DSN - August 2019

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Rethinking Retail in the Age of Amazon Retailers are getting increasingly creative to drive traffic and enhance e-commerce options

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Vol. 41 No. 8 DrugStoreNews.com


124 Technology and Automation A rundown of top tech and automation providers

32 Elevation Forum A dispatch from the recent thought leadership event in Bentonville, Ark.

136 Counter Talk with AADE’s Donna Ryan

50 Focus On: UltiMed

138 News

57 Special Report: Energy Drinks


Energy drink makers appeal to changing sensibilities

142 VMS Keeps Growing Consumers increasingly see the VMS aisle as a resource

76 Cover Story: Rethinking Retail in the Age of Amazon

150 VMS Products

Retailers look to drive traffic to stores while building out e-commerce offerings

152 Triaging First Aid The category holds steady as suppliers innovate around products and marketing

64 NACDS Total Store Expo Preview What companies will have in store on the show floor

158 News


86 CBD Report Suppliers wait for guidance as the category grows; highlighting breakthrough brands

COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note

162 Something to Talk About

76 36 Counter Talk with PowerReviews’ Cheryl Sullivan

10 Industry News 34 Counter Talk

38 Counter Talk with Health Mart Atlas’ Crystal Lennartz

with APhA’s Sandra Leal

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

40 Counter Talk With Sera Labs’ Nancy Duitch

42 Counter Talk with Facebook’s Carlos Garcia

44 Counter Talk with LanguageLine’s Simon Yoxon-Grant

Industry insiders weigh in on the state of the category

168 Counter Talk with DSN Beauty Director Laura Fontana

46 One-On-One with The UPS Store’s Chris Adkins

172 One-On-One with Australian Gold’s Thomas Kurnava

48 Counter Talk with NCA’s John Downs

54 Products to Watch

174 Spotlight On: Shimmer and Shine

182 Last Word

176 News

with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

GENERAL MERCHANDISE 178 Say It with a Card


Millennials help drive interest in premium offerings

112 State of the Industry How pharmacists are carving out a clinical role as reimbursements drop


DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rates: Manufacturers, schools, libraries and all others allied to the field $119. Canadian subscribers $129. Foreign subscribers $225. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, Circulation Fulfillment Director, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. For change of address, six weeks notice to Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200 is requested. Give old and new address and zip code. If possible, enclose address portion from cover on previous issue. Subscription changes also may be emailed to drugstorenews@omeda.com, or call 847-564-1468. Vol. 41, No. 8, August 2019. Copyright © 2019 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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It’s not just the depth of our pipeline, It’s the quality and value it delivers

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Today, Amneal offers more than 200 generic product families, and we’re focusing our pipeline on complex drug treatments to deliver even more important medicines. We view patients and customers as members of our extended family. So everyday, we work hard to deliver quality, value and accessibility. All this is part of our deep sense of purpose. It’s how We Make Healthy Possible.

amneal.com Copyright © 2019 Amneal Pharmaceuticals. All Rights Reserved. AMN-DSN 08.19

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Scrutiny on Scripts Retailers are beginning to rethink their pharmacy approach By Seth Mendelson


ust a few years ago, some would call this outright blasphemy. But changing times may be changing one of the most basic principles of mass retailing. Could there be too many pharmacy counters in the marketplace, and will retailers look to cut back on this longtime cash cow? The answer, amazingly, may be yes, and some key retailers may be taking steps to protect themselves. In just the last two months, Walmart has cut back its number of pharmacists, and Lunds & Byerly’s, an upscale, trendsetting Seth Mendelson Editor in Chief/ Minnesota-based supermarket chain, announced that it Associate Publisher was getting out of the business of filling scripts altogether. By themselves, these two acts are not the start of a trend or a barometer on how the overall health of the pharmacy business is faring. The fact is that Walmart still operates pharmacies in nearly all of its 5,000 stores, and there is no evidence that the giant chain is going to scale back its pharmacy operation any time soon. Lunds & Byerly’s, even with all of its glamour and loyalty in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, still is a relatively small player in the upper Midwest, and it is clear that the chain’s officials think they can make more money and serve their customers in other ways that they are more comfortable with. Yet, other signs exist indicating that there are simply too many pharmacy counters at mass retail stores across the country. Other retailers are complaining about the costs and logistics of maintaining a fullystaffed pharmacy counter. And, retailers are becoming more and more aware that declining profits from the pharmacy, caused by a number of reasons including high procurement costs and government regulations, as well as rising wages for pharmacists, require them to take a second look at the category. Let’s be clear here: The pharmacy will remain the backbone of most retailers’ merchandising and marketing strategies. The major drug store chains, larger mass merchandisers and supermarket chains will continue to utilize the pharmacy as both a profit center and a customer draw to both fill their coffers and attract customers into their stores. Pharmacists also will remain a key cog in winning over consumers, mostly by offering the expertise needed to help them make the right decisions on their healthcare needs. Yet, these small signs cautioning that not all is perfect with the category need to be recognized, and retailers need to take the right steps to protect their pharmacy operations and get the most out of this business. dsn

Retailers are becoming more and more aware that declining profits from the pharmacy, caused by a number of reasons, require them to take a second look at the category.


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

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


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Laneige Creates Toner, Moisturizer Hybrid

Completely Bare, The Honey Pot Win ECRM Personal Care Awards Completely Bare won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its go fuzz FREE Facial Moisturizer and Hair Inhibitor during ECRM’s Personal Care, Grooming, Oral and Travel/Trial session held in Phoenix in July. The Honey Pot was the finalist for its Normal feminine wash and herbal menstrual pads. The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during the program’s meetings. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation and packaging. “One common thread among both winners is that they have products that aim to deliver efficacy without harming the body or the environment,” Tony Giovanini, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM, said. “Completely Bare provides a cruelty-free way of removing hair, and The Honey Pot uses natural ingredients for feminine care.” Completely Bare is a woman-owned, New York-based hair removal brand that seeks to provide quality products at affordable prices. In addition to offering products that remove hair, it specializes in post-treatment products designed to help


keep skin healthy, sexy and smooth. The company is PETA certified and crueltyfree, and all of its products are free of parabens and phthalates. Company officials at The Honey Pot, a plant based feminine care company, said its mission is to give girls and women cleaner, safer options for their feminine care and hygiene. It sells healthy feminine washes, wipes, herbal menstrual pads and liners, and clean cotton tampons made with natural herbs and botanicals to help maintain a woman’s pH balance without the addition of harsh chemicals. The company’s Normal feminine wash and herbal menstrual pads are the first plant-powered washes and pads on the market, according to the company. The wash is formulated with microbial fighting colloidal silver, as well as such herbs and botanicals as coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and grapefruit seed extract. These ingredients are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal, and help keep users fresh and clean without disrupting the delicate pH balance. Its herbal menstrual pads are infused with such herbs as lavender, aloe, mint and rose to help reduce cramps, minimize odor, and soothe and calm irritation.

K-beauty brand Laneige is revolutionizing the way consumers use a toner and moisturizer. The brand has developed its new Cream Skin Toner and Moisturizer, a 2-in-1 hybrid product that combines the absorption capabilities of a toner with the hydration benefits of a moisturizer. Developed with Laneige’s cream blending technology, which blends cream into a water formula, the product is created with a high-pressure blending process that breaks down the cream into nano units that can be immersed into the toner without separation. The end result is a long-lasting, light formula that quickly absorbs moisture into the skin, the company said. The Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer’s main ingredient is white leaf tea water, which has its efficacy boosted by 150% via a Dutch cold brewing extraction method, and is able to soothe skin and offer a deeper level of hydration. It also uses green tea from parent company AmorePacific’s green tea fields on Jeju Island, the company said. In addition, the product is free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, PEG-based surfactants, synthetic pigments, fragrance, animalderived ingredients and triethanolamine.


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Oprah’s O, That’s Good! Debuts Frozen Skillet Meals O, That’s Good!, a line created through the Mealtime Stories joint venture between Oprah Winfrey and Kraft Heinz, has added Frozen Skillets to its offerings. The new Frozen Skillet meals are ready in 10 minutes. “Comfort food gets a bad rap, but not anymore,” Winfrey said. “With my skillets, there’s a twist of veggies in the sauce, but they taste so good you’d never know the difference. These are inspired by my dinnertime favorites, and you’re going to love how easy they are to make.” The lineup features comfort food-inspired options with a twist of veggies, including a chicken Alfredo meal that swaps cream sauce with pureed cauliflower. Each frozen skillet, made with antibiotic-free chicken and natural sausage, is free of artificial colors, preservatives and dyes, the company said. “We are welcoming our consumers back to the comfort food they love with a unique twist of veggies and high quality ingredients,” said Christopher Urban, head of Mealtime Stories at Kraft Heinz. “We’re excited to enter the skillet category with O, That’s Good! and make dinner delicious and easy.” O, That’s Good! Frozen Skillet meals are available in Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Margherita, Southwest Style Chicken and Penne, Italian Sausage and Rigatoni, Garlic Chicken and Potatoes and Three Cheese Tortellini varieties. Each frozen skillet retails for $6.99.


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Wonderful Pistachios Turns Sweet, Spicy

CVS Health to Reassess Store-Brand Sunscreens CVS Health is stepping up its efforts to deliver store-brand products free of ingredients consumers are concerned about. The company announced that it would remove octinoxate and oxybenzone from its store-brand sunscreens below SPF 50 by the end of 2020. CVS Health said that the removal of octinoxate and oxybenzone from these products comes ahead of scheduled regulatory requirements in Hawaii and Florida focused on eliminating the ingredients in an effort to minimize impact on marine ecosystems. The national chain also said that currently, some form of octinoxate and oxybenzone are necessary in its private-label sun products over SPF 50 to be effective. Those products will be available outside of Hawaii and Florida, but removed from shelves in those markets to comply with regulations. “As a leading health and beauty destination, CVS Pharmacy is highly attuned to our customers’ evolving needs and their desire for products that are more sustainable, while still being efficacious,” said George Coleman, CVS Health senior vice president of front-store business and chief merchant. “We are committed to continuing to monitor the ingredients in the products we carry and to ensure our consumers have access to a wide range of free-from products that deliver quality and value, while also meeting their lifestyle preferences.” The efforts to remove these chemicals from sunscreen under SPF 50 by 2020 coincide with the company’s work to remove parabens, phthalates and other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from its store-brand beauty and personal care products, which CVS Health said is on track to be completed by the end of the year.


Wonderful Pistachios is bringing sweet and spicy flavors to stores with its new No Shells line. The Los Angeles-based company has rolled out Chili Roasted and Honey Roasted flavors. “Snacking in 2019 is all about flavor; it’s a key factor considered when we select any type of snack, and we also know that people eat more nuts when they’re flavored,” said Adam Cooper, senior vice president of Wonderful Pistachios. “Our new flavors of Wonderful Pistachios No Shells will appeal to two distinct flavor fan groups, and they’ll both find that delicious snacks can also be good for you.” No Shells Chili Roasted contains red pepper, garlic and vinegar flavors, while No Shells Honey Roasted features honey, sugar and a pinch of salt, the company said. “As we continue to share the benefits of eating mindfully, Wonderful Pistachios is also a well-positioned alternative for the increased number of fans looking for nonmeat sources of protein,” Cooper said. “Plant-based protein sources like Wonderful Pistachios provide the added bonus of fiber, which meat doesn’t offer.” Each of the brand’s new launches debuted with distribution in 55,000 stores nationwide in 5.5-oz. bags that retail for $6.99 and 2.25oz. bags that retail for $3.29.


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Harmony Proteins Offers a Dose of Collagen Officials at Los Angeles-based Harmony Proteins are making it easier to get a daily dose of collagen. The company is introducing Beauty Collagen Water, a collagen drink mix with 5,000 mg of collagen per serving that comes in crisp apple, blackberry and watermelon flavors. The product was unveiled at the Cosmoprof North America trade show in Las Vegas late last month. Packaged in a container with six individual serving packets, consumers can add the contents to 16 ounces of water, then shake and drink. The powder also can be mixed into smoothies, sparkling water and food, the company said. “We know our target consumers care about what they put in their bodies. That’s why our collagen peptides are naturally sourced, pasture raised and grass fed,” John Bae, the company’s founder and president, said. “Beauty Collagen Water has no sweeteners, no colors and no chemicals added.” Company officials also said that Beauty Collagen Water supports strong hair, nails and skin; increases fullness and the metabolic process; and helps maintain healthy bones, joints and energy level boosts. “There are other collagen ready-to-drink products and collagen powders on the market today,” Bae said. “We aimed to leverage our significant experience in manufacturing delicious drink mixes to give consumers tastier and more convenient options. Consumers can easily open a packet and enjoy a collagen drink at home, at work or at the gym.”


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Cinnamon Toast Crunch Revamps its Look

Starbucks Creamers Channel Flavors of its Popular Beverages

General Mills is giving Cinnamon Toast Crunch a makeover. The Minneapolisbased company is celebrating the brand’s new look, which includes 16 “Cinnamojis” inspired by younger consumers and is set to roll out in the fall. Part of the new packaging will include bold and colorful bursts of purple, red, green and blue, as well as the 16 Cinnamoji character faces on the back of different boxes. To support the redesigned packaging launch, General Mills created the Cinnaverse Experience stopping in Houston, Chicago and Santa Monica, Calif., with rooms focused on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch taste. “Cinnamon Toast Crunch is focused on bringing cereal lovers exciting and new ways to enjoy their favorite cereal,” said Susan Pitt, director of marketing communications at General Mills cereals. “The Cinnaverse Experience, paired with Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s new look, is all about bringing our fans a fresh, new way to fuel more fun, more color and, most importantly, more crunch.” The cereal’s new packaging will appear in stores nationwide in September.

Starbucks is working with Nestlé to bring the flavors of its cafés to retail stores. The two companies have introduced the Starbucks Creamers line. The creamers are available in three flavors — caramel, white chocolate and cinnamon dolce — that were inspired by the chain’s caramel macchiato, white chocolate mocha and cinnamon dolce latte beverages, the companies said. “Nestlé has been a leader in the creamer category since launching Coffee mate in 1961, and we continue to innovate and help drive category growth,” said Daniel Jhung, president of beverage at Nestlé USA. “In our work with Starbucks through our global coffee alliance, we saw the opportunity to introduce Starbucks Creamers as a new way for consumers to enjoy the Starbucks café flavors they know and love from the comforts of their home.” The creamers launched at the beginning of August into the refrigerated sections of grocery retailers, as well as online. “We know that Starbucks customers are passionate about their coffee, and with Starbucks Creamers we are delighted to give them another way to enjoy their favorite Starbucks experience and flavors at home and outside of our cafés,” said Duncan Moir, president of global channel development at Starbucks.



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PlusOne Adds Personal Lubricant, Toy Cleaning Wipes Clio’s sexual wellness brand, plusOne, is adding two new products that augment its line of personal massagers. The Newton, Mass.-based company is introducing plusOne personal lubricant, as well as plusOne toy cleaning wipes. The personal lubricant is water based, body safe and nonstaining, as well as compatible with all sex toys. PlusOne said the lubricant would retail for $8.98. The toy cleaning wipes, which will retail for $5.98, are made from all-natural ingredients and can be used on toys and the body, the company said. Each box contains 12 individually wrapped wipes. “We know that sex and pleasure are about more than just arousal and orgasm,” Stephanie Trachtenberg, plusOne’s marketing director, said. “We’re thrilled to offer our customers more products that make sex easier, whether that means increasing enjoyment with our personal lubricant, or making clean up a breeze with our toy cleaning wipes.”



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All systems are go for GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s Selfcare Summit, according to organizers of the event, slated for Oct. 3 to 7 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis. The conference, billed as an event that will cover “The Health, Beauty & Wellness Revolution at Retail,” is expected to attract hundreds of retailers, suppliers and industry officials, Mark Mechelse, vice president of insights and communications at the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based association, said. “We believe that this is an excellent opportunity for retailers to learn about self-care and how it can help them disrupt the e-commerce movement by making traditional retail more relevant,” he said. “Retailers will be able to learn how to be more proactive with self-care, as well as how they can manage their self-care model.” GMDC has said that self-care is the next retail transformation, and that rising healthcare costs are motivating consumers to focus on proactive and healthy lifestyle choices, driving new consumer habits and buying patterns through health-and-wellness solutions within retail. The self-care movement involves consumers seeking out local, natural and personalized products and solutions that not only help them to look good and feel better, but also to prevent disease, treat chronic conditions and improve their quality of life. Mechelse also said that GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is launching the Selfcare Summit to help retail industry executives satisfy consumers’ health, beauty and wellness needs; spark innovation; and remain relevant in a changing marketplace. Retailers will learn how to strategically position health, beauty and wellness products and enhance the shopping experience, he said. The Selfcare Summit will coincide with GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s 50th anniversary and elevate the organization’s focus from connecting suppliers and retailers to fostering uncommon partnerships between retailers, suppliers, technology innovators, market disruptors, healthcare leaders, clinicians and nutrition experts, among others, for the sake of the consumer. Besides the association’s well known face-to-face prescheduled meetings, networking events, product discovery programs, learning tracks and insights, it will host as many as 50 learning sessions where attendees can hear from the likes of Google’s Ryan Olohan, Kantar Consulting’s Bryan Gildenberg, Hamacher Resource Group’s Dave Wendland and Morning News Beat’s Kevin Coupe. The summit will have four learning tracks: Selfcare Consumer and The Retail Selfcare Roadmap; Retail Tomorrow: Delivering on Selfcare; The Rise of the Healthcare Consumer: Health Further; and The Role of Natural and CBD. “We truly believe that this is a great opportunity for the industry to learn about self-care from many different sources,” Mechelse said. “We expect very strong retailer attendance.”


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Country Archer Jerky Gets Sweet, Savory

Jool Baby Products, Fit N Seal Win ECRM Baby and Infant Category Honors Jool Baby Products won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Baby Folding Travel Potty during ECRM’s Baby & Infant Program held in Chicago in July. Fit N Seal was the finalist for its Fit N Seal Toddler universal beverage seal product. The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during the program’s meetings. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation and product packaging. “Both winners are examples of suppliers with products aimed at making parents’ lives easier,” said Jeff Smalley, senior vice president of general merchandise at ECRM. “Jool helps parents effectively continue potty training while on the go, and Fit N Seal’s products turn any bottle into a spill-proof sippy cup that also helps cut down on plastic use.


Congratulations to both winners.” Jool Baby Products is a digitally native baby brand founded in 2015 with a mission to create innovative, high quality products that solve everyday problems that moms face daily. The company offers a wide selection of potties, child safety solutions and baby essentials. Each product has a special focus on aesthetics and safety, targeting the growing demographic of millennial parents. Fit N Seal makes BPA-free universally fitting seals that transform any one-time use plastic bottles into reusable, consumer friendly containers. Its line of products was created by Joe Haldiman, a single father of three young boys who needed a solution to daily beverage spills and a pantry full of mismatched cups, lids and straws — without increasing plastic consumption. Fit N Seal is a product that will fit any bottle on the market, according to the company.

Country Archer Jerky is adding to its growing collection of jerky and meat stick products. The San Bernardino, Calif.-based company is adding Chorizo Beef & Pork, Maple Pork, Pineapple Pork and Hatch Chile Turkey meat sticks to its lineup. “We’re excited to further a clean snack revolution with our meat sticks, and now our customers have even more options when looking for a nutritious, high-protein snack,” said Eugene Kang, co-founder and CEO of Country Archer. “Whether you’re looking to fulfill specific nutritional macros, or simply need some post-workout or trail fuel, our new meat sticks are a versatile, convenient and wholesome food that can easily fit into a busy routine. Unlike other meat snacks that use unappetizing ingredients like mechanically separated chicken, our sticks are snacks that customers can feel good about eating.” Similar to the other brand’s products, the new meat stick varieties are crafted with gourmet cuts of extra-lean, USDA-inspected and 100% grass-fed beef, turkey and pork. The products also are free of nitrites, MSG, gluten, antibiotics, added hormones and sugar, the company said. Country Archer meat snacks retail at Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, 7-Eleven, Safeway, Smart & Final, Love’s Travel Centers, Speedway, WaWa and TravelCenters of America.


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MARCH 15-17, 2020





8/7/19 1:29 PM


GSK, Pfizer Close Joint Venture GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer got their deal done. The two mega healthcare companies announced that they have closed their joint venture to combine their respective consumer healthcare businesses and form the world’s largest over-the-counter business. This new venture will operate as the new GSK Consumer Healthcare. “It’s an honor to lead GSK’s efforts in this newly combined company and team,” said Lisa Paley, who was named general manager of the U.S. and Puerto Rico region at GSK Consumer Healthcare. “We will draw on our decades of experience to really push the boundaries of delivering high quality products that our customers and consumers have come to expect. The momentum we have in our business is undeniable, and I look forward to helping build the foundation for continuous growth of what is going to be one of the greatest global companies in our industry.” The deal will create an over-the-counter powerhouse, bringing together such brands as Sensodyne, Flonase, Tums, Advil, Centrum and Caltrate. GSK officials said the combined brand portfolio forms the world’s largest over-thecounter business with category leadership positions in pain relief, respiratory, vitamins, minerals and supplements, and therapeutic oral health. In addition, operating together, the two businesses will hold the No. 1 OTC position in the United States and the No. 2 OTC position in China — the two biggest OTC markets in the world. GSK’s newly appointed U.S. chief customer officer, Dennis Curran, said, “Combining our strong businesses as one creates a world class trusted and valued company. By bringing these two companies together, it strengthens our reach and sets us up for unparalleled success that will allow us to enhance the customer and consumer experience. I am excited to work alongside this talented and experienced team to further advance our vision as we continue to evolve.” By establishing the new joint venture company, the two leading consumer healthcare companies aim to leverage the combined strengths to provide even greater value to both customers and consumers through a relentless focus on building an operating environment that fosters competitiveness, innovation and growth. “As we come together and continue to grow, I look forward to bringing new energy to consumer and customer obsession, whilst further elevating our digital, data and analytics capabilities,” said Amardeep Kahlon, named as GSK’s U.S. chief marketing officer. “With ventures like this one, I am extremely confident we will move even faster, innovate like never before and pull away from the competition.” As previously announced, under the terms of the transaction, Pfizer owns a 32% equity stake in the joint venture and GSK owns 68%.


Avadim’s New Item Fights UTIs

GSK Consumer Healthcare’s U.S. leadership Top to bottom: Lisa Paley, general manager of U.S. and Puerto Rico region; Dennis Curran U.S. chief customer officer; and Amardeep Kahlon, U.S. chief marketing officer.

Avadim Health is launching the U-Pak, a product company officials said is the first hospital-adopted technology proven to prevent urinary tract infections, the No. 1 source of infections in the country. According to company officials, UTIs account for 25% of all infections in the country and occur much more often in women than men by an 8-to-1 ratio. The U-PAK, which starts shipping this month, is the first hospital-to-OTC switch for those who suffer with recurrent urinary tract infections. The U-PAK contains the clinically proven Theraworx Protect, which was used in more than 4 million patients in 2018 and is expected to be used in more than 6 million patients in 2019. “Academic teaching institutions and hospitals, including Stanford, Duke, Cleveland Clinic, University of Miami, University of Maryland and many others have added Theraworx Protect to their multifactorial bundles to prevent catheter associated urinary tract infections and central line associated blood stream infections,” said Ralph Lombardo, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “There are times when traditional hygiene regimens and being clean is not enough. We are making this ICU-adopted hygiene solution available at retail.” “Our goal is to join our retail partners and make a difference in the lives of millions of women who suffer on a recurrent basis. This infection is responsible for 13% of all nosocomial deaths and 19% of all blood stream infections.”


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8/6/19 4:53 PM

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8/6/19 9:01 PM


SheaMoisture’s Purple Rice Water Line Leaves Skin, Hair Refreshed SheaMoisture is targeting hair, body and skin care with its new Purple Rice Water line. Purple Rice Water, which has been used in China and Japan for centuries, is known for its ability to survive in harsh environments due to its high concentration of anthocyanin, an antioxidant that can help skin recover from and protect against environmental damage, the company said. SheaMoisture’s Purple Rice Water hair products, which include wild orchid and sweet violet extracts, are meant to reduce friction, strengthen and fortify brittle hair, increase elasticity, and close the cuticle for soft and shiny hair. The Purple Rice Water skin products purify, brighten and calm skin, as well as improve radiance, the company said. “When diving deeper into the benefits of Purple Rice Water, we knew that a full-range collection, inclusive of hair, skin and body offerings, would be the most impactful,” said Kimberly Paige, chief operating and brand officer at Sundial Brands, which manufactures SheaMoisture. “Understanding that hair can become dull and lackluster because of harsh chemical treatments, we wanted to create products that lock in color to prevent premature fading, while also supporting hair health. The high content of hydrating vitamins B and E, and amino acids found in Purple Rice Water, are powerful yet gentle, making this collection ideal for those with dry hair weakened by color treatments.” Featured products in the Purple Rice Water collection include Strength + Color Care conditioner, masque, oil serum and shampoo. The skin line contains Velvet Skin cleansing face polish, facial mask and gel cream, while the body collection features Velvet Skin bar soap, body lotion, body scrub and body wash. “Purple Rice Water is beneficial for those with dry skin and uneven skin tone,” Paige said. “The wild orchid and papaya extracts work synergistically to exfoliate and dissolve dead skin cells due to naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids, resulting in a clearer complexion.” The collection, which is cruelty-free, is made without the use of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil and propylene glycol, and can be found at Ulta Beauty stores.

Camber Launches Generic Tessalon Camber Pharmaceuticals is offering benzonatate capsules, the generic of Pfizer’s Tessalon. The product is used to treat coughs caused by the common cold and other breathing problems. Benzonatate capsules are available in 100-mg and 200-mg dosage strengths.


Nissin Foods Adds Stir Fry to Cup Noodles Family Nissin Foods continues to innovate the way consumers enjoy its Cup Noodles products. With its latest launch, the Gardena, Calif.based company is moving beyond its flagship offerings by introducing a soup-less option — Cup Noodles Stir Fry. Inspired by the continued rising popularity of Asian dishes from around the world, the product comes in a microwaveable cup that’s ready in four minutes and allows consumers to enjoy a cup of stir fry while on the go, the company said. “At Nissin Foods, we value consumer feedback and are always looking to deliver new and exciting taste experiences to our growing fan base. After learning from consumers that they loved the idea of bringing Cup Noodles and stir fry flavors together, we knew we had to deliver,” said Jackie Park, Nissin Foods’ vice president of marketing. “With the introduction of Cup Noodles Stir Fry, fans have yet another delicious reason to keep coming back to the Cup Noodles brand.” Available in Korean bbq, teriyaki beef and sweet chili flavors, Cup Noodles Stir Fry is free of added MSG, and includes vegetables for added flavor and texture in each package, the company said. Cup Noodles Stir Fry debuts at Walmart in September and other retailers in December.


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7/31/19 9:10 AM


Julie Barber, Walmart vice president and divisional merchandise manager for OTC

Starting a Debate An Elevation Forum brought together key industry officials in Walmart’s hometown By Seth Mendelson


etting elite business executives to engage in a spirited debate on the characteristics and philosophies of their overall operations is the key for any panel or discussion. This year’s most recent Elevation Forum, held in late June at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Bentonville, Ark., was a prime example of getting these officials together in one room and talking about the future of retail and what they can do to influence it. “The first 90% of learning your craft is really the easy part. The next five is harder, and the last five is what separates everybody else,” said Dan Mack, founder of Chicagobased Mack Elevation and the coordinator of the forum. “That is part of the reason why only 1-in-20 companies are elite performers.” Mack told the more than 50 attendees



at the event, held close to Walmart’s corporate headquarters, that the key to top performers lies not in the content of discussions, but in the style in which they communicated. Research, he said, shows that a team’s patterns of communication are the most important predictor of success. “Communication styles are as significant as intelligence, personality, skill, and the quality of discussions — combined,” Mack said. “High performing teams practice healthy conversations both inside and outside formal meetings. They are not afraid of difficult decisions, possess poise under pressure, and demonstrate consistency and adaptability in their leadership practice. The highest performing teams are rare and normally take five years or more of deliberate daily practice to attain this prestigious status.”

The forum’s keynote speaker, Julie Barber, Walmart’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager for OTC, shared her business philosophy and how her parents and other Walmart mentors have shaped her values and leadership approach. Barber said she hopes to balance the art of candid communication and relationship building with her business partners in her new role. She also said that her business plan will emphasize winning on price, operational leadership, and unpacking business efficiencies to drive profitability and price impact. She also will continue Walmart’s journey of elevating their omnichannel platform. Her team will continue to look for items that truly fill unmet needs, attract new consumers and are unique. Mack started the afternoon session by asking attendees: How do companies improve the impact of their strategic partnerships? “We find that 8-of-10 partnerships break up due to a lack of alignment between the partners,” Mack said. “A team’s ability to learn, and translate learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate advantage. We need to invest in the right partnerships — ones rooted in shared values, not just a financial agreement.” He said that the group agreed that the best strategic partners offer honest critiques and hold their colleagues accountable to a higher standard. On a macro level, the role and nature of partnerships have changed. “In today’s partnerships, both parties are mutually invested in the vision,” he said. “It’s a mutual exchange of value benefitting both parties. To remain relevant, companies must think about bringing on courageous partners to challenge their thinking and confront their blind spots. The group believes there’s a direct relationship between the depth and quality of one’s partnerships and growth.” Mack said that retail industry officials should contact him regarding future forum thought leadership events. “I believe this is a great opportunity to get retailers and industry executives together and talking in the same room,” he said. “Who knows what can come out of an event, where people engage each other face-to-face and question the status of their industry. For more information, I suggest potential attendees visit my website at MackElevationForum.com.” dsn

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7/23/19 12:50 PM


Being Our Own Advocates Pharmacists are front-and-center in addressing our social determinants of health By Sandra Leal

S Sandra Leal, CEO, SinfoníaRx, and 2020-2021 president-elect, the American Pharmacists Association

o much happened in the past seven months in the pharmacy space. What should we do about it? What do I do now? Who is going to help me? Who is going to help my patients? Anxiety is a word that comes to mind when trying to address the growing problems pharmacists and patients are experiencing as they go about their days. Conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. These conditions are known as social determinants of health. Working conditions have become hard and affordability of life is getting harder. When thinking about social determinants, imagine what your patients are going through if you are struggling to get along these days. Will I have a job, can I afford my student loans, can I afford child care, can I afford the cost of the basic family health plan coverage?

We, as pharmacists, need to force approaches that integrate and consolidate our purpose and our message, and provide a clear path for adapting to the changing healthcare environment. Healthy People 2020 developed a “place-based” organizing framework, reflecting five key areas of social determinants of health. These five areas include economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environments. Each of these areas drills down further, but some that immediately jump out based on our recent headlines include employment, civic participation, social cohesion, access to health care, crime and violence. Much of what some patients are experiencing every day is the same as what some pharmacists are starting to experience every day, if they already have not.


