DSN-0521

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Volume 43 No. 5

MAY 2021

Drug Store News

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May 2021

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MAY 2021

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Vol. 43 No. 5 DrugStoreNews.com

FEATURES

40

44

10 Industry News 16 Products to Watch 18 HRG Future 50 Taking a look at 50 products from 2020 that stood out

38 Focus On: Kadenwood 40 CBD News 44 Cover Story: Reviving In-store Traffic

50

How drug retailers are working to entice shoppers back into their brick-and-mortar stores

56 Focus On: Beauty By Imagination

COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note 22 One-on-One with Procter & Gamble’s Carolyn Tastad

26 One-on-One with Xlear’s Nathan Jones

34 Counter Talk with AmerisourceBergen’s George Rafferty

30 Counter Talk with McKesson’s Heather Cusick

36 Counter Talk with LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Craig Ford

32 One-on-One with Element Nutrition’s Stuart Lowther

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews

86 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

INSIDE BEAUTY 50 Beauty’s Green Revolution

Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

How leading companies are delivering on consumers’ sustainability demands

PHARMACY 58 Supermarket Pharmacy Supermarkets are using their unique capabilities to build strong pharmacy offerings

58

HEALTH 68 VMS Stays Strong Newly health-conscious consumers will keep the category in demand, even as the pandemic subsides

76 New VMS Products 78 Eye and Ear Care Self-care needs and natural demands fuel the categories

DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Vol. 43 No. 5, May 2021. Copyright © 2021 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.

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May 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM


CATALYST. CHANGE AGENT. YOU. You act—and our world transforms. UltiGuard Safe Pack is the only pen needle product that provides premium-quality pen needles with a built-in sharps container. Dispense UltiGuard Safe Pack. Catalyze positive change.

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— Cleaner environments protected from harmful, improperly disposed medical waste People in pharmacy—people like you—protect generations.

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Take Two Emerging from the pandemic gives all of us a chance to reimagine the future and develop programs that will keep us on the cutting edge By Seth Mendelson

A

n interesting thing happened to me on the way to the bank earlier this month. A friend walked up to me as I was waiting to make a deposit and asked, “What do you think about the glamorous and Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park changing its menu to one that features no meat or seafood when it reopens from the pandemic-forced shutdown?” It seems that the people who run this restaurant, known, Seth Mendelson according to a May 3 article in The New York Times, for its Editor in Chief/ highbrow lobster and duck, among many other expensive Associate Publisher items, realize that they have to be different in the postCOVID era. “It was clear that after everything we all experienced this past year, we couldn’t open the same restaurant,” the owner and top chef told the Times. It did not hit me right away, but eventually I realized that what was good for the goose is also good for the gander. In other words, if executives at top restaurants realize that times are changing, there is every reason to believe they are going to change elsewhere, including at your local drug store or supermarket. Let’s be clear here. I have absolutely no doubt that this is the start of a new age in this country and the world. America is not only reopening and returning to some sense of normalcy, but we also are entering a time where new innovations will become the norm and new attitudes will become necessary. Taking calculated and educated risks will become part of that change. Mass retail has an advantage over many other categories. At this point, consumers are still willing and eager to enter our stores to purchase the food, health and beauty care, and general merchandise products they need. But, with the digital shopping growing and consumer demands evolving, retailers must take the appropriate steps to stay ahead of the curve. What are those steps? Frankly, besides offering more convenience and digital options, I am not sure. What I am certain about is that we all have to keep our eyes and ears open to make sure that we remain ahead of the times and stay on par with consumer needs and technological advances. When historians look back on the second half of 2021 and, perhaps, the next few years, they will say that this was when society took a break from the routine and reinvented itself. Mass retail, including the pharmacy, needs to be on the cutting edge of this change. dsn

When historians look back on the second half of 2021 they will say that this was when society took a break from the routine and reinvented itself.

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An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL 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 Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Beauty Sales and Marketing Manager Delaney Renker (616)-644-4495 drenker@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@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 AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/CUSTOMER CARE TOLL-FREE: 1-877-687-7321 FAX: 1-888-520-3608 contact@drugstorenews.com REPRINTS & PERMISSIONS Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295.

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Jane Volland Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several Senior Vice President, Content Joe Territo

May 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Sally Hansen Debuts ‘Cruella’-Inspired Collection

3M Intros Nexcare Duo to Offer Strong Hold, Easy Removal 3M’s Nexcare brand is rolling out a new bandage line meant to offer a pain-free removal process. Nexcare Duo uses a silicone adhesive to allow for lasting hold while also making it easy to take off. The company noted that a survey it commissioned from Atomik Research in March found that painful bandage removal plays a factor in how people care for minor injuries at home. Roughly 1 in 3 respondents said they avoid wearing bandages to forego the pain of removing them, and more than half of parents surveyed said they are willing to leave a child’s bandage on longer than necessary because of the child’s fear of removal. The silicone adhesive was developed by 3M’s science and medical technology experts to offer 360-degree wound protection and nonslip hold in a bandage that also features flexible, water-resistant fabric that holds up to handwashing. Nexcare Duo launched with an ad campaign in early April, with plans for spots to appear on Discovery Digital and NBC affiliate stations during the 2021 Olympics from July 23 through Aug. 8, including the opening and closing ceremonies. The Nexcare Duo bandages are offered in a 20-count box of assorted bandages, a “ready for anything” 40-count pack of assorted bandages, an eight-count box of knee and elbow bandages, and an assorted 100-count box. They retail between $5 and $10 at Target, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, as well as on Amazon.com.

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Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel line of nail polishes is putting a twisted spin on its products through a partnership with the highly anticipated “Cruella” movie from Disney. “We are thrilled to collaborate on a collection supporting Disney’s “Cruella,” an ultra-exciting live-action film exploring the untold origins of Disney’s most notoriously fashionable villain,” said Celia Tombalakian, vice president of global marketing at Sally Hansen. The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel and Disney’s “Cruella” Collection consists of 13 limited-edition shades that range from crème and shimmer to glitter finishes. Shades include: • Get Mod, a rich crème white shade; • Red Eye, a bright red shade; • The Devil Is In The Details, a glitter black-and-white shade that channels Cruella’s signature tresses; • Onyx-pected, a pitch-black shade; • Iconic Darling!, a pearlized silver shade that is laced with pink; • TuTu The Ballet, a pearl-crème pink color; • Greyfitti, a dove gray crème shade; • Luck & Glory, a navy-meets-white, metallic cornflower blue color; • Fame & Fortune, an orchid metallic shade; • Pretty In Punk, a purply rainbow glitter shade; • Tipsy Gypsy, a carnation pink color; • No To Conformity, a multi-glitter shade; and • Tidal Wave, a royal blue crème color. The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel and Disney’s “Cruella” Collection is available on Ulta.com for $9.99

May 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Dr. Scholl’s Launches Freeze Away Max, Offering Direct Freezing of Warts The latest product from Dr. Scholl’s aims to make wart removal easier. The company launched Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Max Wart Remover, which it said is the first OTC wart remover to offer direct freeze technology, spraying a precise dosage of cooling agent directly onto the wart. The most current wart-removal products on the market employ an indirect freezing approach, in which a cooling agent is used to freeze an applicator that is then applied to the wart, according to the company. With Freeze Away Max, the product uses Pronova Labs’ AeroFocus precision-spray technology, which delivers a targeted low volume of freezing agent directly to the wart. The company said it can be used on people as young as 4 years old. Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Max Wart Remover is sold in a box with a ready-to-use applicator, which can provide 10 applications, along with 10 protective patches. The product carries a suggested retail price of $17.99.

Jack Black Targets Men’s Acne-Related Skin Concerns Jack Black is expanding its offerings by entering the acne space. New from the Dallas-based company is the ProSeries Acne Remedy line, which is specially formulated to offer men of all ages a solution to their breakouts and other acne-related concerns. Featuring acne-fighting and moisturizing ingredients, the line aims to prevent acne without overdrying the skin, the company said. The collection includes: • Acne Remedy Balancing Foam Cleanser, a sulfate-free foaming cleanser containing antioxidants that aim to penetrate pores to help control acne blemishes and blackheads. It features .5% salicylic acid, turmeric root extract, lactic acid, aloe vera, an oil-free foam and bisabolol to exfoliate and soothe skin; • Acne Remedy Overnight Repair Moisturizer, an oil-free moisturizer with adaptogen-rich ingredients to clear current breakouts and prevent future ones. It contains a proprietary blend of AHA, BHA and plant-based acids to exfoliate dead skin, smoothe, balance and refine skin texture to improve brightness and clarity; and • Acne Remedy Clearing Spot Treatment, a 10% sulfur formulation meant to help clear blemishes and blackheads while also allowing skin to heal in the process. Designed as a gentle treatment, it also absorbs excess oil, eliminates acne-causing bacteria and soothes the skin. Jack Black’s Acne Remedy Set can be found online at GetJackBlack.com and at various retailers.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

ECRM to Host 2021 Global Market: Food & Beverage Program ECRM this summer will try to overhaul the way that CPG products get discovered. The Cleveland-based company’s 2021 Global Market: Food & Beverage program — slated for June 28 through July 2 — will offer an immersive product discovery experience on an international scale. “The scale and magnitude of the 2021 Global Market: Food & Beverage can’t be overstated,” said Greg Farrar, CEO of ECRM. “We are utilizing best-of-breed technology, built specifically for retail and CPG, to provide participants an unmatched global marketplace experience that will define the future of how retailers and brands connect.” The program will enable virtual meetings on a proprietary platform that will allow brands to showcase relevant products to buyers from retailers of all sizes and locations. Both ECRM Connect and discovery platform RangeMe will play central roles in making the program happen. “ECRM’s innovative and market leading platforms have helped Wakefern drive effective and efficient product discovery and business solutions that meet the needs of our customers,” said Wil Magistrelli, director of wholesale/international sales at Wakefern Food. “We look forward to ECRM’s 2021 Global Market: Food & Beverage showcase to connect with suppliers and stay on trend with the latest in retail.” Product discovery begins May 17 for registrants and runs through June 21. This time will allow buyers to find relevant products and choose brands that they want to meet with virtually. Meetings begin the following week. In addition to the product discovery component, ECRM said that the program also will feature a dynamic content lineup, including a fireside chat with entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk. Additional content — including daily keynotes, insights and interactive workshops — will run throughout the weeks. Registration runs through June 7. To register or learn more, visit leads.marketgate. com/globalmarket-foodbeverage.

Reese’s Adds Peanut Crunchy Bars There’s a new sweet, permanent addition to the Reese’s family. Hershey, the brand’s parent company, announced the launch of the Reese’s Peanut Crunchy Bar. Featuring the classic peanut butter and chocolate combination the brand has become synonymous for, the bar also features peanuts and a peanut butter crème for an extra crunch and creamy taste, the company said. News of this launch comes on the heels of the brand rolling out a peanut butter cup sans chocolate. Reese’s Peanut Crunchy Bar is available in a 3.2-oz. king size that retails for $1.89.

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PRODUCTS TO WATCH

New and Noteworthy HRG’s five notable products from April 2021

I

n April, as the nation turned a corner in getting vaccinated against COVID-19, CPG brands churned out an impressive 195 products — all of which were pored over by the new product team at Waukesha, Wis.-based HRG. From 25 OTC products, 134 wellness products and 37 offerings in beauty, five stood out as Products to Watch. They were:

1

One by Poise 2-in-1 Liner, Extra Coverage

The new One by Poise Liners have been designed to pull double duty, offering consumers protection against period and bladder leaks with a 2-in-1 absorbent core. Made to be five times drier than period-only pads, the liners feature a proprietary Dual Leakblock System with wings that help them stay in place and prevent side leaks.

2

Dr. Scholl’s Arthritis Pain Gel

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In topical pain relief, diclofenac for arthritis pain is the category’s trending ingredient. Dr. Scholl’s Arthritis Pain Relief Gel contains prescription-strength diclofenac and is formulated to relieve pain, improve mobility and reduce joint stiffness due to arthritis. The product is designed to be absorbed through the skin without feeling greasy.

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3

Align Fast-Acting Biotic Gummy

4

O’Keeffe’s Eczema Relief Body Cream

5

Pepto-Bismol Herbal Blends Softgel

Procter & Gamble’s probiotic brand Align is looking to reduce the typical three- to four-week timeframe that it takes to feel the benefits of a probiotic. The Align Fast-Acting Biotic Gummy is formulated with a prebiotic called Bimuno GOS, which feeds the gut’s good bacteria to provide symptom relief in as little as seven days. The company claims that it is the first and only gummy meant to help treat gas, bloating and abdominal discomfort.

Designed to help with such chronic issues as dry, itchy and irritated skin caused by eczema, O’Keeffe’s Eczema Relief Body Cream contains colloidal oatmeal to instantly soothe and moisturize skin. The product is formulated to provide 48-hour relief in one use. The steroid- and fragrance-free cream also has been dermatologist tested. The latest offering from P&G’s Pepto Bismol brand is taking a drug-free approach to relieving indigestion, abdominal discomfort and bloating. The peppermint-flavored product contains a clinically tested dose of naturally sourced peppermint and caraway to provide soothing relief. dsn

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HRG FUTURE 50

Outstanding Innovation HRG’s annual Future 50 looks at stand-out new products that hit store shelves in 2020

W

hen the industry looks back on the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, they will not only see that CPG brands kicked into high gear to ensure that their products stayed on shelves, many also will see that brands were not content to only offer their previously introduced products. Even amid a challenging environment last year, companies still managed to roll out innovative products, new formulations, unique scents and more.

Equally unflappable is Waukesha, Wis.-based HRG. Every year the company’s analysts look at sales and distribution of CPG products from the past year to find items that are unique in their category or subcategory, or that explore new forms, flavors and technology. They also see whether new products grow a brand into new categories or create a more effective product. All this is done in order to compile the HRG Future 50 report. Below, read about the 50 products that set themselves apart at the shelf in 2020. dsn

HRG FUTURE 50: TOP NEW ITEMS LAUNCHED IN 2020 PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

MANUFACTURER

1

Voltaren Arthritis Pain Topical Gel (50 g, 100 g and 150 g)

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Pain relief

External pain relief

May

2

Pataday Once Daily Eye Allergy Itch Relief Drops 2.5ml (1 and 2 count)

Alcon

Eye and ear care

Eye preparations

April

3

Advil Dual Action with Acetaminophen Caplets (18, 36 and 72 count)

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Pain relief

Internal pain relief

4

Nature’s Truth Sambucus Black Elderberry + Vitamin C & Zinc Berry Flavor Gummies

Piping Rock

Vitamins and dietary supplements

Herbals and botanicals

5

Zewa Pulse Oximeter

Zewa

Home diagnostics

Home diagnostics

6

Gillette Sensor2 Fixed Disposable Razors (12 count)

Procter & Gamble

Shaving and grooming

Men’s razors and refills

7

Lotrimin AF Tolnaftate Antifungal Medicated Foot Powder (3 oz.)

Bayer

Foot care

Antifungal treatments

8

Trojan G Spot Lubricated Latex Condoms (3 count)

Church & Dwight

Family planning

Condoms and barrier contraceptives

9

Systane Hydration PF Lubricant Eye Drops Vials (30 count)

Alcon

Eye and ear care

Eye preparations

March

10

Lotrimin AF Tolnaftate Antifungal Deodorant Powder Spray (5.6 oz.)

Bayer

Foot care

Antifungal treatments

June

11

Clearblue Early Detection Pregnancy Test (2 count)

Procter & Gamble

Family planning

Pregnancy and ovulation/Fertility tests and supplies

April

12

Imodium Multi-Symptom Relief Caplet (24 count)

Johnson & Johnson

Digestive health

Antidiarrheals

February

13

Natrol Melatonin 10 mg per serving Gummies Strawberry (60 and 140 count)

Natrol

Vitamins and dietary supplements

Specialty supplements

March

18

CATEGORY

SUBCATEGORY

LAUNCH DATE

August

April

November January September

May

Photos provided by HRG

RANK

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FUTURE 50 HRG FUTURE 50: TOP NEW ITEMS LAUNCHED IN 2020 RANK

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

MANUFACTURER

CATEGORY

SUBCATEGORY

LAUNCH DATE

14

Bausch + Lomb PreserVision AREDS 2 Eye Vitamin and Mineral Supplement MiniGels (130 count)

Bausch Health

Eye and ear care

Eye preparations

January

15

Hempvana Pain Relief Cream Maximum Strength (4 oz.)

