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Volume 43 No. 8



Powerful Drug Store News

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Vol. 43 No. 8 DrugStoreNews.com


FEATURES 10 Industry News 26 Products to Watch 28 CBD News 46 Cover Story: Vaccine Nation Showcasing states that are leading the country with their vaccination efforts, spurring an economic rebound


72 NACDS Total Store Expo Product Preview

108 First Aid is Ready for Anything


Breaking down the products that suppliers are highlighting at this month’s virtual conference

COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note 34 Counter Talk By Craig Ford, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Suppliers in the first aid space take consumer demands to heart with new products and omnichannel approach

114 News



116 Candy and Snacks What do consumers want after forming new habits throughout the pandemic?

36 Counter Talk By Jeffrey Francer, AAM

38 Counter Talk By Eran Ben-Shmuel, Juganu

40 One-on-One


with Rhinomed’s John Ende

42 One-on-One with Designer Greetings’ Steven Gimbelman

44 One-on-One with Twinlab Consolidation’s Yamit Sadok



82 Men’s Grooming

92 Tackling Social Determinants of Health

As the country reopens, men return to their grooming routines to find new innovation in the space

122 Last Word By David Orgel, David Orgel Consulting

90 Men’s Grooming Products

Pharmacy chains and independent networks tailor their clinical offerings to the communities they serve

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews

DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Vol. 43 No. 8, August 2021. Copyright © 2021 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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What’s in Store? Huge demogrpahic shifts will change the way retail pharmacies do business By Nigel F. Maynard


istilled to its essence, the pharmacy was a place to fill prescriptions. But then the role of the pharmacy/pharmacist evolved. According to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, by the early 17th century, Western society had created its first pharmacist guild, and those apothecaries played a central role as healthcare providers. “Two centuries later in the United States, apothecaries became known as pharmacists, thanks to Edward Parrish Nigel F. Maynard of the American Pharmaceutical Association, as it was Editor-in-Chief | then known. Within those bounds, pharmacists made and Editorial Director prescribed medicines into the 1950s as respected community medical providers,” Texas Tech writes. The 1951 Durham-Humphrey Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 altered the role of the pharmacist. Now restricted to recommending over-the-counter medications, they began to focus more on dispensing prescriptions and ensuring product safety, Texas Tech said. Still a place to fill prescriptions, pharmacies today are becoming healthcare destinations that also offer a wide variety of services, such as flu shots and other vaccines, mental health support and wellness services. At some outlets, there is a built-in efficiency where consumers can fill a prescription, shop for groceries and then pick up their medication in 30 minutes to an hour. Retail pharmacy is changing yet again, in part due to the pandemic but also because of shifting consumer preferences. In the last year, more consumers stayed home, many put off doctors’ appointments, some ordered medications online and others had bigger concerns than a flu shot. The industry must find new ways to reverse the trends and increase customer visits. A good place to start is with demographic. They provide a possible road map for the future. Six years ago, McKesson’s Health Mart Pharmacy released a report saying that in 2030, huge shifts will further impact the industry: millennials, who are more comfortable with online services, will outnumber baby boomers, 78 million to 56 million; boomers will be entering a new phase, and they will be focused on wellness and maintaining good health; women in their 20s through 40s will make up an important buying demographic, spending nearly $1,200 a year on beauty and hair products; and Hispanics and Latinos will be more likely than other groups to seek care from a clinic in a pharmacy or retail store. Each community will be different, Health Mart said, so it’s important to know the current trends in your market and among your customers, and how the makeup will allow you to adapt your products, services and marketing “to improve your business success now and in the future.” 2030 is right around the corner, but perhaps it’s time to start thinking about these things now. dsn


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 | Editorial Director Nigel F. Maynard nigelmaynard@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Managing Editor David Salazar (212) 756-5114, dsalazar@ensembleiq.com Senior Editor Sandra Levy (845) 893-9573, slevy@ensembleiq.com Desk Editor Maria Manliclic (212) 756-5093, mmanliclic@ensembleiq.com Online Editor Gisselle Gaitan (212) 756-5138, ggaitan@ensembleiq.com SALES & BUSINESS Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@ensembleiq.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President, Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, destey@ensembleiq.com Creative Director Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/CUSTOMER CARE TOLL-FREE: 1-877-687-7321 FAX: 1-888-520-3608 contact@drugstorenews.com REPRINTS & PERMISSIONS Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295.

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


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Ogden’s Own Releases Summer-Inspired Canned Cocktails P&G Unveils Quiet & Roar Personal Care Brand at Target A new line of body care products from Procter & Gamble is offering essential oilbased products with a focus on eliminating potentially harmful ingredients. Quiet & Roar is the latest launch from the Cincinnati-based company that is targeted toward Gen Z and is launching exclusively at Target. Citing recent numbers from the American Psychological Association, showing that 91% of Gen Z suffers from anxiety, P&G said Quiet & Roar is designed to offer a chance for relaxation as these shoppers look for proactive wellness solutions. “We believe when you have the mental space to be the best version of yourself, you can give your best to the world, and that all starts with how you take care of your body,” said Isabel Pimentel, personal care brand vice president at P&G. “Creating mental space requires freeing our minds from the noise of everyday stressors and shifting our energy to soothe our soul. At Quiet & Roar, we are committed to creating products that engage your senses to help ease your mind while caring for your body.” The lineup of products includes body washes, lotions and scrubs meant to engage the senses in the following varieties: • Relax with a blend of lavender and spirulina; • Renew with lemon blossom and mint; • Awaken with peach and green tea; • Soothe with coconut and banana milk; and • Revive with pineapple and kiwiberry. All of the products retail for $8.99 at Target and on Target.com.


Ogden’s Own launched its newest canned cocktails just in time for summer. The Utahbased distiller introduced Madam Pattirini Gin and Tonic and Porter’s Whiskey Cola, which feature a twist on two classic mixed drinks, the company said. “We’ve been thrilled to see how Ogden’s Own fans have embraced our canned cocktail line thus far, and we felt it made sense to expand the family with two takes on timeless cocktails that everyone loves, including our first-ever canned gin cocktail,” said Steve Conlin, CEO and co-founder of Ogden’s Own. “Consumption methods and preferences have transformed rapidly in recent years, but nothing beats a classic, even if it’s in a modern format. We’re delighted to welcome Madam Pattirini Gin and Tonic and Porter’s Whiskey Soda to our portfolio as staples for summer sipping, outdoor social events and anytime enjoyment.” Madam Pattirini Gin and Tonic features carbonated tonic water, herbaceous flavors and citrus notes, including juniper, Sicilian lemon and Nigerian ginger while Porter’s Whiskey Cola contains classic Canadian whiskey with sweet and spicy notes. Ogden’s Own canned cocktails retail for $3.39 per 12-oz. can.


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Beauty by Imagination, Ampro Win Buyers’ Choice Awards at ECRM Hair Care Program Beauty by Imagination won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Twist Line of curly hair products at ECRM’s Hair Care & Multicultural Hair Program in June. Ampro was a finalist for its Shine n’ Jam Magic Fingers Braid Gel. The products were selected from dozens of entries submitted by participating suppliers. Buyers were able to evaluate each entry and cast their votes based on product packaging and innovation via the Drug Store News-branded Buyers’ Choice Awards section of the ECRM Connect platform. “The two Buyers’ Choice Award Winners are a great example of the popularity of products for textured and braided hair,” said Craig Chmielowicz, ECRM senior vice president of health and beauty care. “Both have innovative products featuring eyecatching packaging designs that will definitely catch a shopper’s attention at the shelf.” New York-based Beauty by Imagination develops some of the industry’s most recognizable and innovative brands and products, such as Goody, Wet Brush, Bio Ionic, Ouidad, Twist, Curls, Solano and Ace. Its Twist brand was developed to serve all curl types at an accessible price point, with products retailing for less than $12. Twist products are moisture focused and fit into three moisture categories — essential, extra or ultimate — because waves, curls and coils need moisture to thrive. The products are designed to be mixed and matched across moisture levels for a fully customized routine. In addition, the products’ designs feature bold, graphic packaging to pop on shelf and create excitement at retail. Memphis, Tenn.-based Ampro Industries was launched from the basement of Vogue Beauty and Barber Mart, a small beauty supply store located in downtown Memphis. It was there that the founder began manufacturing his own brand of hair products. In 1947, he named the line Ampro, which is short for American Products. The company’s Shine n’ Jam Magic Fingers Braid Gel was created in 2019 via a partnership between Ampro and Stasha Harris, owner of Magic Fingers Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y. Harris is the star of “The Braid Up,” which can be seen on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Cosmopolitan.com. Harris’ appreciation of Shine n’ Jam products led to a collaboration to create products for the braiding community. Additions to the line include a 4-oz. Edge Gel product, an 11.5-oz. Oil Sheen and a 12-oz. Setting Mousse. Most recently, Ampro added a salonsized 16-oz. Braiding Gel to the mix.



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Garnier’s Whole Blends Goes Plastic-Free with Shampoo Bars The latest product from Garnier’s Whole Blends line is underscoring the brand’s commitment to sustainability. The new Whole Blends Shampoo Bar, formulated with less water, is sold in zero-plastic packaging. Made to cleanse hair like a liquid shampoo, the bars are designed to nourish and leave hair looking shiny and healthy. The Whole Blends Shampoo Bars, which are free of preservatives, silicones, soap and dyes, have a fast-rinsing formula that is 97% biodegradable and dermatologist tested for safety, the company said. Available blends of the shampoo bars include: • Restoring Honey Treasures Shampoo Bar for dry and damaged hair; • Hydrating Coco and Aloe Vera Shampoo Bar for normal hair; • Softening Oat Delicacy Shampoo Bar for fine to normal hair; and • Strengthening Ginger Recovery Shampoo Bar for weak hair. “At Garnier, we are deeply committed to shift the way the beauty industry operates and lead the change for all of us. The new Whole Blends zero-plastic shampoo bars are a huge milestone for the brand,” said Adrien Koskas, global brand president. “We are not only changing the face of hair care, but also helping millions of consumers across the U.S. to take #OneGreenStep and join us in our journey towards more sustainability. This is all part of Garnier’s commitment towards greener beauty for all of us.”


Colgate-Palmolive’s Softsoap Focuses on Sustainability with Foaming Hand Soap Tablets Colgate-Palmolive is eyeing reduced plastic waste with its latest innovation for its Softsoap brand. The company has introduced Softsoap Foaming Hand Soap tablets and refillable, recyclable aluminum bottles, marking the first refill option in tablet form from a major U.S. brand. To use, consumers fill the aluminum bottle with water, add a tablet and wait for it to fizz and turn into foaming hand soap. The starter kit, which includes the bottle and two tablets, uses 71% less plastic than a foaming 8.75-fl.-oz. hand soap bottle, according to the company. Colgate-Palmolive said the launch is in line with its sustainability and social impact strategy, which has a goal of eliminating a third of the new plastics it uses as part of its transition to 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025. Within those goals, Softsoap is aiming to have all of its pump bottles be in recycled 100% post-consumer packaging by the end of 2022. “As a brand found in 53 million North American households, Softsoap wants to make sustainability a household habit,” said Emily Fong Mitchell, general manager of North America personal care at Colgate-Palmolive. “The launch of Softsoap Foaming Tablets is a big step as we work to build a more sustainable, healthier future for all. Given our reach, we understand the impact of this step on the entire industry. We’re excited to be leading this change as the first major CPG brand to offer a refill option in tablet form.” The tablets are sold in three scents — Sparkling Lavender, Lemon Fizz and Fresh Coconut. The Softsoap Foaming Tablet Starter Kit has a suggested retail price of $5.99. Refills, which contain three tablets, have a suggested retail price of $4.99. The product launched online at major retailers, including Walmart, on July 12.


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FDA Approves New Shingrix Indication

Health-Ade Cracks Open Line of Prebiotic Soda Health-Ade is expanding beyond its popular kombucha offerings with Pop, a prebiotic soda line available in six flavors — pomegranate berry, lemon lime, ginger fizz, strawberry vanilla, apple snap and juicy grape. To celebrate the launch of this new line, the Los Angeles-based brand is releasing a series of videos that pay homage to and poke fun at ’90s infomercials while emphasizing the benefits of its beverages. “With this campaign, we hope to entertain and inspire people to stop accepting the crappy feeling they get after drinking traditional sugar-filled sodas, and to shake up their routine with something new,” said Charlotte Mostead, vice president of marketing at Health-Ade. “Health-Ade Pop is about having fun with what you drink, but also getting more function out of it. There’s no need for tradeoffs with Pop, you truly can have it all: good-for-your-gut prebiotics, detoxifying acids, and the delicious, totally craveable fizz of a refreshing soda. It’s soda, redefined.” With Pop, Health-Ade is aiming to provide consumers with a low sugar, allnatural prebiotic beverage that contains a vibrant taste and bubble fizzle flavored with organic ingredients and cold-pressed juice, the company said. “We have seen a dramatic increase in consumer interest in gut health over the past year as people begin to realize just how important gut health is to immunity and overall health,” CEO and co-founder Daina Trout said. “We wanted to offer our customers something that doesn’t compromise on taste and has legitimate gut health benefits, and Pop does just that.” Health-Ade Pop is certified organic, vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO. Each beverage retails for $2.99 and will roll out at such retailers as Whole Foods Market, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens, as well as online at Amazon.com.


The Food and Drug Administration has cleared Shingrix (zoster vaccine recombinant, adjuvanted) for the prevention of shingles, or herpes zoster, in adults aged 18 years old and older who are or who will be at increased risk of shingles due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by known disease or therapy. Immunocompromised individuals are at greater risk of shingles and associated complications than immunocompetent individuals. “We’re proud to offer Shingrix in the United States for the prevention of shingles in those who are immunocompromised, with FDA granting a broad indication for use in adults at increased risk of this disease,” said Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer at GSK Vaccines. “Older age and being immunocompromised are the most common risk factors for shingles disease. GSK is committed to this important patient population at increased risk for shingles disease and its complications by bringing them a vaccine option that can help prevent this painful condition.” Shingrix — given intramuscularly in two doses — was initially approved by the FDA in 2017 for the prevention of shingles in adults age 50 years old or older. “In addition to this new patient population, there are more than 100 million adults 50 years and older in the United States already recommended to receive Shingrix,” Breuer said. “We know many of these individuals missed recommended vaccines during the pandemic and we hope this can be a reminder to them to catch up on all their immunizations, including Shingrix.”


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Bayer Obtains FDA OK for Kerendia The Food and Drug Administration has approved Bayer's Kerendia (finerenone), a new drug indicated to reduce the risk of sustained estimated glomerular filtration rate decline, kidney failure, cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction and hospitalization for heart failure in adult patients with chronic kidney disease associated with Type 2 diabetes. “The patient population included in the trial that supported the approval of Kerendia were at risk of chronic kidney disease progression despite receiving standard-of-care treatment to control blood pressure and blood glucose,” said George Bakris, University of Chicago and lead study investigator. “In people with chronic kidney disease associated with Type 2 diabetes, physicians now have a new treatment to provide kidney protection.” Kerendia launched at the end of July. “Kerendia is the first and only nonsteroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist proven to significantly slow chronic kidney disease progression and reduce cardiovascular risk in people with chronic kidney disease associated with Type 2 diabetes,” said Amit Sharma, vice president of cardiovascular and renal at Bayer U.S. Medical Affairs. “We are excited to bring this new kidneyfocused treatment to people living with this condition.”



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Gaia Herbs Adds Black Elderberry Tonic Natural herbal product manufacturer Gaia Herbs is expanding its lineup of immune-focused products that contain black elderberry. The Brevard, N.C.-based company has debuted Black Elderberry Tonic, which rolled out to retail in July. The new USDA Certified Organic tonic uses a recipe for a traditional oxymel (an herbal elixir containing vinegar and raw honey) that includes organic raw apple cider vinegar, organic raw honey and organic acerola. It is free of preservatives, artificial sweeteners and added flavors. Gaia Herbs said the tonic is able to be taken from the spoon or incorporated into recipes, and offers a vegetarian option that is free of dairy, gluten and soy. “We are excited to release our new Black Elderberry Tonic, utilizing our extensive scientific knowledge and over 30 years of herbal expertise, to deliver a delicious and convenient option for daily immune support that people can trust and feel confident about taking,” said Ryan Marek, Gaia Herbs vice president of marketing and e-commerce. Gaia Herbs also is focused on transparency. The company’s Meet Your Herbs traceability program allows shoppers to enter an ID number from the back of the product and learn where the ingredients came from. Information includes details on how they were grown and harvested, as well as tests conducted to ensure quality and potency. Gaia Herbs’ Black Elderberry Tonic has a suggested retail price of $14.99 for a 4-fl.-oz. bottle.



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Nature’s Bounty Launches Curated Combinations

Lay’s Rolls Out Doritos, Funyuns Flavor-Swap Chips

Nature’s Bounty aims to take the questions out of daily supplement intake with its new Curated Combinations. The company launched the line of four personalized nutrition packs that include vitamins and supplements needed to address specific health-andwellness concerns. Each pack contains three to four pills that are taken daily. Varieties include: • Daily Essentials, which features high-dose vitamin C for immune support and contains an advanced multivitamin for overall wellness and L-theanine for stress support; • Set the Foundation, which consists of CoQ-10, essential minerals, vitamin D and ginkgo biloba, that aims to tackle nourishment for the heart, mind and bones; • Master the Day, which contains super B complex, ginkgo biloba leaf extract and highdose vitamin C, that looks to support cellular energy, mental alertness and immune health; and • A Good Night, which highlights a drug-free combination that aids relaxation and contains melatonin, L-theanine and magnesium to support a restful night’s sleep. “With 77% of consumers wanting to do more to stay healthy in the future, our Curated Combinations line will help give them the confidence, support and education they need when searching for vitamins and supplements catered to their personal wellness goals,” said Nimit Bansal, senior director of innovation at The Bountiful Co. “We want nothing more than to help people live the healthiest versions of themselves, and we’re excited to offer accessible mass personalization from a brand that people have come to trust and rely on.” Nature’s Bounty Curated Combinations, available online at Amazon.com, will roll out at CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Rite Aid this year.

Lay’s is putting a new twist on the classic potato chip by partnering with PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division and introducing flavor mashups of Doritos Cool Ranch and Funyuns. Known as part of the Flavor Swap lineup, the flavor combinations include Lay’s Doritos Cool Ranch and Lay’s Wavy Funyuns Onion. “From local cuisine to restaurant favorites to fan-submitted flavor ideas, Lay’s has drawn inspiration from so many different places over the years to bring our fans joy through new and exciting flavor experiences,” said Melissa Miranda, senior director of marketing at Frito-Lay North America. “This time, we’ve partnered with two beloved Frito-Lay brands to give our fans an innovative, one-of-a-kind flavor experience like no other chip brand can do. We can’t wait for people to try these new Lay’s Flavor Swap flavors for themselves.” Both Lay’s Flavor Swap potato chips will be available at grocery stores nationwide for a limited time in a 7.5-oz. size that retails for $3.79 and a 2.62-oz. bag that retails for $1.99.


FlavoRx, Fillmaster and FillPure Merge to Become FlavorMaster FlavoRx, Fillmaster and FillPure have merged to become an integrated company called FlavorMaster, which will based in Columbia, Md. The company noted that the motivation for the merger was the demonstrated success and rapid acceptance of the new FlavoRx Auto dispensing system. The technology automates both reconstitution and flavoring of liquid medications, saving pharmacists time and allowing parents to choose the best taste for their child’s medicine. “The FlavoRx Auto is a game-changing approach to time-savings and efficiency in the pharmacy,” said Stuart Amos, president and CEO of the newly formed FlavorMaster. “The rapid adoption of this technology, combined with the measurably positive impact it is having in pharmacies, made the decision to merge FlavoRx, Fillmaster and FillPure an easy one.” The FlavoRx Auto is installed in more than 2,000 pharmacies across the United States, including CVS Pharmacy, Giant Eagle, H-E-B, Kinney Drug, Publix and various Kroger banners.


