DSN - Sept 2019

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December 4 | Marriott Marquis | New York City The 21st Annual Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit is a mustattend event for manufacturers/ suppliers of retail chain pharmacies throughout the market. • Network with decision makers • Develop strong industry relationships • Gain valuable insights & strategies • Discover future trends




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Making a Difference

DSN profiles pharmacists who go above and beyond for their customers.

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Vol. 41 No. 9 DrugStoreNews.com

80 Counter Talk with Atlantic Coast Brands’ Charlegne Deegan-Calello

82 Counter Talk with Duke Cannon’s Sam Swartz

86 Spotlight On: Summer to Fall Transitions



22 Products to Watch


24 Highlights from NACDS Total Store Expo


Nightlife photos and spotlights on new products and insight sessions from the recent trade show in Boston

88 Sexual Wellness Expands The category is now more than just family planning

94 Sexual Wellness Products 96 Homeopathy’s Big Break No longer just for natural stores, homeopathy is breaking through and branching out

28 Impact Summit A Mack Elevation event focused on how to court customers in the digital age

100 News

38 CBD Report: New Products New innovations that CBD manufacturers are rolling out


46 Cover Story: Beyond the Call of Duty DSN profiles 14 pharmacists who went above and beyond for their patients

COLUMNS 8 Editor’s Note 10 Industry News 40 Counter Talk with consultant Bruce Kneeland

42 Counter Talk with DisposeRx’s John Holaday

44 Counter Talk with McKesson’s Arman Amiri

106 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

PHARMACY 60 Counter Talk with Updox’s Michael Morgan and Powell Pharmacy’s Emlah Tubuo

61 News


CONSUMABLES 102 Better-for-You Boom Consumers are still snacky, but they’re looking for less guilt with their indulgences

62 A Man’s World How retailers can capitalize on continued interest in men’s grooming products

72 Counter Talk with DSN beauty director Laura Fontana

74 Cosmoprof Highlights Big takeaways from the annual trade show in Las Vegas

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 rates: Manufacturers, schools, libraries and all others allied to the field $119. Canadian subscribers $129. Foreign subscribers $225. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, Circulation Fulfillment Director, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. For change of address, six weeks notice to Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200 is requested. Give old and new address and zip code. If possible, enclose address portion from cover on previous issue. Subscription changes also may be emailed to drugstorenews@omeda.com, or call 847-564-1468. Vol. 41, No. 9, September 2019. Copyright © 2019 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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For occasional sleeplessness. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Walmart Steps Up The giant chain is taking steps to address key issues. They are great moves. By Seth Mendelson


almart made two major announcements within five days last month that could change the tone of retailing for 20 years or more. While only one is going to make the giant retail chain more money, it was two steps in the right direction. They both prove that the chain’s top executives take their roles as national leaders, albeit in the private sector, extremely seriously. First, the chain announced that it was testing a healthcare clinic that will give consumers access to affordable priSeth Mendelson Editor in Chief/ mary care, including mental health care, in Dallas, Ga. This Associate Publisher clinic, called Walmart Health, will be located right next to a Walmart store, a move that may be designed to give customers a bit of privacy when visiting the location. The strategy is simple. Realizing that more than 140 million people a week visit a Walmart store, and health and wellness make up about 10% of sales, the chain’s top brass figured they easily could be a player in the primary healthcare business in no time. The fact that such competitors as CVS Health and Walgreens also are ratcheting up their in-store healthcare services probably did not fall on deaf ears, either. And, remember that Amazon cannot offer the same services. While such challenges as finding enough qualified professionals to work these clinics remain as they rollout through the country, this move will make affordable health care more accessible for many consumers and Walmart’s own employees. There is no doubt that Walmart officials are testing this clinic to build revenue, but I also believe that, if successful, the new competition could help lower healthcare costs for many people. The second announcement was even more important. The chain said that it would discontinue the sale of certain types of ammunition across the country, and it would try to stop customers from openly carrying guns into its stores in so-called “open-carry” states. It is going to cost the chain a lot of money in reduced sales and create controversy with strong Second Amendment advocates that could lead to some type of boycott. But speaking as someone who believes in the right to bear arms, I also think it is time that reasonable action is taken to help stop the insanity and prevent some of the wrong people from acquiring weapons. If the government will not take the proper steps, private industry will have to step in. Walmart is making it clear that they are taking those steps. Like CVS Health’s bold move to stop selling tobacco products a few years ago, Walmart is stepping up to the plate and making a statement. “Bully for you,” I say. “Bully for you.” dsn

Like CVS Health’s bold move to stop selling tobacco products a few years ago, Walmart is stepping up to the plate and making a statement.


An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Associate Managing Editor David Salazar (212) 756-5114, dsalazar@ensembleiq.com Senior Editor Sandra Levy (845) 893-9573, slevy@ensembleiq.com Desk Editor Maria Manliclic (212) 756-5093, mmanliclic@ensembleiq.com Online Editor Gisselle Gaitan (212) 756-5138, ggaitan@ensembleiq.com SALES & BUSINESS Beauty Director Laura Fontana (440) 724-4369, lfontana@ensembleiq.com Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Brand Marketing Manager Mary Ellen Magee (856) 419-8411, mmagee@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@ensembleiq.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, destey@ensembleiq.com Creative Director Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com PRESIDENT CUSTOMER SERVICE Having a problem with your subscription? Send us full details with the mailing label of the last copy you received, along with your telephone number. Write to: Circulation Fulfillment Director, Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200 Northbrook, IL 60065-3200; email drugstorenews@omeda.com; or call (847) 564-1468 CIRCULATION LIST MANAGER Elizabeth Jackson MeritDirect (847) 492-1350 x 318. REPRINTS PARS International, LF-Reprints@parsintl.com, (212) 221-9595 x435, tinyurl.com/LF-reprints. Single copy price is $20 for a regular issue and $100 for a statistical issue. PERMISSIONS For permission to reuse material from Drug Store News/DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) please access www.copyright.com or contact the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 646-2600, (855) 239-3415. CCC is a not-for-profit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of uses.

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


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Finishing Touch Flawless Rolls out Skin Contouring Tool

Spa De Soleil Makes a Mark Spa De Soleil sits at the sweet spot of two trends — the increase in interest in men’s skin care and the surge in sales of private labels and exclusive brands. An analysis of Nielsen data reported by the Private Label Manufacturers Association revealed that private-label dollar volume in the mass retail channel surged 41% over the last five years, compared with a gain of only 7.4% for national brands. Retailers also reported that more men are asking for skin care products. With more than 28 years of experience in full-service manufacturing for both private and branded products, Sun Valley, Calif.-based Spa De Soleil is prepared to help retailers capitalize on the men’s expanding skin care business. “Being a personal care manufacturer, specializing in skin care, we have had the opportunity to see the rise in requests for men’s skin care products. Clients are asking for clean skin care that helps target the damage caused by the elements of the environment,” a company spokesperson said. Men also are seeking antiaging products, following on the heels of the women’s market. “Men today care about their skin,” spokesperson said. “Spa De Soleil has worked diligently to create innovative product for men, utilizing clean ingredients to address their skin needs. Men are into the routine of skin care, and we are delivering. Spa De Soleil offers turnkey private label and custom manufacturing from a vision to fruition.”

Finishing Touch Flawless is joining the contouring craze. The Wayne, N.J.-based company is expanding its offerings by launching the Flawless Contour. Featuring a vibrating facial massager with two distinct beauty treatment heads — a rolling facial massager and under-eye press — the tool is designed to help stimulate circulation, promote collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and tone skin, the company said. “We are so excited to introduce Flawless Contour into our skin care collection,” said Hayley Parisi, brand manager at Finishing Touch Flawless. “We added a ‘Flawless’ flare to our Rose Quartz roller and under-eye press by creating a controlled vibration technology to help improve the experience of caring for the skin. Plus, you can pop both heads in the refrigerator for an even cooler massage.” Flawless Contour’s Rose Quartz facial massage tool is made of natural stones cut and polished to perfection. This process ensures that no two stones are the same and makes each roller unique to the user, the company said. Rose quartz is cooler on the skin, which can help reduce puffiness under the eyes and the entire facial plane. “What I love most about this new and improved facial massager is the controlled vibrating handle, which rhythmically massages the skin to help with the absorption and performance of antiaging serums and creams,” said Stacy Cox, Finishing Touch Flawless skin care expert. “A tip I always share with clients is to refrigerate both the rolling massage and the undereye press to further cool the stone and soothe under eye puffiness.” Finishing Touch Flawless Contour retails for $19.99 at such retailers as Walmart, Walgreens, Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Sally Beauty and Ulta Beauty, as well as on Amazon.com.

Just Egg Hits Kroger Shelves Nationwide Just is bringing its plant-based Just Egg product to 2,100 Kroger-owned locations across the country. Crafted by Michelin-starred chefs, Just Egg is made from mung bean and free of cholesterol, saturated fat and artificial flavoring, the company said. Consumers will find Just Egg at Ralphs, Fred Meyer, QFC and Fry’s, among others. The product already can be found at Harris Teeter and Roundy’s banners, as well as Mariano’s, Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market. “We believe a just food system starts with breakfast, and our partnership with the Kroger family of stores, the largest grocery store chain in the United States, makes Just Egg accessible to countless consumers in communities around the country,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Just. Tetrick also recently announced the launch of Just Egg into select Walmart stores.



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Do more with more. Choosing UltiGuard Safe Pack helps your customers—and your pharmacy. The Pen Needle UltiGuard Safe Pack gives your patients a built-in, FDA-cleared sharps disposal system with their pen needles, all for the same copay as pen needles alone—and it gives pharmacies like yours higher margins and higher revenue. With UltiGuard Safe Pack, your pharmacy does well while you do good.

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BSN’s Syntha-6 Protein Powder Gets in the Fall Spirit

QS/1 Inks Specialty Pharmacy Ops Partnership with Therigy QS/1, a provider of pharmacy operating systems, is teaming up with Therigy — a partner in specialty pharmacy software, consulting and outcomes — in an effort to improve specialty pharmacy operations between their dispensing system and therapy management software. The ability to tap into Therigy will help pharmacies simplify the patient care process to better serve and improve patient outcomes, the company said. “Therigy is widely known for its patient-centric specialty therapy management technology,” said Ed Vess, QS/1 director of pharmacy professional affairs. “This partnership between our two organizations will give QS/1’s pharmacy customers access to cutting-edge services, allowing them to automate, streamline and focus on patient management.” Therigy technologies offer a range of resources that give pharmacists the tools required for detailed tracking of patient progress with specialty medications. Combined with QS/1’s NRx pharmacy management system, the interface with Therigy helps pharmacies minimize duplicate data entry and improve workflow by tracking dispenses, managing patient care, reporting on outcomes and running required reports. “Therigy is excited for this opportunity to team up with QS/1 in this effort,” said Joseph Morse, Therigy’s CEO. “Through this integration, Therigy can electronically receive patient information from QS/1’s systems and automatically populate many of the fields required during the patient onboarding process, giving customers the ability to focus on better care for their patients.” Vess said the partnership would benefit pharmacies in differentiating their service. “Pharmacists can quickly realize the investment benefits and ultimately increase their profits,” he said. “We think it is another way community pharmacy can set itself apart from other pharmacy markets that lack that personal touch patients deserve, which has a direct effect on patient adherence.”