Telebrands

Pain relief

External pain relief

September

16

Skintimate Disposable Razors, exotic violet blooms and exotic vanilla sugar (4 count)

Edgewell Personal care

Shaving and grooming

Women’s razors and refills

January

17

Cortizone-10 Overnight Itch Relief Crème, lavender scent (1 oz.)

Sanofi

First aid

Itch treatments

January

18

Imodium A-D Anti-Diarrheal Caplets (12 count)

Johnson & Johnson

Digestive health

Antidiarrheals

February

19

Sensodyne Sensitivity & Gum Toothpaste, mint flavor (3.4 oz.)

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Oral care

Toothpaste and treatments

January

20

Vagisil Odor Block Daily Freshening Wipes (20 count)

Combe

Feminine hygiene

Feminine personal care

February

21

OneTouch Verio Reflect Blood Glucose Monitoring System

Lifescan

Diabetes care

Blood glucose testing

September

22

Refresh Digital PF Lubricant Eye Drops (.33 oz.) Refresh Digital PF Lubricant Eye Drop Vials (30 count)

Allergan

Eye and ear care

Eye preparations

September

23

Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Sensitive Skin (4 oz.)

Medtech Products

Baby care

Baby health, beauty and wellness

January

24

Super Poligrip Cushion & Comfort Denture Adhesive Cream (2.2 oz.)

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Oral care

Denture care

January

25

Old Spice Ultra Smooth Deodorant, clean slate and fresh start scents (3 oz.)

Procter & Gamble

Deodorants

Men’s deodorants

January

26

Ensure Plant-Based Protein Nutrition Shake, vanilla flavor (11 oz., 4 count)

Abbott Nutrition

Weight management and nutrition

Nutritional foods

27

Nature Made Super C Immune Complex with Zinc Tablets (60 count)

Pharmavite

Vitamins and dietary supplements

Single entity vitamins

February

28

Dove Baby Derma Care Soothing Wash (13 oz.)

Unilever

Baby care

Baby health, beauty and wellness

January

29

Aspercreme with 4% Lidocaine Pain Relieving Roll-On, lavender scent (2.5 oz.)

Sanofi

Pain relief

External pain relief

January

30

Joy Razor and Cartridges The Pink One (2 count)

Procter & Gamble

Shaving and grooming

Women’s razors and refills

May

31

OGX Extra Strength Extra Volume + Biotin & Collagen Shampoo (13 oz.) OGX Extra Strength Extra Volume + Biotin & Collagen Conditioner (13 oz.)

Vogue International

Hair care

Beauty shampoo, conditioner and treatments

January

32

TUMS Naturals Ultra Strength 1000 Chewable Tablets, black cherry, watermelon and coconut pineapple flavors (56 count)

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Digestive health

Stomach and nausea remedies

October

20

March

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HRG FUTURE 50: TOP NEW ITEMS LAUNCHED IN 2020 RANK

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

MANUFACTURER

CATEGORY

SUBCATEGORY

LAUNCH DATE

33

Dulcolax Soft Chews, mixed berry flavor (30 count)

Sanofi

Digestive health

Laxatives

March

34

Safeguard Hand Soap Pump (25 oz.)

Procter & Gamble

Digestive health

Hand and body cleansing

October

35

Claritin 24 Hour Allergy Chewable Tablets, cool mint flavor (24 count)

Bayer

Cold and allergy

Allergy

January

36

Refresh Relieva PF Drop Vials (30 count)

Allergan

Eye and ear care

Eye preparations

November

37

Tylenol Extra Strength Dissolve Packs, berry flavor (12 count)

Johnson & Johnson

Pain relief

Internal pain relief

June

38

Simply Neosporin Ointment (.5 oz.)

Johnson & Johnson

First aid

Wound treatments and skin relief

March

39

Kerasal Multi-Purpose Nail Repair Solution (.43 oz.)

Advantice Health

Foot care

Antifungal treatments

40

ZzzQuil Night Pain Nighttime Sleep-Aid Pain Reliever Liquid, midnight berry flavor (12 oz.)

Procter & Gamble

Pain relief

Sleep aids and stimulants

July

41

Always Discreet Boutique Liners Very Light Long (32 count)

Procter & Gamble

Incontinence

Disposable incontinence

May

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Neutrogena Healthy Scalp Clarify & Shine Shampoo with Pink Grapefruit (12 oz.) Neutrogena Healthy Scalp Clarify & Shine Conditioner with Pink Grapefruit (12 oz.)

Vogue International

Hair care

Therapeutic shampoo, conditioner and scalp treatment

December

43

Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Cream (8 oz.)

Beiersdorf

Baby care

Baby health, beauty and wellness

December

44

Hyland’s Pain Relief Quick-Dissolving Tablets (100 count)

Hyland’s

Pain relief

Internal pain relief

September

45

Emergen-C Elderberry Immune Plus Flavored Fizzy Drink Mix (18 pack)

GSK Consumer Cold and Healthcare allergy

Cough-cold, flu and sinus

July

46

Theraworx Protect U-Pak Topical Immune Health System Foam and Wipes

Avadim Technologies

Incontinence

Incontinence personal care

August

47

Always Discreet Boutique Underwear Low Rise Maximum Absorbency, small/medium (12 count) Always Discreet Boutique Underwear Low Rise Maximum Absorbency, large (10 count)

Procter & Gamble

Incontinence

Disposable incontinence

September

48

Aquaphor Fast Relief Baby Diaper Rash Healing Paste (3.5 oz.)

Beiersdorf

Baby care

Baby health, beauty and wellness

November

49

OLAY Cleansing & Nourishing Body Wash (17.9 oz.)

Procter & Gamble

Digestive health

Hand and body cleansing

January

50

Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream (14 oz.)

Beiersdorf

Digestive health

Hand and body moisturizers and treatments

January

January

*Rankings based on HRG’s proprietary star-rating system, measuring such key criteria as product innovation, promotional support, category growth, product orientation and earning potential.

DRUGSTORENEWS.COM May 2021

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5/4/21 4:08 PM


ONE-ON-ONE

Turning Intention to Action How Procter & Gamble is making sustainability easier for its consumers

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n mid-April, Procter & Gamble rolled out a new effort, It’s Our Home, focused on helping its consumers turn their intentions about living more sustainably into actions. The initiative includes more communication about sustainability, as well as revised product formulations and packaging that can be refilled or recycled more easily. Drug Store News spoke with Carolyn Tastad, P&G’s group president of North America, about It’s Our Home initiative and how the company is using its reach, innovation and expertise to make sustainable actions accessible to consumers. Drug Store News: Can you tell us a bit about P&G’s new It’s Our Home initiative? Carolyn Tastad: Most of us want to do more to protect the planet, but we’re not always sure where to start. Through It’s Our Home, P&G and our brands are committing to use our voice, reach, innovation and expertise to make sustainability irresistible for consumers because we know that small actions at home can make a world of difference for our planet. More than 70% of consumers want to do more to be sustainable at home, but 54% don’t make environmentally conscious choices as often as they’d like, and “not knowing how” is the biggest barrier. We can close this intention-to-action gap by making our products more sustainable and by inspiring simple habit changes. We’ve published tips and ideas at pggoodeveryday. com, which is our new consumer rewards program powered by P&G’s trusted brands. When consumers engage with P&G Good Everyday, they earn points that can be redeemed for rewards. As they earn, P&G makes donations to causes consumers care about. Through their actions on P&G Good Everyday, people can support environmental causes and other well-known P&G impact programs, such as Tide Loads of Hope and Children’s Safe Drinking Water.

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has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, reached zero manufacturing waste to landfill across all sites globally and doubled the use of recycled resin in its plastic packaging. Our 2030 goals include purchasing 100% renewable electricity, improving finished product transportation emissions efficiency by 50%, making 100% of packaging recyclable or reusable, and reducing virgin petroleum plastic packaging by 50%.

Carolyn Tastad, group president of North America, P&G

“We know consumers expect the brands they buy to help them live a more sustainable lifestyle. We also know they don’t want to compromise.” DSN: Why is it important for P&G to help play a role in bridging consumers’ intention-toaction gap, and how is the company uniquely suited to do this? CT: Consumers, stakeholders at large and our own employees expect companies to be a force for good and take action on issues that are important to them. P&G touches 5 billion consumers a day, which means we have a responsibility to help protect the planet and an opportunity to raise awareness, so that consumers can take action as well. P&G’s sustainability efforts go beyond consumer use. Over the past 10 years, P&G

DSN: What are some of the ways you’re leveraging P&G’s well-known brands within It’s Our Home to help consumers take steps toward living more sustainably? CT: We know consumers expect the brands they buy to help them live a more sustainable lifestyle. We also know they don’t want to compromise — consumers want both sustainability benefits and superior product performance, with no tradeoffs. Our goal is to continue to do both — here are some examples: • Tide is formulated to get clothes clean in cold water — and turning to cold also saves energy and money; • Dawn Powerwash Dish Spray creates spray-activated suds without water to get dishes clean, so there’s no need to use the faucet until the final rinse; • Cascade encourages families to use the dishwasher more frequently with its “Do It Every Night” campaign. A running sink can use up to 4 gallons of water every two minutes while most newer dishwashers use less than 4 gallons per cycle. So consumers can save up to 100 gallons a week by skipping the pre-rinse when using their dishwashers. This decade represents a critical window to accelerate progress on sustainability, and meaningful change starts at home. P&G and our brands will continue to reduce our impact and help people be more sustainable to protect our planet — our shared home — for generations to come. dsn

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Take the ‘work’ out of your workflow with EnterpriseRx®

Your patients need you more than ever before and having the right technology to keep them healthy and your business running smoothly, has never been more important. Reduce costs, increase profitability and balance workloads, all while freeing-up your clinical pharmacists to spend more time with patients.

Streamline Your Pharmacy Workflow with EnterpriseRx: Manage an effective & efficient vaccine program including streamlined data capture & reporting Implement mail & curbside deliveries accepting secure remote payments Integrate clinical programs into your workflow Monitor and address patient adherence before it impacts your performance measures Automate Rx fulfillment without the cost of new equipment or additional employees Streamline workflow while increasing inventory performance and reducing waste

McKesson Pharmacy Systems

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www.mckesson.com/mps

1.866.682.8942

5/5/21 11:46 AM


ADVERTORIAL | EHEALTH

Easing the Medicare Enrollment Process How eHealth can help pharmacies’ patients navigate Medicare and Medicaid enrollment

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effrey Bekos, vice president of business development for pharmacy and provider channels at eHealth, said that his Santa Clara, Calif.based company can help retail pharmacies retain Medicare customers and provide Medicare savings. He talked with Drug Store News about how eHealth can provide services to retail pharmacists.

provide retailers with Medicare educational content — articles, videos and graphics — that they can brand and use on their website that provides helpful information regarding aging into Medicare. We also provide support for patients who are shopping so they understand key considerations while looking at plans. Our goal is to make the enrollment process as easy as possible.

Drug Store News: Tell us about eHealth. Jeffrey Bekos: eHealth created the nation’s first online marketplace for health insurance in 1997. The technology we provide directly to consumers through eHealth.com, eHealthInsurance.com and eHealthMedicare. com, makes it easy for people to compare health insurance plans and to enroll in the plan of their choice. At eHealth, consumers can enroll in the plan of their choice online or with the aid of a licensed insurance agent over the phone. eHealth has connected more than 8 million people with quality, affordable health insurance. Our proprietary marketplace offers Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Part D prescription drug, individual, family, small business and other plans from over 200-plus health insurance carriers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

DSN: Where is Medicare going in the future? What is your role? JB: We believe the future of Medicare will be driven in large measure by continued public/private partnership. Medicare Advantage, for example, is one of the very best examples of successful, innovative public/private partnerships in health care today, and increasing numbers of Medicare beneficiaries are signing up. In 2008, 9.7 million beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Advantage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. By 2020 that figure had grown to 24.1 million. Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private insurers that essentially manage enrollees’ Original Medicare Parts A and B benefits. These plans also typically fill in some of the coverage gaps of Original Medicare, most of which include prescription drug coverage, and many offer additional benefits that beneficiaries value. There’s a lot of competition in the Medicare Advantage market. Costs have been driven down as a result, with many Medicare Advantage plans available at no cost (beyond the Part B premiums that are already typically taken from their Social Security check). At eHealth, we’ve been charting the increasing popularity of Medicare Advantage and reporting on costs and plan selection trends among enrollees for several years (see our latest report here: https://news.ehealthinsurance.com/_ ir/68/20211/Medicare_Index_Report_ AEP_2021_Coverage.pdf). dsn

DSN: How does your company help the mass retail community? JB: We help pharmacies in three key areas: The first is Medicare customer retention: We help pharmacies keep their Medicare customers filling scripts at their pharmacy because those customers are overwhelmed by competing offers to switch plans and pharmacies. The second is Medicare customer savings: We help pharmacy customers review their coverage each year so that, when necessary, they can move into plans that save them money when they fill scripts at the pharmacy — on average, our customers

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Jeffrey Bekos, vice president of business development for pharmacy and provider channels, eHealth

save more than $700 per year. The third way we help pharmacies is to grow their Medicare customer base: We provide programs and resources to help pharmacies attract new Medicare customers who shop at their pharmacy today, but do not yet fill prescriptions. DSN: How does the retailer educate the consumer in store and digitally? JB: COVID-19 has changed consumer shopping behavior. NACDS and WSL Strategic Retail research indicates that 83% of seniors are going online to research and shop for Medicare coverage. eHealth’s playbook helps our retail partners retain, acquire and improve patient loyalty. We use omnichannel marketing to help retailers ensure the highest conversion rates, along with high patient satisfaction. Tactics include in-store media, direct mail, email and text campaigns. Every tactic is tracked independently with unique phone numbers and websites so we can effectively measure performance. We

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11,000 seniors age into Medicare every day. If you don’t help them navigate Medicare’s complexity, your competition will. Last year 44% of seniors shopped for new Medicare coverage*, putting them at risk of switching pharmacies to save on copays and premiums. Partner with eHealth today to retain your Medicare customers with our best-in-class turnkey solutions for pharmacies.

Co-branded quoting and enrollment website highlighting Medicare plans where your pharmacy is preferred.

In-store collateral ll to support Medicare customer retention.

Direct marketing campaigns targeted at your patients to reach them at home.

Visit www.ehealth.how/dsn to get started or learn more. *Deft Research, 2021 Medicare Shopping and Switching Study eHealthMedicare.com is a non-government website operated by eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., a licensed health insurance agency that sells Medicare products and does business as eHealth. In NY and OK, we do business as eHealthInsurance Agency. eHealthMedicare.com and eHealth are not affiliated or connected with Medicare or any other government program or agency. eHealth offers plans from a number of insurance companies. This ad solicits insurance prospects for eHealth.