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Omnicell Acquiring FDS Amplicare for $177M Omnicell is growing its portfolio of medication management solutions and adherence tools. The Mountain View, Calif.based company has entered into a definitive agreement with pharmacy software solutions provider FDS Amplicare to acquire its business for $177 million. The company said the acquisition would add FDS Amplicare’s financial management, analytics and population health solutions to Omnicell’s EnlivenHealth division, growing its pharmacy offerings meant to improve health outcomes and enable new clinical services. In particular, Omnicell said FDS Amplicare’s reconciliation, medical claims processing, payment collection and distribution, adherence-tracking, and store performance monitoring tools were among those that will complement EnlivenHealth’s existing offering. Omnicell said the addition of FDS Amplicare’s solutions is expected to strengthen EnlivenHealth’s offerings to give pharmacies the tools and intelligence they need to manage, forecast and mitigate direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR fees. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transformation to the new era pharmacy,” said Adam McMullin, FDS Amplicare CEO. “Pharmacies are responding to the growing demand for accessible, trusted community health care by stepping up their offering of high-value clinical services, such as vaccinations and point-of-care testing. As we looked at the best way to enable pharmacy and serve our customers, joining together with Omnicell’s EnlivenHealth division was clearly the best path to provide more innovative and comprehensive solutions designed to enhance the success of retail pharmacy today and into the future.” EnlivenHealth has a growing business providing technology solutions that enable retail pharmacies and their health plan partners to improve medication adherence, increase quality measures and drive business results. FDS Amplicare’s population health management solutions are expected to help accelerate the combined entity’s growth in the health plan market, which continues to grow rapidly due to major economic and demographic trends, such as the aging population. “FDS Amplicare adds strong new capabilities to our EnlivenHealth portfolio intended to drive clinical, workflow and financial growth opportunities for our growing base of pharmacy partners,” said Danny Sanchez, vice president and general manager of EnlivenHealth. “The addition of FDS Amplicare’s nationwide network of independent retail pharmacies significantly expands EnlivenHealth’s broad industry footprint centered on leading pharmacy chains. Equally important, this combination is expected to strengthen our offering of advanced digital technology solutions, empowering pharmacies and their health plan partners to ensure the lifelong optimal health of their patients and members while maximizing business results.” The FDS Amplicare business that is being acquired had roughly $29 million of total revenue for the 12 months ended June 30. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.



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

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

In-store collateral ll to support Medicare customer retention.

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

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

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7/30/21 2:09 PM


New and Noteworthy HRG’s five picks from July 2021



Aquaphor Itch Relief Ointment Maximum Strength


Aspercreme Arthritis Gel


CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser


QuitGo Smokeless Inhaler

ven in the dead of summer, the new product team at HRG is looking for the most innovative new products. The Waukesha, Wis.-based company’s analysts sifted through 173 products that hit the market in July, including 81 health products, 38 wellness items and 54 beauty offerings. The five they identified as standouts were:

Sanofi’s well-known topical pain relief brand Aspercreme is getting in on the hottest ingredient in arthritis pain relief. The new Aspercreme Arthritis Gel contains prescription-strength diclofenac gel — the active ingredient that entered the OTC fray when Voltaren switched from Rx-only in early 2020. The product is designed to penetrate the skin and reduce inflammation at the source, according to the company. Old habits die hard, and smoking may be the best example of that. Harmless Products has developed the QuitGo Smokeless Inhaler as a nicotine- and tobacco-free product to help with the psychological hand-to-mouth habit and oral fixation that accompanies smoking. The vaporless product, which can be used in conjunction with traditional nicotine replacement therapy products, is designed for use at home or on the go. It is available in a fresh mint flavor.


Beiersdorf’s Aquaphor brand has developed an itch-relief product designed for consumers with sensitive skin. The hypoallergenic anti-itch ointment features 1% hydrocortisone to treat such outdoor irritations as insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak and sumac, and conditions such as dry skin, rashes, eczema and psoriasis. The product is designed to work for up to 12 hours. With 2% salicylic acid and three essential ceramides, CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser is formulated to fight tough acne while being gentle on skin. The L’Oréal brand’s cleanser features an oil-absorbing technology to remove excess sebum and reduce blackheads while preventing breakouts and improving the appearance of pores.


Tylenol Extra Strength Cold + Flu Multi-Action Caplet, Day

After a year with a relatively soft cough-cold and flu season, more vaccinated people wearing masks less frequently is bringing the common ailments back — and Tylenol is looking to relieve symptoms associated with them. The Johnson & Johnson Consumer brand’s Tylenol Extra Strength Cold + Flu Multi-Action includes a combination of acetaminophen, dextromethorphan and pseudoephedrine to relieve head and body aches and lower fever while easing sore throat, cough and congestion. It marks the first Tylenol Cold + Flu product to contain pseudoephedrine and is located behind the pharmacy counter. dsn


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12:36 PM

*Retail measurement service for Hand and Body Lotion segment (Beiersdorf defined) for the 52 week ending 12/29/2018 for the total US xAOC market

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7/30/21 2:09 PM


Good Hemp Wellness Rolls Out CBD Softgels

Impact Naturals, Socati Join Forces for Line of Wellness Products Socati and Impact Naturals are teaming up to launch a line of CBD products that combine CBD and other cannabinoids. The companies said the products are designed for better and faster absorption into the bloodstream. “Our commitment is to create the next generation of CBD products using a sciencebased approach. By creating products that are able to naturally boost cannabinoid absorption in the human body, we’re able to deliver products that are new and different in the wellness space,” said Impact Naturals CEO Vassili Kotlov. “By collaborating with Socati, the leader in CBD formulations, we’ve been able to achieve something very special with these products and are incredibly excited for people to use them.” The Revive, Restore and Rest products offer CBD capsules formulated with broad-spectrum, high-absorption Chylosoma CBD, as well as the cannabinoids cannabigerol, or CBG, and cannabinol, or CBN. “Using our proprietary lipid-absorption technology, Impact Naturals’ products allow cannabinoids to take advantage of the body’s existing lipid transport system, boosting absorption and delivery throughout the body,” said Dr. James Lowder, chief medical officer at Impact Naturals. The company said independent study data has shown the products to deliver improved CBD absorption and a quicker onset. Rest offers a combination of CBD and CBN with melatonin, designed to help users fall and stay asleep. Restore is billed as a product for soothing body and mind with a combination of CBD and CBG. Revive also combines CBD and CBG, as well as American ginseng and ginkgo biloba, in a product meant to offer clarity, energy and focus. Each is sold in 30-count jars of vegan capsules that are free of THC. “It’s a privilege to work with so many progressive CBD brands like Impact Naturals who are dedicated to creating innovative products for customers that are passionate about improving their own health and well-being,” Socati chief revenue officer Mark Elfenbein said.


Good Hemp, a subsidiary of Good Hemp Wellness, is bringing a CBD softgel to market with the U.S. Hemp Authority’s seal of approval and a CBD formulation meant to maximize absorption. The Cornelius, N.C.-based company partnered with dietary supplement producer Barlean to produce the softgels, each of which contains 25 mg of CBD. Good Hemp Wellness said the CBD in the softgels uses a selfemulsifying formulation that Barlean’s internal studies have shown increase absorption into the bloodstream by as much as 200%. Good Hemp Wellness’ CBD Softgel is launching with certification from the U.S. Hemp Authority. The certification, established In 2018, is meant to ensure that a hemp producer adheres to the highest standards and best practices to supply the best possible hemp and CBD products to consumers. “We are very excited to help providers across the country educate their patients about the value of hemp-derived products,” said Jason Minsky, managing partner of the Good Hemp Wellness division. “Our Good Hemp Wellness CBD Softgels are uniquely blended to be fast-acting and self-emulsifying, which provides an overall greater positive physiological effect for the consumer.” The product is sold in 30-count bottles that offer a total of 750 mg of CBD.


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11:18 AM

8/2/21 8:18 AM


NuLeaf Naturals Debuts Multicannabinoid Oil, Softgels

Fam Organics Launching CBN, CBG Products

NuLeaf Naturals is bringing a blend of various cannabinoids to market with its latest product. NuLeaf Naturals Multicannabinoid, offered in oil and softgels, contains a blend of cannabinoids, including CBD; cannabigerol, or CBG; cannabinol, or CBD; cannabichromene, or CBC; and Delta 8 THC. The company said Multicannabinoid is focused on combining the different properties of these cannabinoids to best engage the body’s endocannabinoid system. “NuLeaf Naturals has always been positioned to capitalize on the growing cannabinoid supplement market,” said CEO Ian Kelly. “From the day the company was first founded, our mission remains to help people and their loved ones live a happier and healthier life.” NuLeaf Naturals said the combination of cannabinoids leads to what is called the “entourage effect,” allowing them to work synergistically to be more effective than when they are isolated. “Recent breakthroughs in the extraction and production of cannabinoids have allowed us, for the first time, to be able to market and distribute these products consistently at scale,” Kelly said. “Our cGMP certified facilities enable us to manufacture groundbreaking cannabinoid formulations while exceeding the highest levels of regulatory requirements.”

Fam Organics, an Austin, Texas-based maker of CBD oils and topicals, is bringing two popular cannabinoids to its products. The company is launching two CBD + Cannabinoid blends — GoodDay Elixir with cannabigerol, or CBG, and GoodNight Elixir with cannabinol, or CBN. The elixirs, set for an early fall launch, combine these cannabinoid isolates with the company’s USDA Certified Organic full-spectrum hemp oil. The GoodDay Elixir contains 2,400 mg of CBG, with the goal of supporting consumers with chronic pain. Fam Organics said CBG is thought to work with the body’s endocannabinoid system to improve gut health by reducing intestinal inflammation, aid in muscle recovery and reduce symptoms of nausea. It also is thought to help alleviate brain fog and anxiety. GoodNight Elixir is designed to support falling asleep and getting a restful night’s sleep. The company said CBN is thought of as the “relaxation cannabinoid,” helping users fall asleep. “Combining CBG and CBN with our full-spectrum hemp oil gives each elixir maximum benefits,” Marissa Davis, Fam Organics founder, said. The new products will join Fam Organics’ existing lineup of CBD oils in various strengths, its Peppermint Joy oil and its CBD Rescue Cream.



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7/30/21 11:39 AM


Award Winning Fruit & Vegetable Shot

Vitamin A, C, D, B6 and B12 Organic Orange Juice, Organic Erythritol, Organic Coconut Water, Organic Superfood Blend (Organic Apple [Fruit pulp], Organic Beet, Organic Carrot, Organic Spinach, Organic Broccoli, Organic Tomato, Organic Kale, Organic Cabbage, Organic Parsley Leaf,Organic Brussel Sprouts, Organic Green Bell Pepper, Organic Cucumber, Organic Celery, Organic Garlic, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Green Onion, Organic Cauliflower, Organic Asparagus, Organic Pea, Organic Strawberry, Organic Tart Cherry, Organic Blackberry, Organic Blueberry, Organic Raspberry, Organic Banana, Organic Rice), Natural Flavors, Organic Stevia Leaf Extract, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Sea Salt, Organic Monk Fruit Extract.

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Buyer's Choice Award Phone: 303-594-6040 mfrink@apaxbd.com www.feelgoodsuperfoods.com

8/2/21 8:18 AM


Rya Organics Revamps Nexus Relief Formulation

JustCBD Adds MMA Fighter Jon ‘Bones’ Jones as Ambassador JustCBD has landed a big name in mixed martial arts fighting as a brand ambassador. Light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones will be in a series of ads from the Miami-based CBD brand, highlighting its performanceand recovery-focused products. “We’d like to officially welcome Jon ‘Bones’ Jones to the JustCBD family,” founder Hussein Rakine said. “This partnership excites us because we pride ourselves on creating our own lane in the crowded CBD space by being an innovative, disruptive and transparent brand. This is exactly what Jon Jones has done in his career as a fighter, so this alignment makes perfect sense as we create products that speak to every athlete.” The union will see Jones and JustCBD working together to promote existing products and develop new ones, as well as consumer activations, fight ticket contests and product giveaways. JustCBD offers a range of products that includes gummies, topicals, bath bombs and pet treats. Jones will be promoting several of these offerings, including the Ultra Pain Relief Gel, CBD Gummies and CBD coconut oil. “I’m always looking to maximize my performance and my recovery, and since I discovered JustCBD and their products — it’s been a difference maker,” Jones said. “I hope this partnership will show athletes at all levels the benefits of quality CBD.”


CBD and plant-based wellness and beauty brand Rya Organics by Cymbiotika is rolling out a reformulated version of its Nexus Relief supplement. The product now contains 600 mg of full-spectrum CBD per bottle — double its former amount. The new formulation also includes evening primrose oil as a source of gamma-linolenic acid, which the company said acts as an antioxidant and has painrelieving effects. “If you are desiring a potent CBD formula, something you can tangibly feel, then Nexus Relief is your solution,” said Chervin Jafarieh, founder of Cymbiotika. “Our full-spectrum CBD is minimally processed and provides a much stronger effect than other forms of CBD. Nexus contains a variety of compounds, including phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, producing the well-known entourage effect. At 20 mg of CBD per serving, we are confident we got the dosage perfect.” Nexus Relief is designed to help the body’s endocannabinoid system continue producing cannabinoids on its own. Besides the fullspectrum, CO2-extracted cannabinoids in the full-spectrum extract, the product contains TetraHydroCurcumin, or C3, and Boswellia sacra. “As we continue to develop the most advanced, bioavailable products, we are not only looking at creating new formulations, but advancing existing products,” said Cymbiotika CEO and managing partner Shahab Elmi. “Our customers will find that the Nexus Relief they love is better than ever and still one of the most superior products on the market.” Rya Organics Nexus Relief is sold on the company’s website for $88 for a single bottle, or $79.20 with a monthly subscription.


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8/2/21 8:19 AM


Improving Patient Outcomes with Data Using social determinants of health to empower new insight By Craig L. Ford

Craig L. Ford, vice president, LexisNexis Risk Solutions



atient health is impacted every day by social, economic and environmental factors — also known as social determinants of health, or SDOH. Medical care determines only 20% of overall health, according to County Health Rankings. Social, economic and environmental factors determine 50% of overall health. A few examples: • Social isolation can increase risk of heart disease by 29% and stroke by 32%; • Lower education levels are correlated with higher likelihood of smoking and shorter life expectancy; and • 75% to 90% of primary care visits are due to effects of stress, which also correlate with lower medication adherence. Money, work and family responsibilities are the top three causes of stress. Leveraging clinically validated SDOH data can identify health risk with increased precision. This valuable patient data aids pharmacy industry leaders in identifying opportunities to expand, optimize and innovate. Highly targeted SDOH data can uncover opportunities to improve health, patient engagement and patient retention outcomes. In the pharmacy, this understanding of patients’ social determinants can impact programming on multiple levels. With this data, pharmacies are better positioned to create new patient engagement programs that impact the patient care experience. SDOH data can help prioritize how resources should be allocated to different patients based on the best criteria for the desired outcome. Highly specific SDOH data allows stratification based on barriers to medication adherence or other care outcomes. Pharmacies may provide discounts to use transportation services or simply connect patients with a transportation service. Automated texts can be pushed to patients whose prescriptions are due to be refilled. Also, more pharmacies have found it necessary to provide more robust patient care in the form of walk-in retail clinics. Social determinants data can have an impact on that aspect of the care continuum, guiding corporate planning on where to locate those services based on patient barriers to care. Using SDOH data, pharmacies can meet a patients’

deeper needs, those that have the highest impact on outcomes. This data provides confidence at every step. To get you started, LexisNexis Risk Solutions has outlined three steps to create an SDOH program.

1. Select the focus of your initiative Identify the patient population and health outcomes to target. Determine specific medical conditions (like diabetes) and outcomes that significantly impact your patient populations. Look for groups that may be impacted by medication noncompliance. These conditions can lower the patient’s quality of life and can be positively impacted by pharmacy intervention. Leveraging LexisNexis SDOH data, stratify your patient population according to their level of risk to apply your resources. Work with your analytics team to narrow the geographical focus to specific cities and compare patterns.

2. Match existing programs to patient needs With your focus identified, you must determine the resources that will address the patients’ barriers to care. Do patients need additional education on their prescriptions and follow-up reminders, or transportation to pick up a refill? Matching patients with existing resources is very effective in improving patient outcomes. You can measure success by weighing how well internal programs and community partnerships cover these needs. Then, consider establishing new programs and partnerships to cover them.

3. Work with local health services When high-risk patients connect with community resources, pharmacies see the biggest effect on health outcomes. Launching an SDOH initiative requires thoughtful analysis among analytics teams, clinicians, social workers and other community partners in conjunction with buy-in from leadership. The best way to get started is with a “quick win” project like addressing transportation needs in a specific community. You’ll start making an impact right away. Then, you can scale into broad-based initiatives to reach more patients — to achieve improved health outcomes. dsn


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Create more patient-centric care using SDOH data Leverage clinically validated social determinants of health data to predict your patients’ risk with increased precision.

LexisNexis® Socioeconomic Health Attributes enable a highly proactive approach to patient engagement and consultation. • Integrate hundreds of socioeconomic attributes into your clinical and analytic models to better assess and manage risk

• Improve medication adherence, care quality and patient retention with personalized engagement efforts

• Help achieve better qualitative and cost-efficient outcomes by taking predictive modeling to a new level

For more information, call 866.396.7703 or visit risk.lexisnexis.com/healthcare

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7/30/21 2:10 PM


Courtside Analysis Two Supreme Court decisions impact biosimilars and drug pricing By Jeffrey K. Francer

T Jeffrey K. Francer, senior vice president and general counsel, the Association for Accessible Medicines

wo recent decisions by the Supreme Court hold important implications for biopharmaceutical competition — and hence drug prices — for patients in this country. Both decisions affirmed the constitutionality of certain legal provisions that are critical to the growth and success of the biosimilars market, but the second created some important questions that must be resolved going forward. The first of the two decisions announced by the Supreme Court — a 7-2 vote in California v. Texas — found that a collection of states challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, did not have standing to do so. The headline news out of that decision is that the ACA withstood another legal challenge. Yet for the biosimilars market, the most important facet is the survival of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, or BPCIA, which authorized the Food and Drug Administration to approve biosimilars and became law as part of the larger ACA.

While there was never serious doubt about the constitutionality of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act itself, each legal challenge to the larger ACA law roiled a market for biosimilars that can ill afford the headwinds. While there was never serious doubt about the constitutionality of the BPCIA itself, each legal challenge to the larger ACA law roiled a market for biosimilars that can ill afford the headwinds. Whatever one may think about the insurance provisions of the ACA, the survival of the BPCIA should provide additional stability and momentum for the U.S. biosimilars market. Coming on the heels of this good news for biosimilars was a decision that was more tempered. In 2011, Congress passed and


then-President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan America Invents Act. This law established the inter partes review, or IPR, process that allows for streamlined challenges to patents. IPR allows the United States Patent and Trademark Office to invalidate “noninnovative” patents that likely should never have been granted in the first place. In recent years, as some blockbuster biologics reach the end of their exclusivity periods, there has been a trend toward the creation of larger and larger patent estates through the application for tens, if not hundreds, of patents on various components and processes having to do with the manufacture of biologic drugs. As a result, some of the best-selling biologics on the planet are the subject of more than a hundred patents. The effect of this trend is that litigation by generic and biosimilar drug developers to challenge some of these patents is often prohibitively expensive and risky. As a result, the monopoly periods for some blockbuster brand-name drugs can last for decades past the expiration of their original key patents. The IPR legislation was designed to streamline the process of challenging patents, thus encouraging competition while preserving true innovation. Importantly, the Supreme Court’s decision in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew did not disturb the constitutionality of the IPR process itself, which is a good sign for the biosimilars market. Rather, the Supreme Court’s decision in this case made IPR decisions of Administrative Patent Judges’ decisions subject to the review of the patent office director. The court’s decisions in this term affirmed the constitutionality of key provisions that underpin the biosimilars market, which is, on the whole, a positive result. The Arthrex decision, however, reminds us that there is still much work to be done to ensure that anticompetitive intellectual property shenanigans do not stymie the growth of the biosimilars market going forward. dsn


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8/3/21 2:51 PM


A New Shopping Paradigm How retail and pharmacies can offer safe and smart in-store journeys By Eran Ben-Shmuel

A Eran Ben-Shmuel, CEO and co-founder, Juganu

fter more than a year, the United States is getting the coronavirus pandemic under control. Multiple vaccines are being distributed, while local and state governments are loosening restrictions on public gatherings. Meanwhile, retail locations that rely on in-store traffic are preparing for an increase in customers, especially now that warmer weather is here. That said, it’s also likely that COVID-19 will have an impact on society’s psyche long after the physical danger has been mitigated. Yes, people will return to their local pharmacies and drug stores to pick up items, ranging from shampoo to vital medicine. Still, their expectations may have changed, and with it, the customer experience may need to change as well. A new shopping paradigm based on safety and a near-frictionless in-store experience for customers and greater efficiency for store management will set the pace for brick-and-mortar stores looking to succeed post-pandemic.