BSN once again is adding fall flavors to its nutrition line of Syntha-6 protein powders. The brand is bringing back its pumpkin pie flavor for the season, as well as introducing the new Apple Pie A La Cold Stone, a permanent addition to its Cold Stone Creamery flavors collection. “BSN gives our fans a way to shake up their routine with a variety of incredible flavors,” said Kris Gerulski, marketing director at BSN North America. “Apple and pumpkin pie are two signature flavors of fall, and with the upcoming holidays, these Syntha-6 options are a great way to indulge and stay fit.” The pumpkin pie flavor contains 22 g of BSN protein complex, 15 g of carbohydrates and 2 g of sugar. While the Apple Pie A La Cold Stone has 22 g of BSN protein complex, 15 g of carbohydrates and 3 g of sugar, the company said. From the Apple Pie A La Cold Stone, consumers can expect a blend of French vanilla ice cream, cinnamon, graham cracker piecrust, apple pie filling and caramel flavors, just like the Cold Stone Creamery Signature Creation. In addition, the pumpkin pie variety contains pumpkin spice, cinnamon and ginger notes, and a hint of whipped cream topping flavor to recreate the Thanksgiving treat, the company said. “Just like the athletes who use our products, BSN consistently pushes the boundaries to steal the show,” Gerulski said. “We take pride in our reputation for great taste and never stop innovating to deliver delicious, high-quality protein.” Both of the seasonal flavors can be found at Amazon.com, GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe, as well as other sports nutrition retailers. The Kiss Rouge Cordless Flat Iron is available on the company’s website, Amazon. com and at Kroger for the suggested retail price of $49.99.


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Wellness Core Adds Grains to Dog Food Recipes Wellness Natural Pet Food is making room for grains in its Wellness Core line of products. The brand is launching eight new grained recipes for dogs made with the same level of quality and protein in its flagship line. Each recipe contains proteins and such grains as oatmeal, barley and quinoa, as well as fiber, essential vitamins and taurine to support dog’s heart health, the company said. Featured Wellness Core with Wholesome Grains recipes include Original Deboned Turkey Chicken Meal & Turkey Meal; Ocean Whitefish, Herring Meal & Menhaden Fish Meal; Small Breed Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal; and Puppy Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal & Turkey Meal. In addition, the new Wellness Core

RawRev with Wholesome Grains features freeze dried raw meat in four recipes — Original Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal & Turkey Meal; Ocean Whitefish, Herring Meal & Salmon Meal; Small Breed Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal; and Puppy Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal & Turkey Meal. “Our Wellness Core recipes are based on the philosophy that dogs, based on their primal ancestry, thrive on a diet comprised primarily of meat,” said Chanda Leary-Coutu, director of consumer experience at Wellness Natural Pet Food. “A diet rich in high quality protein can help support a healthy weight, shiny coat, digestive health and more. Our new grained recipes now offer those same protein-focused benefits for pet parents looking to add nutrient-rich grains into their dog’s diet, as well.” Wellness Core’s new recipes are made without legumes or potatoes, and are free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, the company said.

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Tracee Ellis Ross Launches Pattern Hair Care Line Actress and activist Tracee Ellis Ross wants to help meet the hair care needs of those with curly, coily and tight-textured hair. To do so, the star is launching Pattern, a collection meant to celebrate and empower textured hair, and cater to the curls of those in the diverse communities of 3b to 4c hair types, the company said. “Pattern is my hair care brand, which was created to empower curly, coily and tight textures to be juicy and joyful, and to celebrate our hair for what it is: beautiful,” Ellis Ross said. “This is 20 years of dreaming. Ten years in the making — I wrote my first brand pitch in 2008. Two years of working with chemists. And 74 samples later. I can’t wait for you to experience Pattern,” she said. Pattern’s collection launch is set to include the basics, which consists of a shampoo, three targeted conditioners, a leave-in

conditioner and two hair serums designed to nourish, hydrate and define curl patterns. It also will feature styling tools and accessories, including a shower brush, hair clip and microfiber towel to help enhance curls. In addition, Pattern will partner to lend financial support and awareness to a variety of organizations and causes that support similar missions of empowerment of people of color, the company said. “Every curl has a story. And like many of us, the story of my hair is really an evolutionary tale of self-love. We build community out of our curls and coils. We are proud, we are beautiful and we have a legacy and history to our hair,” Ellis Ross said. “I’m excited for Pattern to join the natural hair celebration. This is a dream come true.” The line, launched online in early September, makes its debut at Ulta Beauty on Sept. 22.


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Comvita Offers Kids’ Products Comvita is growing its line of manuka honey-based products to include a collection for children. The UMF-certified Comvita Kids collection includes syrups and pops that combine the company’s manuka honey with other natural and premium ingredients. The line does not contain artificial colors, preservatives or flavors, the company said. “The science is clear, manuka honey has remarkable healing properties,” said Jackie Evans, Comvita’s head of research. “Coughs and sore throats take a huge toll on kids and their families, causing sleepless nights and days off school and work. The Comvita Kids range pairs the world’s most rare and powerful honey with other natural ingredients to deliver a truly natural and safe remedy that parents can trust and kids will love.” Featured products in the collection include: • Manuka Honey Day-Time Soothing Syrup, made with ivy leaf extract to help clear mucus and soothe irritated throats and coughs. It contains zinc and vitamins C and D for immune support, and comes in an orange flavor; • Manuka Honey Night-Time Syrup, made with chamomile to also soothe sore and irritated throats. It contains zinc and vitamins C and D for immune support, and comes in a grape flavor; and • Manuka Honey Soothing Pops, made with vitamin C for immune support. The pops, which come in grape, orange and lemon flavors, looks to relieve sore throats. Comvita Kids Soothing Syrups retail for $15.49 per bottle, and the Soothing Pops carry a suggested retail price of $9.99. The pops, initially launched on Amazon.com, are rolling out in September at Whole Foods Market and at select CVS Pharmacy stores.

Kiss’ Rouge Flat Iron Takes Styling On the Go Kiss wants to simplify on-the-go hair styling with its new Rouge Cordless Flat Iron. Able to fit inside almost any bag, the product runs on a lithium-ion battery with USB-charging capabilities and is shaped like a classic red lipstick tube, the company said. The iron’s red cap allows for safe storage after use. “Kiss Products plans to change the hair game by providing the most advanced hair tools,” said Annette Goldstein, senior vice president of global marketing at Kiss USA. “Our new Rouge Cordless Flat Iron is the


ultimate hair tool that every woman will want. It delivers not only great looking hair, but meets the lifestyle needs of today’s on-the-go consumer.” The cordless flat iron heats up quickly, lasts up to 50 minutes per charge, offers dual voltage for international use, has two temperature settings and 3/4-inch tourmaline ceramic plates, the company said. The Kiss Rouge Cordless Flat Iron is available on the company’s website, Amazon.com and at Kroger for the suggested retail price of $49.99.

FDA OKs Aurobindo’s Generic Sensipar Aurobindo has received the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for its generic of Amgen’s Sensipar (cinacalcet hydrochloride tablets). The product will be available in dosage strengths of 30 mg, 60 mg and 90 mg. Cinacalcet hydrochloride tablets are indicated for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism, or HPT, in adult patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis; hypercalcemia in adult patients with parathyroid carcinoma; and severe hypercalcemia in adult patients with primary HPT who are unable to undergo parathyroidectomy. The product had a market value of approximately $1.45 billion for the 12 months ended May 2019, according to IQVIA.


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Emerging U.K. Brand Crosses the Pond

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Rockface, a U.K.-based company, is going after the American men’s grooming market. It’s the fastest-growing men’s toiletry brand across the pond, according to IRI, and company officials hope they can have similar success in the United States. They are backing up those hopes with a power lineup of industry executives who know the marketplace. That includes Neil Wilkinson, a former executive with Revlon, Sally Hansen and Pfizer, and John Cleugh, who was previously with Revlon and Procter & Gamble. The team behind Chanel’s male skin care line developed Rockface. In the United States, Rockface is partnering with Beauty Partners. “Men’s grooming can get complicated,” Wilkinson said. “Rockface offers a simple range of product that is easy to understand.” The best sellers in the United Kingdom are the All Weather Moisturizer, but there also is escalating interest in the company’s deodorants, shower wash and body spray. “Men want to smell fresh, but don’t always want to wear aftershave every day,” he said, adding that Rockface has invested great effort in its fragrances so the products can do double duty. “Men want brands made specifically for them.”

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The latest launch from Skippy is making it easy to take peanut butter on the go. The brand announced the launch of its new individual squeeze packs, which bring the well-known spread in a packet that can be taken anywhere. “It’s no secret that snacking has become an integral part of everyone’s eating plan throughout the day,” said Aly Sill, brand manager at Hormel Foods. “With the launch of our individual squeeze packs, peanut butter enthusiasts can now enjoy the delicious taste of Skippy peanut butter in a convenient, protein-packed option, while on the go.” Available in eight-count packs of peanut butter and naturally creamy peanut butter spread, the packs contain 7 g of protein per serving, the company said. Shoppers can find the Skippy individual squeeze packs at select retailers across the nation where they retail from $2.29 to $2.99.


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Natreve Makes its Debut with Protein Powder New sport nutrition brand Natreve is making its debut with a collection of protein powders. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based brand’s line consists of seven flavors of real-food, highly absorbable powders, including vegan and whey protein options. “Natreve is not just another brand. When launching the company, we set out to create a wellness company that offers mindfully-developed, delicious products that support consumers’ needs and provide convenience to maintain health,” said Roland Radu, Natreve’s founder. “We wanted our customers to be able to trust each product we create, which is why we test each item and raw material for efficacy at every stage of the process, both in house and through external agencies. We are also as equally committed to creating best-in-class products as we are to being socially responsible, which is why we source ingredients thoughtfully and have set


out to be the first plastic-neutral nutraceuticals company in the world.” After working for two years to source fine ingredients offered by nature, the company’s founding team used scientific testing to create a product with 25 g to 28 g of protein per serving, the company said. The vegan whey powder is made with grass-fed, hormone-free New Zealand whey protein isolate, grass-fed collagen, sprouted and ancient grains from plant-based sources, greens, and a blend of probiotics. Natreve protein powders come in French vanilla wafer sundae, banana split, fudge brownie sundae, nutty caramel sundae, peanut butter parfait, s’mores sundae, and strawberry shortcake flavors. Natreve’s products currently are available at select U.S. retailers and on Amazon.com.


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Up-and-Comers August brought five new standouts identified by HRG’s new product team



Gold Bond Ultimate Age Defense Neck and Chest Cream


Debrox Swimmer’s Ear Drops


Airborne Good Rest Gummies


Gillette Treo Disposable Razor


MidNite Gummies



nother month means another slew of new products that Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team had to sort through in order to pick up-and-coming products that have promise. In August, the team evaluated 130 new products, 32% of which were OTC, 36% of which were wellness products and 32% of which were beauty products. What follows are the five standouts identified as having big potential on the shelf. The folks at Prestige Consumer Health Care are expanding the offerings of its Debrox brand with the Debrox Swimmer’s ear drops. The product is designed to relieve discomfort from waterclogged ears with isopropyl alcohol 95% as the main ingredient in a 5% anhydrous glycerin base. With Gillette still aiming to deliver the best possible shave, it is including those who can’t shave themselves among people it wants to reach. The Treo disposable razor is designed for use by a caregiver shaving another individual. The handle contains shave gel and a divot that provides comfort and control for caregivers and the person they are caring for.