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ONE-ON-ONE

In the Xlear How Xlear’s nasal spray can play a lasting role against COVID-19

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athan Jones, CEO of Xlear, said that he feels that his company is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic in better shape and is prepared to help retailers in the post-COVID era. He talked with Drug Store News about the challenges ahead. Drug Store News: How has Xlear fared during the pandemic? Nathan Jones: Xlear as a company has fared fairly well. It is a respiratory pandemic and, within a month of it starting, we had physicians around the world tell people that using nasal sprays like ours, nasal sprays that contain antiviral agents, would be of benefit to them. There were physicians from California, Europe, New Zealand and Florida all talking in the media and mentioning Xlear by name. As soon as we could, we shipped off some product to have it tested against this new virus in a lab and found out that within minutes of exposure, the virus was destroyed. It took us a few months to get all of these studies written up and published in the medical literature. Now that the research is in the public domain, we have to start the process of getting the politicians and the bureaucrats who actually make healthcare policy to read and understand the science. DSN: How are your retail partners doing with the category and your brand? NJ: The first few months after it started last year, we had a back order situation, but since then, we have been able to keep up with production and to grow our business. Government regulation from the FTC has really slowed us from being able to share science and info here in the United States, so most of our sales growth has been from overseas where we are able to share the science of how nasal sprays work. It really is a simple concept: 90% of the viral load

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We all are happy that the vaccines have been developed in record time. However, if we continue to stay myopically focused only on them, we are going to fail. We already know that we will never reach herd immunity by the vaccines — there are too many people that either can’t get one or that just don’t want to. Rather than shaming them in the media and calling them “anti-science,” why don’t we just look at other options that can help? That is where nasal sprays could play a role. A multilayered defensive strategy is always the most successful, including washing your hands, washing your nose, wearing an N95 mask and keeping our distance from others when we need to. Nathan Jones, CEO, Xlear

“With all the research supporting Xlear, we have applied for an ‘emergency use authorization’ with the FDA. We have five in vitro studies showing how our nasal spray affects the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

is located in the nose and upper airway, and anything we can do to reduce that viral load is going to slow the spread and reduce symptoms. DSN: What do you suggest retailers do to maximize sales and profits? NJ: Share research with your customers.

DSN: What is in the pipeline? NJ: With all of the research supporting Xlear, we have applied for an “emergency use authorization” with the FDA. We have five in vitro studies showing how our nasal spray affects the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we have a good understanding of the method of action of how the xylitol blocks adhesion, we have small in-human trials of COVD-19 patients showing great results and we have two larger trials underway right now. We also continue to roll out our OTC drugs that combine the decongestants, nasal steroids and antihistamines with the hydrating and cleansing properties of xylitol. Other than that, what we have in the pipeline is a toothpaste that we just started selling that improves the strength of the enamel by upwards of 40%. The original research behind xylitol is how it actually works to prevent tooth decay by changing the microbiome of the mouth to bacteria that just don’t create acid. Fluoride is great for helping to make the teeth strong, but it does nothing to the bacteria that are creating the acid — the real culprit. dsn

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ADVERTORIAL | PURINA

The Importance of Puppy and Kitten How Winning at the Start Can Unlock a Growing Sales Opportunity A conversation with Joe Toscano, Vice President, Trade & Industry Development at Purina

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ringing home a kitten or puppy is an exciting time. With roughly 3 out of 5 dog and cat acquisitions being puppies and kittens, puppy and kitten formulas hold great potential for growth. In fact, for the year ending March 2021, puppy and kitten food sales are up 10 percent versus the previous year. Drug Store News: What should these new pet parents know about feeding their new little family members? Joe Toscano: Puppies and kittens will put almost anything in their mouths, but it doesn’t mean they should. Like their human counterparts, young dogs and cats have specific nutrition requirements to support their rapid growth and development. Puppies and kittens’ bodies are fast-growing, but unlike babies, they pack all their growth into a few short years. Puppies and kittens need higher level of calories and protein, DHA, antioxidants and bioactive substances for the first one to two years. DSN: Why is it important for retailers to understand the role pet food specially formulated for puppies and kittens plays in the overall pet category? JT: The first purchase with puppy and kitten is a lucrative one as it typically includes leashes, bowls and toys, but the interesting thing is that consumers tend to stay with the store for future pet purchases. If retailers can win with puppy and kitten, they can expect to see an increase in channel loyalty and additional sales in areas outside of pet as consumers seek additional cleaning items and to replace broken items.

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DSN: How can these retailers merchandise and market products for puppies and kittens in ways that will boost sales and increase loyalty throughout the pet’s life? JT: There are multiple ways to capitalize on the power of puppy and kitten. • At Shelf. Shelve kitten and puppy formulates with their parent brand and ensure an optimal assortment of SKUs. • Timing. New adoptions happen yearround, but there is a spike for puppies and kittens through the summer months, typically May – August, and another spike in puppy adoptions in December. Retailers can capitalize on the timely bump with promotions and displays that let your consumers know you are in the pet business. • Educate. According to a 2017 Nielsen Homescan survey, households that acquire a puppy typically transition from to puppy food to an adult formula 5-6 months after acquisition, which is too early. Utilize signage to educate on the benefits of

feeding puppy and kitten for the first one to two years before transitioning to adult formulas. • Cross-promotion. Puppy and kitten owners won’t just need food for their new little ones. Keep those customers in your store by cross-promoting the other cat and dog supplies you have including beds, toys and bowls. DSN: What is Purina doing to support these new pet owners? JT: Purina has a Puppy and Kitten Event running from now through the end of September to educate consumers that feeding Purina puppy and kitten food is necessary to build the foundation for a healthy life. Most puppy owners believe puppies have unique needs (92 percent) but only 25 percent feed puppy food exclusively. Like their puppy counterparts, most kitten owners (91 percent) believe the food they feed their kitten will impact their health throughout their life, but less than half (41 percent) of owners rank feeding kitten food for a full year as having lasting effects by establishing the foundation for a future of good health. Puppy and kitten owners don’t realize how important it is to feed puppy and kitten food to their pets. The Purina puppy and kitten program launched in March with a national, two-page spread FSI, featuring Puppy and Kitten product coupons. National media, including print ads, social and digital displays, will continue through the end of September, as well as targeted Catalina coupons, in-app rebates and other assets to support the event. dsn

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48% of domestic abuse victims delay leaving because they can’t take their pet.

PurpleLeashProject.com/PetMonth PURINA TRADEMARKS ARE OWNED BY SOCIÉTÉ DES PRODUITS NESTLÉ S.A. ANY OTHER MARKS ARE PROPERTY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.

Giving Hope to People & Pets Learn about Purina’s goal of donating more than $1 million to help create more pet-friendly domestic violence shelters with our partner RedRover.

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5/5/21 11:53 AM


COUNTER TALK

Just the Start How to build on a vaccine program to improve patient care year-round By Heather Cusick

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Heather Cusick, director of product management for clinical services, McKesson Pharmacy Systems

s we combat the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines are front and center like never before. As pharmacists, vaccines are among the most important services we can offer to protect patient health. Supporting the effort to vaccinate millions of Americans, McKesson is a centralized distributor for COVID-19 vaccines, delivering to sites nationwide. This industry-wide effort has brought into focus the systems and tools that can improve existing vaccine programs and clinical care services.

pharmacy management systems like McKesson’s EnterpriseRx can be used to add alerts directly into the daily workflow, letting the pharmacist know when a patient may have additional clinical opportunities available. These tools allow the pharmacy to create patient-facing portals that help capture pre-visit information to accelerate reporting compliance. This is important when billing for services that can be processed either through the pharmacy or medical claims systems.

Vaccines Expand Clinical Care

If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it may be the expansion of clinical activities that can be performed by pharmacy technicians, which in many areas now includes administering injections. As many pharmacies have more technicians than pharmacists, this may dramatically increase the volume of vaccines that can be administered, it maximizes staff efficiency and allows pharmacists to practice at the top of their license. Incorporating technicians into your vaccine program will require additional training and certifications. Preparing your pharmacy staff to be as educated as possible in order to clearly articulate the benefit of these vaccines will be critical to a smooth operation and happy customers.

Offering year-round immunization services, with all 17 CDC-approved vaccines, provides patients with year-round prevention and wellness. In addition to healthier patients, robust vaccination programs can help reduce healthcare spend and improve pharmacy financials. Starting, or expanding, a vaccination program means letting patients know what’s available and how it will benefit them. However, before ramping up your marketing program, analyze the local patient population and what they need. This might include travel or back-to-school vaccines. What does your elderly population look like? Can you provide vaccine services to the local LTC facility? Or, are there opportunities to partner with local employers to support employees with on-site vaccination clinics?

Managing the COVID-19 Surge To manage high patient volumes, there are various questions to consider to provide safe and effective accommodations. Are there workflow considerations due to COVID-19, such as limitations to the number of people in the pharmacy and social distancing standards? Considering the vaccine storage requirements, do you have the right freezer and thermometer calibration tools? What is the process for COVID-19specific reporting and billing? Whether it’s handling the COVID-19 surge or managing a year-round program, having the right technology is critical to delivering these vaccines efficiently. Workflow tools provided in

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Maximize Staff and Workflow

Manage Supply and Patient Wait Time Managing patients through a pharmacy information system will enable you to better prioritize availability. To deliver a high volume of vaccines and efficiently, use your staff, leverage technology to implement an appointment-based or medication synchronization process.

Provide Better Care with Vaccines Vaccine programs are an opportunity for pharmacies to demonstrate value to patients, our communities and, ultimately, expand our profession. Pharmacy — especially in rural settings — has often been underutilized. The role pharmacists have played during the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing critical healthcare services such as vaccines, demonstrate that it’s time to get provider status. dsn

May 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM

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Introducing Wet Ones® Hand Sanitizer Trusted Brand for over 50 years

Appeals to Consumers*:

84% Top 2 Box Purchase intent among Hand Wipe Buyers

77% Top 2 Box Purchase intent among General Population

Meets FDA Quality & Safety Standards: with Good ✓Compliant Manufacturing Standards regulatory ✓Rigorous & safety reviews formulation ✓Ethanol meets all FDA standards

✓Manufactured in the USA *Source: Nielsen BASES QP June, 2020

Contact your Edgewell representative today. from

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ONE-ON-ONE

Targeting an Underserved Demographic Element Nutrition’s CEO shares how it is bringing innovation to the adult nutrition category

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lement Nutrition is focused on providing nutritional solutions to consumers. Stuart Lowther, the company’s founder and CEO, talked to Drug Store News about the opportunities for retailers in this arena. Drug Store News: Tell us about Element Nutrition. What is your mission? Stuart Lowther: At Element Nutrition, we believe quality of life is valuable and maintaining your health is paramount to living life to the fullest. We believe nutrition is the key element to optimal health. Our mission is to provide you with the nutritional tools you need to enhance your health. We deliver innovative, science-based products that provide quality nutrition and empower you to live stronger longer. Maintaining our health allows us all to live a better, active and more fulfilling life. In our fast-paced world, this can be a challenge for all of us. Therefore, we are dedicated to providing nutritional solutions that support you as you take on the challenges of life on a daily basis. DSN: Proper nutrition is a big part of consumer thinking these days. How is that impacting the mass retail industry? SL: To aging demographics, key nutrients and daily maintenance have become more prevalent for overall health. The aging population wants to maximize their health and slow the aging process as much as possible. They are looking to nutrition as the key driver that will allow them to achieve their goal. Additionally, the 50-plus age demographic is the fastest-growing market, adding 16 million individuals over the next decade. They own the majority of financial assets, accounting for 63% of financial assets in North America. Their assets have 197% greater value than other groups, which translates into spending power. Therefore, retailers need to be in tune with new trends and demands of this demographic.

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even further. It is pretty clear that retailers can maximize sales by focusing on this core demographic across all areas of nutrition.

Stuart Lowther, founder and CEO, Element Nutrition

“The aging population wants to maximize their health and slow the aging process as much as possible. They are looking to nutrition as the key driver that will allow them to achieve their goal.”

DSN: What do retailers need to do to maximize sales? SL: The 50-plus demographic is an underserved market with only 10% of marketing dollars targeted toward them. This is a large untapped market expected to grow

DSN: How are you helping them in this regard? SL: We are helping in a number of ways. First off, we have launched our new Rejuvenate Muscle Health into the North American market. Rejuvenate Muscle Health is a patented formula with over 25 peer-reviewed clinical studies supporting its formulation and efficacy. It is clinically proven to help your body rebuild muscle and can therefore play a key role in everyone’s daily diet to help prevent and/or slow muscle loss due to aging. Secondly, we have recently gone to production with our Rejuvenate ready-todrink product. It is 15 g of organic plant protein combined with our patented Rejuvenate formula. No added sugar, no artificial sweeteners or colors. It is an extremely clean label and only 100 calories. So we are bringing innovation to the adult nutrition category and supplying products that consumers are looking for. We launched this on Amazon in February and went on shelf with 1,000 Food Lions stores in the southeast. This June, we are launching across the nation with Walgreens. DSN: Tell us what is new or coming down the pike from you these days? SL: As I mentioned, we are in the middle of launching our new Rejuvenate Muscle Health organic protein ready to drink that is clean label, gluten-free, sugar-free and only 100 calories. We have a significant pipeline of new innovative products in development, both in the beverage sector and also other areas of the VMS and adult nutrition category. Our goal is to innovate wherever possible and bring that innovation to our customers by partnering with our retailers. Rejuvenate will be the go-to brand for all the nutrition needs of the 40-plus demographic. dsn

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COUNTER TALK

Collaborating to Succeed Considerations for retail pharmacies entering the new normal By George Rafferty

I George Rafferty, president of corporate partnerships, AmerisourceBergen

t’s no secret that the retail pharmacy business is facing an era of transformation while undergoing many new challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As the fight against COVID-19 continues in 2021, pharmacies are becoming a centralized healthcare destination poised to play even more important roles in rapid testing, vaccinating patients and supporting the long-term health of our population. All the while, retailers are working tirelessly to stay ahead of shifting patient and caregiver needs while also managing inventory hurdles along the way. These complexities — while running a healthcare business — can be overwhelming. Pharmacies, no matter how big or small, often need to collaborate with strategic partners to better serve their patients. Now more than ever, large retail pharmacies are collaborating with partners to meet customers’ needs during the pandemic and simultaneously planning for long-term growth. What we have learned this year is that we can achieve better visibility, security and control into areas like compliance, quality and inventory levels when we constantly communicate, listen and collaborate with provider customers on a daily basis. This creates enhanced visibility, transparency and constant dialogue. This also gives us and our pharmacy partners the ability to identify areas of risk and take proactive steps to mitigate the impact quicker. What we also learned during the height of COVID-19 is that we could still help our partners plan for long-term growth despite the intensity of the pandemic. In fact, the public health crisis allowed us to think even more outside of the box; it gave us the ability to be radically curious and explore bigger ideas with customers. Here are a couple of things that we learned:

Personalized Guidance to Grow Your Pharmacy Business When planning for long-term growth, pharmacies may consider conducting a deep analysis and think about their unique role, value and position in the marketplace to identify their individual story compared with other competing dispensing providers.Analyzing patient behaviors and adherence

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rates within specific disease states, for instance, can help determine the most effective cadence and types of interventions needed to improve outcomes. Once pharmacies identify their niche within day-to-day operations and patient experience, they can develop a strategy to help grow the pharmacy business and nurture loyal customers through unique offerings like weight management, nutrition counseling, travel clinics and cardiac health programs. Whether it’s developing a diabetes care center or adding an immunization program, pharmacies can then leverage relevant data and trends to determine which services will help increase their value and enhance patient care. Cutting-edge retail pharmacies are tapping into internal information, known preferences and even social media data to better understand how, when and what to communicate with their customers.

Optimizing Operations When optimizing operations for maximum efficiency and effectiveness, pharmacies may want to consider implementing programs that allow them to analyze ongoing performance in the areas of inventory management, third-party claims collection to merchandising and shopper conversion. Pharmacies can seek support to help manage issues related to returns processing, cost control, inventory optimization and regulatory compliance so they can make sure that the right product is at the right place when the patient comes in. With these programs, pharmacies can also leverage specific tools to enable better forecasting to meet the needs of their patients. Ideally, capabilities and support will scale too. With everything that has happened this past year, this is an appropriate time for pharmacies to expand their capabilities and grow the business while having an acute awareness of the consumer shift that is occurring. Rather than steering customers toward a predetermined strategy, I always find it best to deliver a collaborative process to identify and deliver on the strategies that make the most sense for the business. In today’s dynamic market, retail pharmacies require strategic allies with whom they can co-create solutions that will benefit their communities. dsn

May 2021 DRUGSTORENEWS.COM

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COUNTER TALK

Managing the Pandemic Workload How to leverage pharmacy solutions for success By Craig Ford

T Craig Ford, vice president of pharmacy and enterprise strategic markets, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

he COVID-19 pandemic has led to considerable expansion in the roles of pharmacists. A year ago, pharmacists scrambled to establish social distancing parameters, cleaning protocols and new customer workflows, while today, they’re managing an influx of patients requiring viral tests and vaccinations. All the while, they continue to counsel patients about medication regimens and support pandemic-fueled concerns on top of meeting various prescribing responsibilities. Each patient encounter and every prescription verification remain important as our pharmacy front liners negotiate increased pharmacy workload. To continue to thrive, pharmacy staff require robust technology solutions to lead the community COVID-19 response effectively and meet safe prescribing requirements and regulatory demands. They also must leverage data in performing the vital role of guiding highest-need patients toward better health outcomes.