The New Customer Experience The new customer experience begins even before patrons enter the store. Customers are going to think twice about entering any facility they don’t feel is safe. In a recent study, global research firm Ipsos found that more than 60% of shoppers would stop visiting a retailer that is not taking health and safety seriously. Even before crossing the threshold, consumers want to know what safety precautions a store has in place, including mask adherence and capacity limits to the ongoing disinfecting of surfaces, merchandise and even the air inside a store. Customer assurance leads to customer trust, which may be the single most crucial factor in getting people in the door. Once inside, customers will likely be less inclined to browse the aisles, instead opting to “get their business done” as quickly as possible. Businesses will need to provide solutions to help customers accomplish this. In some cases, this may be a customer-facing solution, such as mobile apps that let customers know if certain products are in stock and where they are located. In other cases, it will be tools to help businesses understand and track


customer behavior. Understanding in-store traffic patterns can help businesses avoid bottlenecks that could make patrons uncomfortable or deliver insights that lead to new product placement, making them easier and therefore quicker to find.

Behind the Scenes While the potential for increased in-store traffic is cause for optimism among retailers, it will come with additional costs. Employees will have similar expectations as consumers and deserve to work with the assurance that their workplace environment is safe. Finding cost-effective solutions for increased sanitation will be a high priority. Another challenge for retailers will be managing these new logistical challenges. Few consumers will be willing to put up with a delayed shopping experience in exchange for increased safety. For shops, the retail experience must be seamless and safe for consumers and turnkey for store managers and employees. New technology solutions are now available to address these issues. “Smart lighting” can not only provide superior light and act as an IoT hub, but also be a key component in disinfecting spaces as well. The technology empowers retailers to continually deploy disinfecting UVA and UVC light while offering actionable operations insights to store owners, such as aligning product layout with purchasing trend and checkout management. The technology also improves customer experience with innovations, including in-store product searching from devices and interactive mobile store maps.

An Emphasis on the Long Term COVID has created entirely new problems to solve, necessitating fresh ideas on reimagining safety and efficiency in physical retail spaces. Retail and pharmacy managers across the country who can make the necessary changes quickly and cost-effectively, and emphasize long-term solutions driven by emerging technologies, will have the best chance to thrive under the rules of the new customer experience. They will be the people leading the example for other retailers to not just get through the short term but continue to thrive for the long term. dsn


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Goodbye clipboard. Take your vaccination program to the next level. Go Paperless.





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INTRODUCING AN EHR DESIGNED FOR PHARMACY: View patient's immunization history

Send patient consent forms through text message

Electronically document encounters

Identify vaccine reimbursement opportunities

Update state IIS registries and the federal data lake for COVID-19 vaccines

Bill immunization claims, even for out-of-network and uninsured COVID-19 vaccine patients


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8/2/21 8:21 AM


Breathing Easy Rhinomed’s products aim to bring a breath of fresh air to consumers


hinomed is a global medical device company focused on improving the way that consumers breathe, sleep and maintain their health. The company, whose products include various wearable devices, is expanding with new offerings. Drug Store News spoke with Rhinomed executive vice president John Ende about what’s new with Rhinomed. Drug Store News: What is Rhinomed’s mission? John Ende: Rhinomed’s patented nasal technology leverages the physiology of the nose to optimize your breathing, which is essential to restful sleep and to maintaining good health. Put briefly, Rhinomed makes nasal breathing easy. In sport, that one extra breath can take you further, longer, faster. At night, breathing better means sleeping better. Sleep, along with nutrition and exercise, is essential to feeling good and staying healthy. DSN: What makes the Mute snoring device unique as a retail offering? JE: Rhinomed just completed an online survey by The Harris Poll, which found that 66% of U.S. adults say someone in their household snores. Sixty-nine percent of people whose partners snore wish there was a simple solution. Additionally, 57% admit nudging and shoving their partner in the middle of the night, 44% sleep in a different room and 8% report getting into a fight in the middle of the night. And over a third of snorers without a partner say they would lie about their snoring on a dating app. Snoring is a huge problem in America, yet very few retailers actually have a snoring section. Snoring is treated as an afterthought. We see how desperately sufferers are searching for solutions online, and we are working to help retailers deliver solutions in their stores. Mute sits comfortably inside the nose, increasing airflow and improving breathing. From a product user trial, we confirmed that


part of delivering on that is by helping retailers understand how to properly develop and expand the snoring category.

“Snoring is a huge problem in America, yet very few retailers actually have a snoring section. … We see how desperately sufferers are searching for solutions online, and we are working to help retailers deliver solutions in their stores.”

DSN: Beyond OTC products, Rhinomed is making inroads in diagnostics. Can you tell us about Rhinoswab and its benefits compared with standard nasal swabs? JE: Rhinoswab by Rhinomed is a comfortable and easy to use self-collection nasal swab that is ideal for both supervised mass testing and at home self-collection. A recent user experience study compared Rhinoswab to a combined nose and throat swab, finding that Rhinoswab: • Is the swab preferred by 89% of participants in the study; • Is more comfortable: 98% of participants reported no discomfort with Rhinoswab versus 70% of participants who thought the nose and throat swab was uncomfortable or very uncomfortable; and • Is easy to use: 98% of users needed little or no guidance when using Rhinoswab, and 95% found it very easy or easy to use. Rhinoswab’s ergonomic design and dual swab heads also provide benefits over other nasal swabs, including greater standardization, ensuring a user-friendly, error-free sample collection process, and higher yield, providing a 1.57 times greater sample size when compared with the Copan ESwab when worn for one minute in the nose.

78% of users could breathe better at night, 75% of users snored less and 73% of partners reported a reduction in snoring severity. And in a test program with a major U.S. retailer, 80% of Mute sales were from new customers to the category. Amazon labels their sleep category “Sleep & Snoring,” and Mute has a strong and thriving business there. At Rhinomed, we’re passionate about helping people get off the couch and into their own beds again, and a big

DSN: What does the future hold for RhinoMed and the respiratory health space? JE: Rhinomed’s vision for the future is to enable medications to be administered through the nose with the aim of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the therapies while seeking a reduction in side effects for patients. Rhinomed continues to invest in furthering our knowledge of the roles the nose, the upper airways and the olfactory system play in maintaining health and wellness. dsn

John Ende, executive vice president, Rhinomed


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Card Shark Designer Greetings looks to bring value and quality cards to its customers


reeting cards are still a thriving category. Even as email gave way to text messages, and they both gave way to FaceTime and Zoom calls, the physical greeting card remains a popular way to share sentiments — and a big opportunity for retailers, particularly independent pharmacies looking to provide the segment at a value and drive foot traffic. Drug Store News spoke with Steven Gimbelman, president and CEO of Designer Greetings, to learn how the company helps its customers create a destination in their stores. Drug Store News: Can you give us some background on Designer Greetings? Steven Gimbelman: Designer Greetings was founded in 1982 by my parents, Jack and Vickie Gimbelman. My father spent many years in the greeting card industry and saw an opportunity to start up his own business. From our humble beginnings of having only five employees to today with many key acquisitions, such as Card$mart, Glitterwrap, Madison Park Greetings, Northern Exposure and Palm Press, we remain true to our strong core values as a family-owned and operated company. DSN: What sets Designer Greetings apart from other card companies? SG: The strength of Designer Greetings is that we offer more than 23,000 everyday and seasonal greeting cards, in addition to our boxed and packaged notecards, boxed holiday cards and gift wrap line (Glitterwrap). We offer a variety of programs that are designed specifically to help independent pharmacies increase sales. The Card$mart Store-In-A-Store program — selling cards at 50% off every day — is a proven traffic driver for independent and small chain retailers. This program outvalues the regular-priced cards that are found in CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. Card$mart


alike. We are able to successfully serve the customers of today’s marketplace by consistently calling on and servicing our retailers, ensuring optimal product selection, a well-balanced pricing model, caption differentiation and presentation.

Steven Gimbelman, president and CEO, Designer Greetings

“Even though the cost to the consumer is half the retail price, Card$mart greeting cards do not sacrifice on quality.” also provides a Preferred Giftware Vendor Program, which is an exclusive benefit to the retailer, whereby the store owner gains access to top gift vendors across multiple gift categories. DSN: How does Designer Greetings build and maintain relationships with its customers? SG: Designer Greetings is just as committed to the high quality and value of our products as we are to being a leader in customer support. We have a dedicated and experienced nationwide sales team that helps find the program that best suits each location to maximize greeting card sales, creating happy retailers and consumers

DSN: What are some of the biggest opportunities for independent pharmacies in the greeting card space? SG: Designer Greetings’ Card$mart program outvalues the national drug chains by offering a “50% Off” greeting card program. The three national drug chains sell their cards at full price — a price that is only continuing to rise. Even though the cost to the customer is half the retail price, Card$mart greeting cards do not sacrifice on quality. Having such a nationally recognized value brand as Card$mart not only entices customers to view the location as a destination store, but it also helps to attract new customers seeking to purchase highquality products at a super value. Consumers are starting to come back to their brick-andmortar stores once again, and this unique shopping experience offers buyers multiple options within a single pharmacy. DSN: What are some new offerings from your lines that you want people to know about? SG: Designer Greetings is always updating existing product with fresh, new designs to stay up to date with the latest trends. We recently refreshed many of our popular card lines, from the topical humor of “A Little Salty” to the high-end collection found in “Premier Boutique.” In the near future, we will be adding three-dimensional pop-up features and other unique treatments to select cards that promise to provide an even more memorable and extra-special way to celebrate all of life’s occasions. And in addition to greeting cards, Designer Greetings now produces a stationery line of journals and planners. dsn


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Beauty, Inside and Out Reserveage Nutrition ventures into skin care with knowledge of where beauty and wellness intersect


he Reserveage Nutrition brand has long been focused on an area of growing interest these days — supplements that can keep skin healthy and help reduce signs of aging. In an effort to build an all-around beauty offering, the brand is now making its foray into skin care. Drug Store News caught up with Yamit Sadok, senior director of marketing at Reserveage parent company Twinlab Consolidation, to discuss the new skin care line and how it is delivering what beauty shoppers are looking for. Drug Store News: Can you give us some background on the Reserveage brand on the nutrition side? Yamit Sadok: Reserveage pioneered three emerging categories in the supplement space over a decade ago — collagen, keratin and resveratrol — and we’re proud to say we still hold category dominance today. We are led by a team of women with a mission to redefine the way we approach beauty with original product lines, a holistic mindset and a purpose-filled brand journey. Our brand name combines the words “reserve” and “age” as an elegant way to bring recognition to our flagship ingredient resveratrol and notes the ability to maintain the best years of a woman’s life, for a longer period, naturally. Resveratrol has had extensive research and has been proven to activate your longevity gene. At the core of our brand lies the promise to always use trademarked ingredients with published human studies. We are driven by the standards to offer premium, quality ingredients that have clinically proven results and real consumer benefits. It’s one of our biggest points of difference among our competitors in the supplement space. DSN: What is the driving factor behind the move into skin care? YS: Over the past several years, we


visible results. This allows for a targeted approach to the most visible areas of the skin that need special attention. The complementary approach is beauty from the inside out and outside in.

Yamit Sadok, senior director of marketing, Twinlab Consolidation

“At the core of our brands lies the promise to always use trademarked ingredients with published human studies.”

recognized a white space that was primed for Reserveage to enter. The beauty marketplace is continuing to shift given growing demand from consumers for products that provide a multitude of benefits from the inside out. Why is there an advantage to using both topicals and ingestibles? Topicals’ effects are strictly on the top layer of the skin, but also have an advantage with short-term benefits. Ingestibles exert their effect on all three layers of the skin and throughout the entire body but will take longer to realize

DSN: What are the benefits/key ingredients of these new products? YS: The secret sauce is a proprietary technology that is targeted and designed for the whole body. These products offer an exclusive technology incorporating microencapsulated copper peptides, which are absorbed into the skin more effectively, and without oxidation. We also included nine extraordinary branded ingredients with more than 29 human clinical studies, demonstrating highly effective results. These specialized formulas were created to address the most visible areas, including your face, eyes, neck and décolleté, as well as your hands and feet — the most visually impacted by collagen degradation. DSN: How do these new items deliver on consumer demands around ingredients with a clinical track record? YS: The beauty industry is shifting with growing interest from consumers around what they are putting in their body to address beauty concerns. A recent industry study found that 53% of women look for attributes such as natural and products that are free of sulfates and parabens. Additionally, face cream is one of the top items driving the growth in the U.S. skin care market, and 45% of skin care purchases are driven by dermatologist endorsement or recommendation. In our formulation, we made sure to hit all these key consumer insights. The products feature natural ingredients that have been proven in a two-year study with a world-renowned dermatologist and more than 200 of his patients. They are not only dermatologist tested, but they are also made without parabens or sulfates and have the highest cruelty-free standards. dsn


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To learn more and request a sample: Email: cstpierre@twinlab.com | Call: 800.553.1896 #ReserveageBeauty | reserveage.com | @ReserveageNutrition

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PG #





48 50 52 54 56 58 59 60 62 64 66 68 70

Vermont Massachusetts Maine Connecticut Rhode Island Maryland New Hampshire New Jersey Washington New Mexico New York Oregon Washington, D.C.

75% 71.8% 67.6% 68.7% 66.1% 63.6% 64% 64.7% 63% 64.4% 61.9% 59.9% 63%

67.1% 63.3% 62.9% 62.5% 60.7% 58% 57.8% 57.3% 56.8% 56.3% 56.2% 55.4% 54.1%

624,313 6,850,553 1,335,492 3,575,074 1,057,231 6,018,848 1,348,124 8,878,503 7,404,107 2,092,454 19,572,319 4,129,803 692,683

hich states are leading the country in their vaccination efforts, and what does that mean for their economies and the industries within them — in particular retail? With much of the past 18 months filled with grim statistics that accompany a pandemic — more than 600,000 deaths in the United States alone and more than 34 million cases — this month, DSN is looking at states that lead in the more hopeful statistic: the percentage of their population that is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Yes, COVID-19 remains a real threat, particularly as the Delta variant surges throughout the country, but states with a high proportion of vaccinated residents also signal the return of their economies. Certainly, retail never went away and indeed served as a critical line of defense in the country’s response to COVID-19, and states reopening means that companies might soon advance with stalled efforts and confidently move forward to meet consumer demands that developed in the last year. To compile this list, DSN looked at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data and charts compiled by the Mayo Clinic, choosing the 13 states that lead the country in the percentage of their residents that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


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ermont has been a leader in the vaccine rollout and retail pharmacies have been at the forefront of that effort from the time the vaccines became available. The state has fully vaccinated 66.2% of its total population, including 76.5% of people aged 18 years old and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of July 9. Transmission of the virus has been low, with only half a dozen new cases per 100,000 population in the week ending July 9. “As a Vermonter, I am really grateful with how successful the vaccine rollout has been in our state,” said Lauren Bode, interim executive director at the Vermont Pharmacists Association. “I can’t overstate how much work pharmacists have been doing in the state to make the vaccine rollout a success.” Bode said she feels that Vermonters are eagerly returning to their pre-pandemic activities, thanks to the success of the vaccine rollout. “The pandemic feels pretty close to over in Vermont,” she said. “Stores and restaurants are busy. I see a lot of places hiring, and I see people working.” Vermont, which has the nation’s smallest economy, also has one of the lowest unemployment rates. It was reported at 3.1% in June, compared with 5.9% for the United States as a whole. The economic recovery in Vermont is proceeding slowly, the Vermont Department of Labor reported. “Unlike the decline, which was sharp and abrupt, the economic recovery continues to slowly gain back what was

48 48


lost,” Michael Harrington, Vermont labor commissioner, said in a statement. “The size of the labor force and the number of filled positions in the Vermont economy continue to grow. Vermont businesses are reporting high levels of open positions.” In a recent report on the Burlington commercial real estate market, Kendra Kenney, a broker with Pomerleau Real Estate in Burlington, said retail space has been starting to bounce back. “We are seeing both local and national groups reentering the market and ready to sign on for long-term leases,” she said. Citing data from a June 2021 market report from Allen, Brooks & Minor, Kenney said vacancy rates in Burlington’s central business district have fallen from 8.3% in December of last year to 7.9%, and that the suburban commercial real estate market is also “starting to stabilize.” Among new food and drug stores that have opened in Vermont was a Hannaford in South Burlington, which was forced to have a subdued grand opening as it coincided with the beginning of the pandemic last March. Meanwhile Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper, which operates 15 locations in Vermont, agreed earlier this year to merge with Tops, which has three stores in the state. Both chains operate in-store pharmacies. Included among Price Chopper’s locations are two of its new Market 32 formats — one each in Brattleboro and Burlington — which feature a new, modern look and expanded food service, among other changes.



Total population:

66.2% Age 18 years old and older:

76.5% Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Q1 2021 GDP:


(change from Q4 2020) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis



Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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successful COVID-19 vaccination rollout appears to be helping drive traffic back to retail stores in Massachusetts, said Saad Dinno, owner of four pharmacies in the Boston area and president-elect of the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association. “People have been saying they have been a prisoner in their house for over a year, but now they can get out and visit their grandkids,” he said. “It opened things up, almost back to normalcy, and as it was pre-COVID. People are feeling confident and spending money.” Dinno said that increased consumer confidence has been visible since early May at his four pharmacies, located in the western metro area of Boston. “We have seen tremendous increases in foot traffic in all four locations that we have,” he said. His company was also active in the vaccine rollout, administering vaccines in group homes and in low-income housing areas, and has been vaccinating at the store level since April, he said. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of July 9, 62.4% of the Massachusetts population was fully vaccinated, including 73.1% of people aged 18 years old and older. While the economic recovery has been slower than some states in the South that chose to reduce restrictions, the number of new COVID-19 cases has been minimal, with only eight new cases per 100,000 population in the week ending July 9. Retail expansion in the greater

50 50


Boston market is expected to pick up in 2021 after a slowdown last year, according to a recent report from real estate firm Marcus & Millichap. The report noted that despite store closures in 2020, Boston’s retail real estate vacancy rate was lower than most U.S. metropolitan markets. “Massachusetts opened vaccinations to all adults on April 19, which combined with warming weather and direct stimulus checks should pave the way for stronger in-person consumer spending at retailers in the months ahead,” the report stated. About 60% more retail space will open in the Boston area in 2021, compared with 2020, as construction restrictions are reduced and retail vacancy rates will continue to rise amid ongoing closures and scaledback expansion on the part of retailers, according to the report. Drug chains Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy both have a strong presence in Massachusetts, as do several supermarket chains with pharmacies, including Stop & Shop, which is based in Quincy, Mass., and has 127 locations in the state. The chain, owned by Ahold Delhaize, recently began testing new temperature-controlled pickup lockers at one of its locations in Boston and has been adding more warerooms to support delivery and pickup. Last year, Stop & Shop converted a store in Brockton, Mass., that had been slated to close into a “dark store” that supports delivery and pickup only — a trend that has been growing in markets around the country.


Total population:

62.4% Age 18 years old and older:


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Q1 2021 GDP:


(change from Q4 2020) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis



Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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aine’s pharmacists have played an important role throughout the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, said Amelia Arnold, pharmacy operations manager at Augusta-based Community Pharmacies and immediate past president of the Maine Pharmacy Association. Independent retail pharmacists have played an especially important role in a state that is thinly populated throughout much of its geography, she said. “In a rural state like Maine, it shows that people are able to seek health care at the pharmacies in their communities and not have to travel long distances,” Arnold said. “For some people, vaccination sites could have been an hour away.” Maine, as of July 9, had fully vaccinated 62.3% of its total population, including 72.9% of people aged 18 years old and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While Walgreens and CVS partnered on the national level to administer vaccines in Maine’s long-term care facilities, independent pharmacies were able to participate in the state’s vaccination effort by working with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Arnold said. Arnold’s company was actively involved in the vaccine campaign, as were many other independents. She cited Bangor Drug Company and Savage’s Drug as examples of other independents that were actively involved in the vaccine rollout. Their efforts have paved the way for life to inch back toward normalcy in the state, she said. “We are seeing sustained lower transmission,” Arnold said. “People feel better about going out, and more comfortable going out to shop and out to eat.