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Antiaging products are trending, with the 55-plus female demographic expected to grow by 9.9% in the next five years and the baby boomers accounting for 70% of the country’s disposable income. Gold Bond Ultimate Age Defense Neck and Chest Cream is looking to capitalize on that, with a formulation meant to leave skin healthier and younger looking. The product’s seven fortified moisturizers, ceramide-rich complex and hyaluronic acid are meant to help improve the appearance of lines and creases. Combining immune support and sleep support, RB’s Airborne has introduced Airborne Good Rest Gummies. The gummies are formulated with vitamin C and 13 other vitamins, minerals and herbs. The product also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that is found in green tea and is meant to promote relaxation. Mylan’s MidNite brand is bringing a combination of a trendy delivery method and an in-demand ingredient to stores. The MidNite Gummies are a drug-free sleep aid that contain 3 mg of melatonin and a proprietary blend of herbs to help consumers fall asleep. The product is sold in 36-count bottles of cherry-flavored gummies. dsn

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1. Amy McAnarney of Hallmark Cards with Tina Jackse of Henkel 2. Summer Kerly, Karen Staniforth and Alison Farrell of Rite Aid 3. Target’s Chrissy Keene addresses the Perfectly Paired Wine and Mentoring event, presented by WE at NACDS Total Store Expo. 4. Sue Smith of the Emerson Group, Mindi Goins-Haywood of DowellGroup, Roz Chapman of the Chapman Edge, Jocelyn Konrad of Rite Aid and Rebecca Osmer of DowellGroup 5. Chikako Amendola of Nature’s Bounty, Rick Myers of Nature’s Bounty, Steve Anderson of NACDS, Alison Castillo of Unilever, Bryan Gildenberg of Kantar Consulting, Kim Sines of Hello Products and Michelle Muhammad of DSE Healthcare Solutions 6. Lisa Fontaine of the Emerson Group and Dan Quail of Similasan 7. Walmart’s Staci Cochran, Chikako Amendola of Nature’s Bounty, Lauren Wittenberg of Emerson Group and Kim Sines of Hello Products dsn








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3 1. Jeff Farris PDX-NHIN-Rx.com, Mike Wysong of CARE Pharmacies and George Owens of PDX-NHIN-Rx.com 2. Jim Hunter and Bob Wahl of IQVIA with Ed Feltner of QS/1 3. Dina Gabriele of AmerisourceBergen, Rusty Field of Upsher-Smith Labs and Mark Kikuchi of Dr. Reddy’s Labs 4. Troy McNeill, Steve Cucchi, Josh Pacosa, Michelle Chewning, Carla Jarman, Caroline Cecka and Stephanie Laws of Ingles Markets 5. Bob Spudi, Mimi O’Connell, Phil Robinson and Pat O’Connell of Centor 6. Craig Norman, Donna Montemayor and Lee Zahn of H-E-B 7. Scott Hussey of UpsherSmith and Mark Peterson of Genoa Healthcare 8. Luke Barnes and Richard Stoneking of Rite Aid and Gary Petruzzelli of Retail Business Services, an Ahold Delhaize USA Company








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Impact Summit Focuses on Transformation Attendees at the annual event learned that reinventing their businesses is vital to their long-term success BY SETH MENDELSON


he retail industry must focus on business transformation — perhaps more than even emphasizing technology — if it wants to stay ahead of the curve in the battle for consumers’ hearts and minds, and stay in business. That was the opinion of many of the speakers at the Impact Summit’s “Thriving in an Amazon/Walmart World” roundtable discussion held in late August at the Bostonian Hotel in Boston the day before the start of the NACDS Total Store Expo. “We now live in an era of the neversatisfied customer. Customers no longer compare you to who’s next to you on the shelf. They now compare you to the best service they’ve ever received,” said Dan Mack, founder of Chicago-based Mack Elevation and the moderator of the summit. “Sustainable competitive advantage is not simply about scale anymore. It’s about scale, speed and convenience.” Mack said the objective of the annual growth summit was to discuss the industry’s newest thinking on building a thriving and profitable digital partnership with Amazon and Walmart. Mack moderated the discussion, which featured seven industry leaders: • Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge officer at Kantar Consulting, discussed thriving in an era of digital adolescence. Strategy is less about perfect anticipation and more about fast adaptation. Innovation is the byproduct of persistent iteration, learning how to make it great, he said. Gildenberg challenged the group with the fact that “Amazon Prime members are 49.3% of the U.S. market, controlling 63% of wealth. This is the most valuable data base of consumers in the world.” • Molly Schonthal, vice president of innovation and insights at Salsify, discussed winning the digital shelf. “We no longer ‘go shopping,’ we ‘are shopping,’ she said, projecting that the future of commerce is one interconnected, adaptable — yet imperfect — digital shelf. Brands must create robust amounts of relevant content to amplify their digital shelf.” • Keith Anderson, senior vice president of strategy and insights at Profitero, spoke on lessons from emerging digital-first brands.


“The digital long tail is a place where smaller or emerging new brands experiment, customize their offers and position themselves to be tomorrow’s stars,” he said. • Melissa Burdick, president of Pacvue, discussed real-world applications and tools in artificial intelligence. “Only 8% of firms engage in AI or machine learning practices,” she said. Burdick challenged the group to implement descriptive, predictive and prescriptive AI applications in their businesses. • Chris Perry, vice president of global executive education at Edge By Ascential, discussed real-time brand negotiations. Perry outlined the top seven strategies for improving digital brand profitability, including authorized reseller programs, MAP pricing, basket building programs, optimized packaging, exclusive items, direct to consumer models and value proposition marketing. • Meagan Bowman, founder of Stonehenge Labs, discussed how speed is the new success metric. The right information and speedy action equals competitive advantage, Bowman said. The most adept companies “create processes that are easily adapted and modifiable as your team changes,” she said. • Craig Dubitsky, founder of Hello Products, shared his ideas on building a purpose-driven, experimenting and agile company. Dubitsky reminded everyone that “people don’t buy brands, they join them.” Brands with purpose grow at two times the rate of nonpurposeful driven brands, yet only 1-in-10 companies have a purpose driven by an activation plan, he said. Mack said the summit included audience input from 75 leaders of top health and beauty care companies who shared their thoughts and achievements on building their evolving, global digital businesses. On average, only 1-in-10 companies enjoy profitable growth for 10 years or more, and the biggest barrier to growth is internal alignment, he said. “Digital leadership is not about technology,” Mack said. “It’s about leading organizational transformation to effectively navigate the future.” dsn


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NEW AND NOTABLE Companies had their latest innovation on display at NACDS Total Store Expo


CLIO’S NEW LINE FOCUSES ON AFFORDABILITY Clio is expanding the reach of its Plum Beauty line that company officials said has had much success in Target since earlier this year. The Newton, Mass.-based company will start selling the nine-SKU line of beauty care accessories in CVS Pharmacy this fall and will start rolling it out nationwide to other retailers before the end of the year. The line features a facial roller, facial grooming devices, cleansing products and nail care items. Price points range between $5 and $40. “These products cover the full range — cleansing, prepping and grooming — to prepare the skin and groom the face,” said Stephanie Trachtenberg, marketing manager at Clio. “We offer a high-quality line of products at affordable price points with elegant packaging. Similar products offered by other companies are priced much higher.”


The latest product from GuruNanda, a seller of essential oils and diffusers, is looking to make a refreshing facial possible on the go. The company’s Misti Diffuser + Rosewater features a portable, pocket-sized diffuser that converts rosewater into a fine, cooling mist to moisturize the skin in hot and dry climates, or after a workout, officials at the Buena Park, Calif.-based company said. Unlike some of the company’s other portable diffusers, the Misti Diffuser + Rosewater is meant for use with the company’s rosewater or any of its other hydrosols — flower waters made by distilling fresh botanicals — and features a colored LED light that turns on during use. Simply remove the cap, pour rosewater to the indicated level, replace the cap, and slide the switch to activate. The rosewater itself is steam distilled from thousands of blooms sourced from Bulgaria’s “Valley of Roses” and grown without pesticides. The rosewater also is free of preservatives and artificial fragrances, can be used to remove oil and impurities from the skin, maintain the skin’s pH balance, and reduce redness and irritation. The diffuser and rosewater are sold together, with the diffuser available in white, gold, rose gold and charcoal colors. It also includes a USB cable for recharging. The product carries a suggested retail price of $25.99 and has rolled out to select Walmart stores.


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GOLDEN PRODUCTS GIVES TOOTHPASTE AN UPGRADE Officials at Golden Products think they are onto something new. The Valley Stream, N.Y.-based company is offering Vitaminpaste toothpaste, featuring a range of vitamins for both adults and children. Both products are infused with vitamins D and E and three forms of vitamin B, and kids get “at least 50% of their daily vitamins of these types” from using the toothpaste, according to Bruce Golden, president of the company. The adult product is fluoride-free and features the same vitamins, plus a teeth whitener. Both products are priced at $4.99 for a 4.1-oz. package. “These products have been clinically proven to work at the University of Buffalo School of Dentistry,” he said. “The kids product represents a brand new category of children’s toothpaste. In the past, it was all about cartoon characters and colors. With our product, we are the first to offer these types of benefits.”

PHARMACARE UNVEILS EXPANDED SAMBUCOL LINEUP Pharmacare is adding three products to its mix that will fill in some gaps in its overall business strategy. The San Diego-based company is offering Infant Drops, featuring elderberry syrup with naturally sourced vitamin C, in a glass bottle with a dropper. According to Steve Turner, the company’s vice president of sales, the product enables parents to provide the immune-boosting properties of the elderberry syrup to younger children. The product, which contains just five ingredients, has a suggested retail price of $12. The company also is unveiling Sambucol Advanced Immune Syrup, which is designed to provide additional immunity ingredients to give consumers an “enhanced” syrup, with added vitamin C and zinc. It has a suggested retail price of $16.99.


The third new product, Sambucol Black Elderberry Advanced Immune Capsules, offers a new delivery system that delivers the equivalent of 4.4 g of fruit in each capsule. Turner said it is designed for people on the go. The product is priced at $16.99. “It is the most potent elderberry product on the market,” he said. “All of these products start with our original elderberry syrup and have added benefits for either convenience or format.”


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The industry expert highlighted key issues at NACDS TSE BY SANDRA LEVY.


he pharmaceutical market is a bit of a mixed bag right now, and that should give pharmacy operators a chance to figure out how to move forward with the category. According to Doug Long, IQVIA’s vice president of industry relations, during a presentation, “U.S. Pharmaceutical Trends, Issues and Outlook” at NACDS Total Store Expo, U.S. market dollar sales are up 6%, but prescriptions are down 1%, though adjusted 90-day prescriptions grew by 3%. Speaking in Boston during the three-day show in late August, Long also said that while the flu season was not as severe as the previous season, flu vaccine sales were good. And, the industry is experiencing generic price deflation and less brand price inflation. On average, Long said, a retail store fills more than 22,000 adjusted prescriptions per quarter, with chains averaging 30,756 scripts and independent pharmacies averaging 12,233 scripts. Reimbursement, particularly DIR fees, which have dramatically increased over the last 10 years, is an issue that will become even more significant, he said. Even as pharmacies face difficulties with reimbursements, Long said there also has been much more public and media scrutiny on drug prices, as well as a potential for administrative actions. Overall, generic sales have decreased, and while there were a record number of generic approvals and faster approvals in the past year, fewer products have made it to market. As this has happened, consolidation within the generics sector has picked up steam. Long cited several notable mergers and alliances, including Bristol-Myers and Celgene, AbbVie and Allergan, and Upjohn and Pfizer’s Mylan — the last of which could shake up the specialty generics world at a critical juncture. Indeed, generics of Advair Diskus and Lyrica were among the recent launches Long singled out as significant in the past year, and a move in an important direction for prescription spending. “We will see more specialty generics if we are going to contain healthcare costs in the future,” he said. Long is skeptical of the recurring idea of drug importation as a method of curbing drug costs. “We spent millions on Track and Trace to secure the supply chain,” he said. “The generic prescriptions here are cheaper than Canada. I don’t see the advantage of going to Canada to get generics.” As he surveyed the future, Long said the various services for which patients now are turning to are at pharmacies, including dental services, eye care, orthodontics and dialysis. Additionally, telehealth visits are expected to grow between 4.2% and 7.5% by 2022. He said that in the past year, opioid regulations and e-prescribing mandates around controlled substances have coincided with continued decreases in opioid deaths. “2018 was the third year that opioid deaths have dropped year to year since 1980,” Long said. “You see a significant decrease in the number of prescriptions.” dsn


At NACDS Total Store Expo, Shannon Curtin, CEO of New World Natural and Mack Elevation founder Dan Mack presented an insight session called “Purpose Driven Revolutionary Brands.” The presentation highlighted the ways in which many successful brands — both legacy and up-and-comers — have a central purpose that informs everything they do and appeals to consumers who shop with their values as well as their dollars.