My assessment in reading numerous articles lately about our profession is that there is a substantial amount of work that pharmacists need to do to address our own social determinants of health. The implications? Significant. A wait-and-see strategy is not an option. The plan: personal engagement, collaboration and leadership. Of the five areas identified by Healthy People 2020, two especially are important today: civic participation and social cohesion. Civic participation is a key issue in the social and community context domain. It encompasses a wide range of formal and informal activities. Examples include voting, volunteering and participating in group activities. Social cohesion is defined as the willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper. Without civic participation and social cohesion, we miss a key opportunity in addressing our own social determinants of health. Competition is fierce. We, as pharmacists, need to force approaches that integrate and consolidate our purpose and our message, and provide a clear path for adapting to the changing healthcare environment. We need to lead and not follow. The short- and long-term question is how? There are big issues to watch that immediately stand out: pharmacy closures, increasing healthcare provider burnout, less and less revenue for dispensing, and more demands on outcomes without the same incentives as other providers. Planning for different scenarios and strategy are more important today than ever before. Being reactive to situations and not having a plan B can be catastrophic. Personal strategic planning is critical and has to be an ongoing exercise because change is happening fast. We cannot afford to do this in isolation. Look to partner, look to cooperate and look to build strong alliances so that you rise. Just remember, you can have anything you want, but you just can’t have everything you want. At least not all at the same time. Just remember, you went to school to help patients. Today, that happens to be you. dsn


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7/29/19 8:26 AM


A Competitive Edge Consumer-generated content is critical to competing against Amazon By Cheryl Sullivan

T Cheryl Sullivan, chief marketing officer, PowerReviews

he ever-increasing competition from Amazon looms large over most drug and pharmacy retailers. Amazon’s private-label strategy and the decision last year to launch an exclusive line of over-the-counter health products threaten to steal sales from drug and pharmacy retailers both online and in store. It’s no surprise Amazon chose to move into the private-label OTC space. According to the Private Label Manufacturer’s Association, 1-in-4 products sold in the United States is a private-label brand, and private-label sales have reached 4.4% of total sales. Given the competition, how can your company ensure that it keeps and grows its share of the private-label marketplace? With the proliferation of shopping options, a vast number of products and the expansion of e-commerce, consumers can be overwhelmed when it comes to making decisions about prescription and OTC medications. Increasingly, consumers have become strong self-advocates for their health. This trend, coupled with the growing loss of trust by consumers in retailers and brands, has made consumers increasingly reliant on their social communities and customer reviews for critical insight when making OTC decisions. Consumer-generated content has never been more important and valuable.

Take a Tool from the Amazon Toolbox

One of the most powerful tools Amazon has is the ability to provide ratings and reviews to their shoppers, including for OTC products. PowerReviews conducted a 2019 health and beauty consumer study across 2,000 consumers and found 22% of shoppers said consumer reviews motivated them to choose Amazon over another retailer, while 15% preferred Amazon due to the consumer videos and images. Nearly half of shoppers said they start their search on Amazon, and 40% said they read reviews before any online health and beauty purchase. Brick-and-mortar retailers can’t dismiss the importance of reviews and ratings in Amazon’s looming threat to them. According to this study, 78% of consumers said they read ratings and reviews while


shopping in store. Reviews can be a game-changer for retailers, especially when it comes to new product launches or private-label products.

Build a Powerful End-to-End Content Program

If you’re just starting your consumer-generated content program or wanting to ramp it up on specific products, rapidly building reviews can be challenging. Taking advantage of an advanced user-generated content platform enables retailers to quickly build up their authentic reviews and other content. Sharing content effectively demands a comprehensive, integrated platform — one that incorporates a robust syndication network and surpasses legacy platforms’ basic ratings and reviews capabilities. The platform must provide: • Authentic reviews that are free of fraud or inappropriate language, such as profanity; • Reviews that are moderated using technology and advanced algorithms, coupled with people reviewing the content thoroughly; • FDA guideline compliance for prescriptions and OTC products; and • Licensed pharmacists as part of a human moderation team capable of reporting consumer reactions and trends, and escalating medication issues. Your consumer-generated content program should extend far beyond reviews and ratings, and enable you to enhance the customer experience by interacting with your customers, answering questions, and even remedying poor reviews before they post. These actions can improve your review performance by 120%, sales conversion rates by 114%, and result in customers purchasing four times more products, according to studies conducted across PowerReviews customers. For drug store retailers to remain relevant in today’s competitive landscape, they need to step up their game and provide their customers with a broad range of authentic, consumer-generated content while tapping into social and key influencer communities. When done right, this content can raise conversion rates, drive increased loyalty and positively impact financial performance. dsn


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7/24/19 9:11 PM


Working for Real DIR Reform Community pharmacy needs full visibility on DIR fees By Crystal Lennartz

A Crystal Lennartz, vice president of pharmacy performance, Health Mart Atlas

sk independent pharmacists to name their biggest struggle today, and without skipping a beat, they’ll say direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fees. Pharmacies increasingly are being reimbursed differently by pharmacy benefit managers based on either their individual pharmacy or pharmacy services administration organizations’ performance. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that DIR fees have increased by more than 45,000% since 2010. “Pharmacies often discuss the impact of DIR fees in terms of financial uncertainty for the business, but they also present significant financial burdens for our patients,” Hugh Chancy, pharmacist and owner of Chancy Drugs in Georgia, said. “While the PBMs claim DIR fees are designed to reduce drug costs, there is no reduction in patient out-of-pocket costs, which can often push patients into the Medicare Part D donut hole more quickly, resulting in dramatically increased drug costs.” All pharmacies are impacted by DIR fees, and unpredictable DIR fees impact pharmacy cash flow and increase patient cost. If we, as an industry, eliminate DIR fees, patients — some of the sickest of the sick — could save $7-to-$9 billion in healthcare costs over 10 years, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Pushing for Real DIR Reform

McKesson is working with such industry organizations as NCPA and NACDS that are focusing efforts on DIR reform and significant public policy advances. At the national level, we continue to advocate for transparency and expanding non-DIR performance-based bonus and activity fee opportunities. As we work for real DIR fee reform, it is critical to remember two key points: First, patients and pharmacies need full price transparency at the point of sale. The ability to estimate revenue and economics for a small or even large business is crucial to the success of continuing to provide quality health care to patients. At the same time, we want to continue to see opportunity for positive incentive programs


with transparent measures that pharmacies have the ability to impact. Secondly, we anticipate that DIR fees will be around at least until 2021. As a result, it is vital that we all make our voices heard with state and federal representatives, particularly now as Congress considers a drug pricing reform package. To this end, more than 50 McKesson employees recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with senators and representatives from 31 states to educate them on legislation and solutions.

Taking Action on DIR Fees

In the meantime, McKesson wants to help pharmacies manage DIR fees with a series of tools and resources. DIR fees are collected at varying times throughout the year, so anticipating and planning for them is critically important for pharmacy operators. Monitoring and maximizing pharmacy performance can be challenging. With more than 7,000 Health Mart Atlas members, we are acutely aware of this challenge. To address it, we recently launched the My Performance Dollars module. This includes real-time alerts about a pharmacy’s performance based on such clinical metrics as adherence and such operational metrics as formulary compliance, which can influence performance metrics by payer. Providing the pharmacies actual and estimated DIR information, the module can help pharmacies identify opportunities to reduce DIR payments through improved performance. An estimator tool helps stores identify all the performance opportunities they have available to them, e.g., whether there are medication therapy management activity fees available or PBMs that offer the variable DIR rates. Ultimately, healthcare providers and pharmacists need transparency to make the best prescription decision for their patients. We encourage all pharmacies to engage their legislators today to support a “no surprises” approach for patients, so they will know immediately if they could afford to fill the prescription. Not only will this dramatically improve adherence, it will improve the overall health of community pharmacy. dsn


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Being in the Know Five best practices for retailers looking to partner with CBD companies By Nancy Duitch

A Nancy Duitch, CEO and founder, Sera Labs

t Sera Labs, a premium CBD company selling very successfully online and which will start shipping to retail shortly, we understand the CBD category is confusing due to a lack of education and a lot of fragmented chatter. Yet, hopefully, companies like Sera Labs — and other leaders in the industry that have been self-regulating — will earn the trust of consumers. CBD oil is natural and can be used every day. It also comes in a variety of such easy-to-use forms as tinctures, capsules or topical creams. And why include CBD in skin care? The results speak for themselves as we have seen quite a significant difference in the look of our customers’ skin when using the right amount with the other clinically studied ingredients in the product. Everyone also needs to understand that as long as your product comes from a trusted source like Sera Labs, there is no THC in CBD so you won’t get “high.”

The big players in the industry, including ourselves, have done a good job on self-regulation, and it’s important for buyers to know who they are. In order to help you cut you through the clutter, I’ll focus on the top five things retailers and consumers should be aware of when deciding on their CBD product mix or selection. 1. Retailers should look for companies that practice self-regulation and are transparent. The big players in the industry, including ourselves, have done a good job on self-regulation, and it’s important for buyers to know who they are. Both retailers and consumers should research the brands and make sure the companies they are considering use rigorous internal quality assurance/quality control processes and third party testing for all products. Be sure their websites are up to date with accurate certificates of analysis, or


COAs. Look for both the raw form COA and the finished product COA to ensure you are getting the highest quality and most premium CBD. The certificates of analysis should be clearly displayed and state that the product contains less than the 0.3% THC allowable by law. Lastly, every box should have a QR code so consumers will be able to view the certificates, as well any other active ingredients in the products. It also is important to know where the hemp is sourced. Do your research to make sure that the region is not known for questionable agricultural practices, or heavy metals and toxins in the soil. 2. Merchants should look for companies that understand the retail business. It is very clear to buyers which CBD brands know the business, and which do not. Many CBD brands, unfortunately, will not make it into retail because they don’t understand the importance of QR codes, or the rigorous testing necessary to have product that is fully compliant across multiple retail markets. 3. Education is the most important thing a company can do. Most consumers will ask the pharmacist, and collateral is important to educate the consumer. To help, we created a trifold and an e-book about CBD we believe retailers should give to customers. We take it a step further with a Wellness and Education Ambassador program that goes to communities and focuses on retail locations by educating store personnel in order to increase awareness and demystify CBD. 4. Retailers and consumers need to check the ingredients. It is important to be sure the product is not 100% hempseed oil; be sure there is hemp extract or cannabidiol in the product. If it is only hempseed oil, you might as well be drinking olive oil. Also make sure there are no herbicides, pesticides or metals in the product listed on the certificates of analysis. Look for brands that only use natural ingredients and never test on animals. 5. Everyone needs to read the customer reviews. Repeat customers are a good sign of brand longevity. When your product and experience exceed expectation, you have a customer for life. dsn


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7/29/19 10:37 PM


Three Ways to Streamline Shopper Marketing Some fresh mobile strategies to drive online and in-store sales By Carlos Garcia

T Carlos Garcia, industry manager of CPG-retail, Facebook


ime lost hunting for coupons, checkout delays, out-of-stock items — these are points of friction shoppers face every day online and in store. These barriers do not just frustrate shoppers; they also lead to abandoned carts. This year, the opportunity cost of friction for U.S. businesses will be a whopping $213 billion, according to statistics from the Baymard Institute and eMarketer. This means that the future belongs to brands and retailers that partner to make the shopping experience faster, easier and more personal. Here are my top three recommendations for streamlining the journey as you execute your shopper marketing and co-op programs. 1. Drive discovery with relevant content on mobile. This past June, eMarketer reported that the average person spends three hours and 43 minutes per day on mobile — more time than they spend watching TV. A separate study by Accenture indicated that 91% of consumers said they more likely are to shop with brands that recognize, remember and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations. To meet consumers where they spend their time and deliver the customized content they expect, CPG companies and retailers can partner to leverage online product catalogs and machine learning algorithms to automatically show relevant products to interested people on mobile. Then, they can drive them to an online storefront, or send them to brick-and-mortar stores. Additionally, you can use geotargeting to promote special events, promotions or exclusive product distribution at key retail locations. For instance, this fall you might let Midwestern football fans know about a special promotion on chips and salsa or beer at a specific grocery location. 2. Shorten the path to purchase. Imagine this: You see an ad for sulfate-free shampoo, and you click to learn more about the ingredients. But wait, you land on a page filled with dozens of hair care products of all kinds. And after you finally find the shampoo again, you spend several

minutes filling out your billing and shipping information only to get an error message when you click “buy.” On average, it takes consumers 22 clicks to complete online checkouts, according to a 2018 study by Pymnts.com. It sounds simple, but you will stand out by sharing ads with a clear call to action, sending consumers to the specific product page they expect to see and making checkout easy with prefilled forms. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and regularly test out your purchase process to identify opportunities to streamline it. You also can use your site analytics to understand where and why people are getting stuck and abandoning the purchase process. And don’t forget to consider how technology might help you optimize the in-store shopping experience. You might help consumers on mobile find the nearest store location carrying your products by making suggestions based on location data. And when they get to the store, you might supply them with deals via a mobile app. 3. Build loyalty and increase repeat purchases. After people purchase a product, stay in touch by retargeting them based on your product’s lifecycle, and share seasonal offers, product recommendations and promotions. Furthermore, simply being available to answer questions can go a long way in creating loyalty. Most consumers (87%) said they expect brands to respond within 24 hours, according to an SAP survey. So, when a customer gets in touch with questions about ingredients, recipes or product availability, answer quickly. One way to do this is via messaging: 64% of people would choose messaging a business over picking up the phone or sending an email, according to a Facebook IQ survey of people across 15 markets. It’s no wonder that as of April, Facebook data shows that 20 billion messages are sent every month between shoppers and businesses on Messenger — a tenfold increase since 2016. dsn


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Won in Translation Offering ranslation services for patients requires more than a bilingual employee By Simon Yoxon-Grant

L Simon Yoxon-Grant, vice president of marketing and commercial development, LanguageLine Solutions

anguage barriers often make it more difficult for limited-English pharmacy patients to ask important questions about their medication, when to take it as directed, and be aware of potential side effects it may cause. Pharmacies serve communities that are increasingly diverse, meaning interpretation and translation of foreign languages is becoming more important with each passing day. One in five Americans speaks a language other than English at home. Nine percent of the U.S. population — or 25 million people — are considered limited English proficient, or LEP, meaning they are entitled to assistance when seeking medical care. This includes pharmacy visits. These language hurdles are set to become even more pronounced because immigration is expected to account for nearly 90% of U.S. population growth over the next 40 years. By 2050, the United States is expected to be the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Language barriers can pose serious health risks to LEP patients. Studies have said that LEP patients much more likely are to report problems understanding a medical situation. Research also has shown that patients who speak limited English often do not have a good understanding of their medication instructions.

Complying with Regulations

The Affordable Care Act requires any pharmacy receiving such federal funds as Medicare and Medicaid to offer meaningful access to its services regardless of language. This means providing LEP patients with access to a qualified interpreter, as well as translated prescription labels and instructions. Several states also have language access requirements aimed specifically at pharmacies. For example, New York passed the SafeRx Pharmacy Translation Regulations, requiring pharmacies to “provide free, competent oral interpretation and translation of prescription medication labels, warning labels and other written material to each LEP individual filling a prescription.”


Most Bilingual Employees Are Not Interpreters

Pharmacies frequently rely on bilingual employees to provide language coverage. Pharmacies should know that being bilingual necessarily does not make someone an interpreter. In fact, most bilinguals fail to meet the federal standard for “qualified interpreter.” Professional, qualified interpreters have accomplished a level of fluency far beyond what the average bilingual individual would ever need. They not only learn to speak and understand a language with perfect fluency, but they also delve deeply into the culture behind the language. They’re trained to provide not just a basic explanation of what someone is saying, but a complete and accurate interpretation of what the individual means. Medical interpreters take this one step further. They are trained to handle highly specialized interpreting situations requiring complex vocabulary with nuanced meanings that the average bilingual individual would never need to know. If a pharmacy has qualified bilingual employees, they typically speak one or two languages, and they likely are not available during all hours of operation. Fortunately, tools exist that allow pharmacists to reach live, medically qualified interpreters on demand via phone or video. At the touch of a button, pharmacists can reach medically qualified interpreters in hundreds of languages, 24/7. Likewise, there are services that provide quick turnaround translation of written materials, such as medication instructions and prescription labels. All of this work is performed by professional linguists, which limits risk and maintains compliance with federal laws. Language and cultural barriers often feel insurmountable, particularly when pharmacists realize that bilingual employees necessarily do not satisfy the requirement to provide qualified medical interpretation. Thankfully, elegant solutions exist that allow your pharmacy to overcome these hurdles with relative ease. In the process, your pharmacy will improve the patient experience, while elevating staff productivity and remaining in compliance with federal regulations. dsn


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One-Stop Shop The UPS Store looks to help store operators and customers with its store-in-a-store concept


tore operators know well the difficulty of driving foot traffic into the store, particularly during the advent of e-commerce. Drug Store News spoke to Chris Adkins, The UPS Store’s vice president of franchise and business development, about the company’s store-within-a-store concept and how it might benefit stores that implement it. Drug Store News: Tell us about The UPS Store’s store-in-store concept. Chris Adkins: Our store-in-store model is a smaller footprint center that exists inside another retail location, such as a pharmacy, hardware store or grocery store. The model was developed for the benefit of both the store owner and the consumer. We wanted to provide store owners with the means to differentiate themselves from their competitors, while adding value to their storefronts. We also wanted to create convenience for the consumer. By having a The UPS Store within a local pharmacy, errands turn into a one-anddone task.

Chris Adkins, vice president of franchise and business development, The UPS Store


DSN: How many pharmacy locations is The UPS Store in? CA: Currently, we have The UPS Store locations in 21 pharmacies across the United States and 20 additional locations in progress. We also have nontraditional stores within hardware stores, grocery stores, hotels, military bases, convention centers and university campuses. The store-in-store model allows for all the services you would find at a traditional The UPS Store, even personal mailboxes, an optional feature for franchisees. Whether it be shipping care packages to colleges students, sending home souvenirs from vacation, mailing letters to deployed family members or just shipping your online shopping return, The UPS Store covers it all. DSN: Why did you choose pharmacies as a location for this concept? CA: Pharmacies are reliable institutions consumers turn to for their everyday items. A trip to the pharmacy usually means heading right down the street from your own home. We wanted The UPS Store to be the same way. While customers are picking up their prescription or grabbing a quick bottle of sunscreen, they can also ship that package they’ve been meaning to send. It felt like a no-brainer to meet customers where they are. DSN: What’s the benefit of adding a The UPS Store to a pharmacy location for owners? CA: The benefit to store owners is immense. By adding a The UPS Store to their pharmacy location, at a reduced cost of entry, owners have the opportunity to grow foot traffic and tap into new customers. Ben Hertz, owner of Elmora Healthcare in Elizabeth, N.J., opened the first-ever The UPS Store located in a pharmacy. For Ben’s customers, the additional services offered by The UPS Store added incentive to get them in the door and kept them coming back. Independent pharmacy owners like Ben gain leverage over big corporation

pharmacies when they are able to offer additional services provided by The UPS Store. Increased foot traffic puts smaller pharmacies back on the map and back in the game. Store owners are also provided with intensive training, support and education from The UPS Store to ensure their store-in-store location sees success along the way. DSN: How does adding a The UPS Store benefit shoppers? CA: Having a long list of errands is no one’s ideal afternoon. Being able to cross two off the list in one place is the best thing retailers can provide on-the-go consumers. The UPS Store does just that. Regular pharmacy customers can accomplish more with one trip, and new customers are exposed to a location they have yet to visit, but will remember the next time they need to pick up their essential items. DSN: Is The UPS Store currently working on any new products or services? CA: The UPS Store has been on a mission to evolve from the traditional role of packing and shipping to serving as a multiservice resource for small business owners and retail companies. Customers’ expectations are higher than ever when it comes to convenience and customer service, especially when it comes to returns. We help companies seamlessly meet customers where they are to provide a convenient and efficient experience for merchandise returns. We are also testing a new store design concept focused on becoming a one-stop shop for small business owners, highlighting our services beyond packing and shipping. The new The UPS Store design reduces barriers between employees and customers, opting for a workshop aesthetic where customers can see more of what’s going on behind the scenes and converse more with employees. New features include smart lockers, digital screens, print consultation desk and workstations open 24/7. dsn


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86% MILLENNIALS are the largest book buying demographic – 37% of all print purchases! are the largest physical media category – nearly $14 BILLION in annual sales! while competing physical media categories DECLINED! 100% 86%

90% 80%


70% 60%

Physical Book Market Share is GROWING!


50% 40%




20% 10% 10%

0% 2013


Physical Music






Physical Home Video


2018 Physical Books






Procurement • Promotion • Product Curation • Fulfillment • Merchandising

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A Chocolate Explosion A new study finds that chocolate remains as popular as ever with consumers By John Downs

I John Downs, president and CEO, the National Confectioners Association

t’s hard to find someone who doesn’t enjoy the occasional chocolate treat. Sweet and full of flavor, chocolate is the largest segment of the confectionery category and is in high demand for every type of consumer. Preferences for different types of chocolate continue to shape how our favorite treats are enjoyed. With $21 billion in annual sales, chocolate is a segment worth sinking your teeth into. And, as we seek to stay informed and on top of trends as an industry, it’s important that we understand exactly what is driving today’s chocolate consumer and how the chocolate market is expected to develop. To this end, the National Confectioners Association partnered with the Fine Chocolate Industry Association to produce a white paper to better understand the chocolate consumer. The study found that chocolate remains incredibly popular, with most Americans enjoying a chocolate treat on average two to three times per week.

As we seek to stay informed of trends as an industry, it’s important that we understand exactly what is driving today’s chocolate consumer and how the chocolate market is expected to develop. There is a wide variety of preferences among consumers. Milk chocolate remains the most popular type of chocolate, with 37% of chocolate consumers holding a preference for this sweeter and creamier variety. Dark chocolate also holds strong at a 31% preference, as it is the favorite of more premium chocolate consumers and boomers. Brand preference similarly divides chocolate consumers. Of mainstream chocolate consumers, 51% prefer manufacturer brands, and the remainder states a preference for private-label brands or a mix of both. Add-ins, cacao percentage, point of origin and other factors further segment the chocolate


consumer base, painting a colorful picture of the chocolate market as we explore this more deeply. The survey divides chocolate consumers into three main segments of chocolate type, with definitions for mainstream chocolate, premium chocolate and fine chocolate. Mainstream chocolate, enjoyed by 90% of consumers, generally refers to multiple large, multinational brands like Hershey and Mars Wrigley. About 70% of consumers treat themselves to premium chocolate, including brands like Lindt, Ghirardelli and Ferrero. Fine chocolate is made by small artisan chocolatiers, who seek out the highest quality of cacao and typically create small-batch products with unique components. Additionally, they tend to educate consumers about the product and process. With 27% of consumers responding that they enjoy fine chocolate, further education about the creation of fine chocolate may encourage more consumers to consider the higher price point worth the cost. Roughly half of younger consumers prefer chocolate that has been Fair Trade Certified and/or NonGMO Project Certified. Organic claims similarly are popular within this demographic: 48% of younger millennials highly are influenced by organic claims compared with only 28% of boomers. What’s more, half of these younger, more certification-aware chocolate consumers are willing to pay more for these certifications, signaling that this demand extends past social responsibility and into purchasing patterns. Rounding out preferences for this demographic, 25% of younger millennial chocolate consumers are interested in free-from ingredient claims, making these claims an area to watch as these young consumers begin to further impact the chocolate market. Many industry forecasts project exciting changes for the chocolate market in the near future. As an industry, the confectionery category is unparalleled in its ability to adapt to consumer demands, all while positioning chocolate as a fun, affordable, authentic and transparent treat. Chocolate lovers can always look forward to innovation as the confectionery industry adapts to their ever-changing tastes and preferences. dsn


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F O C U S O N : U LT I M E D

Ahead of the Curve A longtime syringe and pen needle stalwart is finding success with an all-in-one solution By Seth Mendelson


xecutives at UltiMed feel they have a responsibility to their retail partners, consumers and the communities they do business in. Now, they want to make them all aware of what they are doing to satisfy that burden. The Excelsior, Minn.-based company, a manufacturer of various types of syringes and pen needles for human and pet diabetes, has been offering its consumers the UltiGuard Safe Pack, an all-in-one product that combines an FDA-cleared sharps container with pen needles or syringes for safe disposal. The company estimated that there are about 13.5 million home injection users in the United States. The company’s website noted that surveys indicate that less than 5% of the more than 7.8 billon sharps devices sold in the United States annually are disposed of in some type of closed container. Of the remaining 95%, most are deposited unprotected into the household trash, putting individuals at risk for accidental needle sticks. “A high percentage of these sharps devices are used for in-home injections, and many people simply have no idea what they should do with these products once they are used,” Jim Erickson, who has served as president of the company since 2003 after a stint with GE Capital, said. “As a manufacturer of sharps, we felt that, at a minimum, it was our responsibility to the overall community, as well as the individual customer and the environment, to provide them with a container to safely dispose these items.” Erickson also said, “We realize that part of our responsibility is to help our customer deal with the side effects of giving in-home injections, where the syringe or pen needle can end up outside the traditional medical waste stream. We know that we have a quality product, and we offer the right amount of customer service and the right focus on our merchandise. In the end, it is a win-win for everyone involved.”


“A high percentage of these sharps devices are used for in-home injections, and many people simply have no idea what they should do with these products once they are used.” — Jim Erickson, president, Ultimed

Yet, he also noted that there is some action by state governments to force sharps manufacturers, and possibly retailers, to offer consumers effective disposal options. For example, the state of California, always a leader in many trends, passed a state law last year that requires manufacturers to provide disposal options for consumers at their own costs. Other states are considering their own legislation for the proper disposal of sharps used away from medical facilities. “That is changing how we operate,” Erickson said. “We are fortunate, though. We are ahead of the curve with our solution to this issue.” The UltiGuard Safe Pack is designed to allow consumers to easily access needles and dispose of them properly. Each UltiGuard Safe Pack contains 100 pen needles or syringes. Once a needle has been used, the user simply pops it in the top and rolls it safely out of the way. “It is extremely easy for the consumer to use,” he said. The product is sold as a co-branded item to such retailers as H-E-B, Health Mart and SpartanNash. The branded product is sold under the UltiCare label. So far, UltiMed is finding more success with mid-sized and independent retailers than with the major retail players, Erickson said. “While our product is available for distribution with all retailers, and most carry it, we find that the smaller retailers seem to have taken to this item more easily than the large chains,” he said. “Between 60% to 70% of growth is through the mid-sized chains. That may be because they are community-based operations and have more intimate relationships with their customers. So, they are more vested in providing their customers with a solution to this issue.” Retailers have a lot to gain by promoting the product, Erickson said. First, the safe disposal of sharps will show consumers that the merchant definitely is interested in the community’s well-being, serving as a product steward and also taking responsibility for merchandise sold through their stores. “We think


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When plan A doesn’t work out, there’s Plan B One-Step®

Plan B One-Step is committed to: Insights Our extensive research helps us understand our consumer—who she is, and what she needs to know

Education Our new campaign aims to educate and empower women—by giving them the facts and driving them to your store when they need emergency contraception

Growth Our OTC availability ensures all women have access to emergency contraception if they need it—consistently growing the category

Let’s grow the emergency contraception category together © 2019 Foundation Consumer Healthcare, LLC

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F O C U S O N : U LT I M E D that our retail partners look at this as an obligation that affects their customers,” he said. “This is an excellent opportunity for them to show their customers that they are extremely aware of an issue that can impact them, and that they want to help with a solution.” Educating the customer is vital, too. While Erickson said that UltiMed’s employees must do all they can to educate retailers and consumers, he also said that the retailers must do their part as well. “Our go-to-market strategy is to help retailers by educating their pharmacists about our products and the UltiGuard Safe Pack, since the product is sold from behind the pharmacy counter,” he said. “Then, we hope that the pharmacist educates the shoppers and makes them aware of what this product is, how it works, and how it is going to make their lives a bit easier.” It has been a long road for the UltiMed team. The company started in 1989 primarily as an importer of insulin syringes from a manufacturer

While Erickson said that UltiMed’s employees must do all they can to educate retailers and consumers, he also said that retailers must do their part as well.


in South Korea. Around 1999 and 2000, the company changed its mission strategy when it decided to bring the manufacturing to the United States, opening its own plant in De Smet, S.D. in 2001. “The funny thing is that we did this at the same time that many other companies were looking more and more to overseas facilities to manufacture their products in our category and many other categories,” Erickson said. “But we did so because we wanted to ensure the quality of our product and be more involved in the production process. We also wanted to be more involved in servicing our retailer customers, especially with our private-label assortment, and because our customers wanted a domestically-made injection device.” Around the same time, UltiMed started to work on the UltiGuard line, confident that there was a need for protection against used sharps. “So, we have been doing this for a very long time and our experience and expertise has definitely helped us become more successful in this category,” Erickson said. “The future is more of the same. We will continue to educate retailers and consumers, and be a good steward for our category. Our goal is to also continue to be a good advocate for the safe disposals of sharps, as well as to make quality products and decrease the risk of accidental sticks.” “It is all about responsibility, and we take that very seriously. We always have and we always will.” dsn


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Cannabidiol Isolate THC-Free Distillate Water Soluble Liquids

CBD Extraction Elevated Mile High Labs is setting the standards for cannabidiol (CBD) ingredient manufacturing. Our proprietary process yields some of the most scientifically advanced CBD available while supplying a considerable portion of the world’s overall market. Mile High’s industrial-scale laboratories and private labeling services are trusted by global partners who understand that compliance, consistency and quality are critical to success.

Pure CBD Ingredients for Every Application Our custom equipment and proprietary extraction processes exceed the highest standards to consistently yield pure and compliant CBD ingredients that you and your customers can depend on.

Water Soluble Liquids

(10% Broad Spectrum | 20% Isolate) A nano-emulsified liquid concentrate that is dispersible in almost any beverage or liquid food. This product is formulated for ease of use, long shelf-life stability and minimal impact on the finished product’s flavor or mouthfeel. Available as broad-spectrum with 10% CBD concentration and isolate with 20% CBD concentration.

Cannabidiol Isolate (98 – 100% CBD | 0% THC)

Mile High Labs CBD isolate is the key ingredient for some of the industry’s most recognized products. With greater than 98% potency, our CBD isolate is extracted in a highly controlled environment and processed to guarantee industry-leading purity and consistency.

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Mile High Labs THC-Free Distillate is a broad-spectrum distillate with the THC removed using a proprietary extraction process. The result is a product with 80-90% CBD potency, as well as all of the desired cannabinoids and terpenes without any psychoactive or controlled substances.

Leading the Way in CBD Manufacturing Compliance GMP Certified Facility Our Loveland facility’s entire process from hemp to isolate was thoroughly inspected and audited by a third-party certification program, earning us GMP certification in 21 CFR Part 111.

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Looking to the Future Our technical, executive and sales teams are working diligently to make Mile High Labs one of the world’s first ISO 9001 compliant cannabinoid extractors. We continue to set standards by pursuing and qualifying for the most rigorous compliance certifications available.

A Safe and Transparent Supply Chain Devoted to CBD Led by a team of supply chain industry veterans, Mile High Labs is taking CBD compliance to new heights with real-time tracking, pharmaceutical-grade packaging, tamper-evident seals and blockchain technology. With our latest innovations, we’re providing even more value to our clients, as well as increasing trust and transparency for the entire CBD industry. We aim to set standards for what regulatory officials should demand of all hemp processors. Built with blockchain technology, our Client Portal allows customers to securely and transparently trace our entire CBD supply chain—from harvest, through production, to distribution. Customers can enter their order’s information or scan the QR code on their container to instantly gain access to Certificates of Analysis, Safety Data Sheets, Harvest Information and more. Blockchain ensures no information gets lost or altered and guarantees that customers receive the genuine, high-quality Mile High Labs CBD they deserve.

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Mile High Labs offers private labeling of CBD products straight from the source to customers who depend on product consistency, production capacity and rapid turnaround. If you’re looking to launch a brand into the CBD space, Mile High Labs is your turnkey solution for success.

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ECRM_DSN-DefineGoals.pdf 1 7/23/2019 10:21:35 AM









Online platform that streamlines product discovery, sampling and sourcing

Discover Decide BUYER NEEDS


For opportunities in improving your category, contact our SVP of Retail, Wayne Bennett at (440) 528-4213 or WBennett@ECRM.MarketGate.com | ECRM.MarketGate.com

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Leading the Pack New products that stood out in July

esides a slew of heat waves, July also brought a host of new products to vie for shelf space. To help make it easier for buyers to choose what products to take a risk on, the New Product Team at Hamacher Resource Group pored over the 243 introductions in July, choosing five that stood out for their earning potential and innovativeness. Here are the Products to Watch that emerged from the 110 OTC products, 68 wellness products and 65 beauty products that launched last month.