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“I have small children and I feel comfortable going out with them, more so than even a few months ago,” she said. “It is starting to feel reminiscent of last summer when things were opening, and also before the pandemic. “It really demonstrates the value that pharmacies bring to the healthcare community here in Maine, so that feels really great to have people feel really grateful for what we as a profession have been able to give them,” Arnold said. Like many other states, however, Maine is seeing much of its retail space being converted to industrial uses, according to a recent report from local real estate firm Boulos. Some food and drug retail development is expected, however, including a new 105,000-sq.-ft. Target in Auburn that is taking over the space formerly occupied by Kmart, which closed its last Maine location in 2019. Another trend cited by the Boulos report is the increasing demand for drivethru retail parcels, both among restaurant operators and drug stores. “If this trend is any indication of the future of retail, then I believe we will begin to see increased demand and higher pricing for shopping center outparcels and pad sites, where developers can have the flexibility of building to suit the changing needs of a variety of businesses, [including] pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS,” the report stated. Another trend that could impact future development is the influx of a working-age population during the pandemic, as many consumers fled large cities in favor of the more bucolic lifestyle that Maine offers. “It will be exciting to see what they add to the business landscape in our state,” the report concluded.


Total population:

62.3% Age 18 years old and older:

72.9% Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Q1 2021 GDP:


(change from Q4 2020) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis



Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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onnecticut’s large network of chain drug stores and its independents played a vital role in the state’s successful COVID-19 vaccination efforts, said Nathan Tinker, CEO of the Connecticut Pharmacists Association. “They were on the front end of that deal with the government, and that really got the vaccine into the community at a pretty quick pace,” he said. Connecticut has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the United States, with 73% of the state’s population aged 18 years old and older fully vaccinated as of July 9 and 61.5% of the population overall fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tinker said the state’s high vaccination rate has translated into more confidence among the population and lower ongoing infection rates. “People were willing to get vaccinated in order to get back into the ‘real world,’” he said. Although some independent pharmacies were particularly hard hit by the pandemic early on, Tinker said he believes they are benefitting from a “return to normalcy.” In addition, chain drug stores in Connecticut “have been as busy as I have ever seen them,” he said. “It is great to see people getting back to that level of comfort in the community,” Tinker said. “The stores are doing a good job of telling their story that they are safe and ready to get back to business.” Like many states in New England

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that were relatively slow to ease restrictions meant to stop the spread of the virus, Connecticut’s economic recovery has lagged behind some states in the South and Midwest that opened up their economies more quickly. However, as the year goes on, the outlook is improving. Connecticut has recovered 64.6% of the 292,400 jobs lost in March and April of 2020, the state Department of Labor reported in July. “Even with some recent weakness, construction and retail trade have regained 70% or more of the jobs lost during the pandemic,” said Patrick Flaherty, director of the Connecticut Department of Labor Office of Research, in a statement. Many of the abandoned retail spaces in the state that have proliferated during the pandemic, however, may end up being converted to new uses, according to a recent report from consulting firm Pullman & Comley. “Confronted with the challenges of replacing failed anchor tenants and an over-retailed environment, a number of owners are converting their underperforming malls and retail centers into warehouses and distribution centers to meet the demand for last-mile deliveries from e-commerce and surviving brick-and-mortar retailers,” the report noted. Amazon, for example, launched several distribution sites in Connecticut last year and has 3 million square feet of distribution space in the state, with plans to add more, according to the report.


Total population:

61.5% Age 18 years old and older:


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Q1 2021 GDP:


(change from Q4 2020) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis



Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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s the home state of CVS Health, Rhode Island has been in a strong position to benefit from a successful vaccine rollout. The state, which also is the smallest in the nation in terms of its geographical size, had fully vaccinated 59.7% of its population by July 9, including 70.3% of people aged 18 years old and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We took advantage of our smallness, but we also developed some very good partnerships early on for testing that led to strong relationships when it came time to deliver the vaccine,” said Matthew Lacroix, immediate past president at the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association. The owner of one of the state’s leading independent pharmacy operators, Eugenio Fernandez of Asthenis Pharmacy, was on the state’s COVID vaccine subcommittee, he said. The industry has made a concerted effort to reach underserved communities in the state and has had some success, Lacroix said. “Because we have such a high percentage of people who have been vaccinated, we are not as worried about the Delta variant, or having to reopen field hospitals and those types of things,” he said. “And we don’t have widespread community spread.” “Retail pharmacies were the leaders early on, and they have been carrying it,” Lacroix said. A recent report from Rhode Island real estate firm Hayes & Sherry found 56 56


that retail has had mixed results in the state, with store development for many businesses “stagnant.” “However, access to vaccines, improved daily coronavirus testing counts, and consistent government stimulus have started to produce increased market optimism,” the report stated. The report also noted that retail vacancies have increased somewhat due to store closures and the growth of e-commerce. “Since April of 2020, available retail space in Rhode Island only increased from 9.1% to 9.6%, showing retailers’ determination to persevere through the challenging environment,” the report said. “The overall retail vacancy has been slowly increasing for several years, as the consumer trend of buying more online is not a new one, but it has been accelerated by the pandemic.” A report from Capstone Partners, meanwhile, highlighted the opportunities for some retailers, including those offering drive-thru services. “While retail has been challenging, buyers continue to search for the best locations, and opportunistic retail and food services are completing lease transactions,” the report said. “Properties with drive-up windows are in strong demand.” CVS Health, meanwhile, began rolling out its new CVS HealthHUB format in Rhode Island last year as part of an aggressive nationwide expansion of the format, which offers expanded healthcare services. The chain opened 650 HealthHUBs in total last year and plans to have 1,500 of them by the end of this year.


Total population:

59.7% Age 18 years old and older:

70.3% Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Q1 2021 GDP:


(change from Q4 2020) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis



Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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t the onset of the summer, more than 75% of Maryland’s residents over the age of 18 years old had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting seniors vaccinated has been one of the state’s priorities and by mid-June, 90% had received at least one dose. As of July 1, all emergency mandates and restrictions related to COVID-19 were lifted in the state. Masks are no longer required in any setting except for public transportation. It’s up to each business and workplace to establish a policy for wearing face coverings. Like other states, Maryland’s retailers and restaurants were hit hard by the pandemic, causing several companies to close their doors for good. Included on that list is Lord & Taylor, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Pier 1 and Papyrus. Other retailers decided to scale back operations and closed some or all of their Maryland locations, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sears and Sur La Table. To help get the state back on its feet, Gov. Larry Hogan launched Project Restore, a $25 million economic recovery initiative to help small businesses and commercial developers revitalize vacant retail and commercial space. The program is expected to draw new business to the area and create thousands of jobs through rental subsidies and sales tax rebates. However, as other states are finding, a key challenge to businesses reopening is finding available help. Despite the loosening of coronavirus

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restrictions and clamping down on unemployment benefits, the state has been facing a labor crisis for some time. Desperate for workers, many local businesses are turning to signing bonuses to attract new employees. According to the Maryland Retailers Association, for many employers, the employment shortage is causing some businesses to cut hours to the point of closing a day or two per week. The Maryland Restaurant Association predicts it could take three to five years before the restaurant and food service industry in the state reaches full recovery. According to Kenneth Holt, secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, to date the state has awarded more than $1.78 billion in pandemic-related funding to assist nonprofits, businesses, tourist venues, entertainment, homeowners and other Marylanders in need. Thanks to these and other efforts, some retailers can return to their growth plans. As part of its $500 million expansion strategy, German grocer Lidl announced it will open 10 new stores throughout Maryland by the end of 2021. Its most recent opening in Columbia is Lidl’s 17th location in the state. Additionally, the company opened a regional headquarters and distribution center in Perryville last April. The new 700,000-sq.-ft. facility will serve as the backbone of Lidl’s regional store network, supplying products to stores in five states. Lidl invested more than $100 million in the

project, which created more than 200 new full-time jobs. This summer, a new At Home store is expected to open in the former J.C. Penney site in Glenarden. The home décor superstore will set up shop in the 96,000-sq.-ft. space and carry more than 50,000 SKUs of private label, unbranded or specially designed home goods. The Woodmore Towne Center location also features Wegmans, Costco, Chipotle and Starbucks.


In 2020, Maryland’s GDP was $422.7 billion, 15th in the nation and down from $426.7 billion in 2019. The largest sectors in 2020 were finance, insurance and real estate, followed by government, and then professional and business services.

Information technology, telecommunications, aerospace and defense are leading forces behind Maryland’s economic growth. The state is a noted leader in biotechnology and is at the center in the mapping of the human genome and commercial applications that result from its research.


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ew Hampshire has long had a healthy economy, and it appears to have weathered the pandemic well. “Based on our discussions with retailers, people seem to be coming back into the stores,” said James Prieto, director of real estate at Granite Commercial Real Estate. “There is a high percentage of the population in southern New Hampshire that has been vaccinated, and customers want to get back into retail stores. We are seeing in-store retail sales increase, and that goes for drug stores, grocery stores, restaurants — all of the retailers we are talking with say customers are coming back in person.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of July 9, 57.1% of the total population in the state had been vaccinated, including 67.1% of people aged 18 years old and older. The state’s unemployment rate has been among the lowest in the nation, and came in at 2.9% in June, third best among any state and well below the 5.9% for the nation as a whole. In June, the New Hampshire was one of roughly 20 that ended the extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits that the federal government had been supporting throughout the pandemic as part of an effort to help minimize its economic impact. “New Hampshire’s economy is roaring back to life with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the history of the Granite State,” said Gov. Chris Sununu in a statement. “Such low unemployment rates are no accident, but are the result of a continued effort to provide businesses

with the flexibility needed to grow while providing individuals with the incentives and resources needed to return to work. New Hampshire’s economy is well positioned to make further economic gains throughout the year that will serve to benefit communities and families across the Granite State.” Prieto, whose firm has long represented Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford, a chain owned by Ahold Delhaize USA, said supermarket operators have been much more active in New Hampshire than drug stores, a scenario that has been unfolding in many states. Two of the most aggressive supermarket chains expanding in the state — DeMoula’s Market Basket, based in Tewksbury, Mass., and Whole Foods Market, based in Austin, Texas — do not have pharmacies, instead specializing in high volumes of commodity foods at low prices and high volumes of organic and natural foods at high prices, respectively. Prieto said Amazon Fresh has been rumored to be scouting sites in Nashua. “That would probably be the most innovative and exciting net concept we have had for a long time,” he said. Other than Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health adding its HealthHUB format to existing stores in the state and relocating a handful of others, “things have been pretty stagnant in the drug store space,” Prieto said. Despite undergoing some consolidation recently, the segment has maintained the status quo. “The drug stores have just been working with the stores they already have,” Prieto said.




Total population:

57.1% Age 18 years old and older:


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Q1 2021 GDP:


(change from Q4 2020) Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis



Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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hen COVID struck, New Jerseyans were among those hardest hit. During the spring of 2020, the state experienced the two largest monthly declines in employment in its history. By April 2020, 750,000 jobs were lost. These losses were quickly followed by the three largest monthly gains in employment in state history. By the summer, more than 40% of jobs were recovered. Health care has been a dependable source of employment — both preand post-COVID — and today it ranks as the top private sector employer in the state. Employment in manufacturing remains strong as well. Warehousing is another sector experiencing growth in the state. New Jersey’s location along the eastern coast and adjacent to New York puts the state in an optimal position within the supply chain to be a major player due to its access to seaports, airports, railways and major highways. The growth of e-commerce has also led to the construction of more warehouses. Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s governor, sent a message to the state’s 8.87 million residents when he signed the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 into law earlier this year. The seven-year, $14 billion package includes incentives to fuel job growth, community partnerships and property development. Like action taken by other state governments, this program will provide tax credit incentives to create more jobs and keep companies

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from looking to move elsewhere. Not only is this a much-needed boost for small businesses in the state, but it is also expected to help drive New Jersey’s economic recovery and growth for the next five to 10 years. The legislation features several new initiatives, including the Main Street Recovery Finance Program, which provides $50 million in grants, loans, loan guarantees and technical assistance to small and micro businesses. The bill also is expected to strengthen the state’s start-up and entrepreneur economy through the Innovation Evergreen Fund, a firstof-its-kind program that will combine state funds with private capital to support innovative new businesses. Several innovative programs are also included in the legislation to promote growth in New Jersey’s urban centers, including the Brownfields Redevelopment Incentive, designed to facilitate the redevelopment of environmentally contaminated properties. Also included in the act is the Historic Property Tax Credit, which will incentivize the restoration of historic buildings, many of which are in New Jersey’s oldest and most distressed neighborhoods. Another component of the act, the Community-Anchored Development Program, incentivizes the construction of innovative new developments by partnering with universities, hospitals and arts and cultural organizations, and gives the state an equity stake in the development. It may take time to see the positive

effects of this act, but subtle signs that the state’s economy is rebounding are already evident. While the past year saw a 30% dip in leasing activity and numerous bankruptcies that affect the New Jersey retail landscape, companies such as Planet Fitness, Five Below, Amazon Fresh, Lidl, Dollar Tree, Smashburger, Jersey Mike’s and Chipotle all have chosen to expand their presence in the state in recent months. Discounted rents were one of the enticements, but alongside New Jersey’s ever-expanding population, the state remains a lure for many of these brands.


More than 50% of New Jersey’s 8.87 million residents were fully vaccinated as of June.

A recent market report looking at the impact of COVID on homeownership found New Jersey to be the most vulnerable state, with 14 of its 21 counties deemed to be among the 50 most susceptible to the pandemic’s economic impact on homeowners.


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ashington state is where the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was found in this country. That was January 2020. By the end of June 2021, 17 months later, Washington became one of the few states in which more than 50% of its residents were fully vaccinated against COVID. According to the Washington State Department of Health, 68.2% of people over the age of 16 years old had received their COVID vaccination by this time. Based on this compliance, Gov. Jay Inslee fully reopened the state’s economy and cultural centers on June 30. For Washingtonians, restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses have been allowed to resume full indoor occupancy levels, and physical distancing requirements have been lifted. While there will be fewer masking requirements, masks will still need to be worn in healthcare settings, long-term care, schools and correctional facilities. Unvaccinated employees who work indoors will need to wear masks and businesses are being given the choice of whether to require masks for their customers, regardless of vaccination status. Large indoor events are restricted to 75% capacity unless vaccination verification is taking place. While many understood the need for the stay-at-home orders, the extended closures took its toll on the state’s businesses. The last three quarters of 2020 saw a 43% decrease

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in restaurant sales, a 57% decline in bar business and a 60% drop in lodging sales. As expected, business owners were ecstatic about the state reopening, but many announced they would have to remain at half capacity until more workers could be hired. Despite these shortages, Washington state saw several new stores opening or planning to open within the past 12 months or so. Dollar General made its first foray into the state in April 2020 when it opened a store in Cathlamet. The discount chain has plans to open another six stores in the state before the end of the year. Last June, Sprouts Farmers Market opened a new location in North Seattle, its fourth location in the state. The chain is best known for making healthy living accessible to shoppers by offering affordable, fresh, natural and organic products. Its unique grocery model features produce at the center of its stores, an expansive bulk foods section, and a vitamin department focused on overall wellness. Sprouts also offers a distinct assortment of healthier products with special attributes, such as plant-based, glutenfree, keto-friendly and grass-fed. Most recently, in June, Amazon Fresh Grocery opened its first full-sized store in Bellevue. Taking over a former Safeway location, the 25,000-sq.-ft. store features a mix of national and company-owned brands, prepared foods, produce and meats. Customers are given the option of using Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” cashierless checkout or choosing one of its traditional

cashier stations. Amazon is reportedly opening another full-sized Fresh store in Seattle later this year. It will be located on the ground floor of an under-construction multifamily complex at 23rd Avenue and South Jackson Street.



of those aged 18 years old and older have been fully vaccinated (as of June 29) Total cases (confirmed and probable):

451,595 Public health experts agree that the true number of people who have been infected with COVID-19 in Washington state greatly exceeds those that have been laboratory confirmed.


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2 NDC:


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fter a decade of hard work, New Mexico’s economy was finally showing signs of stabilization and then COVID hit and all but erased that progress. New Mexico’s Tourism Department has projected the pandemic’s impact on the industry — including unemployment claims, lost local tax revenue and economic activity — at $4.3 billion. That figure does not include longer-term losses from business closures and workers moving elsewhere. Officials are predicting it could be three years or more before the state’s economy is back to pre-pandemic levels.

IF SPENDING PATTERNS DURING THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF 2021 ARE AN ACCURATE BAROMETER, THE STATE IS ON ITS WAY TO RECOVERY. As of this spring, the number of tourists visiting New Mexico was on the rise and most retail stores were open. If spending patterns during the first three months of 2021 are an accurate barometer, the state is well on its way to recovering. The retail sector, for

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instance, one of the largest sectors in the state, recorded banner sales during this time, and accommodations and food service saw significant increases as well. New-store openings, another indicator of economic positivity, are occurring as well throughout New Mexico. Off-price retailer Burlington Stores is slated to open a new location in the state’s capital of Santa Fe this fall and liquidation store BINge opened its first location in southern New Mexico’s largest city, Las Cruces, in June. Known as bin stores, outlets such as BINge have constantly changing assortments, ranging from food and HBC to electronics, sporting goods and clothing. Inventory is acquired from popular online retail sites and consists of returned items, shelf pulls, overstock or remaining inventory when a company shuts down. Pricing follows a markdown approach. All items are sold in the beginning at a fixed price of $10, starting on Saturday and then reduced to $2 or $3 each day until Wednesdays when all items are marked $1. The store closes on Thursdays and Fridays when new shipments arrive and bins are restocked. The stores’ owners picked Las Cruces for their value-model store because it is among those areas hardest hit by the pandemic. Specialty retailer Natural Grocers opened a new location in the affluent Los Alamos area in late 2020. In addition to selling a wide variety of natural and organic groceries, body care products and dietary supplements, the store features

energy-saving innovations and nontoxic building materials. Natural Grocers’ policy is to not carry products that have hydrogenated oils or artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives. A nutritional health coach is also available in the store to provide free one-on-one health coaching sessions. Now that personal recreational use of cannabis is legal in New Mexico, officials are bracing for an influx of cannabis-related stores to open by the fall, which is expected to further infuse the economy. The state is highly dependent on oil and gas production, but officials have been looking into reducing its reliance on the former and expanding its investment in renewable energy, including solar and wind, which would bring more jobs to the state.


60% More than

of New Mexicans aged 16 years old and older have received both vaccine doses. Those aged 65 years old and older are the most heavily vaccinated (72%).


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ot long ago, New York was ranked the third-strongest economy in the United States, trailing only behind Texas and California. Looking at its gross domestic product as a measure of economic health, New York was almost at $1.8 trillion during that time, most of which came from New York City. Yet after the pandemic struck, its GDP decreased 5.9% last year, a larger decline than the total U.S. GDP experienced. This was compounded by New York’s jobless rate, which was among the highest in the country. Strict lockdown protocols that resulted in prolonged closures of many of the state’s service-driven industries were a chief reason behind the severity of the impact. What’s more, offices employing hundreds and thousands closed (and many remain so) while tourism and business travel came to a halt — all of which directly affected the business climate in the state and Manhattan in particular. New York has been among the more cautious states in reopening its doors and removing restrictions. As of June, the U.S. economy was reportedly 93% back to normal, but New York was lagging. All eyes are on the pace of retail stores and restaurants reopening as key metrics of future economic health. A large part of the recovery will depend on how quickly — or slowly — offices bring employees back. Despite these obstacles and reported concerns, in the past six months a surprising number of companies have

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been opening new stores in the state. A 21,000-sq.-ft. store dedicated to everything Harry Potter has opened in the Flatiron District in Manhattan. The three-story Harry Potter New York Store features 15 different themed areas, some including original props from the franchise movies. Created to be an immersive experience, the store features exclusive products, interactive elements and digital technologies — including integration with the Harry Potter Fan Club app. The store also has a Butterbeer Bar that serves Butterbeer, Butterbeer ice cream, bottled Butterbeer and other indulgences. Harry Potter New York has a virtual queuing system in place, so that when customers visit the store, they scan a QR code to join a virtual queue and return when notified. Google is opening its first store this summer in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The move to brickand-mortar retail comes on the heels of the company’s acquisition of Fitbit. Located in the same building that houses its New York City offices, the store will feature such Google-made products as Nest, Pixel phones, Fitbits and Pixelbooks. Tech support will also be onsite, and plans call for how-to workshops to be offered as well. This year also saw several other noteworthy retail openings in New York, including crystal manufacturer Swarovski’s Instant Wonder store in Soho, value home décor retailer At Home’s first store in the borough of Queens and Lego‘s new flagship store in Rockefeller Center.