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CBDfx Partners with The Emerson Group CBDfx is joining forces with The Emerson Group, which will allow retailers and their customers another entry into the CBD industry. As a result of the partnership, retailers will now have access to The Emerson Group’s trusted leadership in sales, category management and logistics services, while customers will gain access to CBDfx’s high quality, natural grown products, according to officials at the Chatsworth, Calif.-based company. With more than 80 CBDfx products, consumers will have more options than ever. CBDfx’s CCO, Jameson Rodgers, pointed out the magnitude of the two companies’ affiliation and said, “This partnership is extremely exciting for us and will undoubtedly help further our mission to ensure that consumers across the nation have access to the highest quality CBD products available. The Emerson Group’s ability to drive value for their retail partners and execute at the highest level is unmatched.” The Emerson Group will deliver customized retailer solutions, guided by deep consumer insights and expertise, according to both companies. Retailers, specifically, will benefit from the following: • Unique and proprietary platforms to enable shopper education; • Access to a CBD brand portfolio, featuring the most rigorously lab-tested and high-quality CBD products available; • An innovative array of CBDfx’s CBD products across multiple forms and applications; • A powerful, flexible proprietary software platform; • Turnkey merchandising solutions; • Targeted customer marketing and category management capabilities; and

• Up to the minute knowledge on CBD legality, regulatory status and compliance standards across all publishing channels. “We have been working closely with several retail partners over the past 12 months, and the CBD category is quickly evolving across the retail landscape as CBD brands have become more accessible,” said Emerson Group’s category and consumer insights lead Natalie Hodgman. “We are extremely excited to work with the CBDfx team. CBDfx offers a variety of formats that our retailer partners are seeking that meet their shoppers’ needs.”

Tikun Hemp Adds Lotion, Balm Tikun Hemp has launched its first CBD topical products. The New York-based brand’s CBD + Turmeric Balm and CBD Lotion, which both include broad-spectrum CBD, are triple tested, gluten-free, non-GMO and free of THC. The balm combines the broad-spectrum CBD oil with nutrients to protect, nourish and moisturize skin, and features turmeric for its antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties. The lotion, designed to help brighten skin and improve skin tone, is suitable for sensitive skin and daily use. It contains glycyrrhetinic acid derived from licorice root and aloe vera. The topicals join the Tikun Hemp CBD Softgels, which launched earlier this year by parent company Tikun Olam, a pioneer in cannabis science and research. The products are available on the Tikun Hemp website.



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Tribe’s CBD Shots Make a Splash

TerraVita Expands Offerings with Tincture Line TerraVita is introducing three tinctures of CBD — Focus, Sleep and Relax — meant to help with specific needs. The tinctures combine natural ingredients and adaptogens with 1,000 mg of broadspectrum CBD oil. The spearmint-flavored Relax tincture contains ashwaganda root, a cortisolreducing adaptogen, as well as specialized terpenes known for their calming effects. The cognitive-boosting Focus blend is lemon-lime flavored and designed with green tea extract, ginseng, taurine and specialized terpenes. The grapefruitflavored Sleep tincture contains melatonin and calming terpenes meant to boost recovery and promote REM sleep. TerraVita, which uses carbon dioxide to extract its hemp oil, is focused on transparency with each bottle featuring a scannable QR code that shares information about a tincture’s lab results, as well as its CBD potency and terpene content. “We’re not only passionate about CBD, we’re passionate about wellness overall,”


said Justin Matoesian, co-founder of TerraVita. “That is why we’ve gone the extra mile to ensure all TerraVita products are grown, manufactured, mixed and bottled using the purest and most sustainable processes possible. One way we’ve done this is opting for CO2 extraction of our CBD, which allows TerraVita products to maintain all essential cannabinoids and desired terpenes. We’ve also selected biodegradable packaging and labels for our products.” The company also makes two products for pets — Pets Full Spectrum Spray and Pets CBD Isolate Tincture — each of which contain 500 mg of CBD and omega-3s from wild Alaskan salmon oil, and are focused on providing joint, skin and coat support. All of TerraVita’s products are gluten-free, non-GMO and lab tested for purity and potency. The company’s Food and Drug Administration-registered facility follows GMP guidelines, TerraVita said.

Tribe CBD has rolled out two CBD shots that consumers have taken a shine to. The recently introduced products won a 2019 Best New Products Award from DSN sister publication Convenience Store News. The award was based on ratings from a panel of consumers, who judged products on taste, value, convenience, healthfulness, ingredients, preparation requirements, appearance and packaging. Denver-based Tribe’s Sleep Shot and Energy Shot both contain broad-spectrum CBD oil, which includes terpenes, flavonoids and various cannabinoids without THC. Each shot contains 20 mg of nano-emulsified broad-spectrum hemp CBD, which users often begin to feel after 45 to 60 minutes. The company’s nano-emulsification is what helps set it apart, company officials said. “Our nano-emulsification makes the CBD oil particles smaller, so your body absorbs more CBD faster,” said Tribe founder and CEO Alec Rochford. “Most customers feel the effects in 10 minutes or less. This combined with our easy to carry CBD shots allow our customers to really experience CBD when they need it on the go.” Tribe CBD currently is sold in stores across five states, as well as on the company’s website.


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A New Angle Another way to solve the pharmacy profitability problem By Bruce Kneeland

T Bruce Kneeland, community pharmacy specialist and industry consultant

wo cutting-edge Louisiana-based pharmacy owners, David Darce, owner of Thrifty Way Pharmacy in St. Martinville, and Rob Hollier, owner of Hollier’s Family Pharmacy in Breaux Ridge, have come up with what may be a great way to fight off the egregious reimbursement practices of the big pharmacy benefit managers. First, while this may not be the best way, it is another option. Efforts by state and national pharmacy and consumer associations to change laws and regulations on the PBM industry are important and should be supported by every pharmacist. The more ways we have to attack this problem, the better. What Darce and Hollier have done has proven to be effective, and can be done in any geographic section of the country. And it can be done right now. Hollier was elected to the St. Martin Parrish School Board. Once he got situated, he took an interest in the school district’s health insurance program. With his knowledge of prescription costs, he was able to show board members that the PBM managing the school’s prescription benefit was not providing them with the bargain they had been promised. That is when he and Darce started talking. Since both of their pharmacies are located within the school district, they wanted to save the school money, provide school employees with a better prescription benefit and bring the business back into the local economy. Soon, they were talking with a relatively new transparent PBM that had been started by Steven and LeAnn Boyd, both pharmacists and owners of Causey’s Pharmacy in Natchitoches, La., a town about 100 miles north of St. Martinville. In 2011, the Boyds, recognizing that big changes were coming to pharmacy, had started Southern Scripts, a PBM. Their goal was to create a pharmacy

Efforts by state and national pharmacy and consumer associations to change laws and regulations on the PBM industry are important and should be supported by every pharmacist. The more ways we have to attack the problem, the better.


benefit manager that could compete with large PBMs by offering patients, prescribers, payers and pharmacies with a better program than what was being offered from the nation’s largest PBMs. Darce said it was not easy, but after several presentations, the St. Martin Parrish School Board awarded the pharmacy benefit contract to Southern Scripts. He said in the first year, the cost for prescription services to the school board was reduced by $500,000 and, at the same time, the reimbursement to his pharmacy went up. He also said that in the first few months of the new program, he picked up about 75 new patients. Since that successful event in 2012, Southern Scripts has grown rapidly. The Boyds sold their pharmacy and now devote their full time to Southern Scripts, a fully transparent and passthrough PBM model. The company provides prescription benefits to nearly 700 self-insured employers, covering nearly 300,000 lives. Yet, the bigger opportunity is that Southern Scripts is not the only pharmacy-friendly PBM. According to the National Community Pharmacist Association, at least a dozen “good” PBMs are in operation today. According to Steven Boyd, the business case for a company to select a small, transparent and fiduciary-bound PBM is compelling. The company saves money, the employees get a better program and the local pharmacies provide better care to the company’s employees. The key, Boyd said, is being introduced to the employer by the local pharmacy owner, who is well-known and respected in the community. “By working together, pharmacy owners and PBMs like Southern Scripts can effectively compete with the large PBMs,” he said. Based on what Thrifty Way Pharmacy’s Darce mentioned, it is clear that one more way to fight the egregious business practices of many of the large PBMs is by competing with them. The really good news is the business can be won by offering employers, patients, payers and pharmacies a better option. dsn


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Wake-Up Call How pharmacists can help patients realize the hidden danger lurking in their medicine cabinets By John Holaday

T John Holaday, neuropharmacologist and founder and CEO, DisposeRx

he dangers of not discarding leftover medications are real, and the resultant diversion is fueling the opioid epidemic. In fact, more than 70% of people with prescription drug substance abuse disorders acquired their drugs not from a prescription, but by taking leftover drugs from another person without permission. This issue is getting more attention in the mainstream media, especially as it relates to such emerging concerns as the impact It has on adolescents. A recent Forbes article, looking at two recent clinical studies on this topic, revealed the alarming statistic that 30% of adolescents misusing prescription drugs took leftover medications still in their families’ medicine cabinets. Of great concern, 70% of adolescents, who obtained these prescription drugs from within their own homes, had a substance use disorder within the past year. Yet, despite the risks of leftover drugs, 4-out-of-10 Americans still have unneeded prescriptions — including opioids — in their homes, according to a recent consumer survey of 1,700 adults nationwide conducted by Brightline Strategies. It’s time to give Americans a wake-up call about the dangers lurking in their medicine cabinets. As one of the professions trusted most by the public, no one is in a better position than pharmacists to educate patients not only about the risks, but also about the importance of the timely and proper disposal of leftover opioids. Getting to the Heart of the Problem The Brightline Strategies survey revealed that 62% of respondents who hold on to leftover medications do so in case a condition returns, while 37% said they are saving a prescription drug for a friend or family member in case they need it. While the reasons that people hold on to their unused medications may make sense to them on the surface, these leftover medications not only contribute to the nation’s opioid epidemic, they increase the risks of overdoses, accidental poisonings and deaths.