Serving Patients Safely Safety is the primary concern of pharmacists. To start, they must have an accurate, complete picture of each patient who approaches the counter, including medical history, demographics, medication summary, health condition and other factors that impact patient health. This data must be current, secure and digitally documented. If presenting for COVID-19 vaccination or testing, pharmacists are managing patients’ scheduling, consent, instructions and reporting. When patients submit prescriptions, these need to be verified and processed using a multistep process to meet various regulations. Pharmacists using manual, piecemeal systems often struggle with the effects of manual errors and less-thanoptimal productivity. This also has the unintended effect of decreased time with patients. Pharmacists effectively serve patients by approaching interactions personally. Social determinants of health, or SDOH, can tell pharmacists a lot about needs, particularly as they relate to patient likelihood of achieving

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medication adherence, and likely — although not yet researched — vaccination adherence. Pharmacists in the post-COVID-19 world will benefit from a better understanding of their patients with the intent to guide specific interventions to improve outcomes.

Leveraging Technology With additional demands on pharmacies, retail staff are investing in technology solutions to enable safe and efficient operations. This includes the most pressing need for appointment-based software models for vaccination scheduling and additional strategies for managing the surge in patient data. Pharmacists are also evaluating prescriber verification workflows, automating the process to free up staff for growing responsibilities and value-add activities. Using a compliance-driven prescriber verification solution integrated directly into workflow — including filing, billing and claims/audit processes — pharmacists can reduce regulatory risk and achieve compliance. The solution not only enables safer prescribing, it also significantly reduces the time spent on separate compliance checks, enabling more time for face-toface consultations. During these conversations, pharmacists are using SDOH in tandem with clinical information to guide stronger medication adherence. By operationalizing SDOH insights into point-of-care workflow, they’re gaining a deeper understanding of their patients’ barriers to optimal health. After identifying nonclinical challenges, such as lack of transportation or social support, or financial struggles, pharmacists can intervene to help connect patients with community resources. These solutions not only streamline pharmacy workflow, they enable holistic care provision. During the pandemic — and beyond — pharmacists must demonstrate that the “big picture” of patient health matters, that safety will always come first and that patients requiring support will receive it. Effective use of technology will reinforce these key tenets, leading to better care provision and fewer pharmacy errors. dsn

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FOCUS ON: KADENWOOD

Product, Professionalism and Price Kadenwood looks to stand out by bringing its CPG experience to bear on CBD BY SETH MENDELSON

I

n a category filled with tremendous uncertainty, officials at Kadenwood are doing all they can to reassure retailers and consumers that by operating at a level equivalent to the best consumer products goods companies, they can build sales in the fledgling and confusing CBD market. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company is wooing and enticing both mass retailers and shoppers with a strategy that emphasizes quality, consistency and a go-to-market format that is designed to mimic the programs — and successes — of traditional CPG companies. The end result, company officials said they hope, will be the opportunity to stand out in a crowded market, and actually start to fulfill the promise of increased sales and profits from CBD products. The fact that the CBD segment has not yet reached anywhere near its potential is bothersome to both retailers and suppliers in the field. As recently as just two years ago, many industry gurus said that CBD sales could reach more than $24 billion annually and, with high margins and price points, everyone in the industry would be reaping tremendous profits. Some even said that intense consumer demand would cause a shortage of products that would only be solved by a dramatic uptick in production. Well, a few years later, the industry, including retailers, is still waiting for that explosion of sales. Some said a lack of professionalism in the category from some of the hundreds of suppliers, as well as a reluctance from the Food and Drug Administration to approve a broad array of merchandise across many food and nonfood categories, is not helping. They noted that without FDA approval and support, many retailers are reluctant to get involved with key segments of the CBD market, which, in turn, causes many suppliers to avoid getting involved in those areas. All of this confusion in the marketplace actually is encouraging officials at Kadenwood, which has nearly 90 employees, to quickly move forward with their approach. In fact, with a bevy of experienced senior leadership, the company senses a void in the marketplace, as well as an opportunity to show that if you act like a seasoned pro you will be treated like a seasoned pro. “The key is to show retailers that we are operating at the highest professional level,” said Erick Dickens, a co-founder and CEO of the private-held business. “Our entire reason for being and our strategy from our inception is to be the company that offers our retail customers a top-level experience from start to finish. From the beginning, the CBD category has not been built by CPG professionals,

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and we think that has hurt the industry. We are here to change that.” Dickens and Doug Weekes, another co-founder and COO, are living proof of this strategy. Both spent considerable time and gained valuable experience with Kraft Foods. After a stint at LifeLock, Dickens eventually became chief marketing officer at King’s Hawaiian Brands while Weekes moved on to several beverage-focused companies, including Refreshment Beverages, before joining up with CPG-giant Henkel. Together, they came back to help form Kadenwood in 2019. “We saw a niche here,” Weekes said. “We saw that there were no primetime suppliers in this category on par with what retailers would expect. We are bringing that high level of professionalism that is much needed in the CBD market.” That strategy means building brands that could attract acquisition interest from other major CPG companies looking to get their start in the category while, at the same time, creating a successful enough company that can stand alone and, perhaps, eventually go public. The first part of this approach was to create products that are the best quality, yet still affordable. Those brands are Level Select, a line of sports creams, oil drops and roll-ons; Purity Preferred, a line of pet health products; and Purity Organic, a line of CBD-infused hot teas that come in a variety of flavors with various purported benefits. The company also has a bioscience division consisting of two brands: Kadenwood and Ecogen. Last November, the company acquired General Processing, a Colorado-based hemp processing and extraction company, which Dickens said would help to further integrate the supply chain while servicing domestic and global markets. The company also is addressing the growing concern in the marketplace that CBD products are too expensive for some consumers. Weekes said that Kadenwood is introducing 10 SKUs of trial-size products, priced between $9.99 and $14.99, to encourage more shoppers to experiment with CBD products. Its full-size products have price points that range up to about $50. Both officials noted that distribution of Kadenwood products is growing across the country. They said they currently are selling in about 2,000 stores and expect that to triple to 6,000 units by the middle of this summer. Developing the right products and brands is only the first step for Kadenwood. Dickens is quite clear that the company must help retailers connect with consumers and build sales in store.

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Therefore, the company is extremely involved in in-store merchandising and promotions, as well as a beefed-up advertising program that helps develop clear positioning for each of its products, so that both retailers and consumers know what they are purchasing. “Again, this is all about our strategy about developing a company that is not only successful, but will help the entire CBD industry,” Weekes said. “This industry most definitely needs high-profile credibility. With all that we are doing, including starting our medical advisory panel led by [former U.S. surgeon general] Dr. Richard Carmona, we feel we are leading our industry ahead into the future.” Telling consumers about these products is a big part of the plan too. Dickens said that in 2020, Kadenwood had about a 50% share of the advertising market in CBD products in the United States. This year, he projects that number to rise to an impressive 80% mark of all CBD advertising in the country. “Right now, we are very heavy on the Discovery Network, but in the summer will plan to kick up our advertising program even more and start advertising on other national and local channels,” Dickens said. “We are eager to show the world what we are about.” dsn

COMPANY SNAPSHOT

KADENWOOD Founded: 2019 U.S. Headquarters: Newport Beach, Calif. Categories: Topical CBD, pet CBD, organic CBD teas Number of Employees: Around 90 Website: Kadenwoodbrands.com

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CBD NEWS

NuLeaf Naturals Intros CBD Balm

CbdMD Launches Gummies, Drink Mixes in Spring Lineup Spring is bringing with it a host of new products from cbdMD. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company is releasing two CBD products — new strengths of its cbdMD Gummies and a brand new cbdMD Drink Mix line that both use delivery systems as their differentiator. Building on the success of the company’s first gummy product, the new gummies line include cbdMD Sleep Gummies, cbdMD Calming Gummies and cbdMD Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies. They are sold in 30-count bottles in strengths of 10 mg, 25 mg and 50 mg per gummy. Prices will range from $29.95 per bottle to $89.95 per bottle. Each product in the cbdMD Drink Mix line includes 25 mg of CBD per packet. Sold in five-count and 10-count packages, the product will be available in four basic flavors — fruit punch, lemonade, peach and strawberry. Other varieties include Energy Drink flavors such as blackberry and blood orange, as well as Recovery Drink Flavors of lemon lime and grape. The packets will be priced at $29.95 to $69.95 per pack.

Elixinol Debuts Immune Gut Health CBD Capsules Elixinol is rolling out the first of its products featuring the proprietary gut health and immune-support ingredient Ginfort. The Westminster, Colo.-based company said Ginfort, which is found in its new Immune Gut Health capsules, contains 13 times more ginger than traditional ginger powders and has been clinically tested to aid in digestion. “We are extremely proud to introduce this groundbreaking product to our customers and to the CBD marketplace,” said Oliver Horn, Elixinol’s global CEO. “Our partnership with Ginfort has created a powerful new wellness option to support the immune system.” Elixinol’s Immune Gut Health capsules each contain 15 mg of CBD and 200 mg of Ginfort, are vegan and made with hemp grown in the United States. They are sold in 60-count bottles that contain a total of 900 mg of CBD and retail for $64.99.

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NuLeaf Naturals is expanding its offerings with the introduction of its CBD Balm. The balm is sold in a 1.5-oz. jar that contains 900 mg of full-spectrum CBD. “We are thrilled to offer a premium CBD balm to individuals looking for an effective topical product,” said Christian Chambers, sales director at Denver-based NuLeaf Naturals. “Our highly concentrated CBD balm works with the body’s endocannabinoid system to provide lasting relief.” Chambers noted that the balm only contains two ingredients — shea butter and the company’s full-spectrum hemp extract. “As with all of our products, our balm is lab tested to ensure purity,” he said. “Plus, the product is unscented and absorbs quickly to help relieve discomfort.” The product, which launched online in early April, currently is being distributed through the company’s retail partners as well.

Lazarus Naturals Breaks Into Edibles Space with Fruit Tarts Lazarus Naturals is introducing its first edible product with the launch of its CBD Fruit Tarts. The naturally sweetened fruit tarts are infused with 25 mg of CBD isolate per tart. They are packaged in a colorful tin and sold in raspberry lime, orange pineapple and strawberry lemon flavors. “Our customers have been asking for edibles and we listened,” said Sequoia Price-Lazarus, CEO and founder of Lazarus Naturals. “We took time to formulate the fruit tarts with 25 mg of highquality, high-potency CBD isolate to ensure that it’s effective for all and will help people address their daily wellness needs during a very stressful time.” Lazarus Naturals uses natural monk fruit sweetener and fruit powders in the fruit tarts, which also are vegan, non-GMO and pesticide-free. Prior to launch, the product made waves at ECRM’s Hemp/CBD Health and Beauty Care program, winning the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award from the session.

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ADVERTORIAL

PRODUCT OF THE YEAR 40,000 Shoppers Can’t Be Wrong March 2020. It’s the month retailing transformed almost instantaneously as retail pharmacies pivoted to meet the unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply chains were stretched, and CPG companies scrambled to keep up with demand. But the industry successfully tackled those challenges, thanks in large part to manufacturers who introduced products that tapped emerging trends, according to Mike Nolan, CEO of Product of the Year, the largest consumer-voted award

for product innovation.

“This year’s winning prod-

finds those 40,000 individuals

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categories that everyday shop-

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pers care about most as they

the awards using criteria such

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as innovation, recommendation

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and satisfaction,” Nolan explains.

up, trying to do their small

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everything we do. We see our-

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with what they wanted, and needed,” Nolan recalls. “What’s interesting is even in this awful pandemic, 70 percent of people still want and pay more for new and original products.” Forty-one of those new products that showed up on store shelves were 2021 Product of the Year Winners.

Join the Product of the Year Family: Enter Now! Products that demonstrate innovations in design, function, packaging, ingredients or marketing and launched after January 1, 2020 are eligible to be entered in the 2022 Product of the Year Awards; the entry deadline is September 30, 2021. For more information on how to enter, visit productoftheyearusa.com.

Research-based Recognition Product of the Year was established over 30 years ago to guide consumers to the best products in their market and reward manufacturers for quality and innovation. What makes the award unique — and so effective — is that winners are determined by the votes of 40,000 consumers in a nationally representative study conducted by Kantar, a global leader in consumer research. “Kantar independently

Got Talent for products sold in retail pharmacies.”

A Win-Win-Win The benefits of garnering a Product of the Year Award extend to consumers, retailers and CPG companies alike. “Product of the Year gives shoppers the confidence that each product with our iconic red logo is backed by 40,000 Americans,” Nolan explains. “It allows manufacturers, and, so importantly, the shoppers to trust us.”

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cbdMD Gummies: It also builds trust and brand loyalty for CPG companies, and by extension, for retailers who carry the award-winning

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out to Danielle Crary, senior

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category,” Nolan says. “It is

the company’s award-

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a robust national PR campaign,

CBD gummies are coated

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with a CBD isolate, which

DC: Our previous successes at

media impressions across

can fall off and affect poten-

broadcast, digital print, influ-

cy. We infuse our gummies

encer marketing, social media,

with our proprietary Supe-

and more! Winning products

rior Broad Spectrum hemp

are announced in February

extract formula to mitigate

each year and companies can

this problem.

Winners get full inclusion in

use the Product of the Year

Second, we were one of

logo in marketing communica-

the first companies to select a

tions for two full years.

pectin-based gummy instead

The results speak for them-

of a gelatin-based one. Doing

selves: Data shows that

so ensures that our gummies

Product of the Year USA winners

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out for their flavor. Consumers

24% when the Product of the

frequently described an un-

Year logo was featured in a

pleasant aftertaste associated

Free Standing Insert (FSI) . 3

“There’s just nothing more meaningful than a recommendation from a fellow shopper to help you find the best, most innovative new products on the shelves,” Nolan concludes. 1

Winner’s sales data, 2Kantar, Google Survey

with CBD gummies. We spent a large part of our development resources towards mak-

the 2020 Product of the Year Awards played a large part in our decision. Our CBD Freeze and CBD PM products swept their respective categories in 2020, which helped drive awareness of our brand and the category as a whole, and validated CBD products as a useful part of any balanced wellness regimen. When Product of the Year added the CBD Ingestible category for 2021, we felt confident that our gummies would be difficult to beat. The feedback we receive from customers and industry observers is overwhelmingly positive, which told us our research and development team had created a truly innovative, superior product.

tion…but we expect we’ll see results similar to those associated with our 2020 wins. On the direct-to-consumer side, we saw significant sales increases for our CBD PM and CBD Freeze over the past year as a result of our Product of the Year activations. Customers see it as a stamp of approval they can trust. Due to the massive success of the Product of the Year badge, we’ve also included these in our in-store retail presence with window clings and social graphics allowing our wholesale partners to take advantage of our awards as well. On the wholesale side, our wins have helped bring hesitant retailers into the fold. They’re used to seeing the Product of the Year

DSN: How did you use the

logo with more established

award to help drive aware-

products and brands.