NEW YORK DATA New York contributed more than


to the nation’s overall GDP pre-COVID. Its GDP was on par with Italy. The majority of the state’s GDP is generated from economic activity in New York City. As of June, eat-in business being done in the state’s restaurants was

less than pre-pandemic volume (compared with the national average of 13%). By early July, nearly residents were fully vaccinated (48%).


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s of June, nearly half (47%) of Oregon’s 4.1 million residents were fully vaccinated and more than half (55.8%) had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. By late spring, the state was in the early stages of reopening as evidenced by the amount of people returning to work and the number of stores, restaurants and bars that were welcoming patrons. Many of the state’s popular attractions reopened as well, with several employing timed entry and limited capacity strategies to meet social distancing requirements.

AS OF JUNE, NEARLY HALF (47%) OF OREGON’S 4.1 MILLION RESIDENTS WERE FULLY VACCINATED AND MORE THAN HALF (55.8%) HAD RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF THE COVID VACCINE. One of the hardest hit industries that may take longer to rebound is manufacturing, a sector that had been struggling well before COVID. It is well known that Oregon is one of the most manufacturing-dependent states in the country. As of June, Oregon had recouped only a fifth of the factory jobs it lost a year prior. To compound matters, many of the markets its largest factories serve, such as steel and transportation, continue to be affected by the shortage of key components and computer chips. 68 68

On the other hand, biotech businesses in the state are thriving and two of its top companies, Genentech and Twist Bioscience, are in the process of expanding their Oregon facilities. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting increased focus on emerging health technologies, some experts predict even greater growth in these sectors in the coming years. City officials are in the process of launching a revitalization plan and say this, combined with lifted COVID restrictions, has already resulted in noticeable signs of recovery. They are confident that as work-from-home employees start to return to the office and hotels and restaurants continue to reopen, the retail scene will follow. Business analysts say the stores that are best positioned to thrive in Oregon (and elsewhere) will be those that create immersive experiences around their brands, as well as those that offer such convenience features as curbside pickup, delivery and free returns. Take the new Nike Live store in Eugene. The small-format, digitally led retail concept features stock driven by what people are ordering online, and to keep excitement up, Nike also releases new items in store each week. The Eugene store offers curbside pickup and is looking into shipping directly from this location. A strong believer in community, Nike has carved out space in the store where local running groups and athletes can gather. New restaurants are opening as well. At Cedar Hills Crossing, which is known for its blend of local and national offerings, the state’s first Shake Shack opened this

spring and another is expected to open in downtown Portland in early 2022. Leaning on the value of community, many Oregon shopping centers are shifting the focus away from prompting product purchases to one that offers activities and experiences. For instance, the owners of the Bend Factory Stores, located on the city’s south side, are looking to add a firepit and horseshoes to encourage people to spend more time there.

OREGON DATA Portland businesses experienced an

decrease in foot traffic during the COVID pandemic. Oregon has recovered

of jobs lost during the pandemic, and the state’s jobless rate decreased from

in April 2020 — the highest point on record — to 6%.


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conomic recovery came quicker for the District of Columbia than in other areas in the country. In addition to government jobs, the area employs many consultants, contractors, lobbyists and lawyers, most of whom were able to work virtually during this time. This played a significant role in buoying the city’s labor market and economy during the pandemic. While the District of Columbia may be outpacing other metro areas in terms of recovery, not all residents in the area came through the pandemic the same. Those working in minimum wage jobs were hardest hit, with some even losing their housing. Tent cities, such as those that appeared in the downtown area, were direct evidence that this was indeed the tale of two cities. As Washington, D.C., looks to get its private sector business back on track, Mayor Muriel Bowser is working with city officials to get offices reopened and entice new companies to open shop. Getting hospitality jobs back is another priority. However, as other metro areas in the country are finding, workers who left cities during the pandemic for areas with a lower cost of living have no intention of returning. Meanwhile, new housing and loan programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, have been created to attract people and businesses to the District of Columbia and its outer lying areas. Looking at the retail scene, several new projects have started or are in the works.

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Northeast Heights, a mixeduse development, is coming to Washington, D.C.’s Ward 7 soon. The estimated $600 million project will incorporate office space and apartments, and bring a much-needed supermarket to the neighborhood. The first phase will include a 285,000-sq.-ft. commercial building that will serve as headquarters for the city’s Department of General Services, and the ground floor will feature 18,000 square feet of retail space. The site has been designated a Great Streets corridor, which means small businesses can apply for grants to cover capital improvements and certain soft costs. The project is generating excitement among city officials, as well as residents, in what has been described as an underdeveloped and underserved neighborhood. Convenience store chain 7-11 has been expanding its Evolution Store concept, adding a new location in Washington, D.C.,’s 504 K street neighborhood during this past year. The c-store chain’s concept-based model offers exclusive services and products customized for each area it serves. In addition to the Laredo Taco Company at the District of Columbia location, customers can find madeto-order specialty drinks, a cold treats bar, fresh baked goods and an expanded beauty section, featuring a wide variety of makeup, skin care and other health and beauty items. Created as a fluid concept, 7-11 officials can tweak the idea based on customer feedback.

WASHINGTON, D.C., DATA of those between the ages of 18 years old to 64 years old were fully vaccinated in Washington, D.C., by July.

The District of Columbia region is among those with the lowest unemployment rates among major metropolitan areas.

The Census Household Pulse Survey shows that about half of adults in the Washington, D.C., region were working from home during the pandemic, which is more than any other metro area.

Hospitality workers fled the area in record numbers during the pandemic, leaving area officials struggling with how to attract them back to the city.


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New Products at NACDS Total Store Expo What will leading brands be showcasing at this year’s virtual trade show? By David Salazar


s the National Association of Chain Drug Stores once again takes its Total Store Expo virtual, retailers will be looking through the new NACDS Market Exchange platform for companies showcasing their latest products and offerings. Yet with hundreds of participating companies, it can be difficult to sift through everything that suppliers are bringing to market. To help attendees navigate the show, DSN has compiled a non-comprehensive list of companies and some of the new products on offer at this year’s virtual event.

AB Brands

Best known as the maker of the Bodycology, Cantu and Dr Teal’s brands, AB Brands is bringing two new lines to market — Aquation and Earth Supplied. Aquation features a line of epsom salts and bubble baths meant to improve bath time for children or parents. The Aquation Epsom salt soaks and bubble baths are sold in Sleep, Relax, Renew and Relieve formulations, with different ingredients tailored based on need state. For children, there are Happy and Sleepy

bubble baths and soaks. Earth Supplied is focused on textured hair care that is free of potentially harmful ingredients across two lines — Moisture & Hold, and Strength & Length. The Moisture & Repair line includes a sulfate-free shampoo and silicone-free conditioner; a leave-in conditioner; the Curl Poppin’ Activator with shea butter and coconut oil for detangling and curl repair; Creamy Defining Gell-o for curl definition, hair bulk reduction and hold; and Shine & hold Mist, meant to offer moisture and shine while hydrating and smoothing frizzy curls. Strength & Length’s lineup, which features products with castor oil and bamboo, include Hair Slip Conditioning Detangler, Night Night Lay Me Down overnight treatment, Strong Strands Protein Masque, Retention Oil Serum and Anti-Break Shine Oil.



Alembic USA is the American subsidiary of Alembic Pharmaceuticals, India’s oldest pharmaceutical company. Based in Bridgewater, N.J., the company has focused on growing in dermatology, injectables and ophthalmic products since it launched in 2015. It currently sells more than 61 products in the United States.


The company has logged a steady stream of Food and Drug Administration approvals this year, including for generic Cosopt (dorzolamide hydrochloride and timolol maleate ophthalmic solution, 2% and 0.5%, respectively), generic Norpramin (desipramine HCl tablets) and generic Tarceva (erlotinib), a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. It also launched generic ProAmatine (midodrine HCl tablets), a treatment for symptomatic orthostatic hypotension.

In a competitive generics market, East Windsor, N.J.-based Aurobindo has been working to differentiate itself with its finished products, as well as its product development and active pharmaceutical ingredient capabilities. The company is focused on novel delivery methods for complex products, with a growing emphasis on such specialty products as metered-dose inhalers, aerosols and transdermal delivery systems. These products are the focus of its specialty research and development team based at its North Carolina facility. As it innovates, the company has also had a steady stream of product launches over the past year, most notably introducing a


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NACDS TSE PREVIEW generic of Gilead’s HIV prevention and treatment Truvada (disoproxil fumarate tablets) — a product that had a market size of roughly $2.2 billion for the year ending January 2021. Other recent introductions include a generic of Adalat CC (nifedipine extended-release tablets) and Lioresal (baclofen tablets).

Amici Pharmaceuticals

Based in Melville, N.Y., Amici Pharmaceuticals is focused on acquiring and developing niche products via its network of development and manufacturing partners. With a portfolio that includes ophthalmic and oral solid products, the generics firm focuses on customer service and ensures its finished products come from facilities using generally accepted good manufacturing practices. The company’s most recent launch is its metolazone tablets, a generic of Zaroxolyn. It offers a treatment for salt and water retention, including edema accompanying congestive heart failure or renal diseases. The product is offered in 2.5-, 5- and 10-mg dosage strengths.

Ascend Labs

With product supply being a critical need throughout the pandemic, Ascend Labs has been investing in its manufacturing capabilities. The Parsippany, N.J.-based company already has two campuses in India focused on manufacturing products for the U.S. market, with a third currently under construction. The manufacturing campuses support the company’s portfolio, which spans capsules, creams, nasal sprays, ointments, tablets and powders. This year, the company was a first merit finalist for a Healthcare Distribution Alliance DIANA Award for best overall generic pharmaceutical product manufacturer with more than $100 million in sales.

BD Diabetes Care

As a diabetes support company, BD Diabetes Care is always innovating. The division of BD, set to be spun off into a standalone company next year, is a leader in the insulin syringe and pen needle space, with additional


offerings that include such self-injection support products as alcohol swabs and at-home sharps containment. Most recently, the company introduced the BD Nano 2nd Gen pen needle, an improvement on its BD Nano product. It offers a contoured needle base to increase comfort of injections, an easier-to-grip inner needle shield and the company’s BD Pentapoint Comfort and Easyflow technologies. Also in pen needles, BD Diabetes Care offers BD AutoShield Duo, which features patented automatic dual-protection shields on both ends of the needle meant to help prevent needlestick injuries.

Bausch Health

Bridgewater, N.J.-based Bausch Health is certainly more than its well-known

Bausch + Lomb brand. This year, the CPG company launched Envive, an OTC probiotic supplement meant to help reduce the frequency and severity of diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and discomfort while also strengthening the digestive system’s gut barrier. That’s not to say the Bausch + Lomb brand has been lagging. The most recent innovation the company is showcasing at NACDS TSE is its Biotrue Hydration Boost Lubricant Eye Drops and Biotrue Micellar Eyelid Cleansing Wipes. The preservative-free products are formulated to relieve symptoms of irritated and dry eyes. The drops can be used while wearing soft contact lenses and offer instant moisture, while the wipes help gently cleanse and hydrate the eyelid area to remove discomfort. Also new this year is Alaway Preservative Free antihistamine eye drops. Designed to offer up to 12 hours of eye-itch relief, it marks the first Food and Drug Administration-approved eye-itch relief drop. Sold in single-dose vials, the product blocks the release of histamines and reduces


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◊ Based on: Nielsen xAOC 52 W/E 1/23/2021 and the 2020 Pharmacy Times OTC Survey. † Based on: Total AZO Brand Nielsen data W/E 1/23/2021 and the 2020 Pharmacy Times OTC Survey (Urinary Pain Relief and Cranberry Supplement categories). ‡ Based on: Nielsen xAOC 52 W/E 1/23/2021 and the #1 Pharmacist recommended menopause brand based on the 2020 Pharmacy Times OTC Survey. Culturelle,® Estroven,® AZO® are trademarks of DSM.

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inflammation that usually occur in individuals suffering from allergies.

The Bountiful Company

A lot has changed at The Bountiful Company since the last time NACDS Total Store Expo occurred. For one, the erstwhile Nature’s Bounty has a new name as of January, and a new owner as of May. The formerly private equity-owned company is being acquired by Nestle, with plans to be integrated into the Nestle Health Science division. Despite these changes, the company has been no slouch when it comes to innovation. Throughout the year, it has built out the Nature’s Bounty Brain Health Platform — an array of offerings focused on supplements designed to support brain health. The platform’s cornerstone is the Brain Superfood supplement. Offered as a vegan capsule, Brain Superfood contains a blend of plant-based antioxidants targeted to support short-term memory and concentration, including Cognigrape red grape powder, Lutemax 2020 marigold extract and wild blueberry extract. Also part of the company’s brain health offering is Nature’s Bounty Brain HP, a jelly bean targeted at gamers, and Brain Focus, a Coolmelts tablet meant to calm the mind and help with focus. The Bountiful Company also is capitalizing on two trends — beauty-focused supplements and innovative delivery methods — with its Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solutions Advanced Hair, Skin and Nails Jelly Bean. A first in the beauty supplement space, the jelly


beans contain keratin and twice as much biotin as Nature’s Bounty’s original formula to support healthy hair, skin and nails.

Camber Pharmaceuticals

A subsidiary of Indian generics giant Hetero Labs, Piscataway, N.J.-based Camber is able to leverage its parent company’s 36 global manufacturing sites for its roughly 300 generic products. Its offerings include products in such categories as HIV/AIDS, oncology, cardiovascular health, neurology, hepatitis and immunology among others. Recent approvals for the company includes its generics of hypokalemia treatment Klor-Con (potassium chloride extended-release tablets); angina, heart failure and high blood pressure treatment Toprol LX (metropolol succinate extended-release tablets); erosive esophagitis drug Prevacid (lansoprazole delayed-release tablets); HIV drug Kaletra (lopinavire and ritonavir); and ADHD treatment Strattera (atomoxetine tablets). The company also offers a range of OTC products for private label, including various allergy relief, pain relief, mucus relief and GERD products.

Foundation Consumer Healthcare

Over the past several years, Foundation Consumer Healthcare has proved itself to be a smart buyer. The Pittsburgh-based company, funded by Juggernaut Capital Partners and Kelso & Co., has CPG veterans at the helm and a growing portfolio of well-known brands, the most notable of which is Plan B

One-Step Emergency Contraception, purchased from Teva in 2017. The strategy is paying off, with the company saying it has grown sales by $25 million in the past five years, exceeding $800 million annually. Little more than a year ago, the company once again grew, purchasing seven brands from GSK Consumer Healthcare, including Breathe Right Nasal Strips. Foundation is breathing new life into Breathe Right this summer with an ad campaign, dubbed “Everybody Strip,” highlighting the nasal strips and their ability to relieve nasal congestion in various situations. Other brands in the company’s portfolio include Alavert, Anbesol, Bronkaid, Campho Phenique, Children’s Dimetapp, Dristan, FiberCon, Primatene Tablets and St. Joseph Aspirin.

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Since its combination with Pfizer Consumer, GSK Consumer Healthcare has not let off the gas, rolling out new products from its flagship brands while preparing to spin off into a standalone company in 2022. Last year, it came out of the gate with Advil Dual Action, an ibuprofen/acetaminophen combination that leveraged the well-known pain relief brand. In the past year, the company has introduced several notable additions to its pillar brands, including Robitussin Children’s Naturals Cough Relief + Immune Health Gummy, Sensodyne Pronamel Mineral Boost toothpaste, Preparation H Soothing Relief Cooling Spray and Tum’s Naturals.


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In its five years in business, HempFusion has grown to have a leading position in the CBD category, both via its eponymous-brand products and, more recently, a series of acquisitions that grew its already robust retailer distribution network. The flagship products under the HempFusion brand include an array of capsules that target various need states, as well as an assortment of CBD oil tinctures that range in strength from 300 mg to 1,500 mg per 30-ml bottle. It also offers a line of topical products that target such needs as aging, eczema and acne. This summer has been particularly busy for the company. In June, it inked a deal with a grocer to create a 10-SKU private brand line of products — a deal that also launched HempFusion’s private-label business. The deal followed the late May news that it spent $40 million to acquire two brands — Apothecanna and Sagely Naturals, which grew its footprint in the United States and Canada while adding to its list of retail partners. Besides the CBD brands, HempFusion also operates Probulin, a line of probiotic products that focus on gut health, as well as a skin care line with products that feature probiotic extracts.

in mind, is the brand’s first product without probiotics. Instead, Culturelle IBS Complete Support is a medical food for the dietary management of the condition that the company said can reduce the severity of symptoms by 60% by using prebiotics. Sold in a box of 28 single-serve packets, the product contains HMO bioactive prebiotics, which are natural digestive nutrients that promote the growth of good gut bacteria. Free of yeast, gluten, soy, added sugar and artificial dyes, Culturelle IBS Complete Support joins the Culturelle lineup of probiotics in various delivery methods and benefits, including capsules, chewables and packets.



As the maker of the Culturelle probiotics brand, i-Health has long been focused on improving the gut health of consumers, as well as the link between gut and immune health. Its latest offering, designed with IBS sufferers


Nutrition company Olly has stood out by offering needsfocused products that meet consumer demands and look good while doing it. Olly’s line of Ultra Softgels improve on its original softgel offering by adding a hint of strawberry and removing any sugar, packaging the products in a portable 60-count jar. The Ultra Softgels are sold in Sleep, Goodbye Stress, Hair and Women’s Multi + Omega-3 formulations. Also new is the brand’s Future is Female collection, a line of products tailored toward women’s health needs. The cheeky names — Lovin’ Libido, Happy Hoo-Ha, Beat the Bloat, Cleansing Cranberry and Miss Mellow — bring a bit of fun to products with critical benefits, including sex drive and

sensation, vaginal health and pH, balanced mood, and urinary tract health. With immunity needs growing among consumers, Olly has rolled out a line of immune-support drink mixes, including Immunity + Elderberry in yuzu lemonade and blood orange flavors, and Immunity Sleep + Elderberry in a soothing lemon flavor that can be mixed in warm water. The products all contain a blend of vitamins C and D with zinc, while Immunity Sleep + Elderberry adds melatonin to support sleep.

Piping Rock Health Products

Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Piping Rock makes the Nature’s Truth and Pink brands, with the former focusing on overall vitamins and supplements and the latter offering a women-made line of women-focused products. Nature’s Truth has made big inroads in the category with its gummy formulations. The brand’s gummy line includes both general and need-focused offerings, including Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies, Extra Strength Vitamin D3 Gummies and Sambucus Black Elderberry Gummies, as well as B-12 Energy + Ashwagandha Gummies, Beauty Collagen Type 1 + 3 Gummies, C + Zinc Immune Support Gummies and more. They complement its line of capsules, softgels and sports nutrition powders that span such categories as immune support, probiotics, sleep and multivitamins. With Pink, Piping Rock sought to create a purpose-driven wellness brand with a focus


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NACDS TSE PREVIEW on women’s health. Created by women, the brand’s offerings include Biotin Beautiful Gummies, Teen Multi + B12 and Cranberry Gummies, Simply Collagen Beauty To Go powder stick packets, L-Theanine Calm Caps, Renew You Probiotic for Her and Vibrant Prenatal Multivitamin + DHA Gummies among others. With each sale, the brand donates a portion to women’s charities, and it was the sole matching partner of the final week of the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s October ToGetHer campaign, raising $10,000 to back early detection, education and support services. The foundation recently honored Pink its Bronze Partner Award for the company’s partnership in 2020.

and Adderall XR. The company also recently partnered with Elite Pharmaceuticals as the exclusive U.S. distributor of the company’s generic of the schizophrenia treatment Loxitane (loxapine succinate capsules), which is on the FDA’s drug shortage list. Prasco CEO Chris Arington recently told DSN that 80% of the prescriptions filled by Prasco are manufactured in the United States, and that it has a distribution network of more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide.

of body-friendly silicone, the fully waterproof product is ergonomically shaped and comes with 11 vibration patterns. It uses airpulse technology to provide clitoral stimulation without direct contact via intense pressure waves. The product is priced at $49.95. Also on offer is the Bullet Groove, a compact stimulator with 15 vibration patterns. Fully waterproof, the Bullet Groove carries a suggested price of $14.95.