Crest Pro-Health Gum and Sensitivity All Day Protection


Emergen-C Immune+ Elderberry Gummies


Preparation H Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Wipes

Pfizer’s Preparation H brand is launching a new hemorrhoidal wipe designed to quickly numb pain, while soothing burning and itching on contact as part of its Rapid Relief line. The product also is designed to help reduce swelling of inflamed tissue, the company said.


CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Serum


Mucinex NightShift Cold and Flu



Pfizer also is expanding its immune support offerings under its Emergen-C brand. The new gummies combine two big trends in the VMS space — elderberry, which is regarded as a superfruit when it comes to its immune support properties, and a gummy delivery method. L’Oreal’s CeraVe skin care brand is capitalizing on the hyaluronic acid trend. The acid, which is naturally found in skin, is used to form a temporary barrier that helps lock in moisture and prevent water loss. The CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Serum is meant to improve the appearance of dry lines and provide smoother and softer skin, the company said.

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Adding to its Crest Pro-Health toothpaste line, Proctor & Gamble has rolled out an option for consumers with sensitive teeth. The fluoride toothpaste was developed to create a protective layer against food and drink to offer teeth enhanced sensitivity protection. The company said the toothpaste offers all-day protection with twice-daily brushing, while also targeting plaque at the gum line.

RB’s Mucinex brand has introduced a formulation meant to make the morning experience better for consumers grappling with colds and the flu. Mucinex NightShift Cold and Flu is meant to relieve cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose and sneezing all night, while using a nighttime molecule the company said prevents grogginess the next morning. dsn

8/6/19 10:12 AM

Probiotics for the whole family /biokultUSA




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7/22/19 8/6/19 9:20 9:14 PM AM


BURSTING WITH ENERGY Product diversity is driving sports and energy drink growth

By Debby Garbato



n the mid-1990s, Red Bull’s Mini Coopers began dispensing free samples of the company’s highly caffeinated beverages on city streets and in retail parking lots. Festooned with giant replicas of the brand’s iconic cans, the cars symbolized a new generation of beverages aimed at the young, all-night party crowd. By 2000, Red Bull’s sales had surpassed $1 billion, having doubled each year since the brand’s 1997 U.S. launch. A Red Bull helicopter has since joined its Mini Coopers, carrying Red Bull’s message across city skies. And Red Bull no longer is alone, with myriad competitors touting products in a category that rapidly has grown. In 2018, U.S. energy drink category sales approached $16 billion and sports drinks sales hit $10 billion, according to Beverage Marketing Group. Yet in 2017, the picture was not as bright. Inundated with me-too products and a limited customer base, energy drinks only experienced a 2.1% increase in dollar sales and a 1.8% bump in unit sales for the year ended December 2017, according to IRI. In sports drinks, category leader Gatorade saw volume increase just 0.8%, officials at Beverage Marketing said. “At a certain point, the market reached saturation,” Brad Koszuta, senior consulting associate at McMillan Doolittle, said. “The question was, ‘How do you broaden appeal?’” To regain momentum, companies began emphasizing more diverse products. These included more flavors and beverages with fewer calories, lower carbs and ingredients like those used in protein powders and body building formulas. Often dubbed “performance energy,” the resulting beverages appealed to more diverse consumers. “The customer has evolved since the 1990s as have energy drinks, with the category broadening into healthier options,” Matt Kahn, executive vice president of marketing at Celsius Holdings, said. A year later, the industry was back on track. From 2017 to 2018, retail sales of energy drinks grew 8.4% and volume increased 8.6%, according to Beverage Marketing. Sports drink sales were up 4.9%, with volume escalating 2.8%. Retail sales of carbonated soft drinks,


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SPECIAL REPORT: ENERGY DRINKS however, increased just 2.4%, largely due to price increases. Carbonated soft drinks volume fell 3%. As newer brands and products gained prominence, traditional formulations began facing stiffer competition. “There’s massive disruption going on,” Danny Stepper, CEO and co-founder of beverage incubator LA Libations, said. “It’s a huge legacy category. Sports drinks, which were dominated by Gatorade, are being disrupted by products like BodyArmor, which is positioned as a better-for-you sports drink. In energy drinks, Monster Energy Drink and Red Bull are being disrupted by a new subcategory, performance energy, which started in vitamin shops.”

Customer Evolution

New formulations are attracting older shoppers, casual athletes and manual laborers seeking a quick pick-me-up and/or fewer calories. Some appeal to women, increasing the categories’ penetration in drug and grocery, which draw more of these demographics than the convenience stores, and which have historically dominated sports and energy drinks. Keon Chung, senior project manager of food and beverage at the New England Consulting Group, labeled the new trend “clean energy.” He said, “Products are tied to performance and accelerate metabolism. But today’s energy drink, consumers are being more hands-on, looking for more functional benefits.” At $4.7 billion, category leader Red Bull’s primary customers still are 20-somethings.


TECH-CHARGED PROMOTIONS When the energy drink category emerged in the 1990s, traditional beverage executives shook their heads, thinking these beverages would be a flash in the pan. Not only were products not part of the powerful distribution networks that ruled retail, but suppliers also shunned traditional advertising in favor of grassroots promotions, sampling, and music and sports sponsorships. Twenty-five years later, energy drink companies continue to employ these strategies. Yet they also are heavily embracing one-on-one marketing, with AI, the IoT, social media and some radically creative concepts in their arsenals. “Their media strategies are incredibly finetuned,” said Gary Stibel, president of the New England Consulting Group. “They’re among the most sophisticated media buyers, even using hot air balloons.” The advent of social media has made oneon-one marketing particularly important. “Social media didn’t really exist in the 1990s,” said Celsius Heat CEO John Fieldly. “The big difference is that now, consumers can connect even more on an emotional level.” In addition to social media, Celsius Heat uses a 10-by-30-ft. “motivational wall” at its Tough Mudder endurance event, where athletes pen thoughts about ambitions, triumphs and why they chose to participate. “We’re creating memorable ways to break away from the noise, and build a sense of community and emotional connection where they feel unstoppable,” Fieldly said. “It compliments social media.” Keon Chung, senior project manager of food and beverage at the New England Consulting Group, said energy drink companies also are

“very into” geotargeting, digital messaging and online streaming of such high energy sports as motor cross. Core customers, who include Hispanics and young males, over index in using these communication mediums. Online brand ambassadors and social influencers are important, too, helping to foster product and customer diversification. “Social influencers can be instant stars and have followings of 20,000,” said Brad Koszuta, senior consulting associate at McMillan Doolittle. The Bang Revolution is comprised of more than 92 million Instagram followers, led by paid social media influencers who travel worldwide networking with fans. Influencers include models, dancers, shufflers and celebrity fitness icons. Bang and other companies also utilize user-generated content to grow revenue. Retailers also are exploring one-on-one marketing. Walgreens is testing Cooler Screens, a marketing technology that embeds cameras, sensors and digital screens in beverage cooler doors. Marketers can use the new network of “smart” displays to target ads for specific shopper types. “You can essentially display something based on who’s in front of the cooler,” Koszuta said. “While it’s in the early stages, there’s many possibilities.” A Walgreens spokesperson said screens are in place in six locations in Chicago, New York City, California and Bellevue, Wash. She would not divulge the screens’ sales impact or future plans. Food, drug and mass retailers also are paying more attention to single serve energy drinks by placing coolers near checkouts. “Increasingly, retailers are updating and expanding cold availability at the front end and in key areas to capture immediate need,” said Laura-Lynn Freck, director of shopper insights at Red Bull. “When shoppers seek a pickme-up, they often consume an energy drink immediately. Cold availability is key.” Rob Wilson, partner and managing director at LEK Consulting, said single-serve cans are higher margin and let shoppers try products without buying a six-pack. And they are more profitable than magazines. “Single serve is where you make money. With the shift to digital, people read less hard copy. The real estate magazines occupy in prime checkout lanes can be better utilized.”


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SPECIAL REPORT: ENERGY DRINKS Yet after more than two decades on the market, the brand still attracts new fans. However, they are more interested in having energy to work late and raise kids than to party all night. They also want less sugar and fewer calories. “Life stages of generations are more impactful drivers of energy drink trends,” said LauraLynn Freck, director of shopper insights at Red Bull. “These include entering college, joining the work force, rising into energy-demanding work roles, becoming parents and more. Life stages drive consumption increases across multiple need states and occasions, driving growth and purchase frequency.” Freck believes young adults want variety, too. “They expect beverages to provide a benefit. They also crave choice. Size, sugar [or lack of sugar] and flavor are key drivers of choice, satisfying multiple occasions and needs,” she said. Energy drinks also appeal to those seeking ready-to-drink coffee alternatives, said Rob Wilson, partner and managing director at Boston-based LEK Consulting. Wilson also pointed to the emergence of


organic and protein-rich formulations, many of which are made by small companies and feature cleaner labels with fewer ingredients. “Traditionally, energy drinks have had much formulation complexity, with 30-plus ingredients,” he said.

or energy drink on Beverage Marketing’s cross-category list of top selling soft drinks. With a 3.1% volume share, after Coke and Pepsi, Gatorade is ranked No. 5, outperforming four brands of bottled water.

Brand Performance

Often, energy drinks are first introduced in convenience stores. However, several “disruptive” energy drinks were developed by sports nutrition companies, initially sold in powder form in fitness clubs and at such chains as GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe. Offering healthier, more beneficial ingredients, some of these newcomers entered mainstream retail via drug stores, which benefitted from their following among fitness and vitamin channel shoppers. C4, Bang and Celsius Heat are among these brands. Offered under Nutrabold’s Cellucor label, C4 comes in multiple flavors and has no sugar, carbs or calories. It is said to deliver the energy, mental focus and improved performance the category is known for. Distributed by Vital Pharmaceuticals and aimed at young male consumers, Bang is devoid of calories, carbs and sugars. Yet it has 300 mg of caffeine, making it one of the strongest energy drinks around. Bang also offers a caffeine-free formula. Plus, the drink contains potassium; vitamins C and B; creatyl-L-Leucine, a popular ingredient for “bulking up;” and CoQ10, which is said to play a part in metabolism and protects cells from damage. C4 comes in various flavors. Celsius Heat also contains 300 mg of caffeine, as well as B vitamins and L-citrulline — which is said to enhance blood flow — among other ingredients. Available in seven flavors, the pre-workout beverage is free of preservatives, corn syrup and aspartame. “It’s a healthy, functional energy drink with clean ingredients,” Kahn said. Celsius Heat breaks the energy drink stereotype in which products index up to the age of 44 years old. Forty-seven percent of its customers are female and shop at drug stores, making the brand a natural fit for the channel. Both CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid carry Celsius Heat chain wide. Celsius Heat also sells at ShopRite and at other grocers. “We already had momentum when we got into drug and grocery,” CEO John Fieldly said.

In 2018, BodyArmor gained momentum when Coca-Cola purchased a 15% stake in the brand at an estimated value of $2 billion, Stepper said. Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Dr Pepper Snapple also own significant shares. The hydration sports beverage naturally is sweetened with pure cane sugar and has no artificial ingredients. It is said to have less sodium and more electrolytes, vitamins and potassium than other sports drinks. In addition to Coca-Cola’s corporate muscle, BodyArmor has benefitted from being part of the beverage giant’s distribution system. “It’s now on Coke trucks and has been rocking and rolling,” Stepper said. In the 52-week period ended Dec. 2, 2018, BodyArmor more than doubled sales dollars and gained two points in market share, according to Mintel’s “Sports, Nutrition and Performance Drinks U.S. - March 2019” report. Coca-Cola also owns Vitamin Water, Smart Water and Powerade. In 2015, it acquired 16.7% of Monster Energy Drink. Despite BodyArmor’s success, PepsiCo’s Gatorade appears to be holding its own after more than a half century on store shelves. Gatorade replaces carbohydrates and electrolytes lost during exercise. In recent years, PepsiCo launched G2 and G Zero sub-brands, which are lower in carbs, sugar and calories. G2, in particular, has strong appeal among yoga participants and off-field athletes. In fact, Gatorade, including G2, is the only sports

From the Vitamin Channel


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SPECIAL REPORT: ENERGY DRINKS “There’s enormous opportunity.” While penetration is increasing, just 10% of Celsius Heat’s business is in convenience stores, Fieldly said. This goes against the norm in that 75% of the category is sold in c-stores, LEK’s Wilson said. Another possible disrupter is Coca-Cola Energy, the first beverage of its type offered under the Coke banner. Launched in Spain, Hungary and the United Kingdom, it will roll out in additional countries over the next 18 months. The product contains 80 mg of caffeine — more than three times as much as regular Coca-Cola. It also comes in a zero-calorie, zero-sugar option. Monster Energy tried to halt the introduction of Coca-Cola Energy, but early this summer, Coca-Cola won an arbitration claim against Monster Beverage, The Wall Street Journal reported on July 1. Monster Energy had accused Coca-Cola of violating a noncompete agreement the companies signed in 2015, when Coke bought a 16.7% stake in Monster Energy and agreed to distribute its energy drinks in the United States and Canada. They later expanded the agreement to include other markets. Coke also transferred ownership of its energy drinks business, including NOS and Full Throttle, to Monster Energy. The deal prevented Coke from distributing competitive energy drinks, but made an exception for beverages sold under the CocaCola brand. It is unclear whether Coca-Cola Energy will enter the U.S. market.

Energetic Reactions

The success of sports and energy drink “disrupters” is prompting traditional companies to diversify. This spring, $4 billion Monster Beverage launched Reign Total Body Fuel, a “better-for-you” fitness beverage for active lifestyles,” the company said. It contains 300 mg of caffeine and has no sugar, calories, artificial flavors or colors. Reign Total Body Fuel differs from Monster Energy in that it contains CoQ10, amino acids, electrolytes and vitamins B vitamins. The launch prompted key competitor Bang to file a trademark infringement lawsuit against Monster Energy. “Reign is really disrupting convenience and mass, while slowly seeping into drug,” Stepper said.


Drug stores already offer Monster Energy’s low carb and zero-calorie products. At Red Bull, energy drinks now come in 10 flavors, three of which are sugar-free. It also offers sugar-free versions of its original formulation. For summer, it launched Beach Breeze, a limited-edition flavor. And, it introduced an organic soda line in four flavors — ginger, cola, tonic and lemon. Energy drink companies also are targeting Hispanic shoppers with flavors they enjoy. Monster Energy offers Mango Loco, Rockstar Energy Drink features a horchata formulation patterned after a traditional Mexican beverage, and Celsius Heat has a

kiwi guava flavor. “Kiwi guava was created to proactively target the fast-growing Hispanic millennial market,” said Vanessa Walker, Celsius Heat’s executive vice president of marketing and innovation. According to Mintel, “Hispanics have deep engagement with the category.” Yet until now, companies do not appear to have targeted them with specific formulations. Whether target customers are Latinos or soccer moms, there has never been this much diversification in sports and energy drinks, Celsius Heat’s Fieldly said. “It’s really an interesting time to be in food and beverage.”dsn


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NACDS TSE SNEAK PEEK Previewing the innovations that will be on display at NACDS Total Store Expo BY CAROL RADICE


art show and part education opportunity, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo — taking place Aug. 24 to 26 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center — offers attendees the opportunity to gain new industry insights and meet with the top companies servicing drug chains today. This year’s theme — “A Step Ahead” — is apt for a show that built its reputation on bringing together multiple retail functions and encompassing all products


and categories. Whether retailers come to NACDS TSE to obtain that special niche product for their stores, collaborate with key trading partners, or learn about new merchandising and promotional programs, as NACDS officials have pointed out, the event has something for everyone. Attendees can sit in on a number of Insight Sessions led by industry experts and learn about some of today’s most important issues and topics, such as state-of-theart pharmacy operations, practice and clinical issues, distribution, and marketing.

Additionally, NACDS TSE offers attendees an opportunity to preview the latest innovations in consumer packaged goods, store/pharmacy technology and pharmaceutical products. One of the highlights of the event is Meet the Market, which is designed to introduce the latest innovative products, technology and services to retailers through a series of 10-minute appointments arranged by NACDS. Here’s a peek at what some of the key companies exhibiting at NACDS TSE will be showcasing:


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Bee Bald Cleveland-based Bee Bald is best known for its personal care products aimed at men. The company’s line includes a daily cleanser, exfoliating pre-shave scrub, premium shave cream, post-shave healing balm and daily moisturizers, with SPF 30 and without. “As our name implies, our goal in starting this company was to carve out a niche for bald men within the broader category of men’s grooming,” said Dennis Fisher, the company’s CEO. “What we’re finding is that all men — bald or not — are turning to our products to up their grooming game.” Fisher said Bee Bald sales and store distribution are continuing to grow, now selling in more brick-and-mortar stores than any competing manufacturer marketing shave and skin care products exclusively to bald men. “Our social media presence has exploded, and we’re constantly expanding on the innovative ways in which we engage with our customers and audience. Innovation is the key to growth and millennials continue to lead the way,” Fisher said.


Boiron offers a wide range of homeopathic medicines. Officials said its flagship brands Oscillococcinum and Arnicare have played significant roles in helping the company double its business in the past few years. New products, including Arnicare Bruise and Camilia teething liquid doses, also have played a role in the growth. “Increasingly, consumers are looking for better-for-you ingredients that combine efficacy with innovative features when selecting OTC drugs,” said Gary Wittenberg, vice president of national accounts. At NACDS TSE, Boiron will showcase some of its newest best sellers that meet consumer demand for unique delivery forms and convenient use, including Camilia. Wittenberg said Camilia is packaged in sterile, pre-measured liquid doses and provides parents with an easy way to administer the medicine. Boiron also plans to highlight ThroatCalm, which comes in quick-dissolving tablets, and Arnicare Roll-on, which enables users to apply a uniform, no-mess amount of pain relief to targeted skin areas.

GuruNanda Essential oil company GuruNanda prides itself on its ability to source and deliver pure essential oils directly from the farm to retailers. Puneet Nanda, founder and CEO of the Buena Park, Calif.-based company, said sourcing essential oils directly from their partner farms gives the company the distinct visibility into the origin and quality of these oils and enables them to support sustainable and ethical farming. The company has its own in-house gas chromatography and mass spectrometry testing equipment, and uses third-party testing as needed to ensure the quality of its oils compared with the quality of leading multilevel marketing essential oil brands. “Consumers deserve a high quality essential oil product,” Nanda said. In addition to highlighting its essential oils and diffusers at NACDS TSE, the company will feature charcoal based oral care, as well as body, bath and hair care products.


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Camber Pharmaceuticals Camber Pharmaceuticals is a Piscataway, N.J.-based generic pharmaceutical manufacturer. Its parent company, Hetero Drugs, is the largest privately held pharmaceutical company in India and a leader in active pharmaceutical ingredient production. Kon Ostaficiuk, the company’s president, said Camber’s goals include strengthening strategic partnerships, anticipating and responding to customer needs, maintaining transparency in all areas of business, committing to a reliable quality supply of products; and ramping up tech transfers between facilities. Camber will be at the show discussing how the company can help balance supply and demand from pipeline to patient. “Camber’s commitment is to bring the highest quality generic pharmaceuticals to the market to credibly disruptive, potentially dangerous and overall uncomfortable situation for patients,” Ostaficiuk said.

Princeton, N.J.-based Dr. Reddy’s Labs is an integrated pharmaceutical company, committed to providing affordable and innovative medicines for healthier lives. Through its three businesses — pharmaceutical services and active ingredients; global generics; and proprietary products — Dr. Reddy’s offers a portfolio of products and services, including APIs, custom pharmaceutical services, generics, biosimilars and differentiated formulations. Its major therapeutic areas of focus are gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, diabetology, oncology, pain management and dermatology. Products the company will highlight at the NACDS Total Store Expo include an OTC storebrand equivalent of Mucinex D extended-release tablets in two strengths — guaifenesin 600 mg/pseudoephedrine 60 mg and guaifenesin 1,200 mg/pseudoephedrine 120 mg. “We are excited to be the first to bring to market the store-brand equivalent of Mucinex D Maximum Strength extended-release tablets. These launches illustrate our continued commitment to the OTC business and our growing portfolio in the cough-cold and allergy category,” Milan Kalawadia, senior vice president and head of U.S. OTC and specialty Rx divisions at Dr. Reddy’s, said.

Doctor Easy Medical Products Family-owned Doctor Easy Medical Products has offered ear care solutions since 1997, when it introduced the first spray ear wash system for physicians. After 40 million uses of its Elephant Ear Washer in the medical setting, Doctor Easy unveiled WaxRx, the first spray ear wash system for OTC, at NACDS TSE in 2018. Marsha Garcia, president of the Orange Park, Fla.-based company, said at this month’s event, Doctor Easy will be adding Earvana to its lineup of doctor-developed products. Garcia said Earvana is the first nonoily, nongreasy solution for dry ear itch, the second most common ear complaint after ear wax impaction.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery will be quite active unveiling items at NACDS TSE. The company, which has a long-standing reputation of leveraging its products and insights to drive category growth and innovation, will be presenting its new shelving solutions. In addition, Mike Gilroy, vice president of trade development and sponsorship, said the company will showcase several new products and line extensions, including Extra Refreshers, Creamy Snickers and Starburst Duos. Mars Wrigley also will be highlighting its newest M&M’S variety, M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Chocolate Candies. Featuring a creamy hazelnut center, covered by milk chocolate and wrapped in the brand’s signature colorful candy shell, M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Chocolate Candies are available in a 1.35-oz. singles size, 2.53-oz. sharing size and 8.3-oz. sharing size stand-up pouch.



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McKesson High Volume Solutions McKesson High Volume Solutions, or HVS, has more than 25 years of experience designing and implementing central-fill pharmacy solutions tailored to meet the operational and organizational needs of pharmacy. HVS is most known for its high-touch, consultative approach to system integration. “With options to either purchase the equipment outright or pay a per-script fee, HVS systems enables customers to reduce costs, increase revenue and offer new services, such as mail order or adherence packaging solutions,” said Joe Tammaro, vice president of sales at the Malvern, Pa.-based company. “Aside from the machinery and robotics, our real value is our ability to integrate the technology with new store-side processes and create seamless transitions between the customer’s pharmacy management system and the central fill facilities.” Sharing exhibition space at this year’s NACDS Total Store Expo with other McKesson businesses, HVS offers shared expertise in inventory management, logistics, distribution and shipping that is unmatched in the industry.

NasoNeb NasoNeb Sinus Therapy System and NasoNeb Moisturizing Nasal Solution were created to offer allergy and sinus sufferers comprehensive, moisture-based relief from symptoms of runny nose, congestion, dry nose and other nasal conditions. Bill Flickinger, president of the Medina, Ohio-based company, said the NasoNeb System is backed by clinical studies, showing it reaches deeper into the nasal and sinus cavities than similar products. The NasoNeb System delivers medications and saline, as well as the NasoNeb Moisturizing Nasal Solution. A separate NasoNeb Supply Kit enables family members to share a system without sharing infections. “Our NasoNeb System is lightweight, easy to use and delivers medication fast,” said Flickinger, who added that retailers that merchandise NasoNeb in the cough-cold or allergy aisle are seeing an appreciable sales lift in the category.

PPC Group Los Angelesbased PPC Group is best known for EZC Pak, a five-day tapered immune support pack composed of organic echinacea, zinc and vitamin C. Sarath Malepati, CEO and creator of the EZC Pak, said the product is formulated based upon the best available clinical data, and is the only physician directed OTC dose pack in the cold and flu category. At NACDS Total Store Expo, the company will be updating existing retail and distribution partners on the brand’s rapidly growing retail footprint and planned national marketing initiatives for the upcoming cold and flu season.


PanTheryx Boulder, Colo.-based PanTheryx creates first-in-class therapeutics, spanning the range of nutritional interventions to biologics that address serious GI microbiome-related health conditions. They also are the premier supplier of bovine colostrum, which has health-and-wellness applications, including GI health. This will be the company’s fourth year exhibiting at NACDS TSE. “Our objective is to meet with both potential and current buyers to discuss our products, as well as future innovation focusing on the microbiome using our patented technology,” said Brian Budeselich, vice president of sales. “We will also be highlighting the B-to-B side of our colostrum business.”


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Prana Principle Up until recently, Castle Rock, Colo.-based Prana Principle, an APAX Group company, was best known for its 25-mg CBD soft gels. The company has announced plans to expand its CBD offerings with what it said is an innovative line of beauty, skin and hair products. The Prana Principle Professional Series includes healing masks, radiant moisturizing serums and balms, lotions, oils, and hair care products. “Our products are different from others on the market because we started with the highest quality ingredients available, then developed a CBD formula for that specific product,” said Sebastien Hebbelinck, Prana Principle CEO. “This line was developed in response to what customers said they wanted and not the other way around, which is why we knew demand would be high from the start.”

My Magic Mud Jessica Arman, My Magic Mud’s CEO and founder, initially created the company to help find a natural solution for her daughter’s teeth sensitivity. Arman said the vast range of the company’s activated charcoal based oral care is manufactured within American Dental Association guidelines, using premium natural ingredients that help clean, polish and whiten teeth. At NACDS TSE, the New Braunfels, Texas-based company will debut its earth-based skin therapy product line, featuring activated charcoal and other natural ingredients, including pure coconut oil and magnesium. Included in the line are its Raw 100% Pure Charcoal Powder, Complexion Bars, Charcoal Bath Bars, Aluminum-Free Detoxing and Kids Activated Charcoal Toothpaste. “Our new Kids Activated Charcoal Toothpaste comes in sweet grape, ripe banana and strawberry banana flavors, and is completely safe for children,” Arman said. “We wanted to make a natural toothpaste that was delicious and fun to use to help encourage children to adopt healthy oral care habits at an early age.”

McKesson Pharmacy Systems Officials at McKesson Pharmacy Systems, or MPS, based in Livonia, Mich., will be at NACDS TSE discussing a number of their products, including EnterpriseRx, the company’s pharmacy workflow software. With fully-integrated patient engagement and clinical programs, EnterpriseRx is designed to help improve patient outcomes, maximize operational performance, increase medication adherence, and aid in the reduction of direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fees.


Unipharma Among the products Tamarac, Fla.based Unipharma will present this month is its new pre-measured unit-dose packaging for medications and supplements. According to Edgar Arrieta, the company’s business development manager, the benefits of single-use dosing include eliminating the risk of overdosing or underdosing, convenience, being TSA-compliant, and being easy to carry. “We will be presenting two lines, our pediatric brand Dr. Kids and our adult line will launch with a product called Glutadose,” Arrieta said. He pointed out that Glutadose includes the antioxidant glutathione, which makes it a different formula than similar products on the market. “Our product is presented in liquid, pre-measured, single-use vials, making it easy to drink and absorb,” he said.

The hosted pharmacy management software integrates pharmacy workflow, clinical programs, pharmacy data and reporting into one centralized, web-based application across all pharmacy locations. “Part of McKesson’s comprehensive suite of pharmacy solutions being exhibited at this year’s NACDS Total Store Expo, the pharmacy workflow software and clinical programs offered by MPS represent a unique opportunity to put technology to work for your patients and your business,” said Greg Hart, vice president and general manager at MPS. “With EnterpriseRx, it’s easy to balance workload across multiple locations or identify opportunities to fill prescriptions at after-hours or central fill locations.”


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Similasan Similasan is best known for its gentle remedies that provide temporary, symptomatic relief from ailments of the eyes, ears, nose, head and chest. Yann Pigeaire, vice president of marketing at Similasan, based in Highlands Ranch, Colo., said success of the brand, which originated in Switzerland in 1980, is due to the company’s ongoing focus and commitment to provide natural alternatives for common eye, ear, head and chest issues. At NACDS TSE, Similasan will introduce SeaRinse Ear Cleansing Spray. “The minerals found in sea water have special properties that help cleanse ear wax, and the spray action helps flush trapped water or debris from the ear,” Pigeaire said. “The spray can clean ears deeper than a cotton swab without harming them, and it’s easy to use.”

Suncayr Officials at Mississauga, Ontario-based Suncayr said they are adding excitement to the sun care aisle with SPOTMYUV, which uses a patented skin mimicking technology that helps people remember to reapply sunscreen. Derek Jouppi, COO, said after a successful launch in Australia in 2018, the company decided to bring the product to the United States, where it will be making its premiere at the show. “We are excited to introduce this new product to retailers interested in providing a groundbreaking sun care innovation to the millions of Americans who use sunscreen,” Jouppi said. “SPOTMYUV is the perfect complement to the sun care aisle. It is unique in that these stickers work with every kind of broad-spectrum sunscreen on the market and stay on all day long through multiple sunscreen applications, swim and sweat. Plus, they won’t leave a tan line on your skin.”


The Compliance Team The Compliance Team provides accreditation services to a number of different healthcare providers, including pharmacies. The Medicare-approved company is best known for its proprietary certification program, Exemplary Provider Accreditation. It also is recognized as the first for-profit, certified woman-owned and nurse-led national healthcare accreditation organization. Sandra Canally, founder and CEO of the Spring House, Pa.-based company, said her team specializes in helping companies enhance the quality of patient care and services they offer. “We act as a thirdparty quality validator and streamline their operations and standardize processes,” Canally said. “Our goal is to simplify healthcare accreditation and turn the entire process into a more reliable and consumerfriendly approach.” At NACDS TSE, The Compliance Team will be talking to attendees about its day-today business challenges and ways in which the company can help pharmacists expand their role to better serve the patient and, at the same time, enhance its bottom line.

Supplylogix Supplylogix’s predictive intelligence tools help pharmacies to better manage their inventory, improve profitability, optimize replenishment and minimize potential losses from unsalable returns. Nathan Chapman, vice president and general manager of the Las Colinas, Texasbased company, said the new enhanced SelfService Tooling feature, available to Pinpoint Transfer customers, puts even more inventory control in the hands of administrative users by automating generic product indicator updates on a daily feed from Medi-Span to ensure their transfer exclusion list is consistently restricting the proper medications by NDC code. Chapman said this new feature also gives administrators the ability to access information needed to identify and delete pending invoices created in error instantaneously, thus eliminating help desk wait times by allowing real-time corrections. Supplylogix officials said they will continue helping pharmacies unlock valuable insights hidden within their existing data, empowering them to make more analytically driven inventory decisions.

RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions With more than three decades of retail pharmacy technology experience, RelayHealth officials said they have helped more than 55,000 U.S. pharmacies increase profitability, enhance operational efficiency, improve compliance and streamline pharmacy operations. Scott Genone, vice president and general manager, said the company achieves this by leveraging a diverse array of solution configurations to meet customer needs with a $0 IT investment, as well as with immediate reimbursement and audit protection benefits when services are enabled. At the show, RelayHealth is introducing Savings SeekerRx, a pharmacy-friendly program that delivers prescription savings for cash-paying patients and carries additional branded drug discounts for registered users.