What Pharmacists Can Do Less than one minute. That’s how long it would take for pharmacists with patient education literature, if available, to increase awareness about the importance of disposing of leftover medications as soon as they are no longer needed. By making this practice a priority every time an opioid is dispensed, pharmacists can directly reduce the risk of opioid diversion. And, it’s important to not only educate patients about the dangers of holding on to drugs they no longer need, but also what they can do to mitigate associated risks. For example, pharmacy and community strategies to address the problem of leftover drugs in the home typically include drug-disposal kiosks and events like the Drug Enforcement Agency’s biannual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days. While these efforts are an important part of the solution, they rarely are convenient or readily available, which means unneeded opioids may remain in people’s homes for longer than intended. So, it’s important to make patients aware about at-home alternatives that are growing in popularity due to their convenience and ease of use, which can increase patient engagement and adherence. In fact, in the Brightline Strategies survey, 62% of respondents with leftover medications in their homes said that at-home convenience was an important consideration when it comes to proper disposal. At-home options, such as a powder that can be mixed with water to render unused drugs unavailable and unusable so they can be discarded in household trash, provide a way for patients to quickly, easily and safely dispose of leftover medications on demand. Retail pharmacy giants and independents are listening to this consumer need. Currently, at least 50% of retail pharmacies are offering this type of at-home disposal solution to customers — some upon request and some automatically whenever an opioid is dispensed. By focusing on education about these risks and the simple steps that can be taken to prevent them, pharmacists can bring the solution to the problem one patient at a time. dsn


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Optimizing the Front End How merchandising can help patients reach their goals faster By Arman Amiri

W Arman Amiri, senior director, solutions and services, McKesson


ith mounting reimbursement pressures reducing margins on prescriptions and increasing competition, independent pharmacies must continually increase their value in patient care and find ways to deliver comprehensive products and solutions that meet patients’ needs. With limited time and resources, pharmacy owners often ask how they can afford to spend time focusing on the front end. I think we need to reframe that. The real question is: How can they not focus on their pharmacy front end? Quality Products Paired with Quality Guidance According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, average margins on front-end merchandise are 15% higher than on prescription sales. An effective front end can attract new customers, deliver higher margins, improve cash flow and build patient loyalty. It should be no surprise that a community pharmacy’s biggest asset is the pharmacist. Health-and-wellness products are available through many channels, but buying the product with quality guidance from a trusted pharmacist is what differentiates the pharmacy front end. Most consumers think they know what they need when they walk in, but a pharmacist can help them get to their health goal quicker. Pharmacists, one of the most trusted healthcare professionals today, can explain how products work and how they may interact with consumers’ lifestyles and other medications to help improve their overall health. One key way to exceed customer expectations is to think like a chain, but act locally. This means having a national product offering with a local flavor. That local flavor could include local honey, candles, handicrafts and community memorabilia, as well as offering flu vaccines, travel vaccines, point-of-care testing or other clinical services. Customers are much more likely to revisit a pharmacy if you’re able to demonstrate that your pharmacy provides

products they need to take care of their health and the health of their entire family. Finding the Right Product Mix I believe our pharmacies can truly make a difference when pharmacists and team members perform at the top of their training and incorporate all of the tools at their disposal. Patients can expect to receive an unparalleled patient experience that delivers a local care solution for the sick, while also being a hub for the healthy. This applies to clinical services and over-the-counter products you stock. It is important to find the intersection between market trends and the capabilities of your pharmacy to meet customer needs. For example, there are new trends driven by millennials and what they’re looking for from retailers. However, you don’t want to meet them all, just the ones that cross over into health care. There is an opportunity to offer cleaner, natural products or vitamins and supplements that support self-care. By making clinical guidance available, as needed, you can connect to their needs and empower them around their own health. Whether your customer base consists of millennials, seniors or young families, the front end provides a great way to better take care of your patients and be that local, trusted provider. Think of your pharmacy as a way to connect with patients, and how you connect with them is what makes a difference. There are some pharmacies today that offer yoga classes, provide free children’s vitamins, conduct charity events or find a niche category to engage with their community. The possibilities of adding “your touch” in your practice are endless. Twenty years ago, customers viewed the pharmacy simply as a place where they picked up prescriptions. Today, as acute care facilities shift healthcare closer to home, pharmacists are serving more as a provider, bridging the gap between acute care and home. This offers a tremendous opportunity to maximize every inch of your front end to help your customers achieve their health goals better and faster. dsn


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Beyond the Call of Duty DSN found some of the many pharmacists who do more than asked. Here are their stories. By Sandra Levy


hether they hang their white coat at a pharmacy chain, an independent pharmacy or in academia training the next crop of pharmacists and many working pharmacists are making an enormous impact beyond their regular jobs. Drug Store News found a sampling of pharmacists who are helping out in their local communities, becoming involved in international efforts to educate other pharmacists, or simply looking to improve the health of patients around the world. Exactly what are these people doing to contribute to their profession and help their patients? This month, DSN profiles 14 different people in the industry to learn their stories.

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COVER STORY Paul Doering

When Paul Doering began his education at the University of Florida in 1967, he wanted to study agriculture. It was not long before he realized how difficult it would be to grow crops on asphalt in his hometown of Miami. After speaking to his brother, who was a pharmacy major, Doering decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy. He went on to earn a Master of Science in clinical pharmacy. It was the time when the idea of clinical pharmacy was starting to gain momentum as opposed to the traditional “count, pour, lick and stick” role pharmacists were accused of, and Doering wanted to be part of it. Fast-forward to 2019 and Doering, a distinguished service professor emeritus at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in Gainesville, Fla., is semiretired after 40 years of teaching pharmacy students, yet he is busier than ever educating pharmacists on what he calls “the patient-oriented practice of pharmacy.”

“We ask, why is it you can’t incorporate patient-directed things? I take every opportunity where I can gather four or five pharmacists and sit down and try to motivate and incorporate all of the potential that the profession of pharmacy has.” — PAUL DOERING, DISTINGUISHED SERVICE PROFESSOR EMERITUS, THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA COLLEGE OF PHARMACY While his whereabouts over the past two decades, and even just a couple of months ago, would suggest that he is living a life of travel and leisure, Doering is not relaxing on these jaunts. Instead, he is working to spread his knowledge about the potential that pharmacists have to engage in clinical pharmacy, both at home and abroad. Reflecting on his recent trip to Germany, where he has traveled for more than 22 summers to provide seminars to German pharmacy students, Doering said the first slide in his deck supports the notion of pharmacists working in collaborative agreements with physicians. “My colleagues and I fought tooth and nail to set aside our self-imposed barriers and insecurities. We ask, why is it you can’t incorporate patient-directed things? I take every opportunity where I can gather four or five pharmacists and sit down and try to motivate and incorporate all of the potential that the profession of pharmacy has,” Doering said. Doering also has traveled four times to Brazil, and has visited Chile, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Holland and France to discuss what he calls


the U.S. style of clinical pharmacy practice. His global efforts outside of pharmacy also include digging wells to provide clean water in several countries, and providing health clinics in El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Honduras, where many patients have not seen a doctor in a number of years. “I’m trying to export my friendship and relationships and provide health care,” he said.

Hashim Zaibak

Why would an independent pharmacy owner and one of his pharmacists receive medals from a fire department? Ask Hashim Zaibak, pharmacist, owner and founder of Hayat Pharmacy in Milwaukee. Zaibak and his chief clinical officer, Dimmy Sokhal, each received a medal for helping to reduce the number of nonemergency calls to the Milwaukee Fire Department via a mobile integrated healthcare program. Zaibak explained that many 911 calls made to the fire department in his community were from the people who frequently called 911 when they became sick from being noncompliant with their chronic medications. Zaibak, who is the fifth vice president of the National Community Pharmacists Association, launched the program in 2014 at the Milwaukee Fire Department’s request. “In order to save taxpayers money, these fire fighters started making visits to those ‘frequent fliers’ to see what they could do to prevent these 911 calls. They bring Dimmy or one of her clinical pharmacists to go over medications and to make sure the patient understands what the medications are for, how to take them, when to take them, and how to inject themselves with insulin,” Zaibak said. These collaborative interventions have made a huge impact on decreasing the number of unnecessary 911 calls made to the fire department’s statistics, Zaibak said. “Some of them are now not calling 911 as often because they’re more compliant with their asthma,

“Helping the underserved. That’s what really gave us a reputation in Milwaukee. We decided to go where other people don’t want to go and focus on those patients. You can make the biggest clinical impact in those areas.” — Hashim Zaibak, owner and founder, Hayat Pharmacy


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COVER STORY diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol medications. This is saving taxpayers money and also making the firefighters’ jobs easier because they don’t have to waste their time going to calls that are not super urgent, and they can take care of more urgent issues,” Zaibak said. Zaibak, who has expanded to 15 pharmacies from just one in 2011, said that they mostly are located close to the zip code 53206 — the poorest and most underserved area of Milwaukee. “Helping the underserved. That’s what really gave us a reputation in Milwaukee. We decided to go where other people don’t want to go and to focus on those patients,” he said. “You can make the biggest clinical impact in those areas, where the patient has absolutely no access to some of the resources that the average middle-class American has.” Hayat Pharmacy also offers transitions of care for hospital patients upon discharge, as well as adherence packaging, medication synchronization, home delivery, and vaccinations and injections of antipsychotic medications at patients’ homes. “I told my wife and my kids that I emigrated to the United States to do something different,” Zaibak said. “I’m not going to be the average pharmacist filling prescriptions and working as a regular retail pharmacist the rest of my life. There’s no way that I imagined at the beginning, 20 years ago, that pharmacists would be able to offer all of these unique services offered by Hayat today.”

“I told my wife and my kids that I emigrated to the United States to do something different. I’m not going to be the average pharmacist filling prescriptions and working as a regular retail pharmacist the rest of my life.” — HASHIM ZAIBAK, OWNER, HAYAT PHARMACY

Randy McDonough

Randy McDonough took a big risk in 2006 when he decided to leave his positon as a professor at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. That risk turned out to be the greatest accomplishment of his pharmacy career. McDonough had been traveling around the country, helping pharmacies transform their practices so they could provide patient care services. At an American Pharmacists Association meeting in March 2005, one of the participants at his presentation challenged him, saying that he would not know how hard running a pharmacy can be until he was responsible for a pharmacy’s financials.


“My biggest success has been demonstrating the value of comunity pharmacy and having a payer develop a bigger program that benefits community pharmacies.” — RANDY MCDONOUGH, OWNER, TOWNCREST PHARMACY The following year, despite being offered a promotion to full professor, McDonough left academia and opened Towncrest Pharmacy, a Health Mart pharmacy, in Iowa City, Iowa. “I wanted to prove that I could transform a community practice, and I would be fully responsible for the financials,” he said. He came up against serious difficulties in 2013 related to reimbursement changes. “I thought we were going to lose our practice because of the reduction in reimbursement we were receiving from one of the biggest payers in our state because they went to a different PBM. We saw our rate of reimbursement going down by almost 50% across the board,” he said. When McDonough told his family he was going to leave Towncrest Pharmacy to return to the university, his son said, “Dad, you never quit anything.” “That was the statement that changed everything. I declined the position and decided to fight. That was the right decision,” he said. That year McDonough brought a class-action lawsuit against the PBM, which still is being battled in court. He also challenged the large Iowa payer, which ended up visiting his pharmacy and conducting a pilot project. It compared patients 100% attributed to Towncrest with patients 50% attributed to the pharmacy, as well as entirely unattributed patients. Based on clinical metrics, the payer found that at the end of 12 months, Towncrest had saved the payer roughly $300 per member per month. “We also were able to demonstrate an improved adherence rate in patients as compared to the other two cohorts of patients,” McDonough said. Two years ago, the payer developed a value-based pharmacy program with 74 community pharmacies that are being paid for their performance based on these metrics. “My biggest success has been demonstrating the value of community pharmacy and having a payer develop a bigger program that benefits other community pharmacies, and which ultimately benefits the patient because they’re getting optimal medications at a better cost,” he said. McDonough is on APhA’s board of trustees. He is a national luminary of the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network USA, a luminary of CPESN Iowa, and the director of practice transformation for CPESN USA’s Flip the Pharmacy Program, and he has received numerous awards. He currently is looking forward to making Towncrest Pharmacy into a family business with the impending addition of his son behind the counter. “He is working for me, and he’s in pharmacy school and finished his second year. His goal is to come on board and become a co-owner,” McDonough said.


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Pharmacists hang their white coat at many different places, but not many of them hang their coat in one setting for more than three decades. Janet Engle’s passion for teaching has anchored her at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy as senior associate dean for professional affairs and professor of pharmacy practice. Yet on Sept. 9, that changed as she assumed the position of executive director of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Although she’ll hang her white coat at a new place, her involvement in education will continue to grow. Engle said the ability to educate the importance of helping patients understand nonprescription medicines is among her accomplishments. “The nonprescription drugs are almost more critical than prescription drugs because consumers don’t have a learned professional guiding them,” she said. “It’s important to make sure the pharmacists have a really good knowledge of those drugs and how to work with consumers to make sure they choose the best product for their situation, and use them correctly.”