Vitamin and supplement company Pharmavite will be at NACDS TSE with some new portfolio additions meant to strengthen its position in urinary health. Best known for its Nature Made brand of vitamins, in July, the West Hills, Calif.-based company acquired Uqora, whose urinary health offerings include proactive products, medical devices and drugs for identifying and treating urinary tract infections. The addition of Uqora adds to the company’s urinary health offering, which already included the brand Equelle. At the time the acquisition was announced, CEO Jeff Boutelle said Pharmavite is looking to build the “most comprehensive women’s health platform” in the VMS space.

Prasco Labs

A manufacturer of authorized generics, Prasco Labs has been building out its respiratory portfolio lately. Among its offerings is the authorized generic of Advair Diskus — a product with a $3 billion market value for the year ending April 2021, according to IQVIA data — as well as authorized generics of Nuvaring



What used to be known as the family planning aisle has undergone something of a glow up in the past several years. The category, once an area of the store serving a strictly utilitarian purpose, has a growing number of retailers beginning to look at their shelf space as a potential sexual wellness destination. Long story short, that means vibrators are now available at retail, and one of the companies on the forefront of this shift has been Satisfyer. With a focus on sexual wellness and education, Satisfyer employs Megwyn White, a certified clinical sexologist as its director of education, and has gained mainstream media recognition for its products — all of which feature an in-house design from its German development team. Satifyer’s goal, according to executives, is to bring high quality sexual lifestyle products to consumers at an accessible price point — a mission that has resonated with a national drug chain that carries its products. The company’s flagship offering is its Precious Penguin Air Pulse Stimulator. Made

Sky Organics

The biggest story of the past five years in beauty has been the push for so-called “clean” ingredients. Begun in the kitchen of its founders — brothers Steven and Dean Neiger — Sky Organics hit the market in 2015 with a limited selection of organic offerings, including castor oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter and cocoa butter. In the ensuing six years, the company has launched a slew of beauty products across the category, from mud masks and face scrubs to shampoo and detangling conditioner. Eighty-plus SKUs later, Sky Organics is introducing its Blemish Control collection, which features white willow bark as its key ingredient. These products offer a plant-based alternative to salicylic acid. The line includes a Purifying Face Wash, Clarifying Facial Toner, Spot Treatment, Deep Cleansing Pore Scrub and Bentonite Clay Detox Mask, which feature such ingredients as tea tree oil for skin clarity, as well as aloe vera, lavender water and green tea extract to support balanced skin without drying. Products in the collection range in price from $12.95 to $14.95. dsn


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Back in the Grooming Mood Beard, deodorant and skin care brands help men return to in-person meetings and social activities By Nora Caley


s the masks come off and social distancing protocols ease, men are tidying up their pandemic beards, showing off their new haircuts and glowing skin, and becoming reacquainted with deodorant. Manufacturers said men are purchasing shaving, skin care and odor control


products as they rejoin the world outside their homes. While some of these grooming segments saw strong sales during the pandemic, especially online, others are regaining strength. According to Grandview Research, the global men’s personal care market was valued at $47.5 billion in 2019 and is expected

to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6% from 2020 to 2027. Manufacturers point to several factors that will contribute to this growth, among them, men’s increasing awareness of the importance of personal care, the emergence of social media as an influence on men’s looks and the need to tame those pandemic beards.


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Trim and Tidy As they return to work and social life, many men are keeping their pandemic beards and finding ways to make that look work for them. “Our how-to sections have exploded over the last year on our site and continue to have record high views,” said Steven Yde, vice president of marketing for the North American consumer division of Wahl Clipper. Among the successes this year for the Sterling, Ill.-based company was the launch of its next generation Stainless Steel Trimmer. Consumers who previously might have spent $20 to $30 on a trimmer spent up to $60 on the new product. While stimulus checks contributed to the sales boom, there was another factor. “It is the lessons from a lockdown and disruptions to the supply chain,” Yde said. “Men wanted to buy something they know will last.” Men also want separate trimmers for facial hair and body hair, and purposespecific tools, according to Jack Gemal, division head and partner of Xtreme Personal Care, which has the license for Barbasol electric shave products. The Edison, N.J.-based company offers rotary and foil shavers, beard trimmers, body groomers and other tools. “They care more than ever about the way they look,” he said. “It’s not about being clean shaven. It’s about being groomed.”


Deodorants Return Shaving or not shaving was not the only grooming concern during the pandemic. According to a June survey by Degree, 68% of respondents admitted to intentionally not using deodorant because they were aware they were not going to see people.

Not surprisingly, the brand also noted that there had been a slump in overall deodorant sales across the board during the pandemic. Fortunately, as the country reopens, 55% of survey respondents said they plan to use deodorant more frequently. To help consumers keep this promise, the


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Unilever brand recently launched Degree Unstoppable Freshness with MotionSense technology in coconut and mint and mandarin and vetiver. Other brands said they are also expecting a sales boost. “Men are returning to life, shopping, restaurants and the office,” said Ryan O’Connell, president and CEO of Duke Cannon Supply. “We are seeing a strong comeback for hair styling and antiperspirant and deodorant.” Minneapolis-based Duke Cannon, known for its Big Ass Brick of Soap and Thick high-viscosity body washes, among other products, recently launched Dry Ice Cooling Antiperspirant + Deodorant for men who run uncomfortably hot. Although its efficacy is comparable to clinical antiperspirant, O’Connell said, the brand does not market it as such. “Men don’t want to be told they need a clinical antiperspirant,” he said. “It implies a problem.” Another recent launch is Bay Rum bar soap, meant to evoke a carefree beach day.



Other men’s grooming brands are adding deodorant and antiperspirant to their offerings. Earlier this year Harry’s, which began as a razor subscription service, launched a line of antiperspirants and deodorants. “This was our most requested product ever,” said Jaime Crespo, general manager at New York City-based Harry’s. “Thousands of people called us or posted on social media.” Men wanted innovative odor control products, and they didn’t want to smell the same as they did in high school. Also, Harry’s research indicated that twothirds of men were using women’s or unisex skin care products, so the company launched products for men’s skin, as well as dandruff and hair care products. The demand reflects a larger pandemic-related trend. “We went through a personal transformation,” Crespo said. “People change, and they want to craft a self-image that is a reflection of the new people we have all become.”

Skin Care and More The new self-image includes not only appearance but self-care, and skin care plays an important role. Men are taking more ownership over their grooming routines, according to a spokesperson at Nivea, a brand of the Beiersdorf family of products. There is demand for products that leave men with healthy looking skin without a


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greasy feel, as well as solutions for such sensitive skin concerns as razor burn. That presents opportunities for retailers. “Retailers should be building on this trend and helping the male consumer to not only find the appropriate products for their specific grooming needs, but also to develop a regimen,” said the Nivea spokesperson. “Men want to look and feel good about themselves as they get back to their pre-pandemic lifestyle and are looking to retailers and brands to provide guidance to help them achieve that.” Men are also going online for guidance on ingredients and product efficacy, and seeking products that are affordable, innovative and support their active lifestyle. “Social media has allowed them to feel more confident in purchasing products for themselves both online and at retail,” said Jack Savdie, senior vice president of sales at New York Citybased Global Beauty Care, which makes the Nobleman brand of products. “Men are researching trends and experimenting with personal care products that speak to them.” These include multiuse products for the face, body and beard, as well as serums, eye creams, face masks and targeted treatments. This summer Nobleman launched Fresh Start Face & Beard Wash, Exfoliating Facial Scrub, Retinol Eye Serum, Cucumber Under-Eye Pads, Cooling Face & Body Cleansing Wipes, Powerful Peel-Off Black Mask, Charcoal Cleansing Nose Strips and Deodorant Wipes. As men explore the category, retailers should



expand their selection in men’s grooming products, and include men in the messaging and merchandising. “As men are increasingly more comfortable shopping for themselves, retailers should create a welcoming space both in store and online,” Savdie said. Others maintain that men necessarily do not want to buy many products. “At the end of the day, most men still want the simplest grooming regimen that will take the least amount of time for the least amount of money,” said Dennis Fisher, founder and CEO of Bee Bald. The Beachwood, Ohio-based company makes shaving and skin care products for the face and head. The brand is developing such new products as beard balm and a clay mask treatment for bald heads.

Online Purchasing The growth of men’s grooming products, especially online, will continue. “The pandemic has changed shopping behaviors permanently,” said Stuart Hendrickson, senior marketing director for men’s care at White Plains, N.Y.-based Combe. The company makes Just For Men beard oil, mustache and beard color and hair color. The opportunity for retailers is that they can offer a much larger selection online, without the constraints of shelf space. In hair and beard color, retailers should provide a full assortment of shades. While having a good assortment is crucial, consumers also expect retailers to be

knowledgeable and transparent about the quality of products on shelves and online, said Juan Morillo, marketing manager of Okay Pure Naturals in Miami Gardens, Fla. “The post-pandemic shopper will be looking at ingredients, packaging, sourcing, and expect retailers to do the same,” he said. They are also looking for natural grooming products as they learned much about their carbon footprints and how staying home for a year helped the environment. The all-natural trend began pre-pandemic, then accelerated over the past year. “Folks took a hard look at their lifestyle,” said Kyle LaFond, founder of American Provenance in Mount Horeb, Wis. “They are reading labels and informing themselves. They are taking a more sincere look at their practices.” Last year the company launched the skin care line AP Botanics. LaFond predicted much excitement will come to brick-and-mortar retail in the next two years. Many retailers canceled their review period during the pandemic because they needed to dedicate resources to health and sanitation. “You’re going to see a rash of new products on shelf,” he said. “A lot of buyers will be reengaged and there will be new products.” Consumers will want to continue pandemicrelated conveniences, such as buy online with pickup in store. “Retailers must fulfill orders wherever the consumer wants it,” Duke Cannon’s O’Connell said. dsn


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Degree Adds Antiperspirants

Harry’s Expands Skin Care Line Harry’s new skin care lineup features four new products. Freshening Face Toner is alcohol-free and uses a botanical astringent-like extract paired with niacinamide to leave skin feeling clean and hydrated, according to the company. Hydrating Night Lotion is a nighttime moisturizer that uses a mix of phytic acid, niacinamide and other ingredients to hydrate and improve the skin’s texture during sleep. Brightening Eye Cream solves dark under-eye circle woes with a lightweight and cooling cream that provides immediate hydration and visibly brightens the area by using a blend of algae extracts, niacinamide and other ingredients. Targeted Blemish Treatment is a lightweight cream featuring wintergreen leaf extract, a natural source of salicylic acid, and the herb tiger grass, which helps target the source of the blemish while relieving irritation and redness.

Okay Pure Naturals Introduces New Collection The Okay Men’s Hemp Seed Oil Collection consists of beard growth and strengthening oils, growth and maintenance oils, moisturizing lotions, shampoos and pomades. Hemp seed oil helps soften the beard and condition it for manageability. This collection helps nourish hair and beard, and helps prevent breakage. Also new is Okay Men’s Detoxifying Himalayan Salt Collection, which consists of a detoxifying Himalayan salt foot soak and full body muscle soak. Himalayan salt is a natural, mineral-rich salt that helps sooth muscles, reduce swelling, treat minor aches, and relax muscles and feet.


The Degree Unstoppable Freshness range, which has the brand’s MotionSense technology that is activated every time the wearer moves, offers 48 hours of sweat and odor protection. Degree 48H Unstoppable Freshness is available in Coconut & Mint, which combines the masculine musk of coconut with a crisp, cooling mint scent; and Mandarin & Vetiver, which combines the zesty and invigorating scent of mandarin with the woodsy musk of vetiver, according to the company. Degree Unstoppable Freshness is also available in the same two scents in an aluminum-free formulation and a dry spray.

Nivea Launches Men’s Breathable Body Lotion Nivea Men Breathable Body Lotion for dry skin provides longlasting moisture for 48 hours, with no sticky feel. The paraben-free body lotion evaporates sweat three times faster than Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Lotion. Specially formulated for men who want to stay active and feel fresh, the dye-free lotion features microgel, shea butter and a blend of oils that help with skin breathability.


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Tackling the Big Obstacles Pharmacies turn their attention to factors driving disparities in health By Sandra Levy


t takes a village to raise a child. Many retail chain and independent pharmacies are heeding this proverb, as evidenced by the extent to which they are working fervently to address the social determinants of health, as well as the health disparities that impact many patients in the communities they serve. To be sure, tackling the varied and complex circumstances that affect many of these patients’ lives is a Herculean task, one that requires innovative strategies and investments to yield a cornucopia of benefits. It appears that retailers are leaving no stone unturned, pursuing strategies that include delivering personalized care, launching medication therapy management and medication adherence programs, partnering with community and religious leaders, collaborating with health systems, offering free health screenings and addressing transportation and food security issues.

Helping the Vulnerable Lewis Drug, a retail chain with 56 stores across South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, is a forerunner in implementing numerous strategies to address social determinants of health. Bill Ladwig, senior vice president of professional services at Lewis Drug, emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the need to address social determinants of health more visible, especially with the urgent need to get more people in underserved communities vaccinated against COVID-19. To reach that goal, Lewis Drug is working with city, state, county, religious and business leaders, as well as other influencers who can identify patients who are resistant to getting the vaccine and who are most in need of education. “We are going outside of the traditional pharmacy realm. We’re meeting patients’ expectations with new ideas and novel


More than 825 Health Mart pharmacies in 46 states are participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Mart has trained more than 4,200 pharmacy staff members to administer vaccinations. opportunities,” Ladwig said. “It’s much more efficient to use the assets readily available to you than it is to create something new. Since early on, we have been working with local entities who know where these people are.” Through these alliances, Lewis Drug has vaccinated workers at beef and turkey plants, and dairy sites in South Dakota. The outreach effort also is proving to be a conduit for Lewis Drug’s pharmacists to have conversations on a broad spectrum of potential opportunities, including making

sure patients get other vaccines, like pneumococcal or Tdap, Ladwig said. Combatting vaccine hesitancy in communities that are impacted by social determinants of health also is Walgreens’ bailiwick. Stacey Emmons, Walgreens director of patient outcomes performance, said the retailer is taking a multifaceted approach. “As part of our commitment to drive health equity, we launched vaccine equity initiatives to increase access to vaccinations,” she said. “We provide education that


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Addressing social determinants of health can be a daunting challenge. These retail pharmacies are making the endeavor less burdensome.

The Compliance Team

As it ramped up its vaccination effort, Health Mart activated roughly 100 pharmacies per week and built out an online vaccine scheduler amid other digital infrastructure. helps with vaccine hesitancy and have created partnerships with community and religious leaders to help us meet the needs of each of these communities.” CVS Health also is forging ahead to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates with a strategy that includes proactive patient outreach, community-based partnerships and vaccine clinics, as well as robust, education-focused marketing. The retailer is working with its extensive network of community-based leaders and nonprofit organizations, including free and charitable clinics, faith-based organizations and others, to reach vulnerable patients. Rebecca Ferrick, a CVS Health


spokesperson, said that because of these efforts, more than one-third of the nearly 24 million vaccines that CVS Pharmacy administered as of June 9 have gone to underrepresented minority communities, including Black, Hispanic and Native American patients, a mark higher than the overall national average. Irving, Texas-based Health Mart and the Health Mart Atlas network of independent pharmacies are also playing an integral role in COVID vaccine administration in underserved and rural communities. In fact, more than 825 Health Mart pharmacies across 46 states are participating in Health Mart’s Federal Retail Pharmacy

Based in Spring House, Pa., The Compliance Team offers a Community Pharmacy accreditation program that includes several standards to help pharmacies address a range of social determinants of health. Sandra Canally, founder and CEO, said that patient education and access to food and transportation, contribute to whether patients will comply with their drug regimen. “We accredit many supermarket pharmacies, who provide nutritional counseling with dietitians, to make sure patients are making the right food choices,” Canally said. “Are patients close enough to the pharmacy to pick up their medications? Do they need a ride from someone, or if they are unable to come for the refills, does the pharmacy offer delivery services? Do they feel safe traveling to the pharmacy on public transportation? Do they have access to a primary care physician, and do they understand their doctor’s instructions? As an accreditor, we look at all of these things because they are connected to a patient’s ability to stay on their drug regimen.” The Community Pharmacy accreditation program also includes standards for pharmacies to address patients’ financial hardships. “Many patients are unable to pay for medications,” Canally said. “Many times the manufacturer can help patients pay for the drugs, and there are drug discount cards available.” The Compliance Team also offers a certification for immunizations and point-of-care testing. Beyond the Community Pharmacy accreditation program, The Compliance Team’s value-based care program encompasses additional pharmacy services that drive patient adherence and outcomes. —S.L.


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As part of its COVID-19 vaccination push, Walgreens has used mobile vaccine clinics — including one that traveled to various Chicago neighborhoods and a coast-to-coast bus tour. Program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, 1,370 community pharmacies have administered 1 million COVID vaccine doses. “Health Mart pharmacy teams are reaching some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19,” according to the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index,” said Eyad Farah, president of Health Mart and Health Mart Atlas. Farah noted that Health Mart has facilitated COVID-19 vaccination training for more than 4,250 pharmacy staff members. It also secured 1,275 digital data loggers needed for proper vaccine storage and activated about 100 new stores a week amid the pandemic.


Health Mart also provided an online vaccine scheduler, a patient administration documentation tool and a resource platform to centralize access to vaccine training, tools and resources, as well as streamlined required daily activity reporting. Beyond their expansive plans to aid in vaccination administration, pharmacies also are finding ways to solve patients’ transportation problems. Take the case of Walgreens, which entered a partnership with Uber. “Our pharmacists are reaching out to patients to discuss if they’re eligible for a vaccine, and if they say, ‘I can’t get to the pharmacy’ or ‘I’m in an area where I don’t

“We’ve found that it’s really important to identify how the patient prefers to be contacted,” Emmons said. “There’s such a variance in how a patient wants to receive information from the pharmacy and how it is going to be useful for them.” — STACEY EMMONS, DIRECTOR OF PATIENT OUTCOMES PERFORMANCE, WALGREENS


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have transportation,’ they can then educate the patient to use the Uber app or to contact Uber to set up an arrangement for that transportation,” Emmons said. Additionally, Walgreens has local mobile clinics that stop in various communities across the country. “This makes it easy for people to come into these mobile clinics that might not necessarily be able to reach a pharmacy due to transportation,” Emmons said. To further increase access to vaccines, CVS is using mobile vaccination vans and has launched community-based clinics, working closely with nonprofit organizations, including the YMCA. “We’ve also partnered with Lyft and nonprofit partners to help underserved communities access vaccination appointments by providing free or discounted rides for those in need,” Ferrick said. “Lyft’s universal vaccine access campaign is a partnership of companies, community organizations and individuals working together to make sure everyone has access to affordable, reliable transportation to get to vaccination appointments when they need to.”

Getting Creative Besides addressing transportation problems, a growing trend among retailers to forge collaborative relationships between pharmacists and healthcare providers also exists. Lewis Drug stands out for its success in this area. The chain has embedded four pharmacists in clinics in the Sanford Health System. “We found that these pharmacists are a great conduit to patients because it’s in a different environment,” Ladwig said. “You’re in the physician’s office and you are able to impact knowledge in an environment where it may be more fruitful. You can’t plant seeds in a desert and expect them to grow. You have to nurture them. We’re trying to create environments. We’re using pharmacists in clinics to be a better conduit to impact more people.” Not only are collaborative partnerships emerging, but personalized care models are taking root. Walgreens’ initiatives in the south and west sides of Chicago, including Chatham, open a window on how an approach to personalized care can improve the health of


patients with chronic diseases. “We’re working on how pharmacists can continue to support medically underserved areas through diabetes education, addressing any barriers to taking their medications, making recommendations for health screenings and immunizations as well,” Emmons said. Additionally, Walgreens has a program to support pediatric asthma outreach and education in Chatham, where there is a high prevalence of pediatric asthma. As part of the program, Walgreens

pharmacists educate pediatric patients and their caregivers about their disease state. “We help their caregiver to understand the asthma disease state so they can feel more comfortable helping their child at home to use an inhaler,” Emmons said. “It’s important that they are using the appropriate technique and identifying the trigger that will cause an asthma flare. We are helping to support taking care of the patient by educating the parent and guardian and, in turn, creating a stronger relationship with those patients and caregivers.”