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Rethinking Retail in the Age of Amazon

Retailers are getting increasingly creative to drive traffic and enhance e-commerce options By Mark Hamstra


aced with what some have said is the survival of their overall business concept, many traditional food and drug retailers are rethinking their store formats and operations, and stepping up their omnichannel efforts in order to retain market share in an increasingly e-commerce world. As more and more consumers mix online shopping into their routines, retailers are focusing on enhancing the in-store experience with added services in order to drive foot traffic. In the case of traditional drug stores, they are integrating more healthcare offerings into the mix and creating deeper ties with local community healthcare providers. As many brick-and-mortar retailers have learned, it is not a fair fight when it comes to competing against Amazon. The e-commerce


pioneer drives so much income from other fees and services that it can afford to push further and further into online retailing without worrying about profitability. While Amazon’s 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods Market has not yet yielded the devastating impact on the rest of the industry that many had feared, Amazon’s dedication to capturing CPG market share and its unique business model make it a constant threat nonetheless. “Amazon’s business model is completely different,” Scott Mushkin, senior analyst at New York-based Wolfe Research, said. “They are basically a logistics company with a membership base. Out of the gate, they are ahead.” Consumers do not seem to mind having to pay a membership fee


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COVER STORY to enjoy the benefits of Amazon Prime, which include free same-day delivery on thousands of items, discounts at Whole Foods Market and access to Amazon’s diverse media content. Amazon grew its membership by about 5 million households in 2018, despite raising the annual fee to $119, according to estimates from Wolfe Research. “They are getting 74 to 75 million households to give them $119 before they even do anything,” Mushkin said. “That’s huge.” In addition to the membership fees, Amazon also generates additional fee income through an array of other channels, including its warehouse management software and the fees it generates from third-party sellers on its website, which now outsell Amazon’s own direct sales to consumers, Mushkin said. He estimated that the profits Amazon generates on its fee income in North America alone are equivalent to Target’s annual profits. All this revenue allows Amazon to invest in an array of high-cost initiatives, including as same-day delivery and its Amazon Go convenience stores, both of which are designed to expand its share of the CPG market. Amazon also is capturing advertising dollars from CPG companies in a way that most traditional retailers are not. “This is why Amazon is getting so much into consumables,” Mushkin said. “It’s a flywheel where the more volumes they create in in-home consumables, the more advertising dollars they generate, and it’s like a hurricane warming up. Competing against that is just very, very difficult.”

Walmart Reacts

Perhaps the most significant impact of Amazon’s push into CPG e-commerce is that it is putting pressure on Walmart to try to catch up. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant now has more than 3,000 Walmart Grocery Pickup locations around the country, and it continues to expand its delivery operations. Walmart’s efforts around delivery and store pickup are bolstering the retailer’s convenience, alongside the price advantage the company already holds over most traditional CPG retailers, analysts said. “Walmart sees this as a vast opportunity to grab share because there is so much money for supermarkets to lose,” Mushkin said. Just as Amazon has a big head start on Walmart when it comes to e-commerce, Walmart’s cookie-cutter supercenters offer the mass merchant some advantages over traditional food and drug retailers when it comes to click and collect, he said. Walmart’s relatively consistent supercenter formats may give it an edge when picking for click and collect because efficiencies that are introduced into the process at one location can be implemented system wide. Walmart also is on the leading edge of experimentation with driverless delivery, which it has been testing both to customers’ homes and between Walmart’s own facilities. The company recently announced a partnership with Gatik, which provides


Retailers Embrace Micro-Fulfillment Centers Food and drug retailers increasingly are exploring the opportunity to conduct e-commerce fulfillment from micro-fulfillment centers, rather than picking from their existing stores or shipping from full-sized warehouses. These smaller distribution facilities, which in some cases are “dark” stores or locations that have been closed, can be stocked similarly to traditional supermarkets for picking by hand, or can be highly automated warehouses that can assemble delivery orders with minimal labor. Scott Mushkin, senior analyst at New York-based Wolfe Research, said micro-fulfillment centers, or MFCs, could end up being “the holy grail” for some retailers when it comes to e-commerce fulfillment. “The reason that is so powerful is you are changing the path of the product,” he said, noting that fulfillment from the store level requires too much movement of product from the warehouse to the back room, then to the store floor, then often back to the back room again before it is delivered to someone’s home or car. “If you can change that pattern to where it goes from the DC to the back room to the trunk, it is going to be a lot better,” he said. “Micro-fulfillment should improve things quite a bit.”

The retailers exploring the opportunities of MFCs include: • Wakefern Food, the Keasbey, N.J.-based parent of the ShopRite chain, recently opened an automated MFC in Clifton, N.J., that is providing delivery and click-and-collect fulfillment for a 10-store region in New Jersey. The facility is a partnership between Wakefern Food and Waltham, Mass.-based Takeoff Technologies. Both companies said they have agreed to open additional MFCs in the future. Wakefern Food offers e-commerce for its own stores and those of its independent licensees through its ShopRite from Home service. • Stop & Shop, the Quincy, Mass.-based division of Ahold Delhaize, opened an MFC earlier this year in Hartford, Conn., and plans to open several additional facilities, the company said. The inaugural location also is a partnership with Takeoff Technologies, and will integrate with Ahold’s long-standing Peapod e-commerce grocery service. Takeoff Technologies also has partnered with other food retailers on fulfillment solutions, including Albertsons and Sedano’s Supermarkets, which billed its MFC as the country’s “first robotic supermarket” when it opened. • Walmart in July converted a 43,000-sq.-ft. former Dominick’s supermarket in Lincolnwood, Ill., to what the retailer is calling a Walmart Pickup Point, where customers who order online can collect their groceries. The store does not have a pharmacy, according to local reports. Groceries are selected by specially trained Walmart employees. It is similar to a small-scale fulfillment center the retailer has tested at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. Bill Bishop, chief architect at consulting firm Brick Meets Click, said one of the challenges of using MFCs is that they end up competing against the operator’s other existing stores in the market, which means individual in-store sales volumes decline. “That’s a tricky thing to navigate, and I do think it is a good idea in the short-term,” he said. “But I think the best solution is going to be automating the fulfillment of orders as a part of the store, so there will be just one source of inventory instead of two.” Bishop said he believes a store that operates in such a way will open in the next year or two that “will be shopped very differently and will operate differently.” “It’s not hypothetical,” he said. “It is coming.”


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COVER STORY autonomous vehicle technology, to test the vehicles on a 2-mile route between two of its stores in Bentonville. “We aim to learn more about the logistics of adding autonomous vehicles into our online grocery ecosystem, operation process changes and more opportunities to incorporate this emerging technology,” Tom Ward, senior vice president of digital operations at Walmart U.S., said in a recent blog post. “We’re always out to help our customers, and that means helping them save time and money. So, we’re using our position of strength to reinvent the shopping experience to take us and busy families well into the future.”

Moving in the Right Direction

Bill Bishop, chief architect at Brick Meets Click, said he thinks most traditional food and drug retailers are taking e-commerce very seriously and moving in the right direction on several fronts. “There’s not a serious player that’s not on board with trying to do whatever changes are necessary to succeed in omnichannel, and that’s a very good sign for the industry,” he said. “I think the willingness to accommodate online shopping is growing, and the convenience and

ease of doing online shopping is getting better,” Bishop said. Traditional food and drug retailers have improved the personalization of their offers, and become more customer-centric in their approach to blending e-commerce and in-store shopping, he said. Bishop said one area where traditional retailers have room for improvement, however, is in their approach to digital communications and promotions. “Retailers need to be able to communicate broadly and effectively with consumers, and so far most of the digital communications are somewhat limited in their reach and scope, and so reach is a relatively small proportion of the potential market,” he said. “That’s not going to be enough because consumers are increasingly looking to their handheld or their computer for information.” He said the lack of progress in this area can be attributed in part to the legacy internal structures of conventional retailers, which haven’t yet caught up to the demands of the modern digital environment. “Everyone is still very territorial,” Bishop said. “It just doesn’t seem like anyone has come up with the broad-based solutions that are necessary.”

Is Instacart the Answer? Retailers around the country seeking a quick-and-easy path to e-commerce, or to speed their e-commerce delivery from next-day to same-day service, have been partnering with such third-party delivery specialists as Instacart, Shipt and others. In a recent report — “Dissecting the Instacart Addiction” — on this topic, Karen Short, an analyst at Barclays, said that about half of the nation’s 50 largest grocers have partnerships with Instacart. Instacart contracts with independent pickers/drivers to deliver groceries and derives revenues by marking up the prices on individual items or by charging the grocers a fee. Users also pay a fee per delivery or subscribe to unlimited deliveries for orders over $35 for an annual fee. Partnering with Instacart immediately solves several challenges for retailers, according to Short. Instacart provides the backbone for e-commerce, including the digital ordering platforms — website and app; the narrow window for delivery, which most grocers would not be able to handle; and the use of “gig” shopper/drivers, which offers flexibility for retailers who are restricted by union contracts as to the functions their workers can perform. Short said she sees potential challenges for grocers that choose to partner with Instacart, however, including the possibility that customers will become more loyal to Instacart than they are to the retailer. In fact, in a survey conducted by Barclays and AlixPartners, 43% of Instacart users said they would continue to use Instacart with a different retailer if their preferred retailer was no longer offered through Instacart. “The majority of grocery retailers just don’t have a strong or differentiated enough customer proposition to demand loyalty over Instacart,” Short said in the report. Exceptions included Sprouts Farmers Market and Costco Wholesale, both of which offer a differentiated format, she said. The majority of shoppers who use Instacart to obtain deliveries from those two retailers said they would shop in the stores if Instacart no longer carried their items.



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He also cited the increasing use of personalized digital circulars as a step in the right direction. “That may be at the growth tip of where some good progress is going, but I am a little bit surprised we haven’t seen people move faster, further in that space,” he said. “There’s a lot of headroom there.” Bishop also said retailers will need to rethink the physical stores themselves as e-commerce begins to capture a larger percentage of sales. In particular, stores will need to rethink how they look at store-level inventories and find ways to increase inventory turns. E-commerce orders that are shipped to consumers from warehouse or micro-fulfillment centers, for example, are sales that are being taken away from the physical stores themselves, thus making those stores less profitable. This pressure also could force retailers to reduce the size of their stores over time. Bishop said he sees the potential for some of the technological developments around automation to have a positive impact on efforts to improve the profitability of conventional food and drug retailers. “The good news here is that a lot of the automation that is being developed to handle online fulfillment actually will get repurposed to help in bringing inventories into the stores in quantities that will allow inventory turns to go up,” he said. Automation equipment will facilitate the handling of “piece-pick” inventory, rather than shipping whole cases, which will help operators speed their inventory turns, he said. “So, the question becomes, ‘How does the appearance and operation of your store change to accommodate this smaller footprint and faster inventory turns?’” he said. “Because if we don’t, as the sales shrink, the profits are going to shrink, and there is going to be a lot of distress.”

Drug Stores Become Stores of the Community

Drug stores’ small store formats and ubiquitous locations make them convenient destinations for consumers, which may help them compete against the ease of online shopping to a degree, observers said. However, in order to shore up their brick-and-mortar defense, drug stores are augmenting the in-store experience with added services and


deeper integration with the community, which includes such offerings as in-store clinics and more comprehensive healthcare services. In a recent conference call with investors, discussing results from the first fiscal quarter, Stefano Pessina, CEO at Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens Boots Alliance, said broadening the healthcare scope of local pharmacies through partnerships with third-party service providers is increasingly becoming important. “We believe that the future of pharmacy is aligned to a wider range of healthcare services provided efficiently and conveniently in a community setting,” he said. “This is why we are exploring partnerships with a wide range of innovative experts in various fields, allowing us to offer a better service more effectively and at a lower cost than we would be able to do if we had set these services up on our own or paid a significant premium for them.” Pessina said the combination of services and partnerships will define the retailer’s pharmacy offering going forward, working in tandem to optimize customer’s health and well-being over the course of several years. Among the partners Walgreens is working with include LabCorp, Humana and VillageMD, which operates medical clinics. Walgreens recently said it plans to open five such clinics by the end of the year under the Village Medical at Walgreens banner.

Data is Key to Health Care

Data will be at the heart of the transformation of the retail pharmacy, Alex Gourlay, president and co-COO at Walgreens, said. “We are really confident about the future of pharmacy. We’re confident that the model that we see today will change, driven by new technologies and the same need that customers and patients have always had — [to] have a conversation with their local pharmacist in their local community.”


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ARE YOU FEEDING THE BIG CAT IN YOUR CENTER STORE? Wet cat food promotes healthy, happy cats, and feeds incremental sales in the pet aisle. There are a number of reasons why the 94 million cats in U.S. households are finding more wet food in their dish these days. First off, cat parents are learning about the health benefits of feeding cats wet food, as it ensures the cat is well hydrated and also provides high-quality protein to support lean muscles. Secondly, cats naturally crave a range of flavors and textures, many of which are closer to how their ancestors ate in nature. All of these factors lead to 62 percent of the 45 million cat food buyers adding wet cat food to their shopping lists.

So why should grocers care? Wet cat food is currently the third fastest growing segment within the pet food category, and it’s expected to grow nearly seven percent over each of the next three years. And sales tend to be incremental, with 54 percent of shoppers purchasing both dry and wet cat food (Nielsen Purchase Behavior Summary Q3 2016 52wks ending 10/8/16). Wet cat households also make 12.6 trips and spend an average of $105 on wet cat food over the course of the year. That’s compared to 6.5 trips and $82 spent per year by dry cat food shoppers. (Nielsen Homescan Panel Data (52 weeks ending 12/30/17)).

How can you feed incremental sales in the pet aisle? 1. Much like the animals they care for, wet cat food shoppers are looking for variety. Cats instinctually

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crave variety in their diets, and with 82 percent of owners considering their cat an important member of their family, these pet parents are answering the call (Pet Attitude Tracker Q3 2017).

Variety of inventory is actually the top consideration when wet cat shoppers choose a retailer, and one in five shoppers will leave the store if their retailer doesn’t offer the variety they are looking for (Cat rQFD 2017 and Walk Rates Research 2018). Wet cat food shoppers are not only looking for variety of flavors and forms, i.e. loaf or non-loaf, but also package size and price tiers. Currently, many wet cat food sections are only eight feet. Expanding to 12 feet allows retailers to dramatically increase their assortment and sheer presence in wet cat. Getting the product mix right for these shoppers is critical to earning their loyalty.

2. Feed increased consumption through larger variety packs and

multiples pricing. Ongoing promotion on larger wet cat variety packs and higher multiples pricing, i.e. 10 or 20 for are key. The larger the multiple, the higher potential purchase from your shoppers. With 46 percent of wet cat feeders wishing they could feed wet to their pets more often, larger variety packs in multiples of 32 or 40 count are up 3.6 percent and driving growth in the wet cat segment. Variety packs and multiples pricing drive more units per trip and ultimately move more units per year, allowing cat owners to feed their beloved pets what they crave, and at a value they can appreciate.

3. Emphasize new opportunities for cat owners to feed wet. Feeding wet cat food is not only good for cats, but it allows owners connect with their beloved pets. There is a recent trend towards wet cat compliments and treats, like Fancy Feast Broths and Fillets, which provide new feeding occasions for cats and the people who love them. Consider featuring

these innovative products on an endcap as a basket builder and to show wet cat shoppers that you’re dedicated to offering the food their cats crave. With the increased consumer awareness around the benefits of wet cat food, and the strong bond between owners and their varietyseeking companions, the wet cat food market is primed for growth over the next several years.

What are you doing now to capitalize on this trend in your store? Are you featuring 12 feet of the wet cat food varieties your shoppers are demanding? Using these simple strategies can feed incremental sales in your pet aisle for years to come.

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COVER STORY Likewise, CVS Health also is investing in expanded store services and the increasing use of data to improve pharmacy patient care. CVS sees its data capabilities, which are enriched through its ownership of insurance giant Aetna, as a key competitive advantage, the company said at its recent Investor Day 2019 conference. “The breadth and depth of the consumer data we have access to through our numerous healthcare assets is unmatched,” Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, said. “And this data, combined with our investments in advancing our analytics capabilities, provides a powerful engine to inform healthcare decision-making.” The company also is embarking on a sweeping transformation of its retail stores, including the remodeling of 1,500 locations by the end of 2021 to the new HealthHUB format, which devotes more space to health services and products. “These stores bring to market a new retail engagement model that offers healthcare services in a more convenient, more accessible and more customer-focused manner,” Merlo said. The company began testing the new format earlier this year in the Houston market, and it plans to introduce the HealthHUB format to three additional markets by the end of this year. “We are very encouraged by the patient engagement and satisfaction scores, as well as the utilization of our healthcare services,” Merlo said of the new format. Among the services offered in the HealthHUB stores are expanded versions of the walk-in MinuteClinic offering, which go beyond the typical cough-cold and flu treatments and immunizations to include such important services as sleep apnea screening and retina evaluation to detect signs of diabetes. About half of the patients who come into a MinuteClinic do not have a primary care physician, Alan Lotvin, executive vice president of transformation at CVS Health, said during the Investor Day conference. “What we’ve seen is an incredible willingness of people to engage in the retail health setting as a principal and primary part of where they get care,” he said, noting that the MinuteClinics in HealthHUB stores can handle about 80% of the scope of a typical primary care doctor visit, plus some services that primary care physicians often do not offer. “This is a great example of how using our community assets and listening to our customers allows us to create a differentiated experience in the community,” Lotvin said. Kevin Hourican, CVS Health executive vice president and president of CVS Pharmacy, said the company’s pharmacy sales have been far exceeding the industry average, but the retailer also is boosting its front-of-store sales and profits as well. The company is growing its front-store health and beauty business through a combination of product introductions, improved personalization and an improved in-store experience, he said, while in consumables and general merchandise, CVS is focusing on driving increased profits by reducing low-margin promotions and focusing on “core, winning categories” instead, he said. “We are expanding our health-and-wellness assortment by adding thousands of new items with the goal to deliver the most comprehensive sick care and self-care assortment in the industry,” Hourican said, citing as examples of newly introduced items that help people with fitness, memory and focus, and anxiety. Meanwhile, CVS Pharmacy’s new Beauty IRL format, which includes


an array of new items, brands and services, is “advancing how beauty is delivered in the drug channel as well,” he said. The revamp is slated to be rolled out to more than 50 locations by year-end. While CVS Health’s innovations have been successful in attracting consumers and business partners, the company’s retail business still faces headwinds in the form of pressure on prescription reimbursements and other factors impacting the industry overall, Hourican pointed out.

Kroger and Ocado

Among traditional supermarket operators, Cincinnati-based Kroger has been among the most active in terms of transforming its physical stores, seeking to drive e-commerce growth. “Our customers don’t distinguish between an in-store or an online experience,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s CEO, said at the company’s recent annual shareholder meeting. “Rather, they have a food-related need or problem to solve, and they want the easiest most convenient seamless solution.” The retailer’s Restock Kroger initiative includes a sweeping revamp of store product assortments to better meet the needs of local consumers, as well as such technology investments as its growing test of driverless delivery and its partnership with Ocado to build automated warehouses geared for home delivery. Kroger broke ground earlier this year on the first of those warehouses near its Cincinnati headquarters, and recently unveiled plans for two Ocado locations in Florida and the mid-Atlantic. Some observers question whether such massive undertakings as Kroger’s investment in Ocado will even be enough to keep pace with the efforts of Amazon and Walmart, however, especially if consumers gravitate to the same-day delivery model that now is being offered by Amazon and Whole Foods Market. “In the United States, it looks like it is going to be a same-day [delivery] market,” Mushkin said. “Ocado is starting to do some same-day in Europe, but it is a next-day product. That could be a challenge for Kroger as they open up these centers, if they are designed to be next-day delivery.” dsn


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As the hemp/CBD category booms, companies are cautiously optimistic

By Nora Caley

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o play by the rules, it helps to have a rule book. For those manufacturers and, now, retailers operating in the hemp and CBD space, that rule book still does not exist, at least in official form. It is not like suppliers in the category are not asking for one. For at least the last three years, many vendors in the community literally have been begging the Food and Drug Administration and other federal government agencies to provide a template for the marketplace. Suppliers have said that the government needs to establish the rules on such issues as manufacturing, labeling and sales in this booming category in order to set standards for the industry. The FDA is working on it, but, in the meantime, companies are being forced to innovate and launch products designed to promote well-being and support various health issues on their own. “It is the wild, wild west out there,” one supplier said. “And, it will not calm down until the government sets legitimate guidelines that will separate the real players in the field from the companies looking to make a quick buck, with no concerns about the consumer or the retailer they are doing business with.” On May 31, the FDA conducted a public hearing to gather information about the safety, quality, marketing and other factors related to the sale of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. At the hearing, speakers representing manufacturers, consultants, trade associations and others spoke about the regulatory ambiguity they are facing as they introduce products in this emerging space. After the all-day hearing, people were allowed to submit comments until July 2. Although the production of hemp, the nonintoxicating variety of the cannabis plant, became legal with the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, or the Farm Bill, the FDA still maintains that CBD, a compound derived from the cannabis plant, cannot be added to food, drink or dietary supplements and be sold legally. The


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cannabis plant family, which includes hemp and marijuana, contains such compounds as CBD, which is not psychoactive, and the psychoactive chemical THC. Currently, such topical items as lotions and sprays with CBD are available at many retailers nationwide. Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Rite-Aid and Kroger announced in recent months that they would sell topicals. The FDA has not said whether it will create a pathway for such ingestible items as gummies, capsules and tinctures to be sold legally, or when new guidelines might be announced.

Waiting for the FDA

While the FDA hearing provided no new information regarding future policies or guidelines for manufacturing hemp-derived CBD products, manufacturers said the day offered clues as to how to proceed in this uncertain arena. “Since the hearing, FDA officials have reiterated there is little data to guide dosage levels, expiration dates and manufacturing protocols, and consumers should be wary of manufacturers making alleged health claims that lack rigorous scientific proof reviewed and/ or approved by the FDA,” David Chadwick, CEO of Henderson, Nev.-based Leading Edge Pharms, said. “Now may be a good opportunity for manufacturers to re-evaluate the interstate versus intrastate commerce opportunity and seek legal counsel that is actively involved in federal and/or state regulatory and legislative advocacy to assist in strategic planning.” Manufacturers need to think long-term and develop a business strategy that conforms to the current ambiguous regulatory framework, Chadwick said, and is flexible enough to adapt to changing rules and policies. Some change has been made. In 2018, the FDA approved prescription CBD Epidiolex as a treatment for seizures related to two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. That approval hints at future FDA approvals of CBD for certain indications. “What direction the FDA will pursue is not clear,” Murdoc Khaleghi, a physician and senior medical advisor at Telford, Pa.-based Elevate Hemp, said. “But what has become clear is that with CBD sales increasing 200% in just the last few years, and it not having psychoactive effects, it will not be going away.” Khaleghi also said that CBD’s therapeutic


Seattle-based chain Bartell Drugs recently expanded its lineup of CBD products from only topical products and tinctures to also include pet products. The retailer is one of several chains, including Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid, offering CBD products. usages would become validated more progressively. “Therefore, there’s no suggestion that manufacturers should have to worry about any strict prohibitions in CBD,” he said. “What is possible is greater regulation of cannabis-derived CBD, as opposed to hemp-derived, as well as possible regulation of CBD’s addition to food and beverages.” Matt Wolf, CEO of Contract Pharmacal, or CPC, which manufactures Uleva full-spectrum hemp supplements in

Hauppauge, N.Y., and Denver-based Uleva Products, said the takeaway from the meeting is that the FDA does want to find a way to make CBD legal in food and dietary supplements. “The FDA is taking unprecedented action to find a way to do it,” he said. “The solution is not going to come overnight because there are cumbersome regulatory processes involved, which the government is currently considering.”


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Ahead of the Game

Many manufacturers welcome possible regulation. “The FDA should regulate the industry, but not too much,” Rod Deraney, managing partner at Newtown, Conn.based New Leaf Pharmaceuticals, said. “It should be fair to build and develop a business within this industry.” Others said they have been using high quality standards anyway. “That FDA hearing did not change very much for Green Roads,” Laura Fuentes, CEO and co-founder of the Deerfield Beach, Fla.based company, said “The organization remained reserved about CBD and directed consumers toward brands that provide test results and other markers of quality control, which we do.” One reason for manufacturers’ optimism about possible regulations, and their vocal support of them, is that they think rules will help them stand out as safe, superior producers of CBD products. Companies said they already have implemented quality control in manufacturing and labeling, and new guidelines only can help the industry. Courtney Roundy, founder and director of business development and brand management at Salt Lake City-based Harmony Hemp, said he hopes FDA guidelines will be strict. “We want them to regulate us, absolutely,” he said. “Tell us what lane to stay


in, and we’re glad to do it. There are far too many companies clouding the space that seem to be ill intentioned.” Others agreed that they are the ones that are abiding by high standards, and that any rules from the FDA will affect a few players. “The hearing made a few things clear,” Sebastien Hebbelinck, CEO and president at Boulder, Colo.-based APAX Group, said. “Traceability is key, labels need to match what is inside the product, claims need to be addressed, and poor manufacturing practices need to be addressed.” Hebbelinck said not all companies in this space operate with quality, consistency and honesty. It is important for retailers to know certain information about the companies that supply CBD products. He recommended asking suppliers for third-party analysis to confirm quality and label compliance. Also, suppliers must be able to keep products in stock. “These products are derived from a crop, after all,” he said. “Without sufficient supply, it may be extremely difficult to keep your customers

Retailers Should Find out More

To satisfy consumers looking for CBD products, retailers need to vet their suppliers, and manufacturers are eager to serve as a resource in this regard. “The amount of companies entering the market can be extremely overwhelming

to retail,” Courtney Schmidt, director of national accounts at Boulder, Colo.-based Charlotte’s Web, said. Charlotte’s Web recommended that retailers ask manufacturers questions during the vetting process. The questions should cover the type of quality control practices in place, where the hemp is sourced, the type of testing to ensure safety and efficacy, and whether the company can provide a certificate of analysis. “As the leader in this category, it’s just as important for Charlotte’s Web to share shelf space with reputable, compliant manufacturers,” Schmidt said. Retailers need to ensure they are selecting their assortments and their suppliers carefully. “It behooves retailers to make sure they’re going to enter into this category not just by placing products on shelves, but by really paying attention to education that is necessary,” Blake Patterson, CEO of Denver-based MarketHub, said. “We would like to step in and assist them. We want to help them navigate the category from beginning to end and then some.” MarketHub works with manufacturers and retailers to set up Hemp Health Zones in stores. The firm vets brands’ corporate structure, sourcing, manufacturing, labeling and other factors. That’s important, Patterson said, because the barrier to entry is low in the CBD category.


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Retailers are using three strategies as they wait for FDA guidance, Debbie Wildrick, vice president of HempFusion said. One is to turn to their legal teams. “Their legal teams are saying, ‘We don’t want you to look at ingestibles yet, but you can take on topicals,’” she said. The company, based in Roswell, Ga., recently changed its name from MetaCan. The second strategy is to figure out which products to offer on a state-by-state basis, with legal teams assessing states according to high, medium and low risk. The third strategy, Wildrick said, is that some retailers are opting to offer products that do not have “CBD” on the labels, such as HempFusion. One thing that is on labels, although sometimes the information is unclear, is the amount of CBD listed in milligrams. That presents a challenge for retailers, Paul Carpenter, a managing partner at New Leaf Pharmaceuticals, said. When a consumer buys a bottle of acetaminophen, the label has “500 mg each,” which refers to each caplet. Some CBD companies are listing an amount of milligrams on the label, but the number refers to the entire bottle. “A lot of products out there are mislabeled,” he said. “The consumer is confused by

this. They look for the highest number.” How to read labels is not the only ambiguity retailers face. “Everyone is asking for guidance from the FDA,” Stephen Mueller, founder and CTO at Boulder, Colo.-based Mile High Labs, said. “When that comes, retailers are concerned about the supply chain and what happens if people get shut down.” One way to avoid working with a manufacturer that is in danger of shutting down is to select one that follows the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices. GMP refers to the FDA’s regulations on pharmaceuticals, and several CBD companies use GMP as a guideline for their own processes. “Good Manufacturing Practices show you what you’re supposed to be doing,” Mueller said. The regulations cover such factors as qualifications of personnel, facility conditions, manufacturing batch records and others. Partnering with a brand that follows GMP also can help retailers build repeat customers in the category. Consumers do much research online to find reputable brands. “You’re used to going to the store and picking up a product, and assuming it’s safe,” Mueller said. “People expect that.” In addition to making sure the facility has current GMP certification, retailers also should look for a product made with proprietary technology based on published science and research available to the general public, Leading Edge Pharm’ Chadwick said. He also suggested offering family-friendly products with “THC free” on the label. Consistency also is important in formulations and labeling from batch to batch. If changes are made to product formulation, they prominently should be advertised in marketing materials and labels, as well as annotated on product safety data sheets.

Other Factors

As with many categories, consumers are researching products online, and it helps to have information in store. “Consumer education is our No. 1 priority,” Matt Poli, chief revenue officer at Superior, Colo.based Functional Remedies, said. “We are partnering with several national retailers in developing simple, yet complete category education on the differences between hemp


oil and CBD, and how the products work with the body, so consumers can be fully informed at critical purchase decision and choose the right products.” Consumers are researching not just brands, but what CBD products can do. One key product trend is to buy CBD items that also contain ingredients that help with specific issues. Los Angeles-based CBDfx makes several CBD gummies, including CBD Gummies with Turmeric & Spirulina. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory effects. “The whole supplement industry is booming,” senior brand manager Christian Graversen said. “If you can combine the best of both worlds, you will get great products people will benefit from.” Those benefits will help the CBD category expand its reach as consumers look for products that offer multiple benefits. “We’ve been in the industry for six years now,” Graversen said. “When we started, it was counter-culture consumers that bought our products. We grew and we brought in more retailers.” Not only are CBD products becoming available in more retail outlets, but they also are moving to different sections in the store. Perry Antelman, CEO of Woonsocket, R.I.-based Abacus Health Products, said CBD products are in endcaps now. “That’s how to introduce new products into the store,” he said. “Then everybody graduates from the endcap and ends up in line in the section they belong in.” The products eventually have to compete with other analgesics, pet products, supplements and other items. That will be problematic for items that cannot make medical claims, and can only put “soothing” or “relaxation” on the labels. “The trick in the game in retail always is what is your unique proposition?” Antelman said. “Why would someone pick up your product if you can’t call out and make a claim?” The future is bright for the category and for stores that enter it in a deliberate, wellplanned way. The winners will be the retailers that look at their suppliers while offering consumers what they want. “Retailers would benefit from offering their customers various products,” Elevate Hemp’s Khaleghi said. “CBD use is likely not a onesize-fits-all approach.” dsn


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Understanding the CBD Marketplace The Brightfield Group takes an in-depth look at the emerging CBD industry and how the category is growing


his year is shaping up to be a massive one for CBD, with sales reaching nearly $5 billion in the industry by end of year — an increase of more than 700% compared with 2018. By 2023, Brightfield Group estimates that the total U.S. CBD market could hit $24 billion. Historically, online sales have been the primary distribution channel for the CBD market. In fact, nearly two-thirds of sales were online in 2017. Today, however, the primary cause of market growth is the entrance of chain retailers. Large pharmacy, retail and grocery chains are entering the market with a wide variety of large-scale pilot programs. Given their reach, scalability and mainstream familiarity, these distribution channels are expected to garner 57% market share in 2019. Over the short-to-medium terms, we expect expansion across both the pharma and grocery channels, as well as the emergence of supercenters, gyms, pet stores, natural food chains and other big box retailers. Tinctures remain the largest part of the market, followed by topicals, vape oil/cartridges and capsules. However, that lead is narrowing as the hemp CBD industry evolves and expands. Increased consumer access


has spurred huge growth as the market is no longer entirely dominated by people who suffer from extreme pain or epilepsy and must go to great lengths to attain product, nor primarily by cannabis consumers. As CBD is extremely versatile, companies have begun infusing it into everything from facial scrubs and sunscreens to CBD sparkling water, beer and coffee, appealing to a greater variety of mainstream users. The U.S. CBD market has become even more saturated in 2019, with a continuous flood of new entrants or established line extensions creating CBD products to join the thousands already present in the market. Since the market has seen both sizable expansion and consolidation this year, the top 20 brands technically have lost share, but still maintain a majority of the now much larger pie. Expansive growth in the industry should continue apace as brands gain name recognition and consumer loyalty following product trials and higher consumer education. By deeply understanding what they are as a brand and identifying the consumers who resonate with their messaging, they have built the foundation for potentially lifelong customers and advocates. Success primarily has come from classic product formats, e.g.,


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CBD REPORT: BRIGHTFIELD GROUP INSIGHTS capsules, softgels, and adherence to quality, low-dose products, making PlusCBD Oil a safe bet for more conservative users. One product category that has gained a great deal of traction this year is skin care and beauty. Separate from the topicals category, such skin care and beauty products are items as face masks, eye serums, bath bombs, body lotion and scrubs — some of which are applied topically, but few of which generally are used to treat chronic physical medical conditions. In fact, many products appeal to those consumers suffering from emotional health issues, as nearly two-thirds of CBD skin care

What Exactly is CBD?