“On the direct-to-consumer side, we saw significant sales increases for our CBD PM and CBD Freeze over the past year as a result of our Product of the Year activations. Customers see it as a stamp of approval they can trust.” –Danielle Crary, Senior Director of Marketing, cbdMD

3

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REVIVING In-store Traffic

THE DRUG STORE CHANNEL IS WAGING A LONG-TERM BATTLE TO ENSURE THAT THEIR BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORES REMAIN RELEVANT B Y

M A R K

For a large number of retailers, 2020 was the nail in their brick-and-mortar coffins. The growth of e-commerce and other factors had been eroding sales from some stores for several years, but last year’s rapid transition to online shopping — or not shopping at all for some products — forced many to close their doors for good. In the drug channel, traffic and sales eroded to some degree after an initial surge last spring, and it remains to be seen how much of that lost volume will return. Many consumers who defected from the physical drug store channel during the past year apparently consolidated their shopping trips in other channels, including traditional

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H A M S T R A

supermarkets, or shopped online instead. Even those customers who remained loyal to their local pharmacies often opted for the quicker, safer, click-and-collect and curbside pickup options, which minimized their potential for in-store impulse buying. Some front-of-store categories, such as beauty care, saw significant sales declines, as homebound consumers spent less on such items. And widespread mask wearing and social distancing, intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, had the side effect of also keeping the flu at bay during the past year, which sharply curbed sales of the OTC products that consumers traditionally buy throughout the fall and winter.

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Vaccinations Drive Traffic

Drug store retailers that have been offering in-store vaccine programs have found that they can be an effective tool for driving traffic into their stores, but retailers will need to do much more to attract and retain these customers for the long-term. “Drug retailers are on the record stating that they believe that the majority of shoppers coming into their stores for vaccinations are new shoppers,” said Ben Antenore, analyst at research and consulting firm Kantar. “The big question is can they build a relationship with these people, and then activate them later on down the road?” Yet while these new shoppers represent a near-term opportunity for drug stores to add new customers, and perhaps drive some immediate sales with coupons and merchandising in the vaccination area, retailers will need to focus on driving more sales from their existing shoppers in the long-term, he said. “Some of their most loyal shoppers have, for the moment, really reduced their shopping in the channel,” Antenore said. “Going forward, it will be about reactivating those shoppers because they have definitely reduced the number of trips they take in any given month.” Much of that effort will revolve around leveraging the loyalty and digital capabilities that drug store operators have built up during the past year, he said. Maly Bernstein, vice president of e-commerce P&L and omnichannel strategy at CVS Health, said the chain has seen increases in traffic from its vaccine administration efforts. “They are coming to CVS due to our core pillars of being convenient, accessible and providing value,” she said. Customers have stayed connected with CVS throughout the pandemic in part through the chain’s main loyalty program, ExtraCare, and its subscription loyalty program, CarePass, Bernstein said. “We are customer obsessed, and focus on surprising and delighting with new products like our new purpose-driven Live Better line of trusted wellness products and, most recently, the ability to purchase over-thecounter COVID-19 test kits,” she said. In-store services, such as those available at CVS’ HealthHUB locations, offering treatment for common illnesses, health screenings and care for chronic health conditions, also will play a role in driving traffic going forward, Bernstein said.

Health-and-Wellness Destinations

Drug stores seeking to revive foot traffic into their stores should lean into their strengths as accessible, convenient, health-and-wellness destinations, said Naomi Duvall, vice president of consumer health and manufacturer services at Cardinal Health. “Think of ways to ensure your customers know that they can count on you for their healthcare and family care basics, but also new wellness, selfcare, and prevention products and services,” she said.

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Duvall cited a March 24, 2021 McKinsey survey indicating that customers expect to splurge in the near term and may want to treat themselves during this time. “Beauty products in particular are a category of interest for pandemic-fatigued customers who plan to spend more,” she said. As customers begin to increase their visits to brick-andmortar stores, Duvall said retailers can leverage opportunities to “reignite and stimulate shopper engagement. The store perimeter, entrance, endcaps and checkouts will be key areas in the store to surprise, delight and reintroduce fun back into consumer routines,” she said. “Now more than ever, there is an entertainment, novelty aspect of shopping that can differentiate a needs-based trip for essential items into an experience or treasure hunt.”

Creating an In-store Experience

Gabe Trahan, senior director of store operations and marketing at the National Community Pharmacists Association, said retailers need to understand the mindset of their customers in order to drive traffic to their stores. “First and foremost, prioritize having a sparkling clean store, both inside and out,” he said, suggesting that retailers create a video of staff cleaning the store entrance and posting it on social media. “Along with cleanliness, the want for personal space is not going away soon,” Trahan said. “Police all your aisles so there is a clear path of 4 ft. to 5 ft. This means you may have to remove floor displays.” The area between the pharmacy bench and the first overthe-counter fixture needs to be at least 6 ft. apart, he said, and if the pharmacy is busy — more than 200 prescriptions per day — even more space may be required. “This means you may have to remove a section of a fixture

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Driving Drug Store Traffic with Pricing, Analytics As consumers resume in-store shopping in drug stores with more frequency after a year of shopping online and in other channels, price strategy can play a big role, said Matthew Pavich, managing director of global strategic consulting at Revionics, which offers pricing solutions for retailers. “It’s no secret that online sales grew over the past year, and while that boom in e-commerce benefited a lot of omnichannel retailers, it did primarily reduce traffic and frequency for those retail segments like drug stores, convenience stores and smallformat grocers that strategically had benefited from numerous convenient brick-andmortar locations,” he said. In the short-term, promotions are the best opportunity to drive traffic back into stores, said Pavich, noting that this is particularly true for promotions specifically structured around driving frequency, such as date-specific promotions — “only on Tuesday,” for example — or promotions such as POS coupons that require a visit back to the store by a certain date. “On top of this, the right promotional analytics can inform which promotions are more effective and can also help identify items to promote that may be frequency drivers,” he said, citing ready-to-eat or other quick-consumption products as examples. “A strong loyalty program is also critical for traffic and frequency, and there are numerous promotional activities which can strengthen certain loyalty programs.” In the long-term, using analytics and best pricing practices to deliver a winning competitive strategy can improve a retailer’s price perception, Pavich said, which will lead to more shoppers and frequency over time. Similar to promotions, the right everyday low price strategies can drive demand into trending categories, such as sustainable brands, which can lead to more frequency as well, he said. Store brands also can play an important role in driving traffic and sales. “Having a stellar private-label assortment that offers uniqueness to the market and is priced intelligently to drive more demand away from national brands can also lead to more long-term brand loyalty and visits into the store,” Pavich said. He also emphasized that driving shopper frequency is what he described as an “upper funnel activity” that is primarily influenced by branding, marketing and advertising. Trip frequency can also be increased by such operational adjustments as offering longer hours or making investments into the stores to make shopping more convenient, he said. “Although pricing mostly impacts lower-funnel conversion in the short-term, using the right pricing analytics and optimization platforms can drive enormous profits for drug stores,” he said. “These profits can then be reinvested into frequency-driving marketing and operational initiatives.” Once the traffic is already in the store, pricing is the primary driver of conversion and sales. “Pricing remains the single fastest lever to influence demand and financials for any retailer, and the right pricing analytics combined with best practices and optimization can easily translate to more sales volume, higher profits and larger baskets,” Pavich said. Drug stores need to be especially conscious of the balancing act between frequency and basket size as a lot of the products they offer, such as vitamins and supplements, have limited opportunities to expand consumption, Pavich said. Customers who buy these items regularly won’t necessarily purchase more of them, for example. “This makes analytics and data even more important in this segment to ensure that campaigns that drive frequency are additive, and don’t just end up resulting in smaller baskets and no additional sales,” he said. — Mark Hamstra

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or replace an endcap with a banner that promotes your services,” Trahan said. Asked how retailers can drive bigger baskets during in-store visits, Trahan said, “Well, have plenty of clean baskets available.” “Customers stop shopping when their hands are full,” he said. Other advice Trahan offered included: • Prepare to cross-merchandise immune boosters, impulse items and high-end merchandise with signage; and • Understand the value of the mostviewed areas of the store — the first endcap customers see to their right when entering a store, all endcaps facing the prescription department and the shelving in front of the prescription bench. Dara St. Louis, senior vice president and founding partner of Toronto-based Reach3 Insights, which conducts consumer research on behalf of brands, said that shoppers still are concerned about their health and safety when they visit physical stores. “One of the biggest things that drug stores can do is just show that they’re prioritizing the health and safety of their customers and their employees,” she said. Her company’s research shows that shoppers still want to keep their shopping trips as brief as possible out of concern for their health, St. Louis said. “Less often are people going in just to browse around,” she said. “They want to get in and out quickly, but they still want to have that connection to the pharmacist, and to feel like they are shopping in a safe store.”

Connecting Online and in Store

Kantar’s Antenore said he expects drug retailers to leverage their loyalty programs to help drive sales both in store and online. “We know that with the length and duration of COVID that new consumer habits were formed,” he said. “So not only will it be about reminding drug shoppers of why they shop the channel and why they enjoy it, but it’s also about addressing those new habits and really responding to them.”

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connection,” Brewer said. Also during the call, Alex Gourlay, co-COO at Walgreens Boots Alliance, said the company’s new loyalty program should help drive more front-of-store sales. The MyWalgreens platform, which launched last November, provides members with new benefits and personalized offers. “As the pandemic progresses, we are really focused on giving our customers access to retail products, when and where they want them, through a combination of physical stores and digital platforms, with customers having a choice of store, home delivery, curbside or drive-thru pickup,” he said, noting that the retailer has become “one of the most convenient and quickest omnichannel retail options available in the U.S.” The average pickup order is not completed in just 20 minutes, he said.

Offering Personalized Deals and Convenience

Many consumers have switched to mail-order prescription fulfillment from the major drug store chains during the past year, for example. “It’s going to be tricky to get those people to shift back, but that’s going to be an incredibly important challenge and consideration for major drug retailers,” Antenore said. “They need the kind of traffic that comes from the Rx trip.” One option could be offering a personalized discount linked to in-store prescription fulfillment, he said. Overall, drug retailers will need to walk a fine line between improving the online experience for consumers, whose expectations have risen in the past year, and driving in-store shopping occasions. “The physical experience is just so key to the drug channel,” Antenore said. “This will never be a channel that will be online dominant. It’s just not an experience that shoppers associate with the drug channel.” In Walgreens Boots Alliance’s recent second-quarter conference call with analysts, newly installed CEO Rosalind Brewer said that one of the lessons she learned during her previous tenure at Starbucks was that it’s important to maintain high levels of in-store service, even as companies embrace their digital connections with consumers. “A digital platform can’t stand alone,” she said. “You have to have a human connection as well.” On the job for less than three weeks when she spoke on the earnings call, she said she has been encouraged by Walgreens’ in-store service both in the pharmacy department and in the front of the store during her initial store visits. “I think we’ve got a great opportunity here, just as Starbucks did, to combine a human connection with a digital

CVS Pharmacy also strives to offer a customercentric omnichannel experience and has been working to better connect the online and in-store realms for its customers. “For example, customers can make their in-store experience easier by checking the digital ad in the app or online to view and send manufacturer coupons, as well as personalized deals to their ExtraCare card,” Bernstein said. “Once in the store, customers may use the app to scan a product’s barcode to see which coupons and deals are available for their item of choice.” Customers also can digitally check store inventory to “know before they go,” which creates a more predictable shopping experience in store, Bernstein said. Additionally, they can review product information, including ratings and reviews from other customers to make informed choices when shopping in store. “Our omnichannel solutions leverage all our assets to enrich the experience throughout all channels,” she said. Brick-and-mortar stores will continue to be a key element of the industry’s omnichannel strategy,” said Cardinal Health’s Duvall. “Drug stores are located in nearly every community, and these outlets can serve as valuable hubs for the shopper experience, even as that experience expands and diversifies,” she said. This represents an opportunity for stores to “embrace multi-functionality,” said Duvall, noting that research indicates that consumer demand for buying online and pickup in store will continue to grow. “Connecting the store a consumer already knows and trusts to a new direct-to-consumer online transaction may give some consumers more confidence purchasing from you through a new channel,” Duvall said. Moreover, expanding and providing additional community health services also will enable education and caregiver services to grow simultaneously. “This new era of consumer experience represents a major opportunity to strengthen the role of the physical store while pursuing new channels and delivery methods to adapt to changing customer preferences,” Duvall said. dsn

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SUSTAINABLE BEAUTY

Beauty’s Green Revolution How brands are helping the planet in response to increasingly eco-conscious consumers’ demands By Seth Mendelson

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hat’s on the outside is just as important as the inside. That’s the message that more and more consumers are sending to the mass-market beauty industry. They applaud manufacturer efforts to clean up formulas, eliminating potentially toxic ingredients. Now the focus shifts to packaging with a clarion call for sustainability. The personal care/beauty category is among one of the most serious packing-waste offenders, according to many industry officials. Consumers tend to recycle grocery containers, but toss shampoos and other personal care items in their garbage bins. Even if they do recycle, many of the products have decorations on them that must be scrubbed off to be accepted at recycling centers. The industry is on a path to contribute 12 billion tons of plastic to landfills by 2050, according to the Sea Education Foundation. “Nonrecyclable packaging is the biggest issue in sustainable beauty with over 120 billion units [of] packaging produced annually on a global level,” said Stacey Levine, director of brand marketing at Brooklynbased Eva NYC, citing information from Marketing Tech’s 2020 insights. “Plus, only 9% of plastics actually get recycled,” she said, citing additional information from Unenvironment.org. Citing a November 2018 Futerra study, Levine noted that 88% of consumers want brands to help them be more sustainable and ethical, yet 43% said they believe

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brands are actually making it harder. The situation is exacerbated by the multitude of single-use plastics in samples that have traditionally been used in beauty product trials. The usage bumped up during COVID as in-store testers were sealed up. Mirroring the challenges of “clean” formulas, sustainable packaging faces hurdles of its own. While brands might call their containers “recyclable,” the hard facts are many people are not compliant. That is ushering a call to look at other solutions, ranging from materials made out of ingredients like mushrooms, plantable packaging, packaging that dissolves or no outside packaging at all. Reusable and refillable containers also are moving to the forefront. Shoppers will reward the brands taking a stand. According to a survey conducted by New York-based Bazaarvoice, 84% of respondents said they believe brands have a responsibility to “protect people and the planet” by offering sustainable initiatives. While 86% indicated they would buy a product from a new brand that is sustainable over remaining loyal to their usual brand. Further support for the movement comes from New York-based trendspotter Spate. Searches for sustainability tracked by Spate have increased 18.5% year-over-year from 2018 to now. “Brands have been able to mostly ignore the need for more sustainable practices for years because the consumer was not demanding it,” noted Brooke Harvey-Taylor,

founder of Carpinteria, Calif-based Pacifica. “However, now as the consumer becomes more invested in their own health and the practices of the brands they purchase from, companies are finally forced to make this sustainable shift. In 2021, customers do not want to purchase products from brands that don’t reflect their values.” The pandemic hastened consumer demand for products to help them live healthier, but also more meaningful lives. “We are seeing that environmental concerns and the link between health and products applied to the skin have been increasingly top of mind for consumers. The pandemic seems to have accelerated these attitudes and are driving

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brand choices as more consumers shop ‘for good,’” said Allison Grossman, a cofounder of Boulder, Co.-based The Seaweed Bath Co., which recently added Rite Aid to its distribution list. Rite Aid has been one of the mass market’s most aggressive retailers, seeking out lines with responsible formulas and eco-minded packaging. “What we are doing in beauty ties directly to our new brand mission to fuse traditional medicine and alternative remedies, providing people with products for a healthy mind, spirit and body,” said Erik Keptner, Rite Aid’s chief merchandising and marketing officer. Within that framework, the Camp Hill, Pa.-based retailer is on the hunt for clean and sustainable brands, he said. Target, Ulta Beauty, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens also are among the leading retailers calling for brands to continue to tweak formulas to remove certain items while also taking a closer look at packages. Target has sustainable standards to help brands craft their formulas and packages. There won’t be overnight solutions, but here are what some major mass market brands are doing.

