relationships. So perhaps it’s not surprising that drivers bring along dog biscuits on trips, because being nice to the family dog builds a lot of good will with customers. Here’s one more point to consider. Pet owners relay their passion during a holiday like Halloween. People dress their pets in costumes, often ones that match their own. How can retailers engage with this? Retailers should take note of all this pet passion, and the examples I’ve outlined, to figure out how they will engage. Even retailers that do not plan to become major destinations for pet products can attract positive tail wags every so often from pet-loving customers. dsn


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