While CBD may be the talk of the retail industry over the last year, it is clear that many retailers — and most consumers — do not really understand what this complicated and complex category is and what it is made up of. So here is some help. CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids essentially are chemical compounds that interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system, altering neurotransmitter release in the brain. Unlike its phytocannabinoid cousin — tetrahycrocannabinol, or THC — CBD is being researched as a means to offer relief from anxiety and chronic pain without the psychoactive “high.” It is important to note, however, that hemp is just one of many plants containing CBD, and that other such hemp and cannabis compounds as CBG and CBN just now are being investigated for their medicinal properties.

CBD Market Update: Revenue Hemp-CBD Revenue Projections DOLLARS (IN BILLIONS)

$25 $20 $15 $10 $5 $-







Source: Brightfield Group

CBD Market Update: Top 20 Market Share 2018 U.S. Hemp-Derived CBD Sales By Company All Others 19%

All Others 40% 650+ Companies

1,700+ Companies

Top 20 81% Source: Brightfield Group


2019 U.S. Hemp-Derived CBD Sales By Company

Top 20 60%

product users suffer from anxiety. Skin care and beauty products are highly similar to topicals in terms of the implications of the Farm Bill and subsequent FDA announcement. As such, they generally are considered less risky by manufacturers and retailers, and are witnessing rapid adoption across the country. In addition, skin care and beauty products are extremely versatile, giving producers a great deal of room for innovation in this space. They reach a very different audience than general topicals, thus skin care and beauty products are projected to follow their own distinct trajectory both in terms of distribution channels and overall growth. CBD brands have been capitalizing on this growing product segment by creating targeted, purposeful products aimed at specific consumers. The general skin care and beauty industry markets product successfully by highlighting specific customer goals that could be attained using their products. CBD is no different. Brands like Bluebird Botanicals and Mary’s Nutritionals maintain transparency in product ingredients, while emphasizing their benefits and how they will help consumers reach their skin care goals. By leveraging not only CBD, but functional, supplemental ingredients in their product and descriptions, these CBD brands better tailor their products to the skin care and beauty consumer, as opposed to the average CBD user, appealing to them by utilizing the same tools as traditional brands, further blending the industry with traditional CPG. dsn


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This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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© 2019, Functional Remedies

8/6/19 8:21 PM


Growing with the Category Consistency, compliance and self-regulation are key to Green Roads’ success


Drug Store News: The CBD category continues to emerge, but there are a lot of questions out there. What do you suggest retailers do at this point? LBF: I suggest retailers do their research and find partners they can trust. The FDA is still studying this compound. Perception of CBD is evolving in the eyes of the FDA, the media and the public. Aim for consistency and compliance in all things CBD.

aura Baldwin Fuentes, CEO and co-founder of Green Roads, emphasized that retailers do their homework as they search for the best supplier partners in the CBD category. The Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based company aggressively is introducing items into the category. She talked with Drug Store News about the high-flying category and what it could mean for the retail community over the near term. Drug Store News: Tell us about Green Roads. Laura Baldwin Fuentes: Green Roads began when I started making simple CBD oils and topicals for my friends and family. Now, our goods are sold in over 10,000 retail locations, and we have more than 50 SKUs with new products on the way. I am so proud of how far we’ve come, and I think all of our customers and partners are going to be excited about some of our coming innovations. The company has been named the No. 1 privately held CBD company in the United State, which is a big honor for us. Our product line won “Best CBD Product” at the Cannabis Business Awards in 2018, and our co-founder Arby Barroso won “Advocate of the Year.” Drug Store News: What about the company’s products and strategy that make them unique? LBF: Our product line of oils, topicals, gummies and beverages is entirely proprietary. Beyond that, we’re unique because of our rigorous commitment to self-regulation in an evolving industry. I brought 25 years of experience as a licensed compound pharmacist to my work here at Green Roads. We test our ingredients before we formulate products. We send our finished goods to third-party labs for another round of testing, and we make the resulting lab sheet available to customers via QR codes on each product.


Drug Store News: What are you doing to ease the concerns? LBF: Consistency and compliance have always been central to the Green Roads brand. We supply all of our retail partners with as much educational material as we can, but ultimately the CBD industry is evolving very quickly, and I encourage anybody involved to stay on top of things the best they can.

Laura Baldwin Fuentes, CEO and co-founder, Green Roads

“We offer oils, gummies, capsules and beverages because we want each person to be able to find a CBD delivery system that fits their lifestyle. Testing different products is a great way to find the best one for you.”

Drug Store News: Where are you going to be a year from now? LBF: We firmly believe CBD is the wellness story of our generation. We believe that in a year from now, research and public knowledge will have advanced considerably. Florida may be leading the way with a recent addition in its laws for CBD retailers. This bill simply required brands hold to standards that, as a pharmacist, I believe are 100% necessary. We’re going to see a positive shift in the overall perception of CBD, and more high-quality products on the market. Drug Store News: How does someone choose a CBD product? LBF: We offer oils, gummies, capsules and beverages because we want each person to be able to find a CBD delivery system that fits their lifestyle. Testing different products is a great way to find the best one for you. For example, on-the-go people tend to love our gummies. Active people might love the topicals, and so on. dsn


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7/29/19 8:23 AM

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Straight from the Consumer A Functional Remedies-sponsored event helped the industry learn what consumers may want from the burgeoning CBD industry BY SETH MENDELSON


hat do consumers expect from the CBD category, and what is simply wishful thinking? Frankly, due to the newness of the category, we didn’t know, so we asked them. Along with Functional Remedies, the Superior, Colo.-based company that sponsored and hosted the event and is a leading supplier of CBD products, Drug Store News and ECRM hosted two consumer panel discussions on CBD at the ECRM event in Scottsdale, Ariz., in late July. One panel discussion included consumers who used CBD products and viewed them as solid alternatives to their healthcare needs. The other panel discussion included consumers who currently did not use CBD products and did not see them as an alternative to their healthcare needs. Tim Gordon, chief science officer at Functional Remedies, started the discussions with an overview of the state of the CBD market, of which he pointed out that the category quickly will reach $50 billion in annual sales in just a few years. Yet Gordon was equally quick to point out that the category “is in a state of flux right now, and there are a lot of questions out there about what retailers and consumers need to be looking for.” He also said that the Food and Drug Administration is in the midst of developing regulations for the category, but with the stakes so high, he said he expects that it could take another 18 months before those rules are put into place. “We are still in the gray area of unregulated space with this category,” he said. “But it is coming. For consumers, retailers and users, this is going to change the game. The CBD/hemp category is about to take a left turn from seed to shelf. How prepared are we, and how much are you looking for knowledge?” He also said: “This is an incredible category, and the interest among consumers is astronomical. But changes are coming, and it is important that we know what consumers want. Ultimately, it is all going to come down to regulation and compliance with industry standards.” Consumers in both panels seemed to agree with many of Gordon’s comments. A number of them spoke about brand reliability in this industry and not believing all the claims being made by various suppliers, and even in the media. “I want to buy even more products in this category, but right now I don’t know who to trust, and it is hard to pull


the trigger on purchasing these products until I find someone I completely fill comfortable with,” one consumer in the user panel said. Another consumer echoed those comments, and said: “I am extremely curious about CBD and its benefits. Now, the key thing is getting more information about the category and the individual companies, so that I can make an informed decision on what products to purchase.” Much support for the category came from the user panel, with one participant emphasizing how much CBD items help provide pain relief and “calms me down,” especially at night. “As I get older, aches and pains come out more often. This gets me to a better state,” she said. Nonusers seemed to be quite curious about the category, asking questions about specific brands, reliability and price points. “I don’t know exactly how it works. What does CBD oil stand for? I would like to know more,” a nonuser panelist said. One female participant was more to the point: “Frankly, there is really no reason I have not tried these products, especially with all the information out in the market about them,” she said. “I hear good things about the products all the time, and some of my friends have even recommended them to me.” Perceived higher price points could play a role in some of these consumers’ hesitation with the category. “The first thing I noticed about these products is the higher price points,” said another panelist, who noted that her son, who has a chronic illness, might benefit from CBD products. “I would like to know more about it. I would like to know what impact that it would have on my son and others over the long-term.” Another nonuser panelist also seemed interested in CBD-infused products, especially after hearing good things about it from family and friends. “I would look for beauty products to help clear acne. I don’t know if it does or not. My mother-in-law uses CBD for headaches. I think I would use it as a face lotion.” Yet, even with the curiosity, some nonusers still are not sold on the category. “I am not completely onboard,” one male participant said. “I heard people talk on the radio about the inconsistency between brands, questions about the right doses and whether it is safe or not. It seems like everyone is trying to sell this stuff right now, I don’t know who to trust. It seems like it is all over the map on whether a company is trustworthy.” dsn


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Getting Social with a New CBD Company CBD upstart Sentia Wellness is set to make a splash in the category with its Social CBD line BY SETH MENDELSON


aining the retailers’ and the consumers’ confidence is never an easy task. But it is especially trying in the relatively new and still unregulated CBD category, where thousands of companies are popping up, hoping that they will draw the lucky lottery number and hit it big in this burgeoning category. With the influx of companies in the marketplace, many industry officials — including the suppliers themselves — warn merchants and shoppers to be wary of false promises and to be on the lookout for merchandise that does not quite make the grade. Officials at Portland, Ore.-based Sentia Wellness said they have a different model, one that will boost confidence in their Social CBD brand line and ultimately lead to more sales and profits for retailers. Founded only this past May, company executives feel that Sentia and its products are not tainted with any past history that could turn off shoppers. “We wanted to create the Sentia Wellness company and Social CBD brand to have a complete origin in a post-farm bill environment,” company president and COO Angelo Lombardi said. “For both retailers and consumers, they can look to Social CBD with confidence that our products are clean, of the highest quality and 0% THC. And equally important, Social CBD stands for a message and a mission that reaches beyond our outstanding products.” Lombardi also said, “With our unique position across product and purpose, we can enter the conversation around CBD with retailers and consumers without any confusion.” At the same time, though, the company’s top brass emphasized its long experience with CBD and its existing relationships with retailers. Lombardi claimed that when the Social CBD line launches, which should be at the end of this month, the product immediately will be in 10,000 retail stores. At launch, the Social CBD line will be available in five distinct forms: tincture drops, vape pens, gel caps, muscle rub and a topical patch. Five more forms will be introduced before the end of the year, including a foot lotion and muscle relief balm. Gummies and chocolate-based forms will be added next year. Sentia Wellness is using skateboarder Nyjah Huston as a company spokesperson. “Being on a world class stage comes with its own set of aches and pains,” Lombardi said. “Nyjah uses our products to help him compete, and we want to use him to show consumers just how well these items can work.” Lombardi also pointed out that Sentia Wellness has invested more than $30 million in its own manufacturing facility — a 175,000-sq.-ft. plant in Oregon — to maintain control over the entire process and to produce product at a fast rate. The company employs roughly 130 people, with about half involved in the manufacturing process. He seems quite excited about the overall situation for Sentia, the Social CBD brand and the CBD category in general. “For Social, we will


Angelo Lombardi, COO, Sentia Wellness

have a key seat at the table leading the conversation around CBD innovation, especially in regard to manufacturing and robotics,” Lombardi said. “As an industry, CBD will continue to grow and gain even more legitimacy across the country as the focal point of the self-care, wellness movement. It will be more important than ever to expand and diversify product offerings that activate the endocannabinoid system, as well as investing in education, data-driven offerings.” “We are at the forefront of this movement to encourage selfconfidence in our consumer and promote real human connections,” Lombardi said. “Social CBD is a resource for customers, selling not just products, but an unapologetic promise to deliver on our core brand values of pure, powerful and honest.” dsn


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Uncle Bud’s Hemp Enters Vitamin Shoppe Stores Uncle Bud’s Hemp is getting a big distribution boost. The company’s products are launching at more than 700 of The Vitamin Shoppe stores and the retailer’s website, alongside its Miss Bud’s skin-focused beauty line. “At The Vitamin Shoppe, we continually strive to bring our customers innovative new products with exceptional quality. As we expand both our ingestible and topical CBD hemp extract offerings to become the most trusted destination for CBD hemp extract and education, we’re proud to be partnering with Uncle Bud’s on this exciting line of personal care products,” said Sharon Leite, CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe. “Adding Uncle Bud’s and Miss Bud’s to our assortment reflects our mission to provide our customers with the most trusted solutions, guidance and services to help them become their best selves, however they define it.” The Los Angeles-based company’s products currently are

available in four countries and in more than 8,000 stores. Fans of its line include Grammy Award-winning artist and actress Toni Braxton, the brand said. “Like most people, family is central to my life, when I started using Uncle Bud’s to help with the side effects of Lupus, I didn’t expect the whole family to fall in love with the products, but they did and it makes sense — the boys love the pain relief cream post-basketball, and my mom is a big fan of the hand and foot cream,” Braxton said. “I’m happy because the products are clean, effective and started with a family formula that’s now available everywhere.” Uncle Bud’s Hemp products are not tested on animals, are GMO-free, and are powered by its proprietary blend Cantrax, which is formulated in the United States in FDA-approved facilities, the company said.

Good Day Launches CBD-Infused Beverage Line Beverage brand Good Day has introduced the inaugural product in its three-beverage line of CBD-infused ready-to-drink products. The Los Angeles-based brand has unveiled its CBD-infused cold brew coffee, with plans to build out the line with chamomile herbal tea and citrus sparkling water varieties in the coming months. The cold brew uses Fair Trade Organic coffee sourced from Nicaragua and Colombia, as well as 15 mg of hemp extract from Colorado farms. The unsweetened drink is free of sugar and other additives, the company said. “We’re so thrilled to introduce a line of truly clean beverages using the healthiest ingredients in the CBD beverage space,” CEO and co-founder Warner Siebert said. “All of our beverages are crafted with premium, functional ingredients and are free of artificial additives, sweeteners and preservatives to ensure more good days all around for our customers.” Good Day’s cold brew is sold in seven packs that retail for $42. It has plans to launch a subscription service offering monthly recurring shipments of the products and is eyeing a retail launch in select stores.



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#1 selling brand on Amazon with strict MAP pricing 1 100% pure & natural, guaranteed Real time in-house GC-MS testing of every batch Full category solution: 150+ oils and blends, gift sets, diffusers & more

CATEGORY HIGHLIGHTS • 36% of U.S. adults used essential oils in the last 12 months 3 • Category expected to hit $7.3B in U.S. sales by 2024 4 • Plant based product sales growing 18% annually 5


Based on analysis of ASIN level Amazon Best Seller Rankings (BSR) Products sold into 36,048 zip codes (including military, P.O. boxes, etc.) since 2014 Proprietary 3rd party consumer research conducted by a leading HBC research firm, N:599 4 Grand View Research “U.S. Essential Oils Market” 2016 market research report 5 Projected using SPINS 52wks ending 7/15/18; Plant Based size ($B) and growth (% change vs YA); MULO, Natural and Specialty Channels 2 3

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8/7/19 10:36 AM


Young Living Acquires Nature’s Ultra

Naturally G4U Expands CBD Skin Care Line New products are on their way from Naturally Good For You. The brand has unveiled new face masks, a facial oil, serum and balms that are part of its Be Well collection, all of which are made with nonpsychoactive full-spectrum CBD oil. “At the heart of Naturally G4U is the commitment to search for the very newest and best ingredients available with a focus on how they can best help our customers — both inside and out,” said Lisa Ashcraft, president of Naturally G4U. “Studies show that cannabidiol helps reduce inflammation, helping skin heal itself. Hemp seed oil is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Together, they help soothe irritated skin and protect it from environmental stressors. That’s why we included both of these star ingredients in our Be Well collection.” New additions include: • Hydrating Facial Mousse Mask, which looks to provide long-lasting moisture, protect the skin against environmental factors, and calm and tone skin; • Restoring Night Serum, which aims to penetrate skin cells to restore moisture while sleeping and deliver a hydrated complexion; • Illuminating Facial Oil, which is nutrient dense and looks to brighten and refine skin texture and tone, soothe irritated skin, and protect it from environmental stressors; • Calm & Relieve Crème Mask, which is infused with cold-pressed hemp seed oil and has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe irritated skin; • Keep Calm Moisturizing Stick, a multipurpose face and body balm that provides extra moisture and helps keep skin healthy and glowing; and • Sweet Relief Lip Mend, which helps bring moisture back to dry lips, soothes irritation and contains olive fruit and shea butter to nourish. “Our cannabidiol is THC-free. In conjunction with powerhouse beauty ingredients like aloe and shea butter, your skin is left relieved, revived and restored,” Ashcraft said. “Naturally G4U is about pure and transparent ingredients that deliver real results for your skin. CBD is a powerful, natural skin care ingredient. We wanted to harness all of its good-for-skin benefits to give consumers a plant-based, chemical-free solution to calm irritated or dry skin.” Naturally G4U’s Be Well collection can be found on Ulta Beauty’s website.


Young Living Essential Oils is broadening its offerings. The Lehi, Utah-based company has acquired Nature’s Ultra, a Draper, Utah-based company with hemp farms in Colorado and products that include a variety of CBD offerings, including tinctures, balms and roll-ons. Young Living said that Nature’s Ultra, with its more than 1,500 acres of hemp farms, would continue to operate independently. Nature’s Ultra’s CBD products are organic, gluten-free and vegan approved, Young Living said. “The pristine conditions in the Rocky Mountains allows Nature’s Ultra to source pure CBD from Colorado hemp fields that are grown without the use of pesticides,” Mike Buch, Young Living’s chief science officer, said. “By adding our oils to this high quality isolate, we are able to offer a smart spectrum product that doesn’t compromise on quality, and Nature’s Ultra CBD oils can proudly display the Young Living logo because they meet our stringent seed-to-seal standards.” Nature’s Ultra founder and CEO Richard Ricketts said, “It’s a match made in health — Young Living is the world leader in essential oils, and CBD belongs in that space. Their seed-to-seal commitment to quality so closely mirrored our own that it only made sense to work together to bring high quality CBD to the world.”


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8/6/19 10:44 PM


Day One Adds Sparkling Water

Leading Edge Pharms Adds Former NBA Champ in Marketing Role

Los Angeles-based CBD product manufacturer Natural Hemp is debuting its first brand with Day One CBD Sparkling Water. Day One, which was first unveiled at the USA CBD Expo in Miami in early August, is a lemon-flavored sparkling water with 20 mg of hemp extract. “Day One is a perfectly balanced sparkling water that is infused with 20 mg of broadspectrum CBD, with a splash of lemon fruit juice,” Chris Clifford, CEO of Natural Hemp, said. “We only use all-natural ingredients, and our waters have zero calories, zero carbs and no added sweeteners. Day One is an extremely dynamic beverage that you can enjoy anytime, whether you are living your best life or recovering from it.” The company said that infusing a beverage with CBD makes it easier for the body to absorb. Natural Hemp said it expects to sell Day One in convenience stores and at mass retailers. It has plans to expand the flavor lineup in the coming months and promote the launch with a 360-degree media and marketing campaign.

Leading Edge Pharms, a company focused on developing new cannabinoid therapies and delivery systems, has added a former NBA champion to its employment roster. The company named John Salley its executive vice president of marketing, tasking him with helping market Leading Edge Pharms’ Cananvera line of CBD-based topical pain and inflammation products. “I tried Leading Edge’s topical oil for a chronic back pain issue that was keeping me awake at night,” Salley said. “The bottom line is the product works. The oil eased my discomfort, allowing me to sleep through the night for the first time in years. As I learned more about the company, it became clear that behind the product was a commitment to the science of CBD and a natural approach to improving lives. I’m excited to join the team and look forward to building market momentum for Leading Edge and Cannavera.” Leading Edge said its products use its proprietary Silvidiol compound, a delivery system that allows CBD to reach the site of pain without systemic absorption. “We were excited when John expressed interest in joining Leading Edge,” CEO David Chadwick said. “Obviously, the initial association is basketball and the sports pain relief market. However, John has long since transcended that to focus on audiences looking for natural lifestyle solutions. In John, we are joined by someone who is committed to healthy living and will be a great brand ambassador for the company.”

JustCBD, Flo-Rida Team Up on Jet Setter Vitamin Miami-based hemp company JustCBD has partnered with musician Flo-Rida to bring a new CBD-infused gummy multivitamin to market. The company’s Jet Setter gummies, designed for on-the-go consumers, is meant to strengthen the immune system, while providing vitamins A, B, C and D with CBD. “We are focused on building innovative products with conventional utility,” JustCBD’s Hussein Rakine said. “Partnering with Flo-Rida to create a daily CBD immune booster lent itself a perfect marriage that shows JustCBD’s expansive product pedigree and Flo-Rida’s hustle and drive to stay fit and focused.” The product comes in an Orange Berry Blast flavor and currently retails for $49.99 on JustCBD’s website. Each gummy contains roughly 5 mg of CBD, with each 60-count bottle containing roughly 300 mg of CBD. “As a performer, my body is my living, so I have to treat it right. Staying healthy and active is a must, so JustCBD and Dr. [George] Tabi took my love for nutrition and health, and the demands of a crazy travel schedule, to create Jet Setter, which is a perfect companion to my jet-set lifestyle,” Flo-Rida said.



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Navigating Choppy Waters Pharmacists pursue an increased clinical role amid reimbursement pressure By Sandy Levy


hese should be the best of times for pharmacists. With a growing aging population acquiring complex chronic diseases and a shortage of primary care physicians, pharmacists are in the best position to provide an array of clinical services, such as medication therapy management. Moreover, a growing number of estates are granting pharmacists the authority to perform more clinical services, and even prescribe certain medications. Pharmacists are in a position to seize more opportunities to practice at the top of their license.


Yet, low reimbursement rates for products, DIR fees, increased competition, escalating drug costs and employment issues are threatening to hamstring the progress pharmacists have advocated for and accrued over the past few decades. In a Medium post published in May, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson said that DIR fees — in which payers claw back a reimbursement paid to a pharmacy for Medicare prescriptions, often months after the drug was dispensed — can “result in below-cost reimbursement to pharmacies”

and potentially lead to higher patient cost sharing, “because cost sharing is supposed to be based on a drug’s cost, which is artificially inflated when claw backs are not figured in.” As a result, pharmacy advocacy groups have been focused on reforming DIR fees, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services omitted DIR fee reform from its Final Rule relating to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. This omission came even though CMS had acknowledged that DIR fees on pharmacies participating in Part D grew by 45,000% between 2010 and 2017.


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More bad news for pharmacists came on the employment front in July as Walmart announced that it was cutting the number of its U.S. pharmacy employees by roughly 3%. These cuts were reported to include as much as 40% of senior pharmacy staff, as well as some new hires and part-time associates. Edina, Minn.-based grocer Lunds & Byerlys also announced in July that it was closing 14 of its Twin Cities pharmacy locations, after the company said it no longer could absorb “significant losses” related to the pharmacy counter, leaving 27 pharmacy managers and staff pharmacists unemployed. Lucinda Maine, executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, said reimbursement issues are contributing to the uncertain job market for pharmacists. “We are beginning to see the layoffs and the constraint on staffing and the number of hours that is all attributable to the bizarre contracting and rebates and DIR fees,” she said. “They are killing community pharmacy practice. Congress and the president sidestepped it at the peril of patient access, at a time when we should be making sure that they have unlimited access to the knowledge and skills of pharmacists.”

Good Neighbor Pharmacy president Brian Nightengale said pharmacy, especially community pharmacy, is facing the challenges of shrinking and uncertain reimbursement for the dispensing of medications. Goar Alvarez, assistant dean of pharmacy services at Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and who also oversees the campus’ pharmacy, said, “DIR fees represent tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars that are being pulled away retroactively from pharmacy. Obviously, it has an effect on the bottom line for these pharmacies.”


National Community Pharmacists Association CEO Doug Hoey said that roughly 5% of retail pharmacies have closed in the last few years. “Pharmacy DIR fees have gotten completely out of hand.” He also said that employment cuts are partially a reflection of efforts to cut operational costs as revenue is taking a hit from PBM contracts and generics deflation. Independent pharmacists also are concerned about the current reimbursement landscape, according to Brian Nightengale, senior vice president of community and specialty pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen and president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy, the company’s network of more than 5,000 independent community pharmacies. Nightengale said pharmacy, especially community pharmacy, is facing the challenges of shrinking and uncertain reimbursement for the dispensing of medications. He argued that a different reimbursement model is crucial, and all parties realize that the current model is not sustainable. “PBMs compete to deliver lower per member per month drug costs for health plans. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and

more of a challenge as it has gotten to the point where pharmacies are losing money on an increasingly greater percentage of prescriptions they fill for patients,” Nightengale said. “The pharmacy, on the prescription side of the business, doesn’t really have any room in its margins to take risks for outcomes or value-based models.” Another complication in addressing reimbursement has much to do with “closed networks,” according to Alvarez, who said they are problematic for pharmacies that want to participate because PBMs work with one entity and they reduce the fees to that entity in exchange for more patients or increased volume. “But, the fees are so low that a company now has to figure out a way to dispense these medications at this lower cost,” he said. “They start to reduce their staff to be able to meet that new metric, or new reimbursement model.”

Opportunities for MTM, Collaboration

Among the potential ways to offset decreased reimbursement is legislation that reimburses pharmacists fairly for managing


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The Next Generation Pharmacy schools preserve high standards as applicants ebb The business of educating pharmacists is not necessarily booming. In fact, the number of new pharmacy schools being formed today is stagnating, and the number of pharmacy school applicants has dropped dramatically compared with more than a decade ago. Both developments illustrate some of the challenges that pharmacy may face in the future. Currently, there are 144 pharmacy schools. While that number may seem large, the number of new pharmacy schools have been growing very slowly compared with 15 and even 10 years ago, Lucinda Maine, executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, said. “We might have had a record seven or eight new schools to achieve pre-candidate status in one year, but only William Carey in Mississippi opened last year and the prior year there were none. In New York, there was a pharmacy school in formation, but they changed course and abandoned their plans,” she said. Part of the slow growth in new pharmacy schools can be attributed to a smaller-than-usual applicant pool. “The high water mark was 2010, and there are a ton of factors that are contributing to the decrease, some of which are completely out of our control, including the smallest number of high school graduates in a long number of years and more diversity in that cohort, including people of color who have not historically pursued healthcare careers proportionally to Caucasian and Asian colleagues,” Maine said. Goar Alvarez, assistant dean of pharmacy services at Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said academia responded to various reports in the early 2000s that indicated that there would be a shortage of pharmacists by 2020, anticipating that pharmacists would be in primary care roles. “It was anticipated that pharmacists would be much more involved in chronic disease management, treatment of minor acute issues, wellness and disease prevention, and other primary care roles. Legislation and regulation do not appear to have caught up and continue to be barriers to empowering pharmacists to practice what we have been educated to do, which is to practice at the top of our licenses” Alvarez said. Going forward, National Community Pharmacists Association CEO Doug Hoey said it is important that the caliber of the next crop of pharmacy students accepted into pharmacy schools remains very high despite the drop in the number of applicants. Hoey said that while a pharmacist shortage existed 10 to 15 years ago, the industry needs to see a steady flow of qualified candidates. “It’s crucial that pharmacy schools are accepting only the best and brightest students just as they had to 10, 20, 30 years ago because there were so many applicants,” he said. “At times, the number of applicants for each available opening has been several applicants to every one opening. The ratio has gotten smaller, and while it doesn’t mean the quality of the accepted students has gone down, it means there’s a potential for that to happen. We have to really be very careful to make sure the caliber of student that is accepted into pharmacy school remains extremely high.”


Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy students in the practice lab

The declining applicant pool of pharmacy students is frequently discussed by colleges of pharmacy administrators, faculty in Florida and around the country, Alvarez said. He has had conversations with pharmacy school deans who are adamant and committed to high-quality student enrollments and who are not willing to decrease the quality of the students entering pharmacy for the sake of filling class size. Like Hoey, Alvarex said the caliber of admitted students must remain high. “After all, these are the individuals that society will entrust their health and wellness to, and we want none other than top notch professionals taking care of our pharmacotherapeutic needs,” he said. Aside from the stalled momentum in the creation of new pharmacy schools and the decline in applicants, the issue of stress among working pharmacists is one that pharmacy organizations are tackling. Maine said that many pharmacists are vocalizing that they may have made a mistake in going to pharmacy school, and she emphasized that these negative feelings are not unique to pharmacists. “Many physicians are not encouraging young people to pursue medicine because they’re feeling a lot of the same stresses,” she said. Two years ago, AACP joined the National Academy of Medicine’s collaboration on clinician well-being. The fact that The American Society of Health Systems was the first pharmacy organization to join the collaboration, which was formed four years ago, is evidence that there are pressures in the hospital and health system sector, Maine said. “It’s not a pharmacy phenomenon, it’s a healthcare phenomenon.” —Sandra Levy


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Pharmacy Students Enter World with Clinical Opportunities Where do pharmacy students fit in as they plan careers in a pharmacy landscape that has more than its fair share of challenges, as well as future opportunities? Lucinda Maine, executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, recommended that pharmacy students consider ambulatory care as their focus of practice and to prepare for advanced practice roles. “It may or may not require a postgraduate year one ambulatory care residency, but we know that there is an increased interest among students to do that one or two years of postgrad training to qualify themselves for advanced practice roles,” she said. Additionally, Maine advised pharmacy students not to be constrained in thinking about only serving in traditional practice roles. “There are amazing opportunities for pharmacists in a variety of different environments, and in the future that will include taking leading roles in managing pharmacogenomics services and the other Nova Southeastern College of Pharmacy holds an annual event for students focused on innovation in the really important primary care activities.” pharmacy space. Currently, the practice of pharmacy is expanding into enhanced clinical roles for pharmacists, She also reminded students of geographic as well as options outside traditional practice, including pharmacogenomics services. variability in the supply and demand, and opportunities in such underserved areas as rural areas or inner cities. to hone their clinical skills, Randy McDonough, owner of Towncrest Brian Nightengale, senior vice president of community and specialty Pharmacy in Iowa City, Iowa, and a board trustee at the American pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen and president of Good Neighbor Pharmacists Association, said. “This is the time to make sure your Pharmacy, is pushing to create awareness of the great opportunities skills are at their absolute best. Make sure you keep up with therapy available for pharmacy students with an entrepreneurial bent to own knowledge, make sure your clinical skills are very sharp. That will keep a pharmacy. Among Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s more than 5,000 you employable and very competitive within the marketplace,” he said. independent community pharmacies, the average age of owners is Given that pharmacy school is expensive and many students over 60 years old. Many of these pharmacy owners, who are going to graduate with significant debt, Goar Alvarez, assistant dean of transition their business in the next 5 to 10 years, necessarily do not pharmacy services at Nova Southeastern University College of have anybody ready or able to take over ownership. Pharmacy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said that many pharmacy students “While the job market does seem to be fairly challenging because are worried about the job market. Yet reflecting on how patients have of the supply issues and a lot of pharmacy students graduating, for responded positively by getting immunizations from their pharmacists, those who are entrepreneurial, there are tremendous opportunities Alvarez is optimistic that pharmacists will provide additional clinical to go to work for an independent pharmacy and have the opportunity services, especially as patients come to demand them. over the next short-term to buy and own that pharmacy,” he said. “It’s a matter of showcasing what we can do and continuing to No matter which career path pharmacy students pursue, two things advocate for being able to practice at the top of our license,” Alvarez said. are certain: Pharmacists must continue to amass knowledge and —Sandra Levy



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a patient’s medication regimen, as well as collaborating with other healthcare providers, Alvarez said. To be sure, pharmacists’ involvement in MTM helps to ensure patients’ adherence and their health, but it also reduces healthcare costs. Maine cited statistics from a model created by her colleagues 25 years ago that showed that for every dollar spent purchasing drugs, there is a dollar of unintended consequences of not using drugs in the best manner possible. “Twenty-five years ago that was $77 billion dollars, and the number is now reprojected to be more than $500 billion. If pharmacists were doing exactly what we are training our students to do, we could save about half of that money for the healthcare system,” she said. “Our challenge is to keep focused on the fact that we haven’t yet achieved our mission critical function. There’s still too much medication misuse that is part of the healthcare landscape.” Donna Ryan, immediate past president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators and regional director of population health at Pensacola, Fla.-based Ascension Florida, concurred that pharmacists play a critical role in reducing healthcare costs, especially when it comes to hospital readmissions due in part to their proximity to patients, frequency of patient visits and how highly patients trust pharmacists. “That is a trifecta of opportunity for pharmacies to impact the health outcomes of people and communities,” Ryan said. “Pharmacists can reduce healthcare costs when people are managing their conditions well and safely. Data shows that reductions in hospital readmissions are positively impacted when people have access to a pharmacy and a pharmacist.” Despite the daunting challenges, experts are optimistic about the future of pharmacy. Indeed, many pharmacy experts and those in academia agree that collaborative practice agreements between pharmacists and physicians and a team approach will expand, enabling pharmacists to utilize their expertise and retailers to maximize pharmacy going forward. “Pharmacists are going to be integrated


to help manage and co-manage complex chronically ill patients,” AACP’s Maine said. “We use a lot of medicines on complex chronically ill patients, which is why the practice model is so ripe for development.” This practice model of working collaboratively with a group of physicians to help manage their complex patients mainly requires a very strong relationship and a good exchange of electronic information, Maine said. “A pharmacist on a community practice platform can be a consultant to that practice on their community platform,” she said. “There are a lot of different models that can work.” AACP’s incoming president Todd Sorensen has pinpointed “integration and collaboration” as his top priorities, and in the coming year, AACP’s committees will be exploring what educational changes may be necessary for this practice transformation to occur, Maine said.