Pacifica From its founding 25 years ago, Pacifica put sustainability, better ingredients, and more equitable treatment of the planet and all beings at the core of its mission. “When Pacifica first started in the late ’90s, this was very revolutionary in the beauty industry. I am really proud to say that we have been one of the brands leading

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the push to make meaningful changes, whether it has been around sourcing the best, cleanest ingredients or more ecologically friendly packaging,” said founder HarveyTaylor. She recalled when she went into a leading cosmetic component manufacturer seven years ago and asked what they offered that was recyclable or used PCR (postconsumer resin). “They put two things in front of me. One of the items was a plastic lipstick component wrapped in paper. I said this is not recyclable. Their answer was, ‘the consumer doesn’t know that.’” A few of Pacifica’s advancements include migrating to PCR, glass, FSC paper (Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that promotes the practice of sustainable forestry) and aluminum as a way to remove thousands of pounds of virgin plastic from the waste stream.

Bondi Sands Bondi Sands, sold at mass doors that include Rite Aid, Target, CVS Pharmacy, Ulta Beauty and Walgreens, partnered with Take 3 for the Sea to support their efforts in educating communities on the impact of plastic pollution. Bondi Sands donated $2.33 for every online order to Take 3 for the Sea in the month of April. The brand also debuted Pure, a 100% recyclable line of self-tanning products made entirely from recycled materials.

Cosnova The parent company of essence and Catrice, Cosnova, is using PCR in its cosmetics

packaging. The German-based company linked up with environmental service provider Interseroh to help Cosnova reach a goal of producing at least 50% of all packaging from recycled plastics by 2025. According to the company, totally eliminating plastics isn’t always the best solution, and when kept in the cycle properly, manufacturing with plastic is still more environmentally friendly than some of the market options to replace it. “That’s why we are focusing on recycled, reprocessed material, which, of course, has to meet our high standards for the packaging of our products at the same time. There is also a need to raise awareness of the importance of correct disposal and recycling for the environment and the climate,” said Axel Geiger, executive expert purchase and packaging at Cosnova. Efforts already have saved Cosnova around 132 metric tons of new plastic per year.

Ethique Brianne West was a student in New Zealand when she realized that up to 75% of shampoos and as high as 90% of conditioners were mostly water. “Every year we send 80 billion plastic bottles to the landfill each year just from shampoo and conditioner alone. It just seemed crazy to me. Why do we put water in our products when we have water in our shower? By removing the water, we can get rid of plastic packaging,” said West, who used that “aha” moment to launch Ethique in 2012. Teaching herself chemistry, she researched ingredients in hair care that could be used

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to produce effective shampoo bars. Now the brand has a solid version for most bathroom, home and kitchen products. U.S. shoppers are ready to accept bars, West said. “Consumers are demanding better from their brands and brands are listening — almost every large hair care brand has some version of a shampoo bar now in the market,” she said. Her brand is a trailblazer going beyond hair with new personal care concentrates. “The fact that within less than two weeks we had sold out of our concentrate range and had over 3,000 people on the waiting list shows just how much people are willing to embrace new sustainable initiatives and products,” she said. “This isn’t a trend; this is a revolution.”

Eva NYC Eva NYC recently relaunched its hair care portfolio in aluminum packaging that’s 100% recyclable. “We chose aluminum as the material is 100% recyclable, forever. Unlike plastic, aluminum can continue to be recycled again and again, and be back on the shelf in as little as 60 days, ensuring Eva NYC’s products wouldn’t end up in landfill or the ocean,” Levine said. Consumers are accepting the aluminum, Levine confirmed. “We’ve received an influx of positive feedback, praising the switch to aluminum packaging, the fun and playful new design, and the clean and sustainable product education prominently on packaging,” Levine said. The effort has resulted in double-digit year-over-year growth. The packaging dovetails with Eva NYC’s clean formulas. The clean beauty brand always has been 100% cruelty-free (Leaping Bunny certified), and as of 2021 all of its products are also certified vegan and non-GMO, as well as are free of parabens, phthalates and sulfates. Eva NYC is sold on its own website, as well as at Target, Ulta Beauty and Sally Beauty, along with other mass and specialty retailers. The brand set out an actionable five-year commitment by 2024 that includes 100% recyclable aluminum packaging, recyclable and reusable tools packaging, offsetting carbon emissions, and culminating in coveted B-Corp Certification.

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The Honest Company More proof of demand for natural comes on the heels of The Honest Company’s recent initial public offering. The company announced it was aiming for a valuation of $1.5 billion. Jessica Alba founded the Los Angeles-based company with the premise that “consumers shouldn’t have to choose between what works and what is good for you.” Honest Company brands are in more than 32,000 retail locations, including Walmart, Target, Walgreens and Pharmaca.

L’Oréal Brands The world’s largest beauty company revealed bold sustainability goals last year. As far as packaging, the company said 100% of the plastics used in L’Oréal’s products’ packaging will be either from recycled or bio-based sources by 2030. The latest example of its numerous efforts to be eco-friendlier comes from its Carol’s Daughter division and a new Black Vanilla Luscious Moisture Shampoo Bar.

Love Beauty and Planet Love Beauty and Planet was launched by Unilever with responsible formulas and sustainable packaging baked into its DNA. All formulas are naturally derived and technologies such as fast-rinsing capabilities reduce water usage. Most recently, the brand announced the introduction of the first aluminum refillable hair care for the mass market. Target is the first to offer new packages in store and online. Love Beauty and Planet also markets Vegan Shampoo Bars, which feature a shampoo and conditioner in one, encased in a recyclable box that is almost plastic free. “Since our launch in 2018, we’ve been on a journey to help make you and the planet cleaner, greener and more beautiful,” said Sonika Malhotra, cofounder and global brand director at Love Beauty and Planet. “We’re focused on making thoughtfully crafted beauty accessible to everyone, but we know there is a lot more work to do.” By 2030, 100% of its product and packaging portfolio will allow for planet-friendly disposal. The brand also will

continue to invest in recycling access and collection across all markets it serves. There is a commitment to net zero emissions by 2030 from sourcing to sale.

Seaweed Bath Building upon responsible raw material choices sourced from renewable plant resources, Seaweed Bath’s bottles are made from 100% post-consumer plastic and are recyclable. The brand is debuting its first sunscreen collection with three SPF formulas, featuring such beneficial skin care ingredients as watermelon extract, aloe and green tea, as well as its hero bladderwrack seaweed. “Sun care has been our most requested product from customers since we launched,” Grossman said.

Collaboratives A cohort of beauty competitors bonded together for a new initiative called #WeAreAllies on a pledge to offer recyclable and refillable packaging by 2025. The brands include Biossance, Caudalie, Herbivore and Youth to the People. Another collaboration called the Pact Collective is a nonprofit recycling program dedicated exclusively to the beauty industry. It is driven by four founding members: Credo Beauty, MOB Beauty, Hudson’s Bay and Element Packaging. dsn

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FOCUS ON: BEAUTY BY IMAGINATION

Seizing the ‘Hair Moment’ Beauty by Imagination’s array of brands helps get consumers excited about hair care By Seth Mendelson

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fficials at Beauty by Imagination, or BBI, know how empowering, transformative and fun the right hair tools, accessories and hair care products can be to a consumer’s everyday hair routine. They also know how to turn this experience into stronger sales and profits for its retail partners. The New York-based company, with offices around the globe and a founder-based culture, offers a wide range of products across the hair care/tools/accessories sections. Its portfolio includes the iconic Goody brand, cult favorite WetBrush, Ouidad and the Bio Ionic hair tools brand, as well as the newly introduced Twist, a Gen Z-targeted curly hair care brand. The company carries in excess of 1,500 SKUS across these hair categories. It also has recently entered into a partnership with Curls, a growing Black-owned Texas-based company with a focus on multicultural hair care. “This is most definitely a unique company,” said Francesca Raminella, the co-CEO of BBI, who has more than 25 years of experience in the category with such companies as Procter & Gamble, Revlon and L’Oreal. “We are a platform company with a number of brands that have a lot in common. Even more importantly, these products are created out of the passion we all have here for the industry and what we are doing.” Raminella, who joined BBI in 2018, has been guiding the company’s growth including the integration of Goody with Wet Brush, said that the company’s 200-plus employees also bring a great deal of expertise and “real hunger for innovation” to the mix. The result, she noted, is the ability to quickly offer new brands, like Twist, and new products into the hair care market. “We are on a constant search for meaningful innovation to help our customers,” she said. “We also work with our retail partners to help them create growth and success from these exciting hair categories.” The key to all of this, Raminella said, is winning the consumer over during what she calls “hair moments” — those multiple times during the day, such as after a wash or morning detangling and styling — when consumers are most involved with their hair. “The focus for us is to offer solutions to the customer in a unique way,” she said. “We provide solutions to the consumer that are imaginative and fun. We get them excited about the hair care category and what it can do to help them look their best all day long.” The Curls partnership should help BBI expand its reach with multicultural consumers. “The Curls and BBI partnership will rapidly expand Curls’ distribution,” said BBI’s co-CEO Gary Dailey. “By leveraging BBI’s omnichannel sales platform, Curls will benefit from our vertically integrated supply chain resources, bringing the brand to more consumers while enabling Mahisha Dellinger (Curls’ founder and owner) to focus additional time on product innovation, leadership and inspiration. Mahisha will continue to oversee Curls’ product formulas and product development with BBI by her side to optimize operations, logistics and sales.” Obviously, this strategy is working. Raminella said that sales at the company, which is financed by ACON, a Washington, D.C.-based private equity

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firm, will finish between a broad range of $250 million to $500 million this year and she expects robust growth well into the future as current and new innovations pique consumer interest. Driving consistent innovation that addresses consumer and customer needs is critical to BBI’s and hair care category success. “Overall, our job is to help the retailer drive category growth,” Raminella said. “We have developed the right merchandising support for them that creates higher engagement at the point of sale. And Gary and I plan to keep doing this in the future with new lines, acquisitions and partnerships. It is a very exciting time for BBI.” dsn

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PHARMACY | SUPERMARKET PHARMACY

Care and Convenience Supermarket pharmacies have arrived as health destinations By Sandra Levy

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oint-of-care testing? Check. Medication therapy management? Check. Chronic disease management programs? Check. Specialty pharmacy? Check. Primary care and clinic services? Check. Staff dietitians and nutritionists? Check. Collaboration with physicians and large health systems? Check. COVID testing, COVID vaccines, and flu and pneumonia shots? Check. This is a checklist for any retailer looking to make a mark with the pharmacy and something that supermarket operators need to understand is essential if they want to

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thrive in the competitive pharmacy business in the future. The big questions are whether supermarkets are willing to dive completely into the pharmacy business and whether they can utilize their obvious advantage in food to maximize their potential in the category. The rewards accrued from offering these clinical services can be substantial in terms of clinical outcomes, not to mention revenue and customer satisfaction. In fact, pharmacy expansion into primary care is driving significant increases in both satisfaction and consumer spending, according to the 2020 U.S. Pharmacy Study from J.D. Power.

The study found that customers who use at least one health-and-wellness-oriented service provided by their pharmacy spend an average of $11 more per customer than those who do not use these services ($35 versus $24, respectively) When customers use two or more health-and-wellnessoriented services, that average spend climbs to $58. Among customers who use two or more health-and-wellness-oriented services, overall satisfaction jumps to 907 versus 861 for those who don’t use any service. How can that translate into sales and profits for supermarket chains involved with pharmacies?

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PHARMACY | SUPERMARKET PHARMACY

Starting with Food One of the experienced players that is focused on dietitian services is Kroger, which has 2,254 pharmacies in 37 states and the District of Columbia. The grocer also has operated clinics since it purchased The Little Clinic in 2010. It has 224 retail health clinics in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. Marc Watkins, Kroger’s chief medical officer, said that the pandemic accelerated the grocery chain’s decision to offer a 50-state telenutrition service with its registered dietitians. “It offered an opportunity to connect more Americans to our nutrition programming,” he said. Kroger also revamped its OptUp healthy eating and nutrition platform with a food-scoring app, which evaluates and ranks food based on its nutritional content. “It measures not only the nutritional value of the food, but puts it in a scoring mechanism that makes it easy for consumers to digest what is in their basket,” Watkins said. Customers can personalize their choices by assigning dietary tags to see where the foods they are choosing fit in, for instance, if they have diabetes or are on a keto, paleo, Mediterranean heart healthy or gluten-free diet. When customers scan the bar codes of items with their mobile phones, they can see the score in real time. “For good health, a basket should be 50% or more in the green, although you can have a red score if it’s not more than 10% of your basket,” Watkins said. “That’s one of the ways we’re guiding our customers through this journey of not only changing the way that you eat, but also putting you on the road to being the best person of you and living a healthier life.” Stop & Shop, which has 253 pharmacies across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, is another formidable player with a focus on nutrition. As part of its Nutrition Partners program, last June the company’s dietitians went virtual with complimentary services for customers. “The virtual program has allowed us to provide diabetes education and resources to

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people at home,” said Brittany Moriarty, a registered dietitian at Stop & Shop. Stop & Shop’s team of registered dietitians also is partnering with its pharmacists for a series of weekly educational webinars on such topics as heart health and eating for diabetes. “We also do cooking demos, and we have resources on our website and blog, as well as an email address where customers can reach out to us at any time with questions,” Moriarty said. “The email communication is a great way for us to reconnect with the pharmacy if any customer has a question, for example, after a heart health webinar or if they have an issue with their medication, we can send them to the pharmacist we are working with,” she said. Stop & Shop also went virtual with its monthly education health classes, which focus on a variety of conditions, such as diabetes awareness month in November, heart health in February and allergies and asthma in May. “We saw a huge influx when we

launched webinars last summer,” Moriarty said. “People were at home looking for health-and-wellness resources, and they continue to be popular. During diabetes month in November, more than 100 people registered for each class. There’s definitely a need for that in the community.” Publix, which operates 1,179 pharmacies across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, also is a leader in connecting food with health. Maria Brous, director of communications, pointed out that Publix has created multiple resources to support patients’ dietary needs both in store and on its website. In store, there are visual shelf tags, which direct patients to Better Choice options, such as for patients who need more fiber and less saturated fats; Wellness options; Organic options; Made Without options for patients needing to avoid preservatives, colors and/or flavors; Gluten Free options; and Vegan options.

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PHARMACY | SUPERMARKET PHARMACY

On Publix.com, meal recipes are available in a variety of categories to support patients’ dietary needs, including heart smart, carb smart, vegetarian and gluten-free.

Getting Smart About Streamlining Operations The ability to leverage technology to improve patients’ health is yet another hallmark of successful supermarket pharmacies, as evidenced by Kroger’s decision to provide pharmacists with data from its AssureCare platform. The technology platform runs on Medcompass’ platform, and the data enables pharmacists to make real time decisions about impacting the care of their patients. “What begins to happen is you develop a relationship with our pharmacist,” Watkins said. “Your pharmacist is providing this high level of care, but it’s personalized. They know a little bit of something about you.” This technology will be deployed in all of Kroger’s locations in a stepwise approach over the next several months. “We’ll continue to leverage the technology in a way to give us real time insights to what’s going on with our patients,” Watkins noted. “That’s a point of difference that our pharmacy teams will have, this granular detailed information at the tips of their fingers, which better provides them the ability to take care of their patients.” Publix also has taken technology to new heights. “We have developed backend services to help take the workload off of our pharmacists at the stores, so they have more time to build relationships and provide services to our patients,” Brous said. “One of our most impactful backend tools to date is our central pharmacy in Orlando, which comprises central fill and central processing, which assist stores across the chain with workload balancing using a team of pharmacists and technicians.” As supermarkets work to deliver optimal care to patients, another ongoing area they’re growing their capabilities in is improving medication adherence. One just has to look at Publix’s extensive medication synchronization platform. This is an appointment-based model that leverages text message reminders to prompt

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“The Food as Medicine campaign is a way to address some of the issues around chronic disease. We believe we can do that from the lens of a grocer in conjunction with our Kroger Health business with the pharmacies and clinics.” — Marc Watkins, chief medical officer, Kroger patients to inform the pharmacy about changes to their medications a month before their appointment. The patient also receives text messages reminding them of their appointment. “This model allows for the pharmacy to better plan workflow and ensures each patient receives optimal care as they know in advance when the patient will be in the pharmacy and can plan to offer additional services like immunizations and/or comprehensive medication reviews,” Brous said. Stop & Shop’s Time My Meds medication synchronization program is yet

another illustration of what supermarket pharmacies are doing to be a true health destination. “People can get all of their prescriptions filled at the same time or, if it’s more economical for their budget, they can break it up to receive them at multiple times,” said Katie Thornell, the chain’s director of pharmacy operations. “It helps keep people on track if they are using pill boxes. We get in touch with their doctor to get their refill, make sure the medication is in stock when they need it, because we know when they are coming in to pick up their medication.”