HELPING THE HELPERS Addressing social determinants of health can be a daunting challenge. Here’s a look at retail pharmacies making the endeavor less burdensome.


The Raleigh, N.C.-based division of Omnicell provides advanced digital technology solutions for intelligent patient engagement and communications. The EnlivenHealth Patient Engagement Platform, which is deployed at more than 30,000 retail pharmacies nationwide, incorporates technology applications that enable pharmacies to identify which patients are most in need of targeted interventions, including those impacted by social determinants of health-related issues, and then implements a range of therapies that increase medication adherence, improve quality scores and drive patient retention. EnlivenHealth’s patient engagement solutions optimize pharmacy workflows by automating repetitive pharmacy tasks. This frees up pharmacists to practice at the top of their license and provide high-value, revenue-generating services, such as vaccinations, point-of-care testing and medication therapy management counseling. Enliven Health pioneered the development of Medication Synchronization, or Med Sync, a system designed to align prescription refills to a convenient single date each month to coincide with appointment visits. Patients enrolled in an appointment-based program, such as Med Sync from EnlivenHealth, are three times more likely to remain adherent to their medications, according to the company. With Med Sync, patients can get more done on a single monthly trip as opposed to having to make multiple trips over the course of 30 days, increasing their chances of positive health outcomes. EnlivenHealth also provides omnichannel communications solutions that enable retail pharmacies to create a uniquely personalized patient experience. “Retail pharmacies face the challenge of how to communicate the appropriate message, through the right channel, to effectively engage patient populations with key social determinants of health indicators,” said Kim Howland, head of product development at EnlivenHealth. “Our new personalized communications solution can target vital healthrelated information in ways these patients understand and that have a measurable impact on better health outcomes.”



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Walgreens has taken a data-driven approach to the health interventions it suggests to patients, informing pharmacy team members which patients would benefit the most from a personalized conversation and clinical services. Walgreens also employs smart analytics models to help power personalized interventions that are helping the chain identify patients who have chronic disease states and to drive medication adherence. “Using these smart analytics models, we’re able to identify for the pharmacy team, the patients who need personalized conversations the most, and then triage interventions through the patient’s preferred channel,” Emmons said. “If a patient is new to therapy, our pharmacists are going to follow up with them a few days after starting their medications to ensure there aren’t any side effects or answer questions they have. They also can have ‘late to refill’ or prescription abandonment conversations. There’s a multitude of different opportunities our pharmacists have to deliver personalized care and have those


one-on-one conversations with patients.” An important component of providing personalized care includes a focus on patient engagement, which opens up doors to being able to offer an array of solutions for patients impacted by social determinants of health. CVS Pharmacy’s HealthTag pilot program in Louisiana and West Virginia provides proof on the importance of encouraging a dialogue between pharmacists and patients. The program allows pharmacy employees in those locations the ability to deliver personalized messages when patients pick up their prescriptions. “The community services are organized by Unite Us, a leading social care coordination platform that is collaborating with Aetna to help some of our most vulnerable

members more easily access social services within their community,” Ferrick said. The Unite Us HealthTag pilot program is designed to have pharmacy employees help close lifestyle gaps for patients. “By analyzing Aetna Medicaid’s claims data, we can identify patients who are filling their prescriptions at CVS pharmacies that are participating in this pilot program,” she said. When those patients come to a CVS Pharmacy to pick up their prescription, the HealthTag opportunity alerts the pharmacy employee to talk with the patient about program options through Unite Us that meet their lifestyle needs. Once a patient is enrolled in the Unite Us platform, they’re connected with community-based organizations to help address their specific needs. “The community-based organizations also can help with issues that aren’t as directly connected to a person’s health, but certainly have an influence on their well-being, such as housing services in the area,” Ferrick said.“Through this program, we’re able to improve the health of individuals and communities by providing people who need help the most with local resources through a trusted person they see on a regular basis, such as their pharmacist.” CVS Health also is engaging with its members in vulnerable communities more often, using communications channels they are likely to see and respond to, such as text messages instead of emails or phone calls. “We also tailor messages to ensure that people are both aware of their health risks and where they can get the support that works for them,” Ferrick said. “We’re tailoring support and treatment options for members by their individual health history and demographic patterns based on age, gender, education level, geography, income and race.” Walgreens also has made tools and supporting programs available to its pharmacists within their daily workflow. For instance, Walgreens has a clinical platform that helps identify patients who may have refills coming up so that its pharmacists and pharmacy team members can call and engage them and make sure they are filling their medications on time. “We have the ability to identify patients who are late to refilling their medications and to contact those patients to see if there are any


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“From vaccinations to point-of-care testing to patient education, community pharmacies continue to be the compassionate and trusted provider you can lean on. They take the time to listen and care. So naturally, they are the problem-solvers for America’s most complex healthcare issues.” — EYAD FARAH, PRESIDENT, HEALTH MART AND HEALTH MART ATLAS barriers they are experiencing to refilling that medication,” Emmons said. “Are they experiencing side effects, transportation or cost issues and then providing solutions to help solve those barriers, as well as preventing prescription abandonment.” Walgreens uses MTM services to help trigger and identify for its pharmacists and pharmacy team members if there is an opportunity to discuss medication adherence, as well as various chronic health conditions. “We’ve found that it’s really important to identify how the patient prefers to be contacted,”Emmons said. “There’s such a variance in how a patient wants to receive information from the pharmacy and how it is going to be useful for them. Looking at what channel, whether it be a personalized phone call or through digital engagement, such as email, use of an app, push notification or texting, you are really engaging the patient in their preferred channel.” Lewis Drug’s Ladwig concurred that having conversations with patients is crucial, but many people are too busy and they don’t ask for help. “How can we as pharmacists be good


stewards of our ability to contact patients to get them to be better patients?” he said. “We are trying through MTM, but the biggest obstacle is that when we ask people for consultations on medications, they often say, ‘I’m fine, I don’t need anything’ and don’t get engaged in the conversation. Pharmacists want to help people to be healthier. That’s the bridge, and it’s what we emphasize.” To that end, Lewis Drug also made an investment to offer its Smart Pack compliance pill pack and Smart Sync adherence packaging to patients for free, although the pharmacy does not receive reimbursement. “We bought a machine years ago, and are doing the packing at

fill operations,” Ladwig said. “It’s a huge win for patients, especially daughters who are caregivers. The No. 1 reason people are hospitalized is because they don’t know how to take or understand their medications or the side effects.”

Affordability in Focus Retail pharmacies also are doing their part to offer free and low cost health services. For example, CVS has committed $100 million to improving community health through its support of free clinics since 2006. “Our Project Health events have delivered more than $134 million in free healthcare services to over 1 million Americans in diverse

HELPING THE HELPERS Addressing social determinants of health can be a daunting challenge. Here’s a look at retail pharmacies making the endeavor less burdensome.

Sharps Compliance

As a biomedical and hazardous waste management company, Sharps Compliance customizes waste services based on the location and distinct needs of pharmacies to ensure that a variety of hazardous substances and materials are properly removed from the communities they serve. Kathryn Kane-Neilson, Sharps’ clinical specialist for regulatory compliance, said the improper storage and disposal of unused medications threaten both human health and the natural environment. “Unsecured drug wastes can end up in wrongful hands for illicit means or accidental misuse, and improper disposal via flushing or landfill leachate can contaminate public waterways.” Houston-based Sharps’ MedSafe collection receptacles are Drug Enforcement Administrationand Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant steel units installed in retail pharmacies for public use to dispose of expired, unused or otherwise unwanted prescription and over-thecounter medications. “A retail pharmacy that installs a MedSafe serves as a pillar of public health for their communities by enabling safe and convenient disposal of substances harmful to both human and environmental health,” Kane-Neilson said. “Additionally, Sharps’ TakeAway Medication Envelopes are a discreet means for the public to dispose of their unwanted medications in the privacy of their own homes.” Kane-Neilson pointed out that hazardous materials, such as littered or loosely discarded sharps, also pose a distinct public health risk, particularly in communities with limited resources. “Sharps’ Complete Needle system, which is sold in retail pharmacies, supplies individuals who self-inject their medications a safe and convenient means of disposing of the sharps waste,” she said. Sharps also maintains an updated blog that addresses regulated waste issues plaguing public health, from avoiding public needlestick injury to safe medication storage at home. —S.L.


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The care concierge at CVS Pharmacy’s HealthHUB locations are just one example of the chain’s efforts to better engage patients. In Louisiana and West Virginia, its HealthTag pilot is encouraging personalized dialogue between pharmacists and patients at the time of prescription pickup. communities with large numbers of uninsured or underinsured people,” Ferrick said. Through its investments and collaboration with local partners, CVS Health also is able to provide underserved communities across the country with quality housing, economic support and educational training opportunities. Some of these collaborations in 2020 included CVS Health’s continuation of its longstanding support of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics members for wraparound services for underserved patients, delivering funding for 65 clinics in 17 states. “We also provided more than $5 million in combined support to Feeding America to reduce food insecurity among vulnerable populations, which increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ferrick said. CVS Health’s no-cost, community-based screening program, Project Health, helps people without regular access to health care


HELPING THE HELPERS Addressing social determinants of health can be a daunting challenge. Here’s a look at retail pharmacies making the endeavor less burdensome.


STChealth’s tools empower pharmacies to address social determinants of health and improve individuals’ quality of life. “Because nine in 10 Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy, pharmacies can influence public health unlike other healthcare providers, but to maximize time and resources, new technologies are needed,” said Kyle Freese, chief epidemiologist at STChealth. The company provides epidemiologic analytics so pharmacies can perform targeted outreach and education. These insights inform decisions surrounding inventory, operating hours and where additional community engagement is needed. “At the patient level, STChealth’s Clinical Services platform allows pharmacists to identify gaps in vaccine coverage in real time and provide the opportunity to educate patients on the benefits of vaccination,” Freese said. —S.L.


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Better adherence begins with better coordination between the pharmacy and the prescriber.

The Compliance Team’s Patient-Centered Pharmacy Home™ (PCPH) program is designed specifically to promote better patient medication management and care planning as well as improve positive outcomes. Patients visit their pharmacists much more frequently than they do their providers, making pharmacists critical to effective and safe patient care. PCPH allows the pharmacist to work at the top of their license and be part of the patient’s care team in a value-based care model. Meeting the highest standards of patient care has never been this simple. Accreditation. Simplified.

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CVS Health’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy has included proactive patient outreach, communitybased partnerships and vaccine clinics alongside educational marketing. The chain has administered nearly a third of its 24 million vaccine doses to underserved populations. understand their risk for chronic conditions and connect to free or low-cost providers and services to support their unique healthcare needs. Through Project Health, the company hosts events at CVS Pharmacy locations, offering free biometric screenings, including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose level and body mass index to detect early risks of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease before they become life-threatening. Following these screenings, participants can meet with a nurse practitioner, who can provide referrals for treatment and advice on follow-up care, which is particularly important given that some people have delayed or put off primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic. While no one can predict what new strategies will surface as retail and independent pharmacies continue to help battle social determinants of health, it appears that the momentum is building.


Doug Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, said that because of the relationships that independent pharmacies have with patients, they are privy to the social determinants of health issues that impact their patients’ lives and will have a continued opportunity to intervene on their behalf. “The independent pharmacist often has a good perception of many of the social determinants of health that affect their patients, such as whether they live alone or lack transportation,” Hoey said. “The patient trusts the pharmacist. It’s a great opportunity for pharmacists to be involved, particularly since the technology is there to record the results of some of those conversations.” Emmons said she is confident that Walgreens will continue its efforts. “The pandemic has really been a case study in how our pharmacists and pharmacies are able to show up and support addressing disparities in care and being a local healthcare provider,” she said. “Through that we’re taking

that opportunity to make sure we are continuing to build on the initiatives and partnerships we’ve begun, and look forward to continuing that in the future.” Ferrick echoed Emmons’ sentiments about pharmacies’ abilities to be leaders in helping patients overcome health disparities. “Your health is intrinsically linked to where you live and spend most of your time, which is why we are committed to addressing social determinants of health at the community level,” she said. “Given our combined scale and presence in nearly 10,000 communities, CVS Health has an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health of individuals.” Health Mart’s Farah also said that he is optimistic about community pharmacies’ future role in addressing social determinants of health. “From vaccinations to point-of-care testing to patient education, community pharmacies continue to be the compassionate and trusted provider you can lean on,” he said. “They take the time to listen and care. So naturally, they are the problem solvers for America’s most complex healthcare issues.” Finally, Ladwig envisions pharmacists’ role will evolve to be more like health coaches, and that in pharmacy deserts, which are rural areas where there are no pharmacies due to attrition, pharmacies are going to be central in healthcare delivery. His prediction is already playing out in Howard, S.D., where Lewis Drug built a pharmacy to compensate for the nearest pharmacy being located 30 miles away. Lewis plans to open a telepharmacy at Horizon Clinic in Howard and will embed a pharmacist and a multilingual pharmacy technician in the clinic to serve an immigrant population. “How do we create a health hub here?” Ladwig said. “Pharmacists are not providers, but they offer incredible service. How do we combine with the local healthcare entity to be able to support the health in that community? We’re trying to figure out what a hybrid looks like and to be an intermediary access pharmacy combined with a health hub down the road may be the solution. The endgame here is to get a trust factor in these communities.” dsn


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Ready for Anything First aid suppliers emphasize consumer-led innovation and education opportunities to spur sales By David Salazar


he first aid category is not what it used to be. Even though a majority of trips to brick-and-mortar stores for first aid products are still driven by acute needs — a slip while cutting vegetables or a child’s scraped knee — consumers are changing how they approach the category, embracing the Boy Scouts’ mantra of always being prepared, among other changes driven by COVID-19. Due in part to early-pandemic guidance to maximize the time between shopping trips, the first aid category’s first big shakeup last year was a boom in online sales. “One of the things that we saw right away was people switching to just buying


everything online,” said Laura Conlon, vice president of marketing at bandage and first aid kit company Welly. “We were available on Amazon and our direct-to-consumer site became really popular as people were just really looking at ways to get prepared and feel stocked up with the things they needed.” As vaccination rates rise, though, consumers seem to be hanging on to their pandemic-era shopping mindsets and growing omnichannel shopping behavior. “Now we’re seeing people going back shopping in-store and shopping online, growing that hybrid approach,” Conlon said. “The thing that continues is this blended wellness journey where people are thinking about being


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HEALTH | FIRST AID prepared and what they need for their lifestyle — and that includes first aid, health care and really stocking up and seeking out these products more regularly.” As consumers look to stock up, they also increasingly know exactly what they want from the first aid category, and suppliers in the space are looking to deliver — from innovative products to educational resources and partnerships with retailers to drive foot traffic and sales.

Innovation That Sticks At Johnson & Johnson Consumer’s BandAid brand, one of its biggest innovations in years was spurred by a larger reckoning that the United States had around race last summer. Amid protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd and increased focus on Black representation in society, Band-Aid took to Instagram to promise a range of bandages in varying skin tones. In March, the brand made good on that promise with the rollout of Band-Aid Ourtone, a collection of bandages in different shades of brown meant to be used on diverse skin tones. The bandages, available in BR45, BR55 and BR65 tones, feature the brand’s Memory Weave fabric and its Quilt-Aid pad that doesn’t stick to wounds. “We took such tremendous care with this launch, really making sure we were keeping our Black consumers at the front and center of every decision we were making,” said Meghan Kelly, senior brand manager for wound care and Band-Aid at J&J. “From shades of the straps to what that packaging looked like to what the name was, we worked to create new research methods to engage with them and make sure we were delivering a solution that better reflects the community that we serve, and incorporated some of that feedback and learning.” Alongside the Ourtone launch, Band-Aid committed $100 million over five years to the Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association and the association itself for scholarships and member fee support. “We heard directly from our consumers that they want us to show up in the communities that we’re serving,” Kelly said. “And this came directly from their feedback, really making sure we were incorporating that really strong community


purpose and action behind the launch.” Beyond its efforts to meet the needs of diverse consumers, Kelly said Band-Aid also has been innovating around waterproof bandages — a perennial demand in the first aid space as consumers look to protect fresh and healing wounds from constant handwashing or during a swim. “There have been products in the space, even within our own portfolio, for decades out there,” she said. “But listening to consumers and feedback, their needs weren’t met. They felt like they always were forced to compromise, whether products weren’t staying on their skin as long as they would want or waterproof bandages were really hard to apply.” Enter Water Block Flex, bandages designed to block water, dirt and germs using a flexible material that moves with the user. The brand said the product is designed to allow the skin to breathe while healing and offers a thinner bandage than typical waterproof offerings. “We knew this was a sweet spot we wanted to help provide that solution for.” Another company solving for consumers’ literal pain points is 3M. The maker of Nexcare bandages and wound care products recently introduced Nexcare Duo, a line of bandages designed to offer strong hold and pain-free removal. Peter Berens, global portfolio leader for 3M’s skin health and wellness business and its consumer health and safety division, said the company’s research and

development teams were able to bring their expertise in adhesives from its Post It and tape brands to bear on the first aid category. “It’s something we’ve been working toward, and with our shared consumer and healthcare labs, we were able to advance our technology to a place where we really were excited about the results we were getting,” he said. “That’s the cool thing about our company as a consumer first aid company — we make all of our adhesives, we can tweak them to meet that need of consumers, whereas most other companies are buying off-the-shelf solutions from other chemical companies.” Introduced in May, Nexcare Duo offers a flexible, water-resistant fabric bandage in various sizes that uses a silicone adhesive technology and offers full-wound protection that can hold up to handwashing. The product, Berens said, solves for kids and adults who generally avoid wound care offerings to get around the pain of removal. 3M discovered during consumer research that the need was there, but consumers had a hard time articulating the need for a different approach to bandage adhesion and removal. “There was some of that behavior which was just avoidance of the category because of that experience that they assumed they needed to go through,” Berens said. “When we started to do more specific in-depth research related to Nexcare Duo and our iterations there, it was about making them notice that it provided


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HEALTH | FIRST AID a different experience,” he said. “One of the really exciting things about the project is that it does somewhat reset the consumer belief in how products can perform.” At Welly, Conlon said the persistence of pandemic-era stock-up shopping is translating to consumer demand for more highquality products. Last year, the company launched its Excursion kit, a 130-piece first aid kit sold exclusively online that offers a larger version of its popular first aid kit sold in stores. The first aid kits complement the company’s smaller tins and bandage sets. Consumer demand also led the company to introduce a 100-count bandage box. “That was a response to people saying, ‘I just need a ton of bandages,’” she said. “We’ve been working on responding to what people are asking for, and we’ll continue to kind of iterate on that.” Conlon said the company’s Face Savers — transparent hydrocolloid bandages meant to cover pimples or shaving nicks in a discreet way — also are popular among consumers who want to have plenty on hand in a portable way, leading the company to launch a 72-count offering with a thin tin for on-the-go consumers. Welly also introduced its Handy Bandies, which are made to cover cuts and wounds on the hands. The tins include long bandages for fingers, as well as bandages designed for knuckles and fingertips. Like the rest of the company’s bandages, the Handy Bandies are designed to look good while being functional, and Welly recently launched Handy Bandies Veggie, which feature bandages and a tin printed with vegetable patterns. “Our design team works really hard to make sure we’re coming out with new prints and patterns, and responding to trends,” Conlon said. “But also what we see people enjoy about Welly is that purpose and fun are always blending together.”

Education and Collaboration First aid, like much of the OTC/healthcare space, occupies a dual role of offering products while also serving as a resource for patients — a role that has only increased throughout the pandemic as consumers embraced self-care. In store this can mean helping pharmacists serve as an information source.