Expanding Capabilities

Randy McDonough, owner of Towncrest Pharmacy in Iowa City, Iowa, and a board trustee at the American Pharmacists Association, believes that state protocols under which pharmacists can prescribe such drugs as oral contraception and naloxone for opioid overdoses are good

examples of how pharmacists already are working collaboratively with healthcare providers to care for patients. He foresees the real value of pharmacists as taking on the role of interventionists. “When they see that the patient hasn’t achieved a therapeutic outcome or are having safety issues, or they are not having as effective a therapy as they possibly can, the pharmacist is being proactive and sending their clinical recommendations to prescribers saying, ‘Here’s a recommendation on how we can improve this patients’ drug therapy,” he said. So how will pharmacists, who collaborate to improve patients’ outcomes, get paid? Nightengale insisted on a dual path. One path would be for the reimbursement for the prescription and the dispensing of that prescription that is fair and adequate to cover the costs. “There’s a separate opportunity, a reimbursement channel or payment model that allows for pharmacists and pharmacies to be paid fairly for the services that they provide beyond the dispensing of the medication,” he said. “If you separate those two, you can have a value-based, outcomesbased model where the pharmacy gets reimbursed for the drug and dispensing and costs associated with that, but separately they can be compensated fairly for the outcomes


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they deliver, whether it’s through improved adherence, improved diabetes A1C control or anything else that health plans want to focus on for high costs patients. We need new pathways for that to be done.” NCPA’s Hoey said the future of pharmacy not only is in continuing to battle for fair product reimbursement, but in providing more services and also attaining service revenue as evidenced by the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network, or CPESN, which NCPA launched two years ago with Community Care of North Carolina. The goal of these local networks of pharmacies is to help reduce healthcare costs for employers, while ensuring pharmacists get paid for providing services that enhance patient care. For example, the pharmacy in the local network might provide training on the proper use of inhalers to employees who have asthma. The pharmacist documents the service in an eCare plan and shares it with the physician or other caregivers and healthcare providers. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce costs for the healthcare system. “One of the things that has happened in the marketplace that really rings the bell is a reminder that the diversification of pharmacies’ revenue is not just an option — it’s an imperative thing to do,” Hoey said. “We have to have more service opportunities


and more service revenue. That goes back to changing the pharmacy payment model and it also ties into CPESN, which is a vital strategic move not just for NCPA, but for all of community pharmacy. It is a local network of pharmacies that are providing services that plan sponsors’ value.” Currently, 46 local CPESNs — formed by more than 2,200 pharmacies — are in operation nationwide. Maine also envisioned that the public would become more amenable to pharmacists charging them for the convenience of various point-of-care services. For instance, Washington State is testing pharmacist interventions for common illnesses that are very easy to identify and treat with over-thecounter drugs. These services can create new revenue streams for innovative practices, but such interventions require well-staffed pharmacy counters. “If they don’t have the overlap with another colleague, it’s hard to serve the traditional business while implementing innovation,” Maine said. Sandra Leal, SinfoníaRx CEO and the American Pharmacists Association’s 20202021 president-elect, said she was excited about recent progress pharmacists have made, especially those who are working within service-based models that are starting to see the growth in value-based models.

She also said that headway has been made on state-level provider status, increasing scopes of practice and new opportunities to leverage technology and pharmacogenomics to optimize medication use and to be vital players on the healthcare team. Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s Nightengale also saw an optimistic future for pharmacists who want to practice at the top of their degree. “All of the students coming out now are very clinically focused. They’ve been trained from the very beginning to take care of patients, and it’s not just about dispensing the medicine,” he said. “These community pharmacies, especially independents, are perfectly suited to practice at the top of their license and to apply those skills to the communities they serve. It really is a great opportunity for those pharmacy students who have been trained clinically to care for patients and not just fill prescriptions.” In describing the future of the state of pharmacy, American Association of Diabetes Educators’ Ryan addressed a constantly changing pharmacy landscape and said that change has to be accompanied by better clinical engagement to improve patient health. “It is said that technology is the Uberization of health care. And, disrupters to traditional health care are changing the way America seeks care. Amazon, Google, and Walmart are making strides to exceed customer demands with convenience, choice and cost transparency,” she said. “However, disruption with a sole retail focus does not translate into better health care. There are implications for retail pharmacists to keep the consumer informed, safe and healthy in their communities — at the local level and in a person-centered care model.” Hoey was optimistic, albeit a bit cautious when he said that DIR fee reform will come to pass, but even getting that done will not constitute a panacea. “Even when the DIR fees get eventually fixed, that’s not the end of the story. There’s going to be pricing pressure. That’s why it’s important that the revenue is diversified, so it’s not only the dispensing of the product, which is imperative, but also the services are vitally important,” he said. “These are challenging times we’re confronting, but it’s not the first time pharmacy has had challenging times.” dsn


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Enhancing Pharmacy Workflow Technology companies help boost the bottom line and improve patient experience By Sandra Levy


harmacy technology companies continue to step up to the plate, churning out innovative products and services that play critical roles in enhancing pharmacy workflow to help increase efficiency and productivity. Doing so, these companies’ solutions can go a long way in boosting a pharmacy’s bottom line and improving patients’ health. This month, Drug Store News is highlighting the latest from some of the leading automation and technology providers in the industry.


New York-based Amplicare is all about improving the patient experience by making pharmacists’ lives easier behind the counter. “Technology can help to streamline the entire pharmacy workflow, which gives pharmacists more time to act on patient opportunities or to offer consultations. Simplifying the pharmacy workflow is one of the main benefits the Amplicare platform offers as a whole,” Amplicare CEO Matt Johnson said. To help pharmacists improve the patient experience in the area of Medicare plan comparisons, Amplicare recently released two new features on its platform. One of these features is dubbed Doctor Lookup. “We make it seamless and automatic to identify whether a patient’s physicians are in network with their Medicare Advantage plan options,” Johnson said. Medicare Advantage plans are becoming more popular. In fact, Johnson said that one-third (34%) of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans this year, and the Congressional Budget Office expects that number to rise to 47% by 2029. “Given that doctor networks for Medicare Advantage plans are more limited than original Medicare, Doctor Lookup will be


particularly useful for pharmacists as they help patients navigate the plan selection process,” he said, noting that the company also added a tool for Medigap plan comparison. Both of these new features also will be available in the Amplicare Patient Engagement Portal. which allows patients to compare and choose Medicare plans that are in network with their current pharmacy. Johnson said the portal enables pharmacies to help a larger number of patients. Patients get access to the portal through their pharmacies with their maintenance medications automatically prepopulated, which he said can save time, reduce frustration and prevent errors from manual entry

of drugs and dosages. “It creates a seamless experience for patients because it provides all the information — medications, available plans, estimated co-pays — online, so they can take time to consider their options at their own pace. Patients can consult with loved ones and be confident they are making the right choice when they select a Medicare or Medigap plan,” Johnson said. Also in the works is a means for grocery stores to have their dietitians suggest meal regimens tailored to a patient’s chronic disease states or drug-induced nutrient depletion. “Our aim is to help the pharmacy and grocery divisions within supermarket chains


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PHARMACY | TECHNOLOGY AND AUTOMATION work collaboratively on the shared goals of increasing revenue and improving the well-being of their customers,” Johnson said

Bavis Drive-Thru

Maineville, Ohio-based Bavis Drive-Thru offers technology engineered specifically for pharmacy drive-through. Unlike pneumatic tube systems, the company’s Captive Carrier TransTrax is a positive-drive remote delivery system that offers audio and video solutions. The idea is to bring the pharmacist and patient closer together via clear communication, while enabling the delivery of large prescriptions and payment processing. “Pharmacists understand patients’ medical conditions and ailments. With our reliable technology, the drive-through offers pharmacies an easy and convenient way for both patients and pharmacists to interact, communicate and solve problems,” president William Sieber said. “With the wrong technology, the opportunity to provide care can become an aggravating story that patients will be quick to share. It is vitally important that pharmacists embrace and incorporate new technology that is specifically designed for the pharmacy drive-thru industry.” Sieber also said, “We know that capability and reliability at the drive-through directly translate to time and cost — and, vitally, patient satisfaction. These concerns were the impetus for the creation of the Captive Carrier TransTrax. Pharmacies that are looking to prosper should incorporate new technology that will make drivethrough service smooth and reliable.”

En-Vision America

Patient safety and accessibility are the focuses that Jenna Reed, marketing coordinator at Palmetto, Fla.-based En-Vision, said are at the center of the company’s technology and product offerings. “Medication adherence is such a hot topic right now, but imagine if patients cannot read their medication bottles because they are visually impaired or print impaired. Visually impaired customers have told me that they have placed their medications in a tool box and memorized which pills are in which drawers in an effort to take the correct medications at the correct time,” she


said. “Pharmacists can help ensure patients’ safety by providing accessible labels, including ScripTalk talking labels, ScriptView large print labels and braille labels.” Reed also said the company is partnering with pharmacists to provide dual-language labels, crucial for the safety of patients who aren’t fluent in English, in up to 25 languages. “This way patients can read all their important medication information in the language that they are most comfortable with, helping to ensure their safety,” she said.

En-Vision America’s Controlled Substance Safety Labels help to combat the risks involved with taking such controlled medications as opioids. “Pharmacists are going the extra mile to drive home the risks involved with Schedule II medications. This label highlights warnings and even includes a QR code to a safety video, which outlines many key things patients should keep in mind when taking these medications. A simple scan with their phone, and it’s like the pharmacist or doctor is right there with


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PHARMACY | TECHNOLOGY AND AUTOMATION them going over the risks,” she said. With ScripTalk, pharmacists place an RFID tag on the bottom of the bottle. “We send the patient a ScripTalk Station, which they can place the bottles on and it will pick up all the information, such as dosage, warnings, prescribing doctor, etc.,” Reed said, also noting that the company loans the station to the patient until they no longer need it. The company’s ScriptView offering enables pharmacists to print labels in a booklet-style format. It includes all pertinent prescription data in large print. “The booklet is attached to the bottle, so that it will not get lost or misplaced,” Reed said.

FlavoRx and Fillmaster Systems

About a decade ago, custom medication flavoring with FlavoRx just was making its way into retail pharmacies. Pharmacists had to follow recipes from a 3 inch thick printed book and count drops from a dropper, sometimes 100 or more at a time. Fillmaster Auto, a product of Columbia, Md.-based sister companies FlavoRx and Fillmaster Systems, seamlessly has integrated the practice of custom-flavoring medications into pharmacy workflow so it is not a burden on the pharmacy team. The Fillmaster Auto is a purified water dispenser that allows the user to reconstitute in seconds and flavor medications at the same time. When the pharmacist or technician scans the medication’s bar code, the Fillmaster Auto displays the recommended flavors. With the press of a button, the machine then dispenses the amount of water needed for reconstitution and the patient’s desired flavor simultaneously. There is no need to look up recipes or count drops. “The Fillmaster Auto takes the best of FlavoRx and Fillmaster and combines them into one powerful machine. You get the benefits of improved compliance and smiles of delight from FlavoRx with the speed and accuracy of Fillmaster,” Chad Baker, the company’s senior vice president of marketing, said. “Together, this helps pharmacies provide a great pharmacy experience for kids and parents.” FlavoRx was founded in 1985 to make


administering medicine easier for children and parents. Currently, it is used in more than 1,000 pharmacies nationwide. Fillmaster Systems, founded in 1992, offers water purification systems and digital water dispensers for pharmacies. Fillmaster recently introduced its FillPure Water Purification System that helps pharmacies meet water purification standards for compound nonsterile preparations as outlined in the recently updated USP GC <795>.


Johnson City, N.Y.-based Innovation’s PharmASSIST Dispenser Model 4 has been raising industry standards since its introduction to the market in 2013. “While the Model 4’s accuracy and counting speed were highly touted by Innovation customers, the need for a high volume version of the dispenser for central-fill/mail-order sites was evident from discussions with many of our customers,” Doyle Jensen, executive vice president of global business development, said.

The new PharmASSIST M4XL was developed using a combination of existing salient features of the Model 4 dispenser and proven concepts that include a vibratory plate, making the automation a true extension of the Model 4 line. Jensen said that the M4XL dispenser offers an increased capacity hopper designed with the intent of reducing the number of dispenser replenishments and handling drugs that are responsible for a significant portion of a high volume pharmacy’s formulary. As with the Model 4 dispensers, the M4XL dispenser supports the use of canisters for automated replenishment. The canisters come in 4- and 8-liter variants — a fourfold increase on the capacity of the Model 4 dispenser canisters. “With our line of PharmASSIST high volume solutions, we’ve introduced customers to systems that do not require the use of pucks to fill and transport prescription vials. The design of the M4XL dispenser enables our customers to continue enjoying the benefits of puck-free system design by eliminating


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cross-contamination — increasing patient safety and lowering costs in the long-term,” Jensen said. “Other key M4XL components were designed to optimize the separation of pills as they are readied for counting by the detection system. The presence of precision control mechanisms allows for the pills to be transported at an average rate of six pills per second across drug shapes and sizes.” The main focus of the M4XL dispenser is its improved pill detection system. “Innovation decided to improve upon the already stellar detection system of the Model 4 dispenser by augmenting it with another set of sensors, thus providing double detection and unparalleled accuracy,” Jensen said, adding that the machine also can autocalibrate, adapting to new medications presented without high pharmacist involvement. Alecia Lashier, vice president of solutions engineering, said the company also is continually working to expand its PharmASSIST Symphony for High Volume platform. Among the new functionalities are cloud-based reporting and dashboarding;


enhanced inventory tracking; expanded packaging integration; and such warehouse management features as inventory routing, maintenance task management and embedded training modules.


Redwood City, Calif.-based NimbleRx is a prescription delivery service founded by CEO Talha Sattar in 2015 to empower local and national chain pharmacies and to improve patients’ access to medications. Sattar said the company’s software allows pharmacies to interact and communicate with their customer base more efficiently and effectively. It also enables customers to check out, reorder prescriptions and track deliveries through its mobile app. “This allows the customer the ease of going about their daily tasks and not feeling the stress of rushing to their pharmacy to wait in line,” Sattar said. “Our app provides updates on when their delivery/pickup will be ready, and immediate customer support service.” Sattar said NimbleRx is designed to

benefit both pharmacies and patients. “We work with pharmacies to make customers’ prescription experiences convenient, efficient and effective,” he said. “Our mission is to help independent pharmacies expand their service offerings to patients with faster delivery, pickup options and our easy-to-use mobile application.”


Mountain View, Calif.-based Omnicell has a vision for autonomous pharmacy. Kenneth Osborn, senior director of product marketing, said that today’s pharmacy care delivery system is driven by outdated workflows and manual processes. “With $450 billion spent on medication management annually, maximizing technology investments and real-time, cloud-based reporting, analytics and benchmarking can help drive more strategic decision-making for improved business and clinical outcomes,” he said. Omnicell’s vision for autonomous pharmacy integrates a set of solutions powered by the Omnicell cloud data platform across


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three key areas — automation solutions designed to digitize and streamline workflows; intelligence that provides actionable insights about medication usage and pharmacy supply chain management; and automation of medication dispensing workflows to support improved efficiency, regulatory compliance and patient outcomes. “The vision is founded on the premise that every medication is a unique node on the network. Tracking each dose through every stage of the care continuum across Omnicell’s complete medication management portfolio provides actionable intelligence that supports higher availability, improved security, increased adherence and a better experience overall for both patients and clinicians,” Osborn said. Omnicell’s offerings include such solutions as Omnicell Patient Engagement, which supports improving patient adherence goals through a single, web-based platform that can guide and track patient notes, interventions and appointments.

Synergy Medical

Synergy Medical, which manufacturers automation for retail pharmacies, installed its first SynMed robot in 2008. Currently, more than


425 have been installed across Canada, the United State and Europe. The company’s technology helps pharmacies improve adherence, fill more prescriptions, generate more traffic and revenue, and serve as a valuable community health resource. At a certain volume, producing blister packs by hand becomes onerous and prone to error. “SynMed allows pharmacists peace of mind with respect to dispensing accuracy, better planning and workflow, and scalability,” president and founder Jean Boutin said. SynMed’s pick-and-place technology minimizes cross-contamination and ensures minimal maintenance required, Boutin said. Using vacuum technology with a HEPA filter allows SynMed to be the only blister pack automation that addresses Section 12 of the USP800 regulation, according to the company. Additionally, the technology is able to adapt and interchange between both single-dose and multidose blister packs, and is compatible with 40-plus blister packs, offering pharmacies flexibility in automating the blister cars patients prefer. SynMed also integrates with existing pharmacy management software and interfaces with electronic medical records systems. The

company also touts that its system’s accuracy is 99.98%, compared with manual production, where one can expect an error rate of 5% to 10 %. Using SynMed Ultra with two operators, Synergy Medical said pharmacies could produce as many as 100 multidose cards per hour or as many as 200 single-dose cards per hour.


Spartanburg, S.C.-based QS/1, a leader in solutions for community pharmacy, now offers what company officials said are state-ofthe-art business intelligence tools to increase revenue and improve patient outcomes with Mevesi Business Intelligence. “Mevesi provides pharmacy owners with insight into various aspects of their business and an easy way to make informed, datadriven decisions,” QS/1 senior product manager Randy Burnett said. “It allows them to easily access pharmacy data quickly and provides a high level of service with tools and resources that create a competitive advantage.” With Mevesi, business data is collected from the QS/1 server every 15 minutes and placed in a cloud-based data center to be accessed from anywhere. Mevesi can help your business


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Customized Central Fill Solutions that Fit Your Pharmacy and Your Business We understand the challenges you face and we’re here to help you stay ahead of the complexities that come with managing your medication supply chain. We design systems with the flexibility to meet your needs today and as you offer new services in the future. The industry leader in prescription filling automation, helping customers fill more than 200 million scripts a year, McKesson High Volume Solutions will help you grow your business and stay ahead of your competition.

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maximize profits using a retailer’s prescription, drug and pricing data; decrease costs by viewing negative and positive margins and tracking high/low volume drug usage; and monitor performance with a dashboard, scorecards, analysis reports and on-demand customized reports. Company officials said that QS/1 and Mevesi can provide the knowledge pharmacy owners need to optimize business health and increase adherence. These intuitive analyses and reporting capabilities allow pharmacists to focus on what matters most — patient care. The pharmacy software solutions company also is launching a new version of its mobileRx refill app and an updated interface of its turnkey website design service, CornerDrugstore.com. The latest versions, set to be released later this summer, introduce the ability for community pharmacies to customize graphics and add their logos and colors, company officials said. Other enhancements include enhanced search feature for patients looking for a pharmacy, a map feature to help navigate to the pharmcy and a new process for setting up a patient profile, as well as the ability to designate prescription requests for deliver, mail or pickup. “We are always listening to what our customers want and need, and they wanted a simplified process for creating and verifying a new patient account,” said Justin Buckland, QS/1 product manager. “We are happy to be able to introduce a simpler process,” he said. Patients also will be able to set reminders to take medications, including OTC drugs and prescriptions filled outside the QS/1 system. A new feature also will alert patients when prescrptions are ready for pickup.


Boston-based RxSense, is a healthcare technology company that provides low prescription drug prices to patients, as well as enterprise technology solutions to businesses for pharmacy benefits management. RxSense provides consumer pharmacy savings programs under its SingleCare and FamilyWize brands and through directly contracted partnerships with pharmacies. SingleCare’s business model includes its own proprietary adjudication and claims


management technology and direct contracts with the nation’s largest pharmacies including CVS Pharmacy, Walmart and Walgreens. The company said this allows SingleCare to deliver consistently low prices on prescription drugs. Consumers can leverage savings through SingleCare’s discount cards, website or app. By partnering with local and national charitable organizations, the FamilyWize pharmacy savings service seeks to bring the lowest prices possible on prescription medications to patients, with United Way as its largest partner in helping delivery savings. “With about a third of Americans saying they’ve delayed care because of cost, rising prescription drug prices are increasingly an impediment to care,” RxSense CEO Rick Bates said. “RxSense continues to seek ways to improve access and affordability for people in need of care through our pharmacy savings services including SingleCare and FamilyWize.”

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patient-specific benefit information with its Real-Time Prescription Benefit offering. Pharmacists gain access to cost, coverage and drug alternative insights in the pharmacy workflow, including the prescribed drug, up to five viable alternatives and alternate days’ supply options. Pharmacists see alerts for age and quantity limits, step therapy and prior authorization. They can connect with prescribers to initiate prior authorization or request a lower cost clinically relevant alternative using RxChange. Company officials said the tool offers pharmacists improved operational efficiency by eliminating the need for faxes, callbacks and restocking expenses. “Real-Time Prescription Benefit empowers pharmacists and improves patient medication adherence by getting patients the medication they need, quickly and at an affordable price,” said Surescripts chief product officer Mike Pritts. “It’s a win-win for pharmacists looking to boost patient and staff satisfaction.” dsn


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A Helping Hand How to support patients struggling to afford insulin and other diabetes medications By Donna Ryan

I Donna Ryan, immediate past president, American Association of Diabetes Educators


nsulin is the equivalent of oxygen for many people with diabetes. Without it they would die, and with too little, serious complications could develop. Add to this that the cost of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years. It is now the sixth most expensive liquid on the planet, behind Chanel No. 5, cobra venom and human blood, coming in at $9,400 per gallon, with some estimates in the range of $15,000 to $100,000. This has real consequences for the 7.4 million Americans who use insulin and who may not be able to afford the out-of-pocket costs. If we can reduce the cost burden of insulin, we potentially can save lives and improve health outcomes. The cost of insulin impacts many areas of diabetes management that can have disastrous consequences. Recent increases in drug pricing and changes to insurance coverage are common reasons for poor medication management, particularly for people on insulin. A recent report indicated that improved management among people with diabetes could prevent 700,000 emergency room visits and 341,000 hospitalizations, and save $4.7 billion annually. By improving the affordability of insulin, we could have greater impact on overall management and health outcomes, and ultimately reduce healthcare costs. Pharmacists keenly are aware of the impact this has on people with diabetes as we see an increase in the number of prescriptions presented for insulin in our communities. It increasingly is evident that people with diabetes are financially harmed with high list prices and high out-of-pocket costs. One solution to this, at least temporarily, can be found in assistance programs and discount cards. These programs seek to provide low- or no-cost insulin, and typically are supported by drug manufacturers, nonprofit organizations, and other such entities as medical institutions. Navigating the intricacies of assistance programs and health insurance can be difficult, especially for someone who already has to manage diabetes. With support from American Association of Diabetes Educators’ Pharmacy Community of Interest

members, AADE partners and others, resources are available that can be used by pharmacists, diabetes educators and people with diabetes to understand the different assistance options for diabetes medications, insulin, and other access and affordability challenges. The AADE website provides an Insulin Cost Saving Resource Guide in addition to other resources that help individuals find and navigate assistance programs. I encourage you to explore this page at DiabetesEducator.org/Affordability and share it with your patients. As the front line in diabetes care, you can provide expert care, education and support for people living with diabetes, and identify assistance programs that best work for individuals, their budget and coverage needs.

As the front line in diabetes care, you can provide expert care, education and support for people living with diabetes, and identify assistance programs that best work for individuals, their budget and their coverage needs. As we look to the future, the larger issue is that assistance programs are just a bandage for a much greater systematic problem. Yet, until all stakeholders can work toward a solution, it will be critical for those who use insulin and other medications to work with their diabetes educator, including pharmacists, to find affordable solutions. At AADE, we continue to advocate with such partners as JDRF, the American Diabetes Association, the Endocrine Society, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and others to put people with diabetes and their health first. dsn


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FDA Clears Lyrica Generics from Nine Firms The Food and Drug Administration has approved multiple applications for first generics of Pfizer’s Lyrica (pregabalin). Following on the heels of news that the FDA gave its approval to Amneal, the FDA announced that the following companies also received clearance for generic Lyrica: Alembic, Alkem, Dr. Reddy’s, InvaGen, MSN Laboratories, Rising Pharmaceuticals, Sciegen, and Teva. The product is used for the management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy; the management of postherpetic neuralgia; as an adjunctive therapy for the treatment of partial-onset seizures in patients 17 years old and older; the management of fibromyalgia; and the management of neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury. “Today’s approval of the first generics for pregabalin, a widely used medication, is another example of the FDA’s long-standing commitment to advance patient access to lower cost, high quality generic medicines,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s center for drug evaluation and research. “This new generic launch provides an important treatment option for patients and, as our 21st generic product launch this year, demonstrates the continued momentum of our generic pipeline,” Amneal president and CEO Rob Stewart said. “We expect this momentum to continue throughout the remainder of 2019 as we work toward making up to 50 new generic products available to patients in the U.S.” Pregabalin capsules had a market value of about $5.4 billion for the 12 months ended May 31, according to IQVIA.

Lupin Gets FDA Nod for Two Generics Lupin has received the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for cinacalcet tablets in dosage strengths of 30 mg, 60 mg and 90 mg. Lupin’s product is the generic of Amgen’s Sensipar tablets 30 mg, 60 mg and 90 mg. It is indicated in the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism, or HPT, in adult patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis; hypercalcemia in adult patients with parathyroid carcinoma; and severe hypercalcemia in adult patients with primary HPT who are unable to undergo parathyroidectomy. Cinacalcet tablets 30 mg, 60 mg and 90 mg had a market value of approximately $1.5 billion, according to IQVIA March 2019 data. Lupin also received the FDA’s blessing for phenylephrine and ketorolac intraocular solution 1%/0.3%. The product is the generic of Omeros’ Omidria intraocular solution 1%/0.3%. It is indicated for maintaining pupil size by preventing intraoperative miosis, and for reducing postoperative ocular pain. The product is added to an ocular irrigating solution used during cataract surgery or intraocular lens replacement. Phenylephrine and ketorolac intraocular solution 1%/0.3% had a market value of about $42.8 million, according to IQVIA data for the year ended in March.


Amneal Launches Ery-Tab Generic Amneal is introducing the first generic of Arbor Pharmaceuticals’ Ery-Tab (erythromycin delayed-release tablets) The generic is available in dosage strenghts of 250 mg, 333 mg and 500 mg. Amneal’s generic is indicated for treatment of infections caused by susceptible strains of certain microorganisms in a variety of diseases.

PerceptiMed Names New CEO Pharmacy technology company PerceptiMed has named Frank Starn as CEO, succeeding Bob Curry. Starn served for 12 years in senior management positions at McKesson, most recently as senior vice president and COO of McKesson’s U.S. Pharmaceuticals Distribution Group. Prior to those roles, he was president of global sourcing, as well as senior vice president and CFO, of the U.S. Pharmaceuticals Group. “The time had come for the company to bring on a CEO with a proven track record of success and with the industry knowledge and relationships to accelerate the company’s growth,” Ron Markin, PerceptiMed chairman, said. Curry, who has 32 years of healthcare venture capital investing experience, will continue to serve on the PerceptiMed board.


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Sandoz Offers Free Symjepi to Americares

Karyopharm Therapeutics Receives FDA OK for Xpovio

Americares is delivering epinephrine to free and charitable clinics across the United States thanks to donations from Sandoz, a division of Novartis. The organization’s aim is to protect children and adults from serious allergic reactions as they spend more time outdoors throughout the summer. The company recently donated more than 4,000 packs — more than 8,000 individual injections — of its Symjepi (epinephrine) 0.3 mg injectable medication to Americares for distribution to partner clinics in the United States. The health-focused relief and development organization is delivering the medicine free of charge to clinics and community health centers upon request. Epinephrine is an emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, that can be triggered by food allergies, insect stings or some medications. Anaphylaxis can cause swelling of the lips or tongue, trouble breathing, and loss of consciousness among other symptoms. The single-dose, prefilled syringe and device combination donated by Sandoz can be an alternative other epinephrine auto-injectors. It is FDA approved for use by adults and children weighing approximately 66 lbs. or more. “We are hoping that this donation can help address a critical need in the U.S. due to the ongoing shortage of epinephrine injections,” Sandoz president Carol Lynch said. “This is a lifesaving medicine, which is why Sandoz is making Symjepi immediately available to U.S. patients through Americares to help bridge the shortage gap during these summer months.” Since 1986, Novartis and Sandoz together have donated nearly $300 million worth of medicine to support health programs in 113 countries. In 2016, Sandoz made a commitment to donate up to $10 million worth of high quality generic medicines annually to Americares for distribution worldwide.

Karyopharm Therapeutics has received the Food and Drug Administration’s green light for Xpovio (selinexor) tablets in combination with the corticosteroid dexamethasone. It is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least four prior therapies and whose disease is resistant to several other forms of treatment, including at least two proteasome inhibitors, at least two immunomodulatory agents and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody. “While there is no cure for multiple myeloma, there are FDA-approved treatments to target the cancer and slow down the spread of the disease. Sadly, often over time, patients can exhaust all available treatments and still see


their disease progress,” Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s oncology center of excellence and acting director of the office of hematology and oncology products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said. “Today, we approved a treatment under our accelerated approval program that provides a treatment option for patients with multiple myeloma with no available therapy.” Multiple myeloma is cancer that begins in plasma cells — white blood cells that produce antibodies — and may also be referred to as plasma cell myeloma. Abnormal plasma cells build up in the bone marrow, forming tumors in many bones of the body. As more antibodies are made, it can cause blood to thicken and keep the bone marrow from making enough healthy blood cells.