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PHARMACY | SUPERMARKET PHARMACY

Getting Creative with Chronic Care Helping people manage chronic conditions also has become a priority and capability of supermarket pharmacies. Publix is a case in point. The supermarket pharmacy has created a closeddoor specialty pharmacy offering, which Brous noted “ensures a smooth process for patients that are directly referred to the specialty pharmacy or for patients who present to one of our retail locations with a specialty prescription.” Kroger is no stranger when it comes to managing chronic conditions. It is leveraging its dietitians and nutrition experts to help patients with obesity, heart disease and diabetes via Food as Medicine, a campaign it launched six years ago that offers medical nutrition therapy solutions. “The Food as Medicine campaign is a way to address some of the issues around chronic disease. We believe we can do that from the lens of a grocer in conjunction with our

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Kroger Health business with the pharmacies and the clinics,” Watkins said. “As these patients are entering into either the clinic or pharmacy or health system, the pharmacist, nurse practitioners and PAs are aware of the service, and they can also direct patients to our dietitians for free telenutrition visits.” As part of Kroger’s free virtual visits with a nutritionist, patients receive a meal plan, counseling and a road map to success in the form of a plan of action to take with them after their visit. The ability to collaborate with physicians and health systems and forge partnerships is becoming a signature of many successful supermarket pharmacies. Watkins pointed out that Kroger’s clinic business has been really focused on addressing gaps in care. “If we notice that we can impact care by beginning to treat things like diabetes and high blood pressure, we go ahead and initiate treatment and work with their primary care doctors.”

Kroger also has entered into a partnership with a health system in Little Rock in which it embedded one of its pharmacists with the clinical team. “We focused on not only medication reconciliation, but how could the pharmacist impact and drive care for their diabetic patients,” Watkins said. “As a certified diabetic educator, she was able to counsel them with food choices and diet, and since she was practicing within the store, she also interacted with these patients as they were shopping. The group was able to effectively drop A1C by two points, and they were successful in meeting one of their quality measurements. It shows that with a multi-collaborative approach with our pharmacists, you are able to improve the health of that one population.” Publix also has made a huge commitment to improve patients’ health through collaborations with health systems. Publix Pharmacy has joined forces with eight health systems in communities across

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Florida and one in South Carolina. With these relationships, Publix operates 14 pharmacies onsite at hospital campuses and supports 11 other hospitals from a nearby retail pharmacy. Publix Pharmacy offers services that include delivering discharge medications to a patient’s bedside prior to leaving the hospital and delivering medications to hospital employees. Publix also has teamed up with a Volunteers in Medicine Clinic location in Florida to manage a charity care program that supports the indigent population in Stuart, Fla. “Continuum of care in the medical space is a top priority for Publix to align patients with the ability to transition back home from their hospital or outpatient stay,” Brous said. “We understand that we are an integral part of the healthcare team and can have a significant impact on reducing hospital readmissions.” Through collaborations with three of its health system partners, Publix has launched 43 Walk-In Care clinics within its retail pharmacy space that allow patients to conduct a virtual visit with a healthcare provider and pick up any prescribed medications directly after their visit. To expand available services, Publix and BayCare recently piloted a phlebotomy offering at two Walk-In Care clinic locations. A phlebotomist is set up onsite, and patients can schedule an appointment online or in store.

“We saw a huge influx when we launched [nutrition] webinars last summer. People were at home looking for health-and-wellness resources, and they continue to be popular.” — Brittany Moriarty, dietitian, Stop & Shop

The Pandemic and Beyond Supermarket pharmacies also have stepped up in the unchartered waters of COVID, making huge commitments and investments necessary to ramp up COVID-19 testing and COVID vaccinations, all while providing a range of other vaccines. Stop & Shop is a standout on the vaccination front. Thornell said that the chain had a very strong record-breaking flu season, and pneumonia vaccinations were in demand, as well. Stop & Shop also began to administer vaccines to younger children when states, such as Massachusetts, lowered the age limit that was previously set at 9 years old and older. “We worked with pharmacists for refresher training, and we were able to adapt to meet the updated

guidelines,” she said. Additionally, Stop & Shop also offers COVID vaccines and it has hired pharmacists, including recently retired pharmacists who were reactivated to assist with administering these vaccines. In many areas, the chain partnered with testing programs so that COVID testing could be done either in their stores or parking lots. Kroger quickly rose to meet the challenges of COVID. “In 18 states, we did more than 200,000-plus COVID tests over a period last summer,” Watkins said. “At this point, we have given over 2.1 million vaccines, with more than 113,000 that have been given to our own associates.”

The chain supports mass clinics, deploying staff to assist local and state authorities in delivering the vaccine to the community. For instance, in Cincinnati, its pharmacists are working very closely with the mayor and health department, running mass events and doing some drive-thru testing at multiple sites in Kentucky. In yet another partnership with IBM Watson, Kroger developed an interactive phone system and online scheduling solution with its technology teams. “In the early part of the vaccine rollout, there were eligibility requirements we had to meet, and we were able to use the bot technology in a way to check eligibility that also allowed

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PHARMACY | SUPERMARKET PHARMACY

“We have developed backend services to help take the workload off of our pharmacists at the stores, so they have more time to build relationships and provide services to our patients.” — Maria Brous, director of communications, Publix

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you to schedule your round trip appointment,” Watkins said. “That’s a convenient way for our customers to get their appointments. It also streamlines things for our teams because then they know, ‘How can I manage my supply, how do I manage my workflow, the queue?’ as these folks are coming into our location.” Publix Pharmacy also has stepped up with COVID immunizations, starting on Jan. 7. To date, Publix has administered more than 2.3 million doses. “We have supported over 1,000 pharmacy technicians to achieve the necessary training to become immunizers — a huge advancement for the pharmacy profession,” Brous said. What will the future hold? It remains to be seen what innovation supermarket pharmacies will embark on next, but one thing is

certain, supermarket pharmacies have covered many bases and unquestionably have established themselves as health destinations. Thornell said she envisions resuming in-store health screening events in which Stop & Shop partnered with sponsors and in-store wellness events with its trained pharmacists based on their state regulations to do blood pressure, cholesterol screenings and blood glucose readings, as well as looking at immunization or medication histories with customers. “You were able to walk up, you didn’t need an appointment and you could participate in in-store events, which were held six times a year,” she said. “It is something that our customers and grocery shoppers, typically those who weren’t familiar with the pharmacy, really enjoyed.” dsn

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HEALTH | VITAMINS, MINERALS AND SUPPLEMENTS

Staying Strong The VMS and nutritional products category will remain crucial in the post-pandemic landscape By Nora Caley

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he nutritional category just keeps getting stronger and stronger. More than a year into the COVID19 crisis, it is becoming extremely clear that consumers are still buying products to boost immunity, get better sleep and mitigate the effects of all that sourdough bread. Even as vaccines become widely available, consumers remain eager to buy the vitamins, minerals, supplements and nutritional products that have become part of their new health routines. According to a February report from Chicago-based research firm IRI, consumers are still including VMS in their self-care rituals as they await the vaccine. More than 8

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in 10 consumers routinely rely on the broadbased vitamin category to bolster their immune systems, with sales totaling $9 billion in brick-and-mortar retailers and $10 billion through e-commerce sales. IRI said it expects continued sales momentum in supplements and single letter vitamins, as well as outsized growth in elderberry, zinc and vitamin C in the coming year. Manufacturers said people are remembering what the pandemic taught them about being proactive with their health. And, many vendors are continuing to keep the heat up on the category, with product introductions and marketing support in store and through the media.

“Preventative health measures never go out of style,” said Jason Mitchell, CEO and co-founder of Denver-based HempFusion Wellness. “We anticipate that the significant focus on supporting the immune system will remain top of mind to many consumers, despite COVID vaccine availability.” Mitchell said that one positive result of the pandemic is increased consumer awareness of the importance of a strong immune system. Manufacturers are doing their part to educate consumers, for example, on the connection between gut health and immune health, as 70% of immune system activity resides in the gut. Probulin, the sister company under the HempFusion umbrella, makes digestive

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The VMS

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HEALTH | VITAMINS, MINERALS AND SUPPLEMENTS

probiotics and other products. Retailers need to remain prepared for whatever happens with the vitamin category in the near future, especially as the pandemic hopefully subsides over the next few months. “We believe retailers would be wise to stay the course in continuing to offer nutritional products that support immune system health, since it is an absolutely fundamental aspect of overall wellness,” Mitchell said. He pointed to figures from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, which noted last August that 43% of dietary supplement users have changed their supplement routines since the start of the pandemic. Among those who altered their regimens due to COVID-19, 91% reported increasing their supplement intake, including adding new supplements to their existing routines (46%), taking the same supplements more regularly (25%) or increasing doses (22%). “If retailers can continue to provide good information and products that truly work for people, I think they’ll continue to maintain that position of trust that keeps people walking in the door,” Mitchell said.

Maintaining Good Habits It has helped that consumers have opportunities during the pandemic to learn about zinc, vitamin D, elderberry and other immunityrelated ingredients. “Especially during the beginning of quarantine, they were home

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with time on their hands,” said Stephanie Corridore, an official at Bohemia, N.Y.based Piping Rock. “They were able to investigate how they can stay healthy.” Armed with information, consumers developed proactive health routines that will continue. “Now that these healthy habits have been established around immune health, we don’t expect a change,” Corridore said. Another factor contributing to continued sales momentum is that supply chain issues have been resolved, Corridore said. When shoppers were pantry loading during the early days of the pandemic, they left many VMS sections at retail empty, and some manufacturers struggled to keep up with demand. She also said that, for its part, Piping Rock never had trouble supplying retailers with products in its Nature’s Truth, Pink or other brands. Others said that they agree that a newfound approach to self-care will continue to drive sales in the VMS category. “There’s going to be a longer-term focus on prevention or immunity,” said Chuck Tacl, senior vice president of sales and business development at Miami Lakes, Fla.-based Mason Vitamins. “We see strategic retailers carving out 4-, 8- or 12-ft. sections and calling it immunity.” The category is expanding beyond the VMS sections, as food and beverage manufacturers are launching items that make immunity claims. “There’s going to be blurring across the store because you’re going to

have many options for immunity,” Tacl said. In addition to immunity, Tacl, and others, said the segments of sleep, stress, brain and beauty with collagen are driving the VMS category. Also contributing to the sales gains is the explosion of e-commerce, including buying online with curbside pickup. “I don’t see e-commerce slowing down,” he said. “I see more consumers shopping online specifically for vitamins, and we’ve seen a pretty significant shift and share growth on that side of the business.” Even with some concerns about too many products invading store shelves and consumers getting confused about what items are best for them, the category is expected to continue to grow, at slower rates than the 2020 surge. “We’re not expecting the category to continue rising by 20%, but we believe there is going to be a new baseline,” Tacl said.

Food for Health That said, many industry officials stressed that it is still quite difficult to predict how much sales will increase compared to 2020. “The alert to retailers is they should not look at last year’s performance as an indicator of this year,” said Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education at Denver-based Simply Good Foods. “Last year was so different and will have a profound effect on consumer behavior.” The company offers the Atkins and Quest brands of nutritional products. Consumers changed their eating behaviors during the pandemic. Sales of nutritional bars went down as people worked from home and did not seek on-the-go nutrition. Sales of protein powders and shakes went up because they provided a discreet way for people to drink instead of eat during Zoom meetings. Sweet treats products such as Atkins Endulge Desserts sold well as people sought comfort foods. Demand for nutritional products will continue, as people gained weight during the pandemic. According to the American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” poll, conducted with Harris Poll in February, 42% of adults reported that they gained more weight than they intended, and

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HEALTH | VITAMINS, MINERALS AND SUPPLEMENTS

they gained an average of 29 lbs. “We anticipate strong performance across bars once people get out of the house,” Heimowitz said. “People looking to lose their pandemic weight will want higher protein and lower sugar.” Sports nutrition products also performed well during the pandemic, as consumers worked out at home and ordered supplements, bars, protein powders and other products. “Customers are more engaged in nutritional supplements than ever before,” said Becky Bellman, head of brands at Wolfson Brands, based in Glasgow, Scotland. “Consumers are more heightened than ever to protect their health.” While many consumers switched to online purchasing during the pandemic, Bellman said that retailers can adapt by offering click-and-collect service, providing favorable price points and engaging with consumers

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through in-store experiences. Even sports nutrition products are showing immunity claims now, and that will remain a trend. “Immunity will remain a top health concern for consumers, with no signs of it fading even post-COVID-19,” she said.

Losing Sleep Sleep also will remain a concern. “People are realizing the connection between sleep and immunity and general wellness,” said Stephen Gecewicz, co-founder of Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Zero Brands, which makes Nature’s Night all-natural, plantbased melatonin products. “I don’t think the trend will change.” He also said that melatonin has been around for decades, and sales of it grew 17% in 2020. The brand recently launched Nature’s Night Kids, a plant-based, 100% natural melatonin product for children. “Parents

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HEALTH | VITAMINS, MINERALS AND SUPPLEMENTS

were concerned because other brands use synthetic melatonin,” Gecewicz said, noting that the product is free of sugar, as giving a child sugar at bedtime seems counterproductive. Also, Nature’s Night Kids has only 1 mg of melatonin, which gives parents a better alternative than trying to cut adult tablets in half. One way to measure which health concerns are top of mind is to look at online search data. Searches for such ingredients as elderberry and melatonin spiked 500% in the early days of the pandemic, said Nik Hall, co-founder of Dallas-based vitafive. “The news has had a massive impact and caused a lot of anxiety,” he said. “People are stressed.” Hall said that demand for vitafive’s gummy vitamins is still higher than the prepandemic for several reasons. People stocked up, then had to restock as the pandemic wore on. Also, gummies and especially pectin-based, vegetarian-friendly gummies are very on-trend right now as is environmentally friendly packaging. Vitafive’s gummy vitamins and dietary supplements for adults and children come in pouches that use 80% less plastic than bottles. While gummies currently are trending, other delivery systems are emerging, especially for children. El Segundo, Calif.based ChildLife Essentials makes probiotics and immune support products, as well as vitamins in tablets, chewables and gummies. There also is a large selection of liquid vitamins that can be given to children through drops or added to smoothies and other foods. The brand posts online recipes for banana bites, crispy bars, PB&J wraps and other kid-friendly foods that feature the liquid vitamin drops. “We do a lot of our advertising on social media because that’s where we reach moms and dads,” said Karyn McCarthy, vice president of sales and marketing. “We got a little bit creative.” McCarthy said last year’s sales of liquid vitamin C were “through the roof,” and chewable probiotics, echinacea drops and First Defense liquid immune support all had strong sales. It is difficult to determine how consumers will shop this year. “A mixed bag is my prediction,” she said. ChildLife Essentials recently launched a line of SoftMelt Gummies.