“Pharmacy staff and leadership have a real interest in being a source of information, so we provide training for those pharmacists and staff, as well as easily accessible information for the consumer via the retailer,” 3M’s Berens said. He noted that as more consumers search online, there’s a need for companies to adapt. “There’s a lot of help that we can provide online for consumers who may not be asking the pharmacist like they would have previously,” he said. “So we’ve had to look at how our search terms align to what consumers are really looking for, how the content that we have out online — both in written and video form — help meet those needs that are being searched for? That’s been a big focus for our business globally because it’s a worldwide trend and we have a great knowledge base as a company from which to help meet that need.” J&J’s Kelly concurred, noting that BandAid and Neosporin brands have been working to build out online educational content with an eye toward providing relevant resources to help consumers shop the space. “We’ve brought a new educational focus on the proper wound care regimen, really helping to debunk the myths for consumers around why you should first cleanse a

wound with an antiseptic wash cleanser and then treat wounds with a topical antibiotic like Neosporin, and then protect and cover a wound with a Band-Aid brand adhesive bandage,” she said. “Today, only 3% of consumers are actually following that total three-step regimen, so we have a huge opportunity to educate and partner with those solutions.” Kelly noted that in addition to curated online education and new store signage, the company also is once again partnering with Target for a build-your-own first aid kit promotion, emphasizing preparedness, as well as driving traffic and spurring product discovery. Product discovery also is an important area of collaboration for first aid suppliers and retailers online, particularly as e-commerce sales remain strong. “As shopping behaviors change and things become much more omnichannel, we’ve been working with platforms like Shipt or Instacart to make discerning products really easy for people, or bringing great content onto their websites and their platform,” said Welly’s Conlon. “That way, if you’re researching and you’re thinking ahead because you want to make a quick trip to the store or you want to buy online, we’ve made it really seamless to have that in-store discovery experience online.” dsn


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Nature’s Truth Donates $3.5M in Products to Two Charities Wellness brand Nature’s Truth has been spending the summer giving back. The Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based company has given $3.5 million worth of vitamins and supplements to those in need via partnerships with Feed the Hungry and Convoy of Hope. All told, Nature’s Truth has donated more than 420,000 products focused on promoting overall health, including its Sambucus Black Elderberry supplements and Immune Support Gummies. “We were humbled and so grateful to have the chance to work with Feed the Hungry and Convoy of Hope in our shared mission of bettering the lives of people everywhere,” said Kimberly Vigliante, Nature’s Truth senior vice president of sales and marketing. The company donated 190,000 products to Feed the Hungry, with the donation being split between regional partners Blessing of Hope and Georgia Food and Resource Center, which reaches more than 16,000 in 25 counties every week. For Convoy of Hope, Nature’s Truth donated 220,000 products for distribution on the organization’s Hope Day event on June 5. For Hope Day, Convoy of Hope had 36 events in cities across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. The Nature’s Truth products were included in grocery bags filled with items meant to help struggling families.

Genexa Debuts Infants’ Pain and Fever Self-described clean medicine company Genexa is adding a baby-focused pain reliever and fever reducer to its lineup. The company recently introduced its Infants’ Pain & Fever, an oral liquid medication with acetaminophen and a few other ingredients. Besides the active ingredient, Infants’ Pain & Fever contains organic agave syrup, organic blueberry flavor, organic citrus extract, purified water and non-GMO flavor, the company said. The product joins Genexa’s lineup of nonGMO products for infants, which includes Infants’ Vitamin D, Infants’ Saline Nasal Spray & Drops and probiotics formulated for newborns. Genexa was founded by dads David Johnson and Max Spielberg in an effort to create cleaner OTC medicines across traditional categories.


Barton Joins Natrol, Jarrow Formulas as CEO Natrol and Jarrow Formulas have new leadership. Nina Barton has been named CEO of the combined company, both of which are owned by New Mountain Capital. Barton joins the company from Kraft Heinz, where she most recently served as global chief growth officer — a role marking the culmination of a decade-long career with the company that saw her serving in several roles. Titles Barton held at Kraft Heinz included president of Kraft Heinz Canada and president of global digital online growth. Before joining Kraft Heinz in 2011, Barton spent time in numerous marketing and leadership positions across leading CPG companies, including Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble. “It is a fantastic opportunity to partner with New Mountain Capital to accelerate the Natrol and Jarrow Formulas brands in a category that has ever-increasing consumer demand,” Barton said. “I look forward to building on the enormous success of the Natrol and Jarrow Formulas teams as we continue to serve our consumers by providing high-quality products.” New Mountain Capital said Natrol and Jarrow Formulas mark two established names in the vitamin market, with Natrol leading in sleep and mood/stress and Jarrow Formulas standing out as an independent formulator, manufacturer and marketer of probiotics, vitamins, minerals and supplements. In October, New Mountain Capital acquired Natrol, shortly following the firm’s acquisition of Jarrow Formulas with the plan of combining them. Currently, the combined company has more than 600 employees.


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Sweet and Salty The candy and snack categories continue to evolve as consumers look to enjoy their favorites while also making smarter choices By Carol Radice


eople love candy and snacks for all types of reasons. For some, it’s all about sitting down with their favorite comfort foods after a stressful day. Others view candy and snacks as treats they allow themselves to have on special occasions. And for a growing group, they want to incorporate better-for-you snacks and candy into their daily food routine. Throw a global pandemic into the mix and other reasons for purchasing snacks and candy begin to emerge. For instance, Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay’s recent U.S. Snack Index survey earlier this year


found that an overwhelming majority of respondents are turning to their favorite snack or treat as a way to preserve some level of normalcy in their lives during the COVID crisis. With increased access, people are snacking around the clock and, after a year of indulging, are discovering the importance of snacking smarter. Manufacturers are trying to meet these evolving needs in a variety of ways. Some are creating new brands while others are extending the forms and formulas within existing brands. “The retail landscape evolved rapidly in the past year, and the way people shop for

treats and snacks has changed as well,” said Monica Jain, vice president of sales, small format, at Mars Wrigley U.S., headquartered in Newark, N.J. “People are spending more time than ever at home, entertaining family and friends, and they are turning to trusted brands they love.” Clark Taylor, senior vice president of sales and marketing at CandyRific in Louisville, Ky., said this past year, snacks and candy have played instrumental roles in helping people cope with the stress of living through a pandemic. “Consumers are looking to reward their kids and themselves for working through the current challenges


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with COVID,” Taylor said. “They are looking for ways to create special events in their homes and neighborhoods and, because of this, there has been a spike in toys, activities and home entertainment products.” As families spend more time at home, officials from Frito-Lay and other companies noted that interest has turned from smaller, more portable pack sizes to larger, familysized packaging, and variety packs on core offerings that offer value and convenience for at-home snackers. Additionally, while familiar products are appealing, marketers noted that as consumers grew bored and overwhelmed with reality, they were also attracted to new and unusual candy and snacking options.

Shifting Purchasing Habits Consumer shopping trips may have been down due to the pandemic, but spending per trip was up. While shoppers may have turned to larger pack sizes to help ensure their favorite candy and snacks were always on hand, they were sticking to their budget more so than usual, which meant their shopping behavior this past year was less impulsive than is typically seen. Based on retail sales data, snack consumption has dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic. During a March conference call with


analysts, Mark Clouse, president and CEO of Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup, said looking at the second quarter sales for this year compared with last year, segments such as salty snacks, including its Goldfish brand saw “meaningful share improvement.” Specifically, Clouse said the company’s snack business unit sales grew 4% in the second quarter to $979 million. Growth was notably attributed to such brands as microwave popcorn hit Pop Secret, Cape Cod and Kettle potato chips, and Late July Organic Snacks. The latter brand, which uses organic and non-GMO ingredients, comes in a variety of gluten-free, vegan and kosher offerings. “Our performance was again fueled by our power brands, which grew dollar consumption by 8% over the previous year,” Clouse said during the call. “Within the power brands, our salty snack brands grew dollar consumption by double digits and realized share growth.” By focusing on new ways for consumers to enjoy snacks, Clouse said the company was able to substantially grow interest in its Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse line as well. Consumers, it seems, loved the idea of incorporating Goldfish into movie nights at home or as part of a lunchtime offering, he said.

Innovation Influences The reasons why people are buying candy and

snacks may have shifted, but the one aspect that has remained constant is that consumers still look at flavor and taste as the top attractors when buying treats. One reason interest in salty snacks remains high is the number of new offerings introduced, featuring interesting flavors and unusual takes on existing one, observers noted. As consumers’ tastes evolve, so too, has the depth and variety of snack products being offered. Nacho cheese, salt and barbeque flavors have long been favorites, but snack introductions featuring spicy cheese, chipotle and Himalayan salt, for instance, have kept consumer interest in the category strong. The number of combination products featuring citrus, smokey, sweet, spicy and internationally inspired exotic flavors are also on the rise as are ethnically inspired and regionally influenced snack products. Bold flavors remain a top draw for salty snack lovers as well, and as Hanover, Pa.based Utz has noted, snack flavors are also being inspired by restaurant items. In 2020, the company launched a line of TGI Friday’s snacks featuring its restaurant’s signature seasoning. Similarly, Late July Organic Snacks grabbed the inspiration for its recently launched Clásico Tortilla Chips from the flavors served at many of today’s taco trucks.


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Changing Treat Market

Hold the Salt With COVID expected to remain part of our lives for the foreseeable future, experts predict more people will turn their attention to snacks that support their health. In fact, much of the innovation is coming from better-for-you snacks made with functional ingredients, including high fiber, whole grains, plant-based protein and freefrom benefits, as well as satiating ingredients such as ancient grains. “Snacking has turned into a way of life for so many during COVID,” said Janet Levi, public relations manager at Shrewd Food, located in Hauppauge N.Y. “It’s natural for people to turn to food to feel better, but now that the pandemic has reached the one-year mark, people are realizing they need to choose their snacks more wisely.” Shrewd Food’s Protein Puffs, Protein Croutons, Protein Dippers, Keto Dippers and Protein Cookies provide meaningful amounts of protein, and all but the cookies have significantly low carbs. As people look to make healthier decisions, they are finding that they don’t have to give up taste for health, Levi said. “The functional snack category is on fire. People are snacking smarter today and gravitating to options that are crunchy, satisfying and are satiating.”

Carly Schildhaus, a spokesperson for the National Confectioners Association in Washington, D.C., said this past year was certainly an interesting one for the $36.7 billion confectionery category, a year that saw many new factors influencing what consumers bought, where they bought it and how much they purchased. According to the NCA, on average U.S. consumers are enjoying chocolate and candy two to three times a week. “Candy had and will continue to play an important role in consumers’ emotional well-being,” Schildhaus said. “Though COVID-19 kept us apart, chocolate and candy have helped bring people together and added some fun to a challenging and uncertain time.” Twenty-five years ago, one of the most popular candies was Triple Power Push Pops, a three-level lollipop encased in a plastic tower that allowed kids of all ages to enjoy multiple flavors at once. It encapsulated what many candy options were about at that time — novelty, entertainment and flavor. While many of these qualities still drive sales today, what consumers want from snacks and candy is changing. While people are still turning to treats to mark special moments, such as birthdays, holidays and other celebrations, Schildhaus said consumers are also searching for ways to balance this with being more conscious of their sugar intake. “Companies are responding by offering more options in smaller pack sizes with clear calorie labeling.” In exploring “what consumers want from candy,” market researchers have found that while taste continues to top the list, consumers increasingly look for healthy options, such as products with clean-label ingredients, vegan options, alternatives to corn syrup, and local, authentic ingredient sourcing. Consumers also favor companies that practice fair trade and those that have made sustainability a priority. Observers said consumers are likely to see such immunity-boosting ingredients as antioxidants and superfruits playing noteworthy roles in snacks and candy sales in the near future.

Treat Sales Migrate Online Market intelligence company Numerator regularly takes a deep dive into several treat-related categories, including candy, in an effort to better understand sales movement. Its key focus is to identify what people are buying and the reasons behind it. The Chicago-based company recently launched its Sweet Treat Tracker to monitor omnichannel sales trends across a handful of categories, including candy, bakery sweet goods, baking chips and mixes, frozen desserts, ice cream, packaged cookies, and snack cakes. The Sweet Treat Tracker examines purchases made online, and in food, mass, dollar, club, gas/convenience and drug stores. For candy, Numerator’s Sweet Treat Tracker found that annual sales in 2020 compared with 2019 were up 3% with year-to-date sales up 7% in 2021 compared with 2020. “Despite a year of scaled-back holiday celebrations and fewer in-store shopping trips, 2020 still delivered dollar growth for the overall candy category,” said Rich Landy, an analyst at Numerator. He said this growth, in large part, was driven by existing candy buyers purchasing more. “As more consumers experimented with new shopping methods — such as click and collect — more people became comfortable adding traditional impulse purchases to the online basket,” Landy said. —C.R..


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The challenge for brands is that consumers want health-and-wellness benefits in their candy and snacks, but still have the same expectations in terms of flavor and texture from their snack experience. Hershey has taken note of the shifting consumer landscape by committing to make significant investments in developing breakthrough sugar reduction capabilities and recipes. “While most snacking categories have benefitted from more in-home consumption, better-for-you segments are rapidly growing,” said Dan Mohnshine, team lead of strategic growth platforms at Hershey, headquartered in Hershey, Pa. He said confectionery products featuring reduced sugar grew 14% in 2020 while sales of organic confection products rose 6%. As part of Hershey’s long-term strategy to address consumer demand for better-foryou options, the company has been focusing on offering portion-controlled choices for many of its top sellers, including Reese’s, Kit Kat and York Peppermint Pattie. “We also want to extend our core brands into better-for-you spaces, such as the recent addition of Reese’s and Hershey’s Organic chocolate bars, and the re-launch of our Zero Sugar platform,” Mohnshine said. Over at Mars Wrigley, Jain said there has been an increasing demand for chewy and soft-creme textures. “Some of our recent innovations, such as M&M’S Fudge Brownie, Twix Cookies & Crème and


Snickers Peanut Brownie, are all great examples of products that lean into this trend with a unique twist on fan favorite brands,” she said. The company also introduced Orbit Mega Packs, Skittles Gummies and M&M’S Mix, a new flavor experience that brings the classic M&M’S flavors together in one package. This year, Mars Wrigley launched its “Never Stop Summering” in-store promotion. The program offers retailers an opportunity to tap into at-home and on-the-go activities during the summer season. “This will keep shoppers engaged throughout the long promotional period and drive basket building and conversion,” Jain said. Outside of the aisle, she said there is an opportunity to drive impulse sales at the front end. “When confectionery is present at the transaction zone, not only do people love to add it to their carts, but its presence can result in higher front-end margins and higher basket sizes.” Peri Mendelson, director of sales operations and analytics at Promotion in Motion, said consumers are drawn to products with nostalgic flavors due to the sense of comfort and safety they offer. He also said that, at the same time, consumers are prioritizing immunity and are drawn to functional flavors and foods this year. Flavor mashups are another trend Mendelson said he sees influencing new confectionery products. Recognizing this, the Allendale, N.J.-based company

recently launched Tropical Fish Party, a line extension under its popular Original Gummi Fun Mix brand. Tropical Fish Party features tropical fish shapes, each paired with such exotic flavors as Kiwi Guava ‘n Mango, Passion Fruit ‘n Lemonade and Watermelon ‘n Tropical Punch. Company officials said the new line was inspired by consumers’ desires to travel through flavor and try new and interesting mashups. “Through these products, consumers get to experience moments of joy, fun and variety in an otherwise challenging year,” Mendelson said. CandyRific’s Taylor said, given the increase in home activities and entertainment products, the company has been leveraging its premium licenses to tie into online movie releases, such as “Trolls 2 Trolls World Tour,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” Avengers “Black Widow” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” this coming fall. The company also expanded its programs with M&M’S/Orville Redenbacher Popcorn Buckets for their movie nights and game nights at home. “Consumers are continuing to fill their pantries with staple goods,” Taylor said. “The challenge for retailers is to find ways to offer them new and exciting items that are not typically on their shopping lists, such as novel flavors and impulse purchases. Given everything happening in the world, retailers should focus on offering shoppers something fun and new to buy.” dsn


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Raising the Profile of Retail Health Initiatives Retailers are spotlighting a broader range of efforts across platforms By David Orgel

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

he evidence is piling up — from Walgreens to Hy-Vee and from Kroger to Dollar General. The health topic is being spotlighted by retailers in broader ways than during the pandemic — when much of the focus was on communications related to COVID-19 and safety. Now, in this unique period between the pandemic and the emergence of a new normal, we’re seeing more retailer communications about a wider range of health efforts. This is a good development for retailers and consumers, as long as retailers keep adapting their initiatives and communications to the changing landscape and new consumer needs. Driving Partnerships One indication of how retailers are communicating health initiatives is the recent effort by Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walgreens to spotlight health-focused partnerships as described in a July 2 DSN article. Those partnerships include one with pharmacy automation provider iA that is helping to modernize operations using centralized pharmacy fulfillment centers — freeing up pharmacists for other activities. Another partnership (with VillageMD) is increasing the number of co-located clinics at Walgreens. “There are tremendous opportunities in health care right now, and we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on them,” said WBA CEO Rosalind Brewer. Spotlighting Events For some retailers, the waning of the pandemic has enabled a return to higher-profile, in-person health initiatives. Kroger put its annual outdoor health festival on hold last year due to COVID-19. Called The Wellness Experience, the event will be back this year on Aug. 20 and 21 in Cincinnati. The festival includes live music, celebrity-led workouts and cooking demos, mental wellness discussions, beauty demos, a food expo, and family-friendly activities. Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, summed up the benefits this way: “It is more important than ever to foster empathy and open dialogue


around our well-being, including physical, mental and emotional health.” Unveiling Formats The health topic is playing a role in new physical store formats. California-based grocer Raley’s is launching units of its new health-focused format called O-N-E. This store’s focus is on providing organic and healthy products, including minimally processed and sustainably sourced. Not that a retailer must unveil a new format to add new fuel to its health efforts. Earlier this year, for example, CVS Pharmacy refreshed its assortments in some stores by adding new better-foryou frozen items and snacks. Embracing Hybrid The jury is still out on the future balance of in-store versus online retailer health programs. Many retailers pivoted some efforts to virtual during the pandemic, and some of this will continue. Hy-Vee’s registered dietitians leveraged virtual programming in July for education about fertility, prenatal and postnatal nutrition, and foods for infants. The online programming included cooking classes, store tours and live Q&As. Advancing Health As retailers fine-tune health initiatives, some are recognizing the need to raise their overall health strategies. A case in point is Dollar General, which is advancing its healthcare offerings and hired its first chief medical officer. The strategy is aimed at accelerating affordable healthcare offerings for customers, especially in the retailer’s rural communities, said CEO Todd Vasos. The upshot of all these retail efforts is that health is being spotlighted more broadly and will likely play out across channels and platforms in more ways. Retailers will need to figure out exactly how to navigate in this shifting landscape. There’s a lot of upside for retailers, as long as health approaches accurately reflect quickly evolving consumer preferences and behaviors. dsn


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Articles inside

Cover Story Vaccine Nation article cover image

Cover Story Vaccine Nation

pages 46-71
Products to Watch article cover image

Products to Watch

pages 26-27
Men’s Grooming article cover image

Men’s Grooming

pages 82-89
Counter Talk article cover image

Counter Talk

pages 34-35
Last Word article cover image

Last Word

pages 122-124
Industry News article cover image

Industry News

pages 10-25
NACDS Total Store Expo Product Preview article cover image

NACDS Total Store Expo Product Preview

pages 72-81
CBD News article cover image

CBD News

pages 28-33
First Aid is Ready for Anything article cover image

First Aid is Ready for Anything

pages 108-113
One-on-One article cover image


pages 40-41
Candy and Snacks article cover image

Candy and Snacks

pages 116-121
Tackling Social Determinants of Health article cover image

Tackling Social Determinants of Health

pages 92-107
One-on-One article cover image


pages 44-45
Counter Talk article cover image

Counter Talk

pages 38-39
News article cover image


pages 114-115
One-on-One article cover image


pages 42-43
Men’s Grooming Products article cover image

Men’s Grooming Products

pages 90-91
Counter Talk article cover image

Counter Talk

pages 36-37