“It’s important to make sure the pharmacists have a really good knowledge of [nonprescription] drugs and how to work with consumers to make sure they choose the best product for their situation.” — JANET ENGLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ACPE Engle is an internationally recognized expert on nonprescription medicines and has represented the pharmacist’s viewpoint as a voting member of the FDA’s Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee. In addition to what has been a very hectic schedule in the United States, Engle is very active in international pharmacy. She is proud of her work with the Pharmacy Council of Thailand. “One of the things that I’ve been involved with in Thailand is helping them expand their clinical pharmacy services by enhancing their training programs for faculty,” she said. In 2003, Engle received an honorary Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from Khon Kaen University in Thailand for her work with the clinical practitioners in that country. In July, Engle visited South Korea, where she gave a presentation to the Asian Association of Schools of Pharmacy about board certification and the role it plays in pharmacy practice. In addition to serving as president of the American Pharmacists


Association from 2002 to 2003, Engle has been elected as a distinguished practitioner in the National Academies of Practice in Pharmacy, which only includes 150 pharmacists worldwide. She also has been named a fellow of the APhA Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management and a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. She is the recipient of the APhA Distinguished Achievement Award for clinical/pharmacotherapeutic practice.

Sandra Leal

There was a time when Sandra Leal, CEO of Tucson, Ariz.based SinfoníaRx, wondered what it would take to become president of APhA and lead the pharmacy profession. These days Leal, who is the incoming president-elect of APhA, is humble when she says that sometimes she wakes up and asks, “How did I get here?” Yet once Leal begins to explain her accomplishments as a pharmacist over the past 21 years, ensuring that patients have the best possible health outcomes, it’s very clear that she deserves this honor. Leal now leads SinfoníaRx, which she joined in 2015 as vice president of innovation, and which provides MTM services nationally, working with numerous health plans and provider groups. “We try to make sure we are delivering the best care for the patients through that service model,” said Leal, who also earned a public health degree to enable her to work with underserved populations that struggle with health literacy and equity in health care. Leal, who is Hispanic, grew up in Nogales, Ariz. Her family didn’t speak English, and they went to Mexico to obtain health care from a pharmacist. “To me health care was the pharmacist. That was our primary care clinician, so immediately, growing up in 11th grade, I knew I wanted to be a pharmacist,” she said. Leal earned her pharmacy degree from the University of Colorado. When she returned to Tucson, she worked at the El Rio Health Center, a federally qualified health center, where in 2001 she designed a program in which pharmacists practiced in a collaborative practice model with physicians. “They would refer patients to the pharmacist and we would work closely with the patient to help manage their diabetes,” Leal said. “We developed a collaborative practice model, where pharmacists could order labs, we could do referrals, we could work in collaboration with the providers, and we could start new prescriptions. Diabetes and chronic conditions associated with diabetes, like high blood pressure and cholesterol, are very medication heavy chronic conditions.” Leal recalled that in the 14 years at El Rio Health Center, she spent 75% of her time working with Spanish-speaking patients.


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“My father was a farmworker. It’s a population that is very challenged to receive care. I’m very passionate about anything to do with reaching out to people and connecting them to care.” — SANDRA LEAL, CEO, SINFONÍARx “Spanish patients trusted me as a provider to help them with their concerns, and to ask questions in Spanish and work with them directly,” she said. Leal, who also partnered with a local Indian tribe to support patients where they lived, received the Tucson area Indian Health Service Director’s Award in 2004 for her work. She also serves on the board of the National Center for Farmworker Health — a cause that is close to her. “My father was a farmworker,” she said. “It’s a population that is very challenged to receive care. We have fragmented care, so I’m very passionate about anything to do with reaching out to people and connecting them to care, and to be a resource.”

Bruce Roberts

Bruce Roberts has been the pharmacy manager of Rite Aid in Newark, Del., for two and a half years, and he already has become 1-of-6 pharmacists across the entire pharmacy chain to be recognized by Rite Aid’s annual Pharmacy Champions program. Roberts, who has been a pharmacist for more than five years, was nominated for the award by the parents of an infant who had been hospitalized. The child was discharged with about a half dozen prescriptions. “We contacted the doctor because some of the medications needed insurance approval, and we took the time to order the medications in advance. One of our employees went to another store to pick up one of the medications, so the family didn’t have to wait,” Roberts said. “When the parents came to pick up the medications, I made sure I discussed the medications in detail because some of them needed refrigeration, and one of the medications was injectable. I showed them how to put the injectable drug into the syringe and how to administer it, and what to expect.” In her nomination letter, the mother wrote that on the way to the pharmacy, she was crying because she was stressed and anxious. “We took time to go over the medications and administration, and she was very intimidated, but she left very confident,” Roberts said. “I never went out to seek recognition. I just try to treat people the


way that I want my family to be treated when they need help. It was a very nice surprise,” he said. Becoming a certified immunizer and vaccinating the community members against preventable illnesses is another role that Roberts is excited about. He also enjoys the personal interaction that he and his staff have with patients on a daily basis, whether it’s delivering a prescription to someone who is homebound or taking time to listen to an elderly woman speak about the loss of a loved one.

Laura Thomas

One hundred fifty miles. That’s how far Laura Thomas, a Walgreens staff pharmacist in Chantilly, Va., drove the evening before Easter. Yet, rather than traveling to spend Easter with her family, her trip was to get a medication for a six-year-old patient with a chronic lung disease. The day before, Thomas had been filling one of her prescriptions that she found was in the pharmacy’s out-of-stock queue. “I realized there was an industry shortage,” she said. “I called around and couldn’t find it. I even called other chain pharmacies, her mail order, trying to find and locate the medicine. Without finding it, she would have to go to the hospital, which is 40 minutes away,” Thomas said, referring to the patient.

“It just wasn’t an option for me not to find [her medication]. She needs it to stay alive. I have to find it for her. I drove down Saturday night and came back Sunday with it.” — LAURA THOMAS, WALGREENS PHARMACIST

Although Walgreens could ship the medication overnight, Thomas was worried there might be a delay because of the holiday weekend. “I didn’t know if it would get there in time. I knew the alternative was that she would have to go to the hospital, which was not around the corner. That’s traumatic for a young child and she has a younger sister, which is a big pull on the family,” she said. “I looked at it as if she was one of my family members. I had to go find it for her. It just wasn’t an option for me not to find it. I was going outside of Walgreens at this point. She needs it to stay alive. I have to find it for her. I drove down Saturday night and came back Sunday with it.” The family was shocked and appreciative that Thomas went the extra mile to obtain the medicine, especially since she was scheduled to have the week off for vacation.


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COVER STORY As for the patient, a visit to the pharmacy with her little sister was perhaps the greatest reward for Thomas after returning from her vacation. “She drew a picture, which is priceless,” said Thomas, who has kept the drawing.

Kam Tam

In 1968, when Kam Tam left China to come to the United States by way of Hong Kong, he only had a small suitcase with necessities and he was very sick. Some six months later, after the 96-pound 16-year-old was treated at a clinic in San Francisco’s Chinatown, he was strong enough to go to school. Fast-forward to 2019 and Tam, who has been a pharmacist for 40 years, is owner and operator of seven pharmacies — three pharmacies in Oakland’s Chinatown, two pharmacies contracted with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and two pharmacies that serve the FQHC Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center. Tam, who recently received Health Mart’s Community Excellence Award, started out with three employees and now has 50 full-time and 20 part-time staffers. The health care that he and his parents received from the community clinic instilled in him the desire to serve the community. Reflecting on 1989, when Albert Wong, a classmate who asked him to join him in Oakland to run a pharmacy, Tam said, “I found my role and the real purpose of pharmacists. I quit working at a chain and joined forces with Wong in Chinatown. We served the community of immigrants, mostly seniors, who are low income and who have language issues. They don’t speak English, so when we gave them a prescription with instructions, they had no idea what it meant.” In order to improve their compliance and understanding of the medications, Tam put Chinese-language labels on medication bottles.

“I found my role and the real purpose of pharmacists. We served the community of immigrants, mostly seniors, who are low income and who have language issues. They don’t speak English, so when we gave them a prescription with instructions, they had no idea what it meant.” — KAM TAM, PHARMACY OWNER


As technology has developed, Tam installed a software program that provides prescription information in Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish. He also provides patient information leaflets that can be printed in multiple languages via Meducation subscription. Tam looks beyond his pharmacies’ patients to serve the homeless population in Oakland. In addition to providing medications for patients via two clinics that operate from a van, Tam was an advocate in helping the program evolve into a brick-and-mortar clinic.

Rhonda Yarzab

If you think that pharmacies in rural areas lag behind pharmacies in large cities when it comes to fostering innovation to serve patients, think again. Rhonda Yarzab owns Medicine Shoppes in the rural areas of Greenville, Pa., and Hermitage Pa., and she co-owns a Medicine Shoppe in Canandaigua, N.Y., an upstate community in the Finger Lakes region. Two years ago, Yarzab, who has been a pharmacist since 1983 and a pharmacy owner since 1991, received an innovation award from Medicine Shoppe after remodeling and expanding her Hermitage location. “It’s a very modern pharmacy,” she said. “We embraced automation. All of our stores have either ScriptPro or Innovation’s cabinets to assist us with counting. It’s a very efficient way to count pills, and allows our staff to have more time with patients.” She said the Hermitage location has a machine to assist with compliance packaging, which has been its focus in recent years. Yarzab does not charge for the compliance medication packaging, and she believes that it is a huge benefit to patients and their families. “It’s checked by a pharmacist, and we also follow up every three weeks before we fill the packs,” she said, adding that they proactively call patients to see if there have been any changes to their medication regimens. “We just try to provide the best possible service and keep our patients healthy and happy. We try to have excellent customer service, and we’ve adapted through the years as the industry has changed. We ‘ve expanded our offering and diversity in what we do and the services we offer.” Gone are the days of just filling prescriptions. Yarzab has expanded into diabetes care, offering diabetic shoes, and the pharmacy has become accredited with Medicare to provide such services and products as durable medical equipment. One of the pharmacists she employs is a functional medicine practitioner. “We’ve taken a more holistic approach. We try to improve people’s lives by putting them on vitamins and supplements, discussing better nutrition and lifestyle changes to make them healthier so they don’t need as much medicine,” she said.


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“We just try to provide the best possible service and and keep our patients healthy and happy. We’ve expanded our offering and diversity in what we do and the services we offer.” — RHONDA YARZAB, PHARMACY OWNER In July 2019, the pharmacy received Medicine Shoppe’s Licensee of the Year Award in recognition of how the pharmacy has adapted to the times and the needs of the community. “We see pharmacy as a whole has changed drastically. It used to be mom-and-pop drug stores. People came in and filled prescriptions, and went away,” she said. “Now we have more people who are more interested in their health. We have more time to talk with patients and they are requesting information from us. Millennials want to be an active participant in their health.”

Vaishali Deshmukh

When Vaishali Deshmukh, pharmacy manager at CVS Pharmacy in Farmingdale, N.Y., heard that one of her patients was in the hospital having gallbladder surgery, she didn’t think twice about heading to the hospital to visit her. A few weeks prior to the patient’s surgery, Deshmukh had urged the patient to go to her doctor when she said she was experiencing symptoms. “We definitely can catch things at the community level when people talk to us because we take the time to listen,” she said. “I was really concerned and felt that visiting her in the hospital was the right thing to do. I wanted to let her and her family know that we were there for her. She was scared and never had a surgery.” Deshmukh, who is receiving CVS Health’s National Paragon Award for the pharmacy’s patient care programs in September, credited her dad, who is a physician, for showing her the importance of empathy at a young age. “I was exposed to my dad’s care and empathy and sympathy, and good bedside manner from a young age. I remember my dad being so humble and holding patients’ hands, and giving them a hug if they were crying,” she said. Deshmukh’s sister had leukemia at a young age and she said that experience taught her about how medications can affect the body, and that they also can be lifesaving. “CVS is community-focused, where we can give our patients

the care and empathy needed to achieve better health outcomes,” she said. “I want to make sure our customers, pediatrics and the elderly, are taken care of. If they are going through something rough and traumatic, we send cards and are there for them. It’s important for me to hold that care and empathy at a high level. The care and empathy and those connections with my customers hold me grounded.” Deshmukh said that patient care ultimately is a team effort. “We’ve excelled in patient care programs at our location, and getting patients adherent on their medication. I use the word ‘we’ a lot. I received the award, but I have a quote, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.’ I wouldn’t be anything without them,” she said.