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Post-Pandemic Health Although no one expects e-commerce to disappear, some anticipate that shoppers will return to stores in pretty big numbers. “As retail opens up post-COVID-19, I can see a trend going back to store loyalty,” said Mark Hicks, vice president of sales at Lynden, Wash.-based Flora. “Consumers have missed that customer service interaction and the unique experiences and knowledge that can be found in retail stores that know their demographic.” Therefore, retailers should ensure that staff is well trained so they can answer questions, and make sure the store provides a sensory experience with displays, samples and an assortment of products that shoppers can pick up and examine. That is especially important as younger adults start shopping for VMS and nutritional products. Although baby boomers are the core loyalty group, Flora has lately focused on reaching millennials. “Over the last year, we’ve seen a significant increase in website traffic and purchases from this age group,” Hicks said. Flora recently launched Ferritin+, a plant-based iron supplement. It remains extremely important for retailers and other industry officials to remember

that not all consumers will go back to shopping in store, as online shopping turned out to be more than just a convenient way to wait out the pandemic. At West Hills, Calif.-based Pharmavite, the percentage of business that was e-commerce doubled, and the company said it expects consumers to continue shopping online. “Almost two-thirds of consumers are planning to continue their daily VMS regimen post-COVID, with the primary health benefit being to ‘build a healthier immune system,’” said chief marketing officer Rhonda Hoffman. “To remain top of mind for consumers, brands and manufacturers will need to reach them with always-on engaging content and experiences that provide added value beyond the product, such as education or personalization tools.” For example, social commerce is a big trend, as consumers are purchasing products directly through social platforms, Hoffman said. Retailers will need to identify opportunities to bring the retail experience to consumers. “Reimagining the consumer experience to seamlessly transfer between in store and online will be table stakes,” she said. dsn

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HEALTH | NEW VMS PRODUCTS

ChildLife Essentials Adds Gummies ChildLife Essentials offers a complete line of premium nutritional supplements made especially for infants and children. All ChildLife vitamins and supplements are gluten-free, allergen-friendly, non-GMO and never use any artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. The brand, known for its liquid vitamin drops, launched four gummies in 2020: • ChildLife Essentials Multi Vitamin SoftMelt Gummies provide essential vitamins and minerals that children need to thrive; • ChildLife Essentials Elderberry SuperImmune SoftMelt Gummies provide a combination of immune-boosting

Flora Launches Iron Supplement One out of four women have low iron levels and many might not even realize it. With this in mind, Flora has launched Ferritin+, a plant-based iron supplement made with organic peas. With 11 patents and three comprehensive clinical trials, the doctor-developed supplement is proven to increase ferritin iron levels without irritation, constipation or cellular damage. The delayed-release vegan capsules are highly bioavailable, so the body absorbs and utilizes much of this essential mineral.

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Vitafive Intros Gummies in Pouches Made from Less Plastic The gummy vitamins from vitafive are allergen- and gluten-free, vegetarian, and naturally colored and flavored. Instead of bottles, the vitamins come in pouches, which the company said wastes 80% less plastic for every vitafive pouch that consumers purchase. Adult pouches are available in Apple Cider Vinegar Cleanse and Detox, Collagen+ for Complexion, Elderberry for Immunity and Melatonin for Sleep among others. Kid’s pouches are available in Multi for Overall Health, Elderberry for Immunity and Melatonin for Sleep.

ingredients for optimal immune support; ChildLife Essentials Omega-3 DHA + Choline SoftMelt Gummies include omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, choline and vitamin D3, all of which support overall health and development for healthy bodies and minds; and • ChildLife Essentials Healthy Vision SoftMelt Gummies deliver strong antioxidants to help support healthy vision. All four SoftMelt Gummies are naturally sweetened and are free from the sugar found in many gummy supplements. They are individually packaged in blister cards, with each one maintaining its moisture. •

Nature’s Night Offers Melatonin for Children Zero Brands, which makes Triple Strength Nature’s Night SleepMeltz Melatonin and Extra Strength Nature’s Night SleepMeltz Melatonin, now offers Nature’s Night Kids. The chewables contain 1 mg of all-natural plant-based melatonin, which differentiates it from other brands that make sleep products with synthetic melatonin. Nature’s Night Kids is 100% vegan, non-GMO, glutenand allergen-free, and uses monk fruit extract as a natural sweetener. The new product provides a clean label and safer solution for children.

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The Peace of Sleep – and a Greater Piece of the Category. Grow Sales with the Only Plant-Based Kids’ Sleep Aid on the Market.

Today’s parents are more attuned than ever to the sleep patterns of their children, driving 30% growth in the sleep aid market in 2020. But the right kid-safe dosage and all-natural formula that parents demand was challenging to find – until Nature’s Night Kids Plant-Based Melatonin. Made with 100% natural plant ingredients, the Nature’s Night Kids is the only non-synthetic, drug-free product on the market for children. Approved by both discerning parents and picky kids, Nature’s Night Kids’ expertly crafted chewables come in a naturally sweetened dosage that delivers a long, restful sleep – served in a premium, clean label package. Don’t sleep on this unique opportunity to claim a larger piece of the rapidly growing sleep aid category. BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MAKERS OF NATURE’S NIGHT EXTRA STRENGTH & TRIPLE STRENGTH FOR ADULTS.

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HEALTH | EYE AND EAR CARE

Eyes — and Ears — on the Horizon What trends are shaping the eye and ear care categories? By David Salazar

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onsumers — and retailers — are turning their attention to a spurt of activity in the burgeoning eye and ear segments. In fact, a push towards self-care, as well as a continuing focus on more natural products and the rise of e-commerce and omnichannel, is helping the segments get more attention on retail shelves and drive a simmering need to innovate by a number of manufacturers. The result, many said, is a strong uptick in interest in the category among consumers,

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who are eager for more quality and variation from the categories and seem willing to pay for it. Yet it is self-care, a hot topic in the OTC space even before anyone had heard of COVID-19, that is starting to play a major role in eye and ear segments and taking relatively staid categories and adding some excitement to them. A February report from L.E.K. Consulting, a global agency with its largest office in Boston, took a look at the top consumer health trends brought about by the

COVID-19 pandemic. Its authors, Adrienne Rivlin and Geoff Parkin, said that a major trend is a focus on self-care solutions. L.E.K.’s report cited European research from GSK Consumer Healthcare, which found that 65% of consumers in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom are more likely to consider their health when making day-to-day decisions, and 80% said they would pursue self-care offerings to help unburden health systems that have been stretched thin by the pandemic. For executives at companies playing in eye

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HEALTH | EYE AND EAR CARE

and ear care, this trend comes as no surprise. “Avoiding doctor visits through self-care was already a strong trend before the pandemic. Consumers had no other choice during the shutdown,” said Marsha Garcia, CEO of Doctor Easy, whose flagship product is the WaxRx Ear Wash System. “Even with increased access to medical care these days, as retail reopens, the trend toward self-care will remain the driving behavior of consumers.” In fact, it is consumers who seem to be catching up to Garcia’s company. She said WaxRx was introduced as a way to offer an at-home solution for a common problem that sent people to the doctor’s office. “Prior to the introduction of WaxRx, consumers often could not find relief from ear wax impaction with OTC treatments,” Garcia said. “This led to more than 8 million doctor visits a year. With its history of first inventing spray ear wash technology in 1997, and then supplying ear washers to medical professionals for 25 years, Doctor Easy welcomed the opportunity to meet consumer demand for professional-grade ear cleaning with its WaxRx Ear

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Wash System.” The L.E.K. report noted that vitamins and dietary supplements are positioned to see particularly strong growth as preventionfocused consumers prioritize their health. This is an area where eye care suppliers have been making big inroads, in particular industry leader Bausch + Lomb. The Somerset, N.J.-based company’s eye care offerings go beyond drops into vitamin/minerals/supplements with its PreserVision and Ocuvite supplement lines. The PreserVision AREDS 2 line includes minigels, a multivitamin formulation and chewables, while Ocuvite’s lineup features products targeted for eye performance, adults 50 years old and older and blue light protection, and even includes gummy products. “Given that eyesight changes as we get older, and knowing there will be a significant part of the population over the age of 50 within the next 10 years, it’s important that we, as a global eye health company, provide a variety of innovative products that help support the eye health of aging consumers — and this includes the most current,

science-based eye vitamin formulations,” Bausch + Lomb U.S. president Joe Gordon told DSN last fall. Beyond VMS, in its best-known offerings of eye drops, eye care is perhaps one of the leaders of the self-care boom, offering solutions to issues that often may not require a visit to a doctor. However, the eye care category made a big leap forward in enabling self-care in 2020 with the Rx-toOTC switch of Alcon’s Pataday. With the initial switch last spring, the company brought prescription-strength olopatadine to consumers without the need to get a prescription written. The eye allergy relief product was followed up in January 2021 with Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength. At the time of the launch, Alcon executives, citing IRI data, said that 58% of Pataday buyers were new to the category.

Demand for Natural As self-care grows its profile among consumers, so too has the imperative for products that eschew potentially harmful ingredients as shoppers get more discerning

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HEALTH | EYE AND EAR CARE

about what goes in their bodies. “Increased concern over potential side effects and the long-term health risks associated with and advertised by some allopathic medicines has strengthened the consumer focus towards natural alternatives,” said Susan Hanson, COO of Reno, Nev.-based The Relief Products, a maker of homeopathic eye and ear care solutions. “Market research forecasts that the global market for homeopathic products could increase by as much as 18.2% by the year 2024.” The boom in natural demand is not dissimilar from the factors influencing the selfcare revolution. “External factors including COVID-19, combined with a new generation of consumers that possess greater knowledge and understanding of their health-and-wellness needs, have created high demand for natural OTC products, including homeopathics,” Hanson said. TRP’s products span both eye and ear

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care, and include such condition-specific offerings as Allergy Eyes Relief Day & Night, RedEye Relief Drops, PinkEye Relief Drops and Earache Relief PM. As swimming makes a comeback this summer, the company also offers Swimmer’s Ear Complete Relief, a natural ear-drying aid. The company also makes Ring Relief, a product to help the symptoms of tinnitus, which Hanson noted can be affected or caused by COVID-19. “Recent studies have shown that tinnitus symptoms (aka ringing in the ears) can be made worse or even triggered by COVID19,” she said. “Tinnitus is a complex condition that can also be exacerbated by COVIDrelated factors including anxiety, loneliness, changes in daily routine and more.” As ingredient demands change how manufacturers formulate their products, it also is changing how they are packaged. “[One] trend we are seeing is growth in preservative-free products, which are mainly in single-dose format,” said Yann

Pigeaire, vice president of marketing at Highlands Ranch, Colo.-based Similasan. “Although U.S. consumers still prefer bottles over single-dose vials, doctors are increasingly sensitive to preservatives, especially benzalkonium chloride (BAK). We’ve calculated that since 2013, preservative-free dry eye products, for instance, have grown 179% versus 34% for preserved products. To meet demand from all consumers, Pigeaire said that Similasan offers its Allergy Eye Relief and Dry Eye Relief in bottles with a gentle preservative that is free of BAK, as well as in vials that contain a preservative-free formulation. The company also recently rolled out a Pink Eye Nighttime Gel, designed to work overnight to help relieve symptoms of pink eye — one of the conditions that drives selfcare purchases in the eye care space. Bausch + Lomb has been growing its preservative-free lineup this year. In February, it released Alaway Preservative Free, making it the first and only preservative-free

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HEALTH | EYE AND EAR CARE

antihistamine eye itch relief drop approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is designed to offer quick relief and last as long as 12 hours with one dose.

Merchandising Across Channels The industry is currently at a complex juncture — growing vaccination rates are leading to a recent uptick in in-store foot traffic while, at the same time, consumers have found that shopping online delivers on their convenience needs. This makes merchandising the eye and ear care sets — already difficult given the many offerings of both allopathic and homeopathic — that much more difficult. “Getting it right in store is only part of the equation,” Similisan’s Pigeaire said. “Consumers are now much more comfortable using pickup and delivery than ever before, so online content that is clear with symptoms and benefits is primordial.” With brick-and-mortar, he said that merchandising eye and ear care by symptom while also separating naturalfocused products blocked together seems to be the most effective “because that is a

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somewhat more unique target consumer,” he said. “Merchandising these ‘natural’ or homeopathic products in a dedicated ‘natural’ OTC section outside of eye/ear does not work.” Brick-and-mortar stores also offer an opportunity for cross merchandising, according to Dr. Easy’s Garcia. “I love seeing innovative cross promotions in stores, such as when grocers stock the bananas, pudding and cookie wafers in one display, prompting consumers to buy all three,” she said. “Pharmacies can mimic this strategy by placing WaxRx not only in the ear care aisle, but also near the hearing aid batteries. A simple reminder that earwax is the No. 1 killer of hearing aids can prompt consumers to purchase WaxRx along with the batteries.” The company also recently introduced Earvana Ear Rinse for dry ear skin itch that also is recommended for use as an after-swim ear rinse. “Placing Earvana near the suntan lotion would be another idea for cross marketing of products often used in tandem,” Garcia said, noting that an e-commerce offering that includes “frequently bought

together” callouts would be an effective way to cross merchandise as well. As the online/in-store dichotomy continues to be subsumed by the rise of omnichannel, TRP’s Hanson said both will offer their own benefits for consumers. “Once clearly defined, the boundaries between traditional retail locations and e-commerce platforms continue to blur,” she said. “The differences between brands will become more apparent to the consumer in this digital space, ultimately influencing the consumer’s decision-making process. For retailers, the goal is to create a user-friendly online experience coupled with effective ways of cutting cost and delivering orders quickly, as same-day and next-day delivery are the new standard.” The L.E.K. report offered some advice for the road ahead: “Consumer healthcare companies could educate their customers more effectively, both in disease awareness and management, as well as about their own brands. They could improve their education sessions with pharmacists and enhance their social media and other digital channels for end consumers.” dsn

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LAST WORD

Getting to the Other Side of the Pandemic New imperatives will include disruptive retail experiences and unique industry partnerships By David Orgel

F 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.

ood and drug retailers became masters of adapting their strategies to pandemic realities. Now they have to be ready for what comes next. New imperatives will include disruptive retail experiences and unique industry partnerships. The pandemic is still a moving target, of course, with varied impacts depending on geographies. However, society is opening up and big changes are already underway. Here are a few ways retailers can move forward with flexibility and confidence.

March 30, 2021 article in Chain Store Age, DSN’s sister publication. Planned strategies include shoppable maps with hyperlocal features, artificial intelligence-powered conversational commerce and predictive grocery list building through Google Cloud. It’s very early days for this alliance, but it will be fascinating to track the partnership’s deliverables as they emerge. Most retailers don’t have the resources and scale of Albertsons and Google, but they can still innovate and disrupt if they pick their spots.

Leverage Unique Partnerships

See Hybrid as the New Reality

There are opportunities for timely, out-of-thebox partnerships. Looking outside of retail, consider the recent travel industry collaboration between Tripadvisor and Lysol — that is, Lysol’s parent company Reckitt. Tripadvisor, the travel guidance platform, is helping to promote a variety of Lysol disinfection and sanitation kits (my personal favorite is “Restroom Rescue”) to tourism and hospitality businesses, along with accompanying science-based information on best disinfection protocols. It’s a smart initiative that addresses this precise moment for the hard-hit travel sector. Tripadvisor correctly points out that safety and cleanliness are critical factors for consumers returning to dining and traveling. The retail sector has its own opportunities to benefit from meaningful alliances, and these can focus on taking pandemic-era strategies to the next level. A case in point is Uber’s recent expansion of prescription delivery with ScriptDrop — a move that will enable pharmacies to make use of Uber’s driver network for delivering prescriptions.

Hybrid is the new reality. People will sometimes be working from home, and other times from an office. They will shop in physical stores and also online — all the while choosing different ways to receive items, from delivery to curbside pickup. Retailers need to cater to new lifestyles in order to reach people where they are. This phenomenon will continue well past the pandemic and require retailers to track customer journeys by week, day and even time of day. The new hybrid world impacts many industries and retail needs to be on top of this.

Build Disruptive Experiences Speaking of unique partnerships, it’s hard to top the collaboration now being expanded between Albertsons and Google. The goal is to meld Albertsons’ broad reach with Google’s customercentric disruptive innovation as outlined in a

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Expect New Competition The waning of the pandemic will be marked by a resurgence of restaurants, bringing more competition for “share of stomach.” Food retailers encountering more competition may look to enhance meal solutions and foodservice strategies. In fact, there will be more competition from many quarters as society opens up and people become more mobile. Competition makes companies and industries better and signals a healthy economy. Retail is up to all these challenges. If it means that retailers need to step up their games and improvise for new realities, so be it. Isn’t that what retailers have been doing throughout the pandemic anyway? They will again need to pivot for a changing landscape. dsn

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Eye and Ear Care

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Supermarket Pharmacy

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Focus On: Beauty By Imagination

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VMS Stays Strong

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