UHS Implements Innovation’s Pharmacy Automation Technology Innovation, makers of PharmASSIST pharmacy automation solutions, announced that United Health Services has implemented the firm’s PharmASSIST Symphony+ workflow and dispensing technology at its newly opened UHS Retail Pharmacy, Summit Building at Binghamton General in Binghamton, N.Y. UHS now has four outpatient pharmacies using Innovation’s PharmASSIST pharmacy automation and workflow platform, two sites with robotic dispensing systems and two with cabinet based dispensing automation. UHS said the use of Innovation’s automation at its Binghamton General, Wilson Place/ Johnson City, Delaware Valley/Walton and Vestal sites are positioning its pharmacists to optimize medication across the care continuum. “The technology frees up valuable staff time, enabling them to better manage various tasks in a ‘hybrid’ model approach to retail pharmacy offering many different services,” William Waldron, director of pharmacy community practice at UHS, said. “The workflow hub also helps our sites gain complete transparency on all prescription statuses from prescription initiation through patient pickup. This is invaluable to us due to our offering various types of prescription filling services.” Christopher Kearse, Innovation division vice president of healthcare solutions, said, “We couldn’t be happier that UHS has expanded their use of our technology and now has four pharmacies employing automation throughout the region. Our longtime partnership with UHS shows how two successful local organizations can work together to provide high quality health care to the Southern Tier patient community and beyond.”


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Versatile VMS Consumers turn to the vitamin aisle to help with more issues than ever By Nora Caley


ore joints? Trouble sleeping? How about just wanting to look a bit better and feel a bit better? Those are all reasons that consumers increasingly are turning to the vitamins, minerals and supplement category as they look for answers to these concerns and many others. And, as with many health categories, much of the growth in the VMS section is being driven by what consumers are learning when they go online to research their health issues. Many are using the information they are finding to make lifestyle changes and buy more products. “Exercise, non-processed foods, healthy diet and mindfulness are now part of the consumer lifestyle,” said Alexa Wood, brand manager at Miamibased ADM Protexin. “With the increased consumer awareness and so much information online, consumers are reaching out to the Internet to self-diagnose themselves and to research which product will be the best for them at the moment.” According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, for the 52 weeks ended June 16, U.S. multi-outlet sales for vitamins totaled more than $7.56 billion, a 3.2% increase compared with the same period the previous year. Within the vitamins category, the biggest subcategory — minerals — totaled more than $3.8 billion, an increase of 3.2%. Liquid vitamins/minerals increased 20.7% to more than $577.2 million. The question remains whether retailers want to put enough resources to satisfy the growing and changing demands of the VMS department. Those resources include giving the category sufficient space in store and stocking segments that may not yet be mainstream, but cater to a loyal following of consumers. One area that is capturing much attention is CBD and hemp. “The hemp industry is


Multi-outlet sales for vitamins totaled more than

$7.56 3.2% billion increase from last year


booming, and hemp oil is no different,” said Nicholas Senande, media marketing manager at Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Piping Rock Health Products, which offers hemp oil. “A must-have supplement for retailers, consumers are actively looking for this product to use during their daily wellness regimen.” Others agreed that CBD is making its way into the category. “CBD seems to be gaining market interest in the past few months,” Marcia Moll, marketing director of dietary


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Sleep3 ‡For occasional sleeplessness* Nature’s Bounty Beauty: †For occasional dry skin and sleeplessness *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. *Source: Nielsen xAOC 52 weeks ending 1/26/19 based on combination of $ volume for VMHS and WCN categories.

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Sundown Kids: © Disney / Pixar ‡Clean defined as all products free of gluten, dairy, artificial flavors and peanuts. *These pectin-based pops contain 100% honey Soothes coughs associated with hoarseness, dry throat and irritants* ◊These syrups contain 100% real honey Sundown: †Clean defined as all products Non-GMO^, and free of Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Lactose and Artificial Flavors◊. ◊Applies to all products manufactured after 5/1/15. ˆApplies to all products manufactured after 3/1/17. Please check back of label for product information. Does not apply to Sundown® Naturals Kids products.

8/6/19 11:09 PM


Designer Protein Expands its Assortment

supplements and herbal medicines at U.S. Pharmacopia, or USP, said. “The current regulatory status of CBD prevents its use in dietary supplements or foods, but as consumer interest grows and states pass their own legalization laws, we may see more products containing CBD in the market in the next few years.” Other ingredients, including chondroitin, still are top of mind for many consumers. “A major problem in America today is more than 70 million Americans suffer from arthritis and chronic joint symptoms,” said Junkichi Izumi, president of the USA division of Tokyo-based Zeria Pharmaceutical. The company, with U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif., makes Zeria Pure Chondroitin, with pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate that prevents joint degradation and maintains cartilage thickness. “It’s the only ingredient in the joint supplement category that adds cushion to your joints,” he said. Izumi agreed that online information is helping to boost VMS sales. “Today’s consumer IQ is very high,” he said. “With the availability of the Internet, each consumer is an expert within minutes.” While arthritis and joint pain long have been associated with aging, eye health is another


important age-related health area. Age-related macular degeneration, which occurs when the central part of the retina, or macula, degenerates, is a leading cause of vision loss for people 50 years old and older. Bridgewater, N.J.-based Bausch + Lomb recently launched Ocuvite Eye Performance vitamins. The new vitamins are formulated to help strengthen the macula, which helps protect the eye from the stress of sunlight and blue light emitted from digital devices. “What we’re seeing today in the eye vitamin market is similar to what other categories are seeing,” Chris Marschall, vice president and general manager of consumer health care at Bausch + Lomb, said. “Consumers need products that address their busy, digitally-focused lives. From increased blue light exposure from long hours spent in front of digital devices and increased UV exposure from sunlight, our eyes are under more stress than ever before due to a changing world that is occurring faster than the human eye has evolved.” While loss of vision is a long-term issue, consumers also are looking for answers to more immediate needs. Michelle Yoon, brand manager at San Francisco-based Olly, said that while consumers continue to seek such

In the 25 years since Designer Protein first brought whey protein powder to the public, the company has remained focused on what it does best. “We are 100% focused on powders,” the Carlsbad, Calif.based company’s CEO Paul Pruett said. “That makes us a category leader. A lot of other brands are into bars and ready to drinks.” The company manufactures a full line of plantbased, whey-based and egg-based protein powders that consumers can make into shakes. Designer Protein keeps up with important consumer trends, and over the years has spent $10 million on research and development of new products. Today, Pruett said consumers want more protein, fewer carbs and less sugar. “That’s the general macro trend nutritionally,” he said. Among the company’s newest products is Designer Keto, which contains 14 g of keto adaptogenic protein and only 2 g of carbs. Also new is Totally Egg, which has 24 g of natural egg white and egg yolk protein — the equivalent protein of three regular eggs, but with 50% fewer calories, 93% less fat and 98% less cholesterol. Designer Protein plans to launch several products in the next year. One is Designer CBD, a complete daily recovery product with 20 g of vegan hemp protein, cannabinoids, live enzymes, omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and SuperSorb Astragin — a digestive absorption amplifier to increase bioavailability. Designer Plant has 20 g of pea and rice protein fermented by shitake mushrooms, as well as antioxidant acerola, three strains of probiotic and AstraGin. Designer PM has 15 g of protein from whey, casein and hydrolyzed collagen to promote a restful night’s sleep. Pruett said the company always is on the lookout for opportunities to create new beneficial powders for consumers. “We are constantly going to trade shows and ingredient shows to see what are the newest, most trending, beneficial ingredients, and how we can combine them the best possible way,” he said. “That’s the heritage we have created over the last 25 years. Consumers expect that from us.”


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Great tasting Culturelle® Probiotic Gummies balance your gut naturally with the power of good bacteria*.


Culturelle® Probiotic + Multivitamin Gummies contain probiotics and a good source of 10 vitamins and minerals.

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medicine cabinet staples as multivitamins, much of the growth in the VMS category is coming from segments that offer such acute benefits as better sleep or healthier hair. In fact, sleep is a macro trend, and sleep supplements are among the fastest-growing segments in the VMS category. “Consumers view sleep as an important part of their wellness routine, whether it’s tracking their cycles through mobile apps or taking supplements for better sleep,” Yoon said. Olly recently launched two products, Olly Extra Strength Sleep and Olly Beauty Sleep. “We consistently heard from a subset of consumers that they were looking for more sleep support options.” Other sleep products come from Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Nature’s Bounty, which added two new products — Anxiety & Stress Relief and Sleep3 — to its portfolio this spring. The company said Sleep3 is the first trilayer release technology introduced to mass market. “Consumer insights show that nearly 50% of people experience worse sleep now than they did 10 years ago, and more than 50% of them attribute loss of sleep to stress and anxiety,” Nicole Hayes, senior manager of corporate communications, said. Hayes also said that the beauty segment continues to be an important piece of Nature’s


Bounty’s business, with the company launching its Beauty Gels line at Ulta Beauty in March. “More and more, consumers are gravitating toward products that help them address key beauty needs from within, whether that be their smile or complexion.” Heart health also still is a big category, and the focus is not always on cholesterol. Weider Global Nutrition recently launched Artery Health, which contains vitamin K2, Aronia berry and ginger — which are meant to properly transport and secure calcium and support arterial flexibility. The vegetarian capsules come in a blister pack enclosed in a box to look more clinical, according to the company. “We focus on niche formulas that provide solutions to problems that arise as people age,” said Colby Mclellan, vice president of marketing and product development. “Weider stays up to date on trends for new ingredients, easy modalities, serving size, and packaging.” Another trend is the increased interest in products geared towards women. Products that promote beauty from within, relieve menopause symptoms, strengthen bones or are formulated for pregnancy and prenatal supplementation are selling well, said Patricia A. Jones, senior manager, new business development for Mason Vitamins, based in Miami Lakes, Fla. “Additionally, products that meet

women’s top health challenges, specifically diet, fatigue and stress are seeing growth and will continue to see success.”

Innovative Formats

While capsules, liquids and powders remain the most common delivery forms of VMS products, several manufacturers are focused on innovation that sets their products apart. Mason Vitamins recently launched Ginger Burst Bead Release Technology Chewable Tablets. The new delivery format is naturally colored chewable tablets that have pink beads, which the company said are “spiked” with a combination of ginger and zingiberene. Other nontraditional formats are appearing with the aim of appealing to consumers who are tired of taking pills. MyBite Vitamins makes chocolate bites as a delivery system for energy, immunity, sleep and other segments. “The hottest trend is functional, nutritional supplements,” Kate Jones, the company’s president, said. “We are a complete vitamin first, but then we are a delicious chocolatey bite with smooth caramel, roasted peanuts and a whipped center.” MyBite Vitamins have 25 calories or fewer; are gluten-free; and have no artificial colors, flavors or added preservatives. For retailers, the challenge might be deciding how to merchandise the chocolate bites.


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Jones pointed out that the product is a nutritional supplement. “We created the gummy vitamin category over 20 years ago and positioned them next to the tablets and capsules,” she said. “Today, we are again changing the category and MyBite Vitamins is positioned right next to gummies on the shelf.” Another easy-to-take format comes from Good Day Chocolate. “We looked at the market and saw that everything had become a gummy, everything was corn syrup and gelatin,” said Simeon Margolis, its co-founder and CEO. “There is a way to do this in a better-for-you, whole-food, plant-based manner.” Good Day Chocolate supplements are available in several varieties, including Turmeric, Sleep, Calm and Probiotic. Coming soon are a CBD product and a new version of the Sleep product. “Sleep is our No. 1 product,” Margolis said. “Sleep has always been a big issue in this country.”

Retailers Can Succeed

Consumers often know exactly what product and format they want, and some retailers make finding the products easy. Signage and packaging information are crucial for the category, making it even more important that retailers group the category together in a part of the store where assistance easily can be found. Many suppliers suggest that savvy retailers also can benefit by tapping into consumers’ desire for knowledge. “Education is the most important practice to drive sales in the VMS category,” Protexin’s Wood said. “Consumers need to learn what differentiates one brand from another, and why a specific product will be the right one for them.” Wood recommended educational seminars at the stores, product sampling, marketing materials and eye-catching point-of-sale materials to help retailers connect with and educate consumers. Retailers can succeed by aligning themselves with the professionals that consumers look to

for advice, Bausch + Lomb’s Marschall said. “We expect eye care professionals will play a greater role in defining these needs by helping consumers understand which brands best fit their eye health needs. To accommodate this, retailers will need to align their shelf assortment and support strategy with the recommended brands from eye care professionals.” Marschall also said that Bausch + Lomb continues to focus on being the top doctor recommended brand across relative categories. Consumers also like having some reassurance that what they’re buying is of high quality. “Retailers should consider submitting their supplements to third-party quality verification programs, such as USP Verified,” USP’s Moll said. “Having their supplements quality verified provides a market advantage to manufacturers because they can assure their customers they are purchasing a quality product versus a manufacturer that has not verified their products.” dsn


Say hello to OLLY: Sales@OLLY.com

Back to...busy Keep-up nutrients for the whole crew.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.



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HEALTH | VMS PRODUCTS Nature’s Bounty Debuts Sundown Organics Nature’s Bounty is tapping into the organic trend with its Sundown brand. New Sundown Organics features 12 frequently taken supplements, all clean and USDAcertified organic. The line even has “tree-free” packaging made from sustainable sugar cane, which helps keep the planet a little greener. The lineup includes: • Well: A number of multivitamins specifically developed for adults, enriched with more than 15 organic fruits and vegetables, and with a 100-mg blend per serving; • Active Energy Complex: For that extra boost of energy, this supplement uses naturally occurring caffeine from guayusa, guarana and green tea. It also contains two essential vitamins — B-12 and B-6 — for energy metabolism support, plus a combination of popular botanicals; • Terrific Tummy Probiotic: With 1.5 billion active cultures per serving and friendly bacteria for the digestive system; • Sincerely Turmeric: With 315 mg of turmeric, this powerful plant-based supplement supports antioxidant health; • Respond Immune Complex: Stay strong with this tablet that contains immune supporting ingredients — vitamin C and vitamin D-3, as well as a blend of Organic reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms. It also has selenium and zinc, which act as antioxidants to help fight against free radicals in the body; • Stress Escape: The product is packed with 500 mg per serving of passionflower, a tropical herb that traditionally has been used for centuries, it’s a great choice to help relieve occasional stress; • Goodnight Herbal Complex: Combat occasional sleeplessness with this complex that contains valerian root, chamomile, lemon balm and passionflower; • Strong Bones Core Complex: With 200 mg of plant-based calcium, sourced from the pristine shores of South America, this complex contains naturally occurring minerals to support bone health; • Ener-B B12 1000 MCG: Provides energy metabolism for the whole body and helps maintain cellular energy levels by converting food into energy; and • Positively Pretty Hair, Skin & Nails Complex: This hair, skin and nails formula provides 2,500 mcgs of biotin and key nutrients, plus an herbal blend of green tea, grapeseed and Moringa oleifera leaf.


Bausch + Lomb Expands Ocutive Lineup Bausch + Lomb’s new Ocuvite Eye Performance vitamins are formulated to help strengthen the macula, which helps protect the eye from the stress of sunlight and blue light emitted from digital devices. The new Ocuvite Eye Performance vitamins are the result of insights gathered from consumers and eye care professionals to nourish and support the eyes’ natural protective filter, providing the added strength needed to keep up with today’s modern world. Ocuvite Eye Performance vitamins were formulated with seven vital nutrients, including lutein; zeaxanthin, the two carotenoid pigments naturally found in the eye; omega-3’s to help support healthy tears and a healthy retina; zinc to help regulate immune function in the eye; vitamins C and E, two antioxidants key to eye health; and vitamin D, an antioxidant meant to help prevent inflammation.

Mason Vitamins Bets on New Formats Mason Vitamins is offering its new Ginger Burst Bead Release Technology Chewable Tablets. The company said ginger has been used for thousands of years in many cultures as a traditional remedy for health-related purposes. Mason Natural Ginger-Burst brings ginger’s main healthand-wellness properties in an innovative delivery format — beads. These naturally colored chewable tablets have pink beads with a combination of ginger and zingiberene, a predominant constituent of the oil of ginger, which contributes to the herb’s flavor by providing a palatable taste. Ginger may help support digestion, ease nausea and help the stomach feel better by reducing incidence of diarrhea, flatulence and loss of appetite associated with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. The company also said ginger may help calm gut inflammation, or even support a stronger stomach lining.


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It’s still us. Just better looking.

New look. Same product. †This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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8/4/19 10:16 PM


Direct Pressure First aid manufacturers use customer insights, e-commerce to their advantage By David Salazar


t is steady as it goes for the first aid category. While other categories experience more extreme fluctuations, a steady demand for merchandise and a constant influx of product introductions have resulted in relatively stable sales for this important department at retail. The overall first aid treatment segment, which includes insect first aid, ointments,


anti-itch treatments and smelling salts sat at roughly $1.5 billion for the year ended June 6 — a year-over-year decline of 0.1% in terms of sales, according to IRI data. Subcategories also are more or less steady — ointments for the same period brought in $915 million (a 1% decrease) and bandages were up 1.2% to $845 million. The exception was insect first aid, which declined 9.6% to $14.3 million.

Even with the stability of the category, industry observers said that opportunities abound in first aid, especially with aging baby boomers needing more products and a dramatic shift to self-care that drives patients into retailers seeking solutions to minor ailments. Then there is the fact that as retailers are having to make tough decisions about which


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products they should allot space to, consumers are becoming increasingly choosy. “I think retailers are always looking at their assortments and asking if they have the most effective remedies,” said Jim Creagan, president of Randob Labs, which makes Sting-Kill insect bite first aid products. “And consumers are looking at it from the perspective of looking not just at the name brand, but at the active ingredients.” The big buoy in the category, though, is the fact that 40% of purchases in the space are distress trips, Meghan Kelly, senior brand manager for U.S. wound care at Johnson & Johnson Consumer, said. That immediacy is something that manufacturers in the category get excited about, as much for the foot traffic it drives into stores as for the sales it drives for their products and the ability to be a go-to brand for consumers, Creagan said. “It’s about convenience, but it’s about more than convenience,” he said. “It’s about the ability to say, ‘I need a solution to my problem and use it now,’ and retailers can use that as an advantage to think about as they make their stocking decisions.” Beyond delivering on products when the need is high, category experts said the potential for the category is there as long as retailers and can effectively can inform consumers about their first aid options, while also leveraging e-commerce and an omnichannel approach to augment in-store sales. In-store education is vital, many said. Consumers come to retailer stores needing answers, and they will develop a loyalty to the merchants who can point them to the right product for the right problem. Assortment also means a lot to this category, with many vendors suggesting that retailers work with them to ensure that all their bases are covered across the wide spectrum of first aid products.

“Education around preparedness is where we see the biggest opportunity to both serve the consumer and the retailer,” she said. “What we’ve done to help drive the preparedness message is drive deep consumer insight on how we can help them better shop this category and make them feel more prepared, knowing this is such an emotional category. We’re solving for this by creating new partnerships with retailers and through collaborations with other brands to increase consumer awareness.” A key period for driving awareness that J&J has identified is around back-to-school season, which the company is capitalizing on by incentivizing consumers to stock up on first aid essentials, offering gift cards for certain dollars spent on its products and adding an element of giving back to the promotion, allowing consumers to choose whether they want to donate the gift card to a teacher on DonorsChoose.org. Insights also drive innovation, Kelly said, highlighting the recent launch of Neosporin Burn Relief ointment, which combines

Neosporin’s triple antibiotic combination with pramoxine, a topical anesthetic, to relieve pain from minor burns. “When we think about home chefs and increasing direct to consumer cooking opportunities, we wanted to remind them that cuts, scrapes [and] burns can happen anywhere, and we thought that it served a need gap,” she said. Identifying such gaps — and seeing where they coincide with other macro trends — can lead to organic growth, even in categories with pillars that are as established as first aid’s. That is what homeopathic company Boiron has found since it entered the bruise care segment with Arnicare Bruise Relief Gel. The product is an extension of Boiron’s popular Arnicare Gel topical analgesic. “This addresses people who have thin skin, as well as those who had plastic surgery and/ or bruise easily, in general,” Gary Wittenberg, vice president of national accounts at Boiron, said. “We also see an uptick during warmer weather, when people are more concerned about revealing their skin. It’s also used for swelling, and it’s a big baby boomer audience

Knowing What Works

Kelly said that J&J’s approach to first aid, as with other categories, often is powered by consumer insights. One of the things the company has gleaned is that fully half of first aid consumers said they do not feel prepared to treat a wound, which presents a big opportunity for education.



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Real Medicine. Real Relief. Real Fast. NEW LOOK FOR 2019!

• The Only Maximum Strength Pain AND Itch Relief brand for insect stings and bites • Benzocaine for pain and Menthol for itch • Uniquely different delivery forms • Loved by consumers, recommended by pharmacists

• Instant Relief from Fire Ant stings (Over 5 million stings occur per year, more than the total of bee or wasp stings in affected areas such as Texas and the Southeast) • Dual action maximum OTC strength formula • Convenient, roll-on applicator


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because your skin gets thinner as you get older, and these consumers have a tendency to bruise more.” The burgeoning category can be a boon for retailers. “It’s bringing a brand to first aid that consumers may be familiar with, and it could convert nontreaters into treaters,” Wittenberg said.

Using E-commerce as a Tool

One of the benefits of playing in a category with such a large proportion of sales based on immediate need is that it can somewhat insulate the category against e-commerce threats. Yet many manufacturers view e-commerce as a benefit in terms of being a source of sales from shoppers looking to stock up when they do not need a solution quickly, as well as a tool with which they can reach shoppers with messaging or gain further insight. “When it comes to health, beauty, wellness, and, in particular, bites and stings, Amazon isn’t quick enough Creagan said. “E-commerce is growing, but I don’t think our category is growing any faster than other categories. Where it’s helpful from a manufacturing perspective is you get to see that direct feedback from consumers you don’t always get, and it provides a good


snapshot of what consumers are saying about your product.” For officials at Randob Labs, e-commerce reviews have indicated that one of its marketing efforts from several years ago is paying off. After sponsoring a video for YouTube channel Brave Wilderness and its personality, Coyote Peterson, in which Peterson used Sting-Kill to alleviate the pain from a bullet ant sting, Creagan said he still sees online reviews mentioning the video, which has been viewed roughly 47 million times. The ability to reach shoppers online as they are on the journey of discovery is one of the biggest benefits companies identified. “There’s a role for omnichannel as you think about how we can reach consumers during their pre-shop when they’re researching — either pre- or post-surgery, or pre- or post-stock up,” Kelly from J&J said. “From an omnichannel all-inclusive standpoint, there’s a way to take that messaging and drive it in store and drive education messaging.” As Boiron has sought to carve out its niche in first aid, Wittenberg said search has been integral to driving awareness and purchases, whether that is in store or online. “Google search plays a big role in

building awareness and letting consumers know there are bruise options out there,” he said. “As in a lot of cases, consumers are looking at reviews online on Amazon and elsewhere, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to buy it at Amazon. It’s probably more immediate, and that drives consumers to stores.” Kelly also said, “For us, it’s more of an ‘and’ than an ‘or.’ With that distress need, you’re going to need that quick solve alongside e-commerce, which can help drive preparedness, education and awareness of the category because it is oftentimes low engagement and forgotten about.” How might retailers win in first aid? Kelly said J&J is interested in creating solution-based segments within the first aid aisle around need states. Wittenberg said that, as with such categories as vitamins and supplements, as well as cough-cold, a big opportunity lies in cross-promoting with the pharmacy. “I want to be able to make that connection between pharmacy and OTC, where pharmacists are aware of Arnicare Bruise,” Wittenberg said. “So when they dispense medications that may exacerbate bruises they can say, ‘You’re going to tend to bruise more, and there’s a solution for that.’” dsn


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PATENTED BOTANICAL BLEND SHOWS IMPROVED ATOPIC DERMATITIS OUTCOMES In a double-blind, randomized study,* the botanical blend in Kamedis CALM Eczema Therapy Cream (OTC) showed significant improvement over the same formula without the botanical extracts. Kamedis CALM Eczema Therapy Cream was 44% more effective in treating atopic dermatitis than the same formula without the botanical extracts, and 23% more effective than a competitive OTC brand widely used to provide atopic dermatitis relief. Reduces atopic flare-ups by protecting against irritation, maintaining moisture and relieving impaired skin function. Patented formulation contains botanical extracts of Chinese Rhubarb Great Burnet, Tree of Heaven, Baikal Skullcap, Cnidium Fruit and Licorice.


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www.kamedis-usa.com *Draelos, Z.D., Traub, M., Gold M.H., et al. Validation of Botanical Treatement Efficiency for Adults and Children Suffering from Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2019; 18(6):557-561.

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Physician’s Choice Debuts Biotin Offering Physician’s Choice is continuing to expand its supplement offerings. The Denver-based company is introducing its biotin formula, which contains refined coconut oil as goMCT. “Coconut oil with biotin has so many great skin and hair benefits,” Logan Chierotti, founder of Physician’s Choice, said. “But, what we found is no one is really using coconut oil in their biotin supplements. We saw a need in the marketplace and developed the only biotin currently on the market with organic goMCT, a refined coconut oil that provides added potency and benefits well beyond regular coconut oil.” Each supplement features nutrients that strengthen hair, decrease nail brittleness and improve skin, while also providing extra support and energy from medium chain triglycerides, the company said. There is no question that an ever-expanding market of biotin supplements is driving demand for higher quality products with proven benefits,” a Physician’s Choice spokesperson said. “Manufactured according to GMP standards, the ingredients in Physician’s Choice Biotin are non-GMO, professional grade and thirdparty tested. By implementing natural, potent ingredients, the company is leading the movement for better health.” Shoppers can find Physician’s Choice’s Biotin on Amazon.com.

Skyn Unveils New Intimate Accessories Skyn continues to expand its footprint in the sexual wellness space. The LifeStyles brand, based in Iselin, N.J., is moving beyond condoms and lubricants and into personal massaging devices with the launch of three intimate accessories. The products launched around the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, with a focus on exploration, including a film featuring years of NASA footage that is meant to encourage consumers to explore intimacy without embarrassment or shame, the company said. “Skyn has always been dedicated to saving and enhancing intimacy, and we hope that this campaign opens up the conversation around self-exploration,” Jeyan Heper, CEO of LifeStyles, the parent company of Skyn, said. “The conversation around sex toys and devices should not be taboo any longer, and we encourage consumers to explore intimate moments without embarrassment.” The new products include the Vibes, Shiver and Thrill devices, all of which are USB rechargeable and waterproof, the company said. “Developing products to enhance pleasure and intimacy has always been at the heart of the Skyn brand, and we are dedicated to providing our customers with the products they desire,” Heper said. “These three new devices will allow all consumers to find the best option for themselves.”


Phosphorus Intros PhosphorusONE Test Phosphorus, a diagnostic and bioinformatic solutions company focused on clinical next-generation sequencing, is launching its PhosphorusONE test. The product offers an assessment of genetic health meant for identifying and preventing risk for genetic conditions. The healthy screen analyzes 375 genes, covering 170 inherited conditions and 175 different drug reactions. It provides information on a person’s genetic health risk for certain disease, such as cancer, heart disease, dementia and vision loss. It also assesses a person’s predisposition to adverse reaction to drugs and therapeutics, as well as certain wellness traits, according to the company. “We are very excited to have received approval from New York State for PhosphorusONE,”said CEO Alex Bisignano. “This is the only test of its kind that has earned New York State Department of Health approval, and as such we feel honored to enable New York State residents to gain access to it. PhosphorusONE will provide valuable information about an individual’s health profile at an affordable price. We take great pride in delivering excellent quality in everything we do at Phosphorus, from our lab results to our software to our customer support. The New York State Department of Health demands that companies meet a high standard of quality in testing and rigor in process, and we are pleased to earn their approval to offer this comprehensive, valuable test.”


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8/7/19 10:12 AM


Global Healing Center’s Tulsi Supplement Aims to Reduce Stress

Vicks ZzzQuil Expands Pure Zzzs Lineup

Global Healing Center recently launched its tulsi, also known as holy basil, a supplement meant to encourage a healthy response to stress, boost natural energy production and promote mental well-being, the company said. Global Healing Center’s tulsi/ holy basil supplement is a USDA certified organic formula made from fresh leaves, using the company’s raw herbal extract technology. The 2-oz. supplement also is GMO-free, gluten-free and vegan. The company’s process uses energized

Vicks ZzzQuil is rounding out its melatonin-based offerings meant to help consumers fall asleep. With a recently commissioned Harris Poll survey finding that more than two-thirds of Americans say they have trouble falling asleep at least once a month, the Procter & Gamble brand is rolling out four new products under its Pure Zzzs product line. The new options include the Vicks ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs Melatonin Liquid, Vicks ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs De-Stress and Sleep, Vicks ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs Beauty Sleep and Vicks ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs Kidz Melatonin Gummies. The melatonin liquid comes in wildberry vanilla flavor and is free of high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, alcohol and artificial flavors. The De-Stress and Sleep product uses melatonin and ashwagandha, meant to help manage occasional stress and calm the mind, and comes in gummies and tablets in blackberry vanilla flavor. Beauty Sleep is designed to help fight free radicals, the company said, noting that it comes in a strawberry roseflavored gummy with ginger and grape seed extract or a sugarfree tablet with turmeric and grape seed extract. The Kidz Melatonin Gummies are formulated for children 4 years old and older. Phil McWaters, brand franchise director of North America at Vicks, said that as the company has seen positive response to the line, “we’ve also been working hard behind the scenes to deliver more innovations specifically tailored to their needs. We know there is no one-size-fitsall solution when it comes to sleep, but believe these extensions to the Pure Zzzs portfolio will help.” The products currently are available at retailers nationwide.

trace minerals, a combination of carbonand sulfur-rich minerals that enhance the energetic structure and bioavailability of the extract, as well as certified organic glycerin to preserve the plants nutrients. “Holy Basil is an amazing herb that boosts your resilience to stress and fatigue,” said Dr. Edward Group, founder and CEO of Global Healing Center. “Say goodbye to anxiety, tension and feeling overwhelmed, and say hello to a calm, refreshed mind.” Group founded Global Healing Center in 1998, and it remains family owned and operated. Its products focus on eliminating unnecessary ingredients, binders, fillers and toxic compounds.

Arm & Hammer Huggies Rolls Out Special Athlete’s Foot Delivery Diapers Spray Launches Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies Arm & Hammer is expanding its offerings for treating athlete’s foot. The brand’s foot care line, which is produced and marketed by Premier Brands through a licensing agreement with Church & Dwight, now includes Arm & Hammer Athlete’s Foot 2 Way Spray. The product features a new formulation of 1% tolnaftate and shea butter, and has a two-way applicator to make it easy for users to spray between their toes, as well as over their full foot without using their hands, minimizing the spread of infection. The spray dries clear without leaving a residue. The product retails for $6.99 at Target and $8.69 at CVS Pharmacy, according to the company.


diaper brand is introducing its Special Delivery diapers, made with 23% plant-based materials and designed to offer babies leak protection and comfort. The Huggies Special Delivery Diapers feature a babyfacing liner and waistband made with such plant-based materials as sugarcane, which the company said is meant to help provide superior absorption and fit. The hypoallergenic diapers are free of parabens, fragrance and elemental chlorine. “We are inspired by the loving bond that a parent feels with their baby and their desire to provide the very best care to their babies that they possibly can,” Kristine Rhode, Huggies North America brand director, said. “These insights led us to create our most perfect diaper, so parents can provide their own perfect care.” The Huggies Special Delivery Diapers are available in newborn size through size 6. Each size option includes designs that the company said responds to market trends while also including the Huggies wetness indicator.