Saurabh Mistry

When CVS Pharmacy manager Saurabh Mistry was filling a prescription for an elderly patient who looked unsteady and lacking in energy, he initiated a conversation with her that turned out to be a pivotal moment in his pharmacy career. Realizing that the patient was on multiple medications, which were redundant, Mistry contacted each of her providers and faxed her medication list. After removing several redundant medications, he developed an optimized drug regimen for her. “Over several weeks, she felt much better. This opened a personal relationship. She brought us homemade bread and cookies, and would stop in to say hello and have a quick chat. She came in with her family and talked about them, and asked about our families. It was gratifying to see that we helped somebody to that extent,” he said. After the patient moved back to her home country and Mistry moved to Austin, Texas, he received a call from a colleague in Ohio, saying the patient’s son wanted to reach out to him. “She had passed away. I spoke to him, and she said she wanted me to know that she always regarded me as a son,” he said. “That was a career-changing experience for me that made me more passionate towards patient care and patient relationships, and building those bonds with the patient,” Mistry said. “As community pharmacists, we take in stride and think we’re just doing our job by helping patients with their health and medication management. It was helpful to know you have a deep impact on a patient’s life. It goes above and beyond your regular call of duty in some cases.” Mistry, who is receiving CVS Health’s Paragon Award in September, recently was promoted to the pharmacy’s emerging district leader program. He said that the most fulfilling aspect of his career has been leading his teams in Cleveland and Austin to deliver results in patient care outcomes, including MTM, optimum medication utilization and therapeutic management. “This has a tangible impact on patients’ health and satisfaction,“


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COVER STORY he said. “I place a very high emphasis on quality patient counseling and building that relationship with the patient, and creating and enhancing adherence and cost effectiveness.” An epidemiologist by training, Mistry has a school in India for blind children, and provides about 5,000 free meals on a monthly basis to cancer patients in hospitals and supports scholarships to help students obtain higher education and degrees in the country. In the United States, Mistry participates in his temple’s annual health fairs, hosting a pharmacy booth to provide medication counseling and immunizations. He also educates the community on safe medication use and how to prevent medication abuse.

Chris and Mindy Munden

The signage above pharmacists and co-owners Chris and Mindy Munden’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy reads “Prescriptions,” but the signage tacked onto the 100-year-old building does not begin to encompass the focus of Hemmingsen Drug Store in Marshall, Mich. In fact, the quality of patient care that the Munden’s and their staff provide to the community has led to Hemmingsen Drug Store being named 1-of-3 finalists among over 5,000 independent pharmacies for the Good Neighbor Pharmacy of the Year award. The Mundens bought the pharmacy in January 2016 with the aim of fostering improved patient outcomes. So intent are they on this mission that they offer a multitude of free services, including delivery of prescriptions and free diabetes supplies that include testing strips, meters, lancets and lancet devices. The hope was that regular testing would lead to better outcomes and better control of their condition for patients. “We concluded that because of the difficulty justifying the billing of testing four times a day, we would provide these testing supplies for free and without a copay,” Mindy Munden said. In addition to making workflow changes and remodeling their store with new paint to new floors, the Munden’s added a consultation room. “We knew that was going to be important for immunizations and medication therapy management, and other consultations we wanted to do. The transformation process improved our workflow,” Chris Munden said. “We added a larger dispensing area, including an area for our medication synchronization program. We’re really focused on medication adherence.” The Munden’s launched a medication synchronization program at the end of 2017 after attending a boot camp. About 60% of their volume is on their medication synchronization program. “This is the first step to helping patients be adherent. We want people to take their medications correctly and will identify barriers to achieving those goals, whether it is side effects, forgetting to take


“We want people to take their medications correctly and will identify barriers to achieving those goals, whether it is side effects, forgetting to take medications or complex regimens.” — CHRIS MUNDEN, CO-OWNER, HEMMINGEN DRUG STORE medications, or complex medication regimens requiring multiple dosing times per day. Any way we can creatively solve problems to help a patient is what we are going to focus on,” Chris Munden said.

Joel Zive

Joel Zive, director of education at Medly Pharmacy in Brooklyn, N.Y. for three years, recently launched a program to improve the health and lives of asthma patients in the Bronx. The program is helping these patients to understand the difference between rescue and control medications. “Asthma is complex. One of the simplest ways to help an asthmatic is make sure they understand which medication to use. They have to use both medications, but they have to know when to use them. I came up with the idea to have the delivery drivers reinforce what the pharmacists tell patients. They are not allowed to counsel, but they give out information in English and Spanish language leaflets,” Zive said. Besides reaching out to improve the health outcomes of patients in the Bronx, Zive also is having a positive effect on a young man in Rwanda in Africa. Since 2006, Zive has been paying for this young man’s education. In 2005, when Zive was working at a clinic, he took a photo of the boy and his mother at a food bank in Kigali, the capitol of Rwanda. “I said to a doctor, ‘I want to use their picture for my nonprofit.’ The doctor informed me that I would have to get the woman’s permission,” Zive said. Upon returning to the United States, Zive’s friend translated a photo consent form into her language. “I gave the picture and consent to the doctor, who dropped it off at the clinic. A month later, the woman came into the clinic and the clerk recognized her. She signed the consent. A few months later, I returned to Rwanda. I asked her, ‘How can I repay you? She said, educate my son.’” Zive was humble when he said, “I paid for his nursery and primary school and high school, and I’m just going from there. I’m just trying to contribute to making him better, and if I can help him be better and get an education, then he can help his mom.” dsn


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Embracing the Future Pharmacists can cement their role as health care’s most accessible provider By Emlah Tubuo and Mike Morgan

O Emlah Tubuo, owner, Powell Pharmacy

Michael Morgan, CEO, Updox


pening an independent pharmacy in 2019 is not for the faint of heart. Faced with increasing competition from national chains, consolidation and declining reimbursements, the number of independent pharmacies has dropped to fewer than 22,000 in the United States. In Ohio, where our companies are based, more than 400 pharmacies have closed since 2013, with “pharmacy deserts” appearing in their place. Yet, some community pharmacies like Powell Pharmacy are bucking that trend. And they’re dramatically changing the business model. Unlike the major chains, independent pharmacies are more than a place to pick up prescriptions. They’re run by highly trained medical professionals dedicated to being a vital part of their customers’ healthcare team, and they strive to offer personalized care that mega chains often do not. Research from CVS Health has shown that 69% of Americans visit their pharmacy at least once per month, and 64% already think of their pharmacist as part of their healthcare team. So there is great opportunity for independent pharmacies to deliver value-added services that will benefit not only their customers but the community as a whole. Powell Pharmacy, for example, was built to provide its customers with a different experience — one that is focused on pharmacists acting as an essential part of patients’ healthcare teams. For every new prescription filled, we make a follow-up call within five days to find out if any adverse effects have been noticed, and to provide additional information about patients’ treatment plan. The store includes space for clinical services like immunizations and point-of-care testing, and offers medication therapy management. Finally, established patients can leave messages after hours for the pharmacist to attend to urgent needs. At Powell Pharmacy, we consider the value-added services as essential to delivering better patient care and important for providing additional sources of revenue that ensure our business can grow and thrive in the face of competition.

We believe this approach is the future of pharmacy. The challenge is going to be getting other pharmacists to break free from traditional ways and revamp their practices. Powell Pharmacy offers a model for how to draw in consumers who may be more familiar with chain stores than the unique experiences that independent pharmacies can provide.

Going Digital

Today’s consumers turn to the Internet for everything. Their approach to discovering pharmacies is no different. To effectively compete against national chains, independent pharmacies need to leverage technology to get noticed, promote their brand and engage customers. Many independent pharmacies are turning to digital marketing and social media to grow their brands online. At Powell Pharmacy, we recently launched a digital campaign through Updox’s Customer Relationship Management platform to introduce the pharmacy and its services to the community. In just two weeks, the campaign reached more than 20,000 prospective customers in the local area, resulting in 130 calls, visits and direction inquiries. However, thinking digitally goes beyond driving new traffic. It also means keeping tabs on online reviews and active reputation management. It means being accessible to patients when they have a question about their drug therapy or new prescription, for example, through technology like secure text messaging. And it means adapting to new trends like using live video chat to collaborate with physicians and counsel our patients. Pharmacists considering expanding their businesses do not need to go it alone. The key is finding a technology partner that understands the unique needs of independent pharmacies and can help with effective digital strategies. By strategically combining an innovative business model with cutting-edge technology, pharmacists have the opportunity to expand their role as health care’s most accessible providers. dsn


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Celgene Receives Approval for Inrebic

AbbVie Gets FDA Nod for Rinvoq AbbVie has obtained the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for Rinvoq (upadacitinib). The 15-mg, once-daily oral Janus kinase inhibitor is indicated to treat adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to methotrexate. “Despite the availability of multiple treatment options with varying mechanisms of action, many patients still do not achieve clinical remission or low disease activity — the primary treatment goals for rheumatoid arthritis,” said Roy Fleischmann, primary investigator for Select-Compare and clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “With this FDA approval, Rinvoq has the potential to help additional people living with RA achieve remission who have not yet reached this goal.” “The discovery and development of Rinvoq is indicative of AbbVie’s long-standing commitment to advancing the science for people living with immune-mediated conditions,” AbbVie vice chairman and president Michael Severino said. “[This] FDA approval marks an important milestone in our pursuit to deliver innovative medicines that advance care for people living with rheumatoid arthritis.”

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Celgene’s Inrebic (fedratinib). It is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with intermediate-2 or high risk primary or secondary — post-polycythemia vera or post-essential thrombocythemia — myelofibrosis. “The approval of Inrebic is another important milestone for Celgene and underscores our commitment to people living with blood cancers,” Jay Backstrom, Celgene chief medical officer said. “We are excited to provide Inrebic as a new treatment option that may be used in patients with myelofibrosis, including patients previously treated with ruxolitinib.” Inebric provides another option for treating the rare blood cancer. “Myelofibrosis can cause patients to suffer in many ways, including experiencing debilitating symptoms,” said Ruben Mesa, director of the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center. “There has not been a new treatment approved for this disease in nearly a decade. With Inrebic, physicians and patients now have another option available for myelofibrosis.”

FDA Approves Glenmark’s Generic Faslodex Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has received the Food and Drug Administration’s green light for its fulvestrant injection, a generic of AstraZeneca’s Faslodex injection. The drug will be available in a dosage strength of 250 mg/5 mL (50 mg/mL). Faslodex injection 250 mg/5 mL (50 mg/mL) had a market value of

approximately $549.9 million for the 12-month period ended June 2019, according to IQVIA. Glenmark said its portfolio currently consists of 159 products authorized for distribution, as well as 56 abbreviated new drug applications with approvals pending with the FDA.