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Speaking About Beauty DSN talked with a number of key industry officials about the future of the beauty category at mass By Seth Mendelson


re brighter days ahead for the mass market beauty industry after three years of anemic growth? While overall beauty has been showing robust gains, the mass segment of the industry has been impacted by the growth of direct-to-consumer competitors and a perceived notion that drug and discount stores are not keeping up with the fast changes consumers demand. Yet, if comments gleaned by Drug Store News from a wide swatch of experts — from megabrands to category management providers — are foretelling, there are signs that the tide may be turning.” The votes of optimism come as the fast-growing prestige market shows signs of decelerating. In the first quarter of 2019, sales of U.S. prestige beauty products were $4.1 billion, a 1% increase over the first quarter of 2018. “The big story for the first quarter is that, as we predicted, growth in beauty, and in each category, is softer compared to the first quarter of 2018,” Larissa Jensen, beauty industry analyst at NPD Group, said. Some mass pundits see that as an opportunity for mass chains to regain their market dominance.” Meanwhile, retailers anxiously are waiting to see what to do next with the category. Some have slowed down on expanding its size in store and even cut back on dedicated beauty consultants. Others


remain bullish on the segment, confident that the last three years are an anomaly that is about to change. Here are several recaps of the state of the industry teed up with plans beauty companies have in their playbooks to build sales for the rest of 2019 and into 2020. The ammunition includes everything from novel marketing programs to new items that were not available in the mass channel before coming from both the biggest brands to up-and-comers bringing more shoppers to mass doors.

Andrew Stanleick, senior vice president for North America, Coty Consumer Beauty

“The beauty industry is having a metamorphosis, with more change promised in the next five years than we’ve seen in the past 25. Through it, rich and lasting brand stories that invite fans to be part of the narrative will rise. Transformational products that speak to self-celebration will cut through. Sustainable and clean formulas will take the lead. And technology-driven trial will allow


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BEAUTY REPORT consumers to seamlessly move between in-store and online experiences.” “We see these trends playing out across our business: CoverGirl remains a most trusted American brand, earning a No. 1 Brand Power score from Kantar. What’s more, new users are coming into the brand. Gen Z ranks it as its favorite makeup brand. Sally Hansen continues to deliver product innovations that bring salon trends home like the newest hit Miracle Gel Matte Top Coat. And Clairol is disrupting at-home hair color, with interesting partnerships like the new Clairol Color Assistant for Google Home, a voice program that gives consumers a new way to access our brand.” “It couldn’t be a more exciting time to be in beauty.”

Stephanie Robertson, director of North American skin care, Procter & Gamble

“There are a lot of skin care brands out there now, and it can be tough to distinguish what really works and what is safe to use. This new generation of skin care consumers is savvy about skin care. They research what works and doesn’t work. Millennial women, who are into skin care, use on average six products daily and spend $260 annually, as much as cosmetics.” “While it is true that there is a high level of experimentation in the category, people also don’t want to waste all of their money, especially with millennial debt being at an all-time high. Shoppers want products tailored for their unique needs, and shop for a good mix of new items and staples to build their skin care routine.” “Olay has been long trusted for its science


and research, and even women that haven’t tried the products see Olay as a reputable brand with products and ingredients that really work. Olay is connecting with more millennial women. We want this brand to be on the bathroom counter of every woman turning 30 because the choices they make now impact their skin’s future.” “This is what inspired the launch of Olay Whips. Before Olay Whips launched, the mass facial moisturizer category was stagnant in 2017. Olay Whips became the most successful new skin care product of 2018 despite over 1,500 skin care launches that year. We are continuing to reach more millennial women by amping up our digital outreach and creating new and engaging ways of reaching

them, including the first ever makeup free runway event at New York Fashion Week, the first ever skin care brand ad in the Super Bowl, and the first ever live Broadway musical all about skin care.”

Shawn Haynes, CEO Americas, Revolution Beauty

“The category is in slight decline driven by two main factors, the competitive rise of digitally native brands and a shift toward skin care, which is trending upwards.” “With product life cycle shortening, it is critical to listen to the customer and react by creating products they love. We bring this to life with a constant flow of new products launching every week and then coordinating global


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digital launches with our retail partners.” “Over the next few weeks, we will launch the largest expansion since launching the brand in Ulta four years ago. This expansion will encompass an additional 4 ft. of Revolution.”

Bruce Kramer, senior vice president for the North American consumer division, Wahl Clipper

“The beauty industry is strong. No matter the economy, whether good or bad, people want to look good. Our appearance is important to us, and right or wrong, when we believe we look good, we actually feel better about ourselves. So, we will always invest in products to help us look our best.” “Over the last several years, there has been increasing dialogue in men’s grooming in the beauty industry. Like women, men have always cared about how they look, but the biggest shift is now the industry has recognized this and is providing new tools and products to help men achieve the look they want. Analysts are predicting category growth of over 40% in the next several years. Wahl has greatly helped retailers grow this category by providing men the premium grooming tools they desire like our Stainless Steel Lithium Ion Trimmer and Elite Pro Hair Clipper.” “Now, we are happy to further tap into our barbering heritage and launch a full line of men’s wet goods, brushes and combs for hair, beards and body. This new line has quickly risen to the leading dollar producer where it’s placed because men already know and trust the Wahl brand for their hair and beard grooming, so it’s a natural step for them to embrace this quality line as


well. For retailers looking to capitalize on the rapid pace of men’s grooming trends, all they need to do is call their Wahl representative and we can help them out.

Alice Chen, vice president of marketing, Physicians Formula

“We are seeing tremendous gains in our direct-to-consumer business. That doesn’t take away from retail, however, because it also serves an educational purpose. We are also very excited to launch our new Organic Wear, a fully organic and natural line that serves all needs from skin to makeup and even cleansing needs. Physicians Formula was actually the first makeup brand to innovate organic makeup 12 years ago.” At that time, it wasn’t in consumers’ lexicon. Right now, health and beauty are synonymous with lifestyle, and we are proud to launch a brand that is 100% sustainable, cruelty-free, non-GMO, organically farmed and no pesticides. We created 13 new formulas to meet the needs of today’s consumer, who is looking to round out her approach to beauty and wellness, without having to

sacrifice performance she’s come to expect in her favorite cosmetics.” “We launch first in Walmart, the world’s largest retail chain, to make it accessible to all. Organic Wear will launch with all of our retailers early next year.”

Psyche Terry, founder and chief inspiration officer, UI Global Brands

“The overall mass beauty market is transitioning around customers taking their time shopping and researching first. There was a time when customers purchased solely on brands they knew growing up from years of repurchasing behaviors of their parents and grandparents. Now, shoppers are reading labels, reading social media accounts and websites of manufactures in order to engage, test and ultimately rebuy a brand.” “Customers are wanting and needing more courtship than ever before. Brands that are in mass retail will have to find a clearer way to tell their story because new shoppers are listening and choosing from the best and most influential and positive story that not only makes them look good, but feel good too.”


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“Our aloe gel mask is exciting to customers because of its call surrounding the aloe vera plant and how it soothes and moisturizes. Our products, this one in particular, actually has more than five of the top 10 ingredients that clean beauty seekers are looking for — vitamins, fruit, cruelty-free behaviors and, of course, aloe. We focus not just on great function, but clean plant-based items like aloe that can pair with a much-needed function to provide not just beauty, but clean, healthy beauty.” “Our brand gives back and saves lives. Customers are wondering how they can make an impact in society and use clean beauty, and our brand does that. With every product that we sell, we use a portion of the profits to dig wells for people in water-stricken places. We touch the hearts of our customers even before we touch their skin or hair. By the time customers actually use our products, they fall in love with our natural ingredients, flavors and how the products make you feel. Our slogan is: it’s all good, beautiful. Because what we do and what we make, and how we make you feel are all good.”

Gina Boswell, president of customer development, Unilever North America

The health-and-wellness movement is here to stay, and we continue to see consumers


demanding brands and companies that holistically support both personal and planetary health. At Unilever, we believe the only growth model that will last is one with brands delivering positive social impact and reducing their environmental impact. Dove continues to be a prime example of doing both with over 20 million young people reached through the “Self-Esteem Project” and a commitment to use 100% post-consumer recycled content in their skin, hair askin, hair, Dove Men+Care and Baby Dove products by the end of this year. In fact, our purpose-led, sustainable living brands, such as Dove, Love Beauty and Planet, Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s, are growing 70% faster than the rest of the business and delivering three-quarters of the company’s overall growth.

Roslyn Chapman, owner, The Chapman Edge

“The beauty industry is not growing across all food, drug and mass like it was 10 years ago. Much of the growth we are trying to anniversary is when styles changed for both men and women. Women changed their regime that required daily use products to sprinkling in hair extensions and wigs that require no maintenance. Changes for men

went from shaving daily and using bump control products and razors to wearing beards and goatees. Another trend is eyelash extensions versus daily mascara use. I could go on with examples of how consumer purchase habits have affected consumer purchase choices.” “I do see a turnaround as retailers turn to creative ways to drive traffic into the stores: optical centers, FedEx drop-off, etc. Leveraging the increased traffic to affect sales in total front end is imminent. I am excited about the possibilities.” “We are specialists in target marketing and sales. Our focus is hair care, skin care and men’s grooming. We know how to navigate geo-targeted distribution. Retailers have their hands full with assorting and merchandising to the changing demographics of America. Our team of experts work with the category management and space planning teams to make sure your items are sold in the right stores.” “A vendor can trust us to operate as the lead point of contact for any and all matters specific to chains assigned. We work across all retailer points of contact to assure that brands are placed to win. Chain-wide distribution is no longer necessary to win, being in the right stores that resonate with your shopper is.” dsn


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Direct to Consumers What do today’s beauty shoppers want from retail to help navigate through their beauty shopping experience? I went into stores to ask them. By Laura Fontana

Laura Fontana, DSN beauty director



ith pen and paper in hand, I went to several retail stores and asked shoppers two simple questions: What do you want from a retailer’s beauty department to get you to come back time and again for your beauty needs? What elements are needed to create an experience that allows you to get your basic, while exploring new brands and products? Beauty shoppers were not shy to share their feedback, and several themes rose to the top. In order to help shoppers navigate the sea of new products, consumers appreciate the assistance from beauty advisors to provide expertise, and many times, firsthand feedback on products. Retailers quickly are learning that these beauty advisors are becoming crucial to creating a personalized shopping experience. Ulta Beauty and Sephora have been executing this as part of their business models, but retailers like Walgreens, and now Target, have implemented beauty advisors into their in-store execution and personalization strategies to assist her during her shopping journey. With all that is available in the marketplace these days, shoppers can become overwhelmed determining the best product to help solve their next look out on the town, or the best product for their skin as seasons change. Beauty advisors are instrumental to help the shopper navigate her way in finding the best product for her need. They are the boots on the ground connecting with the consumer in a such a way that technology cannot compete with. My extremely unscientific survey also found that more and more consumers increasingly are realizing the importance of not only what they put on their bodies, but also what they put into their bodies. Beauty starts from the inside out. The health-and-wellness trend is here to stay, and is not a trend anymore frankly, but a way of life. Brands are responding to this with new products to help with hydration, increase collagen production, and stimulate hair and nail growth. This

movement is not just about products that are natural or organic, it’s about taking care of yourself from the inside out. Sustainability and the environmental impact brands and products have on the world are other issues that resonated with shoppers. Minimal packaging has been a concern for years among consumers, as well as retailers and manufacturers. Yet, now, many of my interviewees said they want to see more products that are both safe for them and safe for the environment. They are looking at the ingredients on the package, and they want to see more biodegradable items and products that use less water, for example. And, of course, the hottest topic shoppers mentioned was CBD. Many of the people I spoke with asked me a lot of questions about beauty products and CBD. It became extremely clear, right off the bat, that these shoppers want to know as much as possible about CBD and how it might help them in a variety of ways, but also what amount of CBD is needed in products to make it effective. Retailers and their supplier partners will need to provide their customers with as much information as possible about CBD and its benefits to help shoppers navigate an already confusing and, at times, overwhelming sea of information. The bottom line with CBD is that consumers want someone with knowledge to step up and explain to them the potential benefits of the ingredients, proper dosage and how to achieve the maximum benefits. In the end, the potential for greater beauty sales is limitless, as long as retailers understand their customers and their needs. To learn more about this category, I went to the source — consumers — to find out exactly what they are thinking when it comes to beauty. Shoppers constantly are evolving as they become smarter and have access to information at their fingertips. Where will this category be in the next five to 10 years? I cannot begin to predict that, but am excited to see where the journey takes us. dsn


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Striking Gold Following recent growth, Australian Gold’s leadership eyes the future


homas Kurnava, executive vice president of national accounts at Australian Gold, said that the Indianapolis-based company has experienced strong growth in recent years. He is just as confident that the future, with a slew of new products coming down the pike, will be very good for the company. Drug Store News: Tell us about Australian Gold. How is the company faring? Thomas Kurnava: Australian Gold has seen nice growth over the past several years. We have continued to bring innovation to the marketplaces like our botanical line, as well as a renewed focus and excitement for our classic line of products. The brand has been around since the 1980s, and it was started with distribution in surf shops, cruise ships and other highly frequented vacation spots on the coast. Over the last several years, we have gained strong distribution nationally, and consumers love being able to find our products when they come home from their amazing trips, so they can smell and feel like they are on vacation every day of the year. DSN: Tell us about your product introductions. TK: Our botanical line launched in 2016 and continues to provide Australian Gold significant growth opportunity. Our latest addition to the line includes an SPF 70 100% Mineral Lotion and Natural Spray. This is the first time Australian Gold has introduced a product above SPF 50, and we are thrilled to be able to evolve with our consumers. At this time, we are also introducing an all-new X-Treme Sport line. These unique formulas feature our Ultra Chill technology that is activated by sweat to produce a cooling sensation that fights


odors. It features an all new Coastal Breeze scent that is a great fit for active lifestyles. All of our new launches are in compliance with the Hawaii ban and free of oxybenzone and octinoxate. We know the environment is important to our consumers, and we are dedicated to transforming all of our sunscreens to be reef friendly over the next couple of years. DSN: What are you doing to market the products to consumers? TK: Australian Gold is utilizing a full 360-degree approach to reach our consumers through the full path to purchase. We are using traditional media, such as print and digital advertising, social and influencer marketing to authentically engage our consumers before and after purchase, as well as in-store displays and coupons to drive impulse and turn at the shelf. DSN: What do retailers need to do to maximize sales of your products and the categories they are in?

Thomas Kurnava, executive vice president of national accounts, Australian Gold

TK: Sunscreen is a large seasonal category, so maximizing the placement during season is crucial. Displays and off-shelf placement throughout the retail store are driving impulse sales and movement during the peak holiday weeks and hot summer days in between. However, the category is also becoming much more of a daily routine. Consumers are understanding the benefits of utilizing sun protection year-round, so don’t scale back too much during the off-season. Also, sunless is a great opportunity for retailers to grow their selling season. DSN: Anything new coming down the line over the next few months? TK: We are extremely excited about the new items launching in 2020. At Australian Gold, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are continually evolving with the category and our consumers to bring innovative and high quality products to market. dsn


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Lime Crime Venus XL II Featuring 18 shades in matte, metallic, foil and sheer iridescent formulas, the palette looks to give grunge a new look. The sheer iridescent formulas can be used to transform mattes and metallics into something much grander, while foil shades are ultra reflective. The palette currently retails for $58 on Lime Crime’s website.

Revlon PhotoReady Highlighting Palette in Galaxy Dream Users can apply 1-of-4 shades for a slight touch of radiance, or more to amplify their looks. The palette’s prismatic pastels have pearlized pigments for a holographic effect, and are easy to blend. Revlon’s highlighting palette retails for $14.99 and can be found on Amazon.com

CoverGirl Melting Pout Glitz Liquid Glitter Topcoat Add some major drama to lips with this topcoat that can either be worn alone or on top of any lip color for an extra shine. Containing a reflective finish, the product creates dimension and is available in either Double Platinum or Golden Girl shades. It carries a suggested retail price of $7.99.


e.l.f. Cosmetics’ ELF+Glow Primer Stick Coconut and shea butter are the main ingredients in the primer stick, which hydrates skin and preps for smooth, lit-from-within effect. Featuring a golden shimmer, it gives a radiant glow that can be worn alone or with foundation. The primer stick currently retails for $8 and can be found on Walmart’s website, as well as e.l.f.’s website.


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Curtin Named CEO at New World Natural

Shannon Curtin has been appointed CEO of New World Natural, a brand made up of micro brands and niche companies in the beauty and personal care segments. Curtin formerly was senior vice president and general manager of North America at Coty’s consumer beauty division. “Shannon’s vast beauty experience, which combines both retail and consumer goods, makes her especially well positioned to deliver our growth objectives,” New World Natural chairman Ed Ryan said. “Shannon’s collaborative leadership style, industry expertise and personal passion for the natural category

will ensure our brand portfolio continues to meet the consumers’ evolving needs.” Curtin first began her career more than 25 years ago at Walmart, where she served in various beauty merchandising positions throughout her tenure with the company. She then moved onto serve as group vice president/general merchandise manager of beauty and personal care at Walgreens for six years. At Coty, Curtin’s responsibilities included the mass fragrance portfolio, as well as the relaunch of CoverGirl, Sally Hansen, Rimmel and Clairol across 60,000 retail locations in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Most recently, Curtin launched her consulting and creative practice, The Beauty Boutique Group, which specializes in the strategic development of independent beauty and personal care brands. “New World Natural Brands is a company that supports the growth of independent brands and their founders,” Curtin said. “We are committed to advancing sustainable business and innovation practices that will provide ongoing goodwill for humanity and Mother Earth. It is an honor to lead the talented NWNB team as we embark on our global ambitions.”

Caí Para Mi Debuts Eyeshadow Palette Collection The latest introduction from Caí Para Mi is looking to make it easy to add drama to the eyes. The beauty brand, created with the Latina woman in mind, has unveiled its eyeshadow palette collection. The collection consists of three palettes that each contain a mix of matte and shimmer shadows. The Dark Neutrals palette pairs the matte neutrals with four shimmering copper and gold shadows, which the company said makes it ideal for a warm smoky eye. The Brights Palette includes a mixture of blues, purples and golds. The Light Neutrals Palette helps create day and night looks, with colors that range from dark brown to nude alongside copper shimmers. Caí Para Mi products are formulated with olive, yellow and brown undertones, and are cruelty-free, the company said. The eyeshadow palettes have launched on Walmart.com, as well as on the brand’s website and Amazon.com. They retail for $10 each.


Arches & Halos Reinvents DIY Eyebrow Game A new brand is expanding the DIY eyebrow options at Target. Arches & Halos Professional Brow, founded by professional makeup artist Tonya Crooks, recently hit the retailer’s beauty aisle with a selection of eyebrow grooming, shaping and coloring products.

“Today’s beauty enthusiast is craving professional quality eyebrow grooming tools without breaking their bank account. They demand simplicity and tools that are easy to use on the go,” said Barry Shields, managing partner at Arches & Halos’ parent company Beauty Partners. “We’re proud to kick off our newest offerings of pro quality brow enhancing tools, including a wide range of color-perfect shades.” Crooks is a Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup expert who has worked with such stars as Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Megan Fox and Fergie. “Bringing celebrity quality brows to the everyday beauty lover has been a dream of mine, and I am beyond excited to see my dream realized with the launch of Arches & Halos,” Crooks said. Each product in the line includes Crooks’ “6 Steps to the Perfect Brow” guide, and has been ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested, the company said. The products also are hypoallergenic, vegan, cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny-approved.


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Putting it on Paper Upscale and specialty greeting cards appeal to tech-savvy millennials and regional chains By Debby Garbato


hen Marc Trobman discusses changes in the greeting card industry, the vice president of business development at Avanti Press likens them to the mainstreaming of craft beer. While everyday brews from two national players still dominate, companies with higher priced, niche offerings have gained significant market share over the past two decades. And, they have helped retailers differentiate and generate higher margins. As with national beer brands in the 1990s, overall greeting card performance in recent years has been relatively flat, with annual sales around $6 billion, various greeting card executives have estimated. At both Walmart and CVS Pharmacy, their CEOs have discussed downsizing greeting card sections, USA Today reported in March. Yet when it comes to regional retailers and specialty merchandise, the category is thriving. While many national retailers utilize one or two big suppliers, such regional players as Wegmans, H-E-B, Meijer, Fairway, IGA, Lidl and some local drug chains combine offerings from large players with products from smaller niche-oriented ones. Popular among millennials, these unique destination assortments yield higher profits, with prices that can hit $10. Emphasis often is on humor and distinctive designs, and verses are straightforward and to the point. “The category is definitely not as large as it once was,” said Dale Campbell, buyer and supervisor at Discount Drug Mart, which operates more than 70 Ohio locations with card sections spanning 200 linear feet. “At the same time, we offer one of the biggest card departments around, and I’m pushing 2% growth for 2019. To be successful, you need to offer the best of both worlds: a main department for the core customer, who buys a dozen to two dozen cards annually, and


specialty offerings to attract others.” Spinner racks with novelty, pop-up and other cards from Avanti and Oatmeal Studios complement cards and wrapping paper from Hallmark, Campbell’s primary supplier. Up With Paper’s high-end merchandise is featured seasonally. Dollar and multicultural card sections also exist. The latter range from to 4 to 12 ft. depending on the market. National chains, however, can have a less diverse vendor mix. “You go into Walgreens or Kroger and it looks the same,” Trobman said. “But retailers that use complementary vendors have year-over-year growth. Wegmans

uses 15 vendors. They spend time working with them. Many other retailers let the main vendor run the category and don’t work it.” Smaller regionals like Busch’s Grocery in Canton, Mich., and Sunset Foods in Chicago sometime bypass big suppliers altogether. Their boutique approach emphasizes one or two specialty vendors. At Busch’s Grocery, Design Design is the exclusive supplier of wrapping paper, party goods and birthday candles. “It’s about creating an experience,” Don Kallil, Design Design’s president, said. “Regionals seek us out because we can offer a different choice than the national chains.”


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While the specialty card business comparatively is small, it generates excitement by “maintaining engagement and drawing attention to the section,” Steve Laserson, senior vice president and North American sales officer at American Greetings, said. Strong visual statements even can attract consumers who end up purchasing more traditional cards. Changing preferences in graphics and language also reflect a need to capture shoppers’ attention quickly. “Consumers are more pressed for time,” Laserson said. “This has translated to a need for cards that speak in straightforward language. In design, a striking image or quick, punchy copy works well.” For millennials, who do almost everything online, specialty paper cards have high perceived value and stand out in a world besotted with digital communications. This gives added meaning to the sentiment of sending a card. “Some findings about millennials we’re seeing in our research go against common assumptions,” said Amy McAnarney, Hallmark Cards’ vice president and general manager of key accounts and development. “They recognize that digital connections are fleeting. Millennials associate paper with artistry, collectivity and luxury. When

they want to make a more meaningful connection, they choose a greeting card.” Dawn Garvey, CFO at Designer Greetings, also views paper cards as the antithesis of digital communication. “Coming out of an impersonal decade where people were entrenched in texting, we’re swinging back to more intimate ways of sending sentiments,” she said. “For millennials, it’s not appropriate to send Mom or a best friend a text for their wedding or as a sympathy sentiment. If the average card is $2 to $4, they’ll spend $8 or higher. They want something different and have changed how products go to market.” Many specialty products are made from heavy paper and/or feature such embellishments as ribbons, fabric, foil or glitter. Some are three-dimensional. Color palettes follow fashion trends, supplanting what some said traditionally has been a sea of pastels. Verses are shorter and less poetic. Up With Paper’s Independence Day card, for example, lit up with a flag and fireworks. “Millennials aren’t going for rhyming verses and pastels,” said George White, president of Up With Paper. “They want more relateable language, pop-ups and electronic stuff. They want something cool they’ve never seen before.”

GREETING CARD FACTS Americans purchase more than

6 million greeting cards annually


of cards are bought by women

Christmas cards

make up the largest portion of seasonal cards

1.6 billion Christmas cards are purchased annually, accounting for


of the most popular seasonal cards SOURCE: GREETING CARD ASSOCIATION







Individuals aged 24 years old and younger

Individuals between the ages of 25-to-34 years old

Individuals between the ages of 35-to-44 years old SOURCE: IBIS WORLD, DECEMBER 2018


Individuals aged 65 years old and older

Individuals between the ages of 55-to-64 years old

Individuals between the ages of 45-to-54 years old


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SAY IT WITH FLOWERS (AND CARDS) Even animals wax and wane in popularity. “Llamas have been trending lately,” White said. “A few years ago, it was unicorns.”

The $11 Card

Specialty cards can carry price tags as high as $10.99. While boomers buy more cards, millennials will pay more for something special. McAnarney said millennials spend about 20% more on greeting cards than other age groups and represent 20% of dollars spent. They are Hallmark’s fastest-growing consumer segment, with spending increasing 6% annually. To better serve this demographic, Hallmark introduced the Paper Wonder line during the 2018 holiday season. The pop-up, shadow box cards transform themselves into 3-D tabletop décor when opened. Prices are in the $9 range. “Each card is a mini work of art that comes to life through a series of clever folds, pops and artistic details to reveal an intricate scene,” McAnarney said. American Greetings is answering the demand for specialized cards with its recently introduced Music, Motion & More and Amazing Pop Ups lines. In 2009, it acquired Recycled Paper Greetings, a specialty manufacturer and designer of humorous ecofriendly and alternative greeting cards, and high-end card supplier Papyrus. Designer Greetings also has used acquisitions to increase specialty offerings, including the purchase of high-end card supplier Madison Park Greetings in March 2018 and Northern Exposure two months later. The latter offers humorous, photo image cards created by professional photographers for every day and seasonal occasions. In January, Designer Greetings bought Kristin Michael Greetings, which supplies products from small studio card manufacturers and has strong penetration in mid-Atlantic grocery chains.

“Acquisitions have expanded offerings in areas where we didn’t have depth of product,” Garvey said. The company also offers a line of chalk-board style cards and a value program called Card Smart. Photographic cards are strong performers for other companies, too. Avanti’s America line uses archival photography from the 1890s through 1980s. Cards have “warm” verses and the photograph’s story on the back,” Trobman said. Avanti’s namesake brand uses photos and humor that put animals in lifelike situations. “The anthropomorphic reality makes you laugh out loud,” Trobman said. Avanti’s A*Press uses illustrations and humor, along with such embellishments as flocking, foil and glitter on its cards. Most Avanti products retail for $3.99 to $4.49. Premium brands can exceed $10. Design Design’s boutique-style cards convey humor through illustrations and photos. Offerings include handmade cards on special Italian-manufactured paper, products with letter press art, cards that use post-consumer waste material, and soy-based inks, as well as items that light up or have moving parts. Messages are short and contemporary. Prices range from $2.95 to $7.95. One birthday card featured an image of a man in black and white, except for his socks, which were in bright colors. The message simply said, “Happy birthday, son.” Kallil said, adding, “It’s a pretty powerful message. But it’s to the point.” Tomorrow’s greeting card trends are anybody’s guess, with the category constantly reinventing itself. Like beer, cards have been part of society since ancient times. Through the centuries, both have persevered. They also have gone through myriad evolutions in form, taste and function, with the needs and wants of consumers never standing still. dsn

In addition to in-line sections, many regional card-savvy retailers merchandise cards near floral, pharmacy and other departments, or next to checkout counters. The goal is to make cards stand out, while reminding consumers of special occasions and keeping cards top of mind. New York-based Fairway Markets, for one, features Designer Greetings’ merchandise near the floral department. Avanti and Up With Paper have floral outposts, as well. Avanti also uses 4-ft. endcaps in Giant Food locations. “Retailers who maintain large, visible card departments, along with strategic outposts, are growing and gaining market share,” Steve Laserson, senior vice president and North American sales officer at American Greetings, said. Cards merchandised near grocery checkouts or pharmacy reach a captive audience that often is standing in line doing nothing. “When we’ve placed a small assortment — whether they’re seasonal, humorous or premium — we’ve seen a lift in impulse purchases,” said Amy McAnarney, vice president and general manager of key accounts and development at Hallmark Cards. “They also serve as a reminder for an upcoming birthday, anniversary, holiday or other occasion.” Seasonal cards, in particular, need appropriate visibility. “The best way to promote cards is to understand how they’re bought, either on occasion destination or on occasion impulse,” Don Kallil, president of Design Design, said. “For Valentine’s Day, 95% of cards are sold within a week. But if you hide them in a corner, they don’t sell.” For Father’s Day, McAnarney suggested placing card outposts near bakery or liquor departments to “remind shoppers to get a card as they pick up a sweet treat or favorite drink for Dad.”


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When Retailer Decisions Seem Confusing Going against conventional wisdom sometimes can be brilliant By David Orgel

Y 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.

ou did what? That’s what I say to myself when I read about a retailer making a seemingly counterintuitive change of course. This usually involves eliminating a service or strategy, even though the move seems to run counter to growth trends or customer needs. After my initial shock wears off, I usually look deeper to explore logical reasons for the change. Going against conventional wisdom can be smart, even brilliant, as long as the impact on customers has been thoroughly evaluated. Let’s look at three recent cases to understand the decision-making processes involved.

executive explaining why this made sense. “Last year we renamed ourselves PCC Community Markets, and one of the things we did was look at the relationship our shoppers have with our cashiers and our staff,” said Heather Snavely, vice president of marketing, in an article published by KIRO 7 News. “And what we realized was a kiosk doesn’t create community or connections.” I applaud the boldness of this move and the retailer-specific insights it was based on. Snavely was quoted as saying that the early response from customers was positive.

1. Wegmans Pulls Babysitting Service

I did a double take earlier this year when I saw that Trader Joe’s was ending its longtime grocery delivery program in New York City, at a time when numerous other retailers have been ramping up delivery efforts. The company said it has no plans to launch delivery in other markets. A Trader Joe’s representative was quoted by Business Insider saying, “Instead of passing along unsustainable cost increases to our customers, removing delivery will allow us to continue offering outstanding values — quality products for great everyday prices.” My concern is that Trader Joe’s could lose out to competitors that are battling to attract convenience-focused, time-pressed consumers. However, I also know Trader Joe’s has been a master of figuring out what its customers need. The retailer manages to offer offer a unique shopping experience that includes sharp values, sampling and helpful associates. I will give Trader Joe’s the benefit of the doubt for now, and wouldn’t rule out a pivot by the retailer down the road. I’ll end with two pieces of advice. First, retailers should feel comfortable boldly going against the grain when they truly have considered the impacts on customers. And second, everyone should read beyond headlines because sometimes stories don’t make sense until you look deeper. dsn

The Rochester, N.Y.-based retail chain said earlier this year it would close its Wkids locations, which offered free in-store babysitting for children between the ages of 3 to 9 years old while parents shopped. That news surprised me because it seemed to run counter to the needs of parents, no doubt a huge customer base for Wegmans. However, a May 26 article in The Buffalo News reported the service wasn’t as popular as it had once been, and that Wegmans has a proactive new plan to engage kids. “Wegmans will encourage families to shop together and focus on programs that parents can do with their kids, such as in-store yoga, cooking classes and movie nights,” the article said. This new strategy seems very much on target to me and underscores that Wegmans is in tune with its shoppers.

2. PCC Nixes Self Checkout

Seattle-based cooperative PCC Community Markets caught my attention back in January when it decided to pull self-checkout kiosks. That decision removed an option that would seem to be popular with a key segment of consumers. However, when I looked into this further, I found a comment in a local media story from a senior PCC


3. Trader Joe’s Pulls Home Delivery


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