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The Men’s Room Men are paying more attention to grooming. That means more opportunity for mass retailers. By Seth Mendelson


re men going to save the day? With sales of women’s beauty products relatively stagnant over the last few years, many industry officials are turning to the men’s grooming industry as a savior of sorts. In fact, many hope that increasing buzz on social media and elsewhere, a flurry of product introductions and more space on retail shelves, will continue to drive sales of men’s products and help retailers weather the storm in the women’s sections. So far, they are getting what they want. Industry statistics show that men’s grooming sales are growing by about 5% annually and the category is producing strong margins, thanks in large part to higher price points and the simple fact that most men do not pay close attention to prices when they shop for themselves. “We are spending more and more in taking care of ourselves,” said Christian Sosa, international business developer at Pacinos Signature Line, an emerging men’s brand. “Men are a pack, and we imitate and we follow our peers.” Sosa uses himself as an example. He spends about $150 per month and $1,800 a year on his needs. “We may not spend as much as women, but we’ll get there.” The line was created by barber/stylist Eric ‘Pacinos’ Roa — his clients include Sean “Diddy” Combs and Kevin Hart — who saw a need for enhanced products in the

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men’s hair grooming industry. Target and CVS Pharmacy currently stock the brand. The global male grooming products market is estimated at $57.7 billion. By 2023, it could balloon to $78.6 billion. That sum is expected to advance at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4%, according to Inkwood Research. Propelling that growth are men who buy more than just shaving needs these days as they borrow a page from consumption-heavy

women. Men, especially younger consumers, are using antiaging skin care and specialty hair formulas. There is less stigma today in taking pride in a grooming regimen. There are even more male-only salons and barbers, many of which are adding products curated with men’s needs. Facial hair is more accepted than ever, even in the workplace, encouraging more men to grow beards, which also require their own set of maintenance products.


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Social Media Fuels Trends

Along with the interest in men’s grooming products comes the expected confusion on retail shelves, especially as so many vendors introduce items to the category. “This year, we’ve heard over and over from our retail partners that the challenge is having variety on the shelf, but still manage to simplify the customer experience,” said Stan Ades, founder and president of Pacific Shaving, a brand gaining steam in the mass market at powerhouses like Target and CVS Pharmacy. While he acknowledged men are more interested in taking care of themselves, he suggested framing it as “grooming regimens, rather than “beauty regimens. That’s the strategy behind two new items, Pacific Shaving’s Bamboo Scrub and Konjac Sponge — they are positioned as pre-shave products rather than “skin care” per se. A spokesman for Bulldog Skincare for Men echoed those feelings, noting that it is important for retailers to dedicate real estate and resources to attract men. “We’ve seen a trend in retailers providing more prominent space to house men’s brands. In some cases, retailers are dedicating entire aisles to grooming products,” the brand representative said. So, the onus is going to be on the retailer to get a bit innovative with this emerging category. Some already are taking on the challenge. Rite Aid, for example, has created special vignettes built out in its men’s area with end

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caps and specially signed areas for men’s grooming. Target is another trailblazer with new men’s departments and the expansion of its Goodfellow & Co. fashion line into men’s grooming. “Over the past few years, we’ve continued to see Target’s share in the men’s grooming market grow and expect our business to double by 2020. To keep up with demand, we’ve been focused on investing in new products, trends and services that elevate the department — which is why we’re in the process of introducing a new in-store experience to men’s grooming,” said Mark Tritton, executive chief merchandising officer at Target, during a press event earlier this year. More than 600 products are featured in the new men’s selection from companies like Harry’s Cremo, Beardbrand and Byrd. Walmart is shifting into overdrive, too, adding a boatload of brands including the Johnny’s Chop Shop line, which got its start in a hip barbershop in the men’s department at a London outpost of Topshop. Johnny’s Chop Shop launched recently in the United States across 3,500 Walmart stores. The brand is offering seven of its bestsellers, including the Sports & Social Fibre and Wild Cat Hair Clay. “We know that 95% of adult men are using a hair care product, including shampoo, conditioner or hairstyling products. The online retail environment is becoming increasingly important for younger men,

allowing them to access more information at their leisure and becoming a source of inspiration,” said brand co-founder Steven Ross. “Our Johnny’s Chop Shop social channels, including YouTube and Instagram, provide inspiration and education, helping men to understand which products they can use to create their style,” Ross said. “More retailers are dedicating store space to male grooming, which could in turn spark more interest and impulse buying from male shoppers.” CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Bartell Drugs, Hy-Vee and Kroger also are mentioned as mass merchants developing their “manly” side. With the buzz created, more are sure to follow. Johnny’s Chop Shop is rolling out to 1,000 Walgreens and the top 100 CVS Pharmacy doors, Ross said. It isn’t just retailers and start-up brands that are finding niches to fill in men’s needs. “Analysts are predicting category growth of over 40% in the next several years,” said Bruce Kramer, senior vice president of the North American consumer division at Wahl Clipper. “Over the last several years, there has been increasing dialogue in men’s grooming in the beauty industry. Like women, men have always cared about how they look, but the biggest shift is now the industry has recognized this and is providing new tools and products to help men achieve the look they want.” Fittingly, his company recently expanded its grooming


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MEN’S GROOMING tools range with wet goods, brushes and combs for hair, beards and body. Shaving still is the cornerstone of men’s grooming, but sales have been sliced by online options and the decrease in daily shaving. The leading brands are eyeing avenues to keep sales afloat. Procter & Gamble, for example, rolled out Gillette Skin Guard, a product to help men shave with less irritation — a common complaint that halts men from shaving frequently. Also, P&G purchased Walker & Co. last year to reach more multicultural consumers. Walker & Co. includes Bevel, a men’s shaving brand. Reacting to a growing number of men who shave their heads, Edgewell Personal Care’s Schick now has Xtreme razors designed for bald men, along with a special club for the hairless, called BIP — Bald Important People. BIPs have access to the razor, along with special perks and experiences. Edgewell also has acquired Harry’s, the shaving brand that made a splash online and subsequently expanded to Target stores.

Offsetting a Slowdown in Shaving Sales

The biggest opportunities in men’s grooming lie beyond razors and blades. Space is being cleared on shelves for facial masks, beard oils, grooming tools and even makeup. New options in shave are shaking things up, especially shave oils. USA King’s Crossing was a pioneer in shaving oils — the company discovered the benefits of oils, which are said to reduce dry skin, nicks and ingrown hairs, more than 25 years ago. The company’s Shave Secret debuted in 1997 and now is stocked in such major chains as Walmart, H-E-B, Wegmans and Giant Eagle. It’s making a mark in the crowded shave category dominated by power players and populated by various emerging brands. Company president Chuck Howard said Amazon ranks Shave Secret as its best-selling shaving product on the site. More than 8 million units (wholesale) have been sold. Women apparently are swiping the oil from their significant others, he said, adding that 50% of sales are to women. Duke Cannon Supply is challenging the status quo in the men’s aftershave space. Co-founded by Sam Swartz, the brand is

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emphasizing positive masculine virtue with products made for hard-working men, harkening back to a time when chivalry and patriotism weren’t old-fashioned. Swartz called it an underserved market he dubs as the mainstream upgraders. The fine-tuned lineup is made for today’s styling needs. The brand’s Cooling After-Shave Balm is formulated with aloe and shea butter, and is alcohol-free. It has been a top seller at retail partners, which include Wegmans, Target and CVS Pharmacy, among others, for two years, according to the company. “Eighteen to 34-year-old men are engaged in hair styling, often purchasing multiple types of styling product to fit different use occasions. Our News Anchor Fiber Pomade launched earlier this year, alongside several other News Anchor hair styling SKUs, and has not only exceeded expectations, but also has been purchased with other styling products in one out of three occasions,” Swartz said. Sensing the opportunity to broaden beyond traditional shave products, Harry’s now offers

face and shower products, as well as hair care products. The Harry’s hair line includes a Taming Cream, Texturizing Putty, Sculpting Gel and a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. Before formulating those products, Harry’s said it listened to feedback from more than 3,000 men to learn about their pain points with existing brands. The fact that men are asking more questions inspired Dove Men+Care to add straightforward solutions to its website. Some of the topics include how to clean skin to avoid dryness and advice on sensitive skin. Unilever is taking education to the stores with AXE and an in-store interactive tool that helps men figure out what to buy for a specific look, such as “natural.” Graphics also show men how to use products. The tools are useful for men who often don’t want to seek help from beauty advisors, who are mostly women in mass stores. The creation of beard care as a vibrant category has benefitted many niche brands, including Universal Beauty Products and its Beard Guyz brand. The range includes everything from beard wash to a beard butter. Universal has all bases covered; the company also markets Van Der Hagen, which offers a full range of shaving needs.

Natural Counts for Men, Too

Natural is moving to the front burner in men’s grooming care. The Bulldog spokesperson said men want products that not only deliver results, but they like to align with brands that have a greater purpose. The vegan friendly Bulldog products do not contain artificial colors, synthetic fragrances or ingredients from animal sources. The brand, sold at such retailers as CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Whole Foods and Kroger, will begin the process of transitioning its tube packaging to sugarcane-based plastic, a renewable resource with minimum impact on food suppliers or biodiversity, this year. “Men are more open to the idea that their skin is their largest organ — and what they put on it is just as important as what they put in it.” said Pacific Shaving’s Ades. “And, as a result, we’ve seen men and the women who buy for them being more thoughtful in their


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MEN’S GROOMING purchase considerations. For us, that has been great, as one of the core tenets of our products has always been our use of safe, natural and plant-derived ingredients.” The company is committed to developing and manufacturing innovative and effective products that are safe and natural. “Everything has a reason in our products. We are not trying to create a product that just smells like ‘morning rain’ or ‘Irish fields.’ We are trying to innovate with practical purposes in mind,” Ades said. “For example, using all-natural ingredients; using caffeine to help diminish the appearance of redness and razor burn; using sustainable ingredients like bamboo stem to exfoliate and clean; and using food-grade, water-soluble film to create the world’s first zero-waste, single-use shaving cream pod.” The latter is relaunching in 2020. Natural ingredients are a hallmark of Thayers Natural, which is known for its use of witch hazel. The brand recently introduced its Thayers Gentlemen Collection, highlighted by a soothing shaving cream, an aftershave lotion that fights razor burn, and an aftershave that leaves skin smooth and hydrated, according to Andrea Gity, marketing manager at the company. “We think our products will be successful due to the natural ingredients and the traditional reliance on witch hazel as an astringed and aftershave product in shaving,” she said of the formulas, which also include aloe vera. Kyle LaFond, founder of American Provenance, was a middle school science teacher who turned a class project into a company. “Kids in their early teens stink. This unfortunately leads to the overuse of popular name-brand body sprays to conceal personal odor,” he said. “One particular day, I had a ‘light-bulb’ moment. I asked one of my students if I could take a quick look at the body spray in his locker. As I read through the back panel, I was horrified. These sprays contained countless chemicals, preservatives, additives, synthetic fragrances and other questionable ingredients.” What started out as a class research project became the launch of a line with less caustic ingredients. “We now manufacture an average of 20,000 units per month and are on the verge of exponential growth,” LaFond said.

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“You won’t find any ingredients that you can’t easily recognize or pronounce in any of our products. We manufacture high quality, natural personal care and wellness products for anyone seeking alternatives to traditional chemical-laden cosmetics.” Natural is equally important in beard care, which is pushing castor oil up the ladder. That’s been a boon for Okay Pure Naturals. “Men are especially interested in natural products,” said Osman Mithavayani, vice president and co-founder of Okay Pure Naturals, which has a full range of men’s natural products. In particular, he said the company’s Black Jamaican Castor Oil Moisture & Growth shampoo has been a standout. One of the categories emerging is men’s hair thickening and hair growth. When

Atlantic Coast Brands kept getting requests to offer a male version of Keranique, the company knew it had to launch a line formulated for special requirements for males. “Men are engaged, and they are asking more questions,” said Charlene Deegan-Calello, vice president of new product development and research and development at the company. The result was Thick Head, which, even though only in its infancy, is showing up on top-selling sales data. Twenty-five percent of men experience hair loss by the age of 21, 66% by the age of 35 and 84% have serious hair loss by the age of 65, she said. The formula for men is very different than the one for women, Calello said. The marketing approach also is customized. Good Guy Wellness is another rising star

Developing the Market The U.S. men’s skin care category is vastly underdeveloped in comparison with many international markets, said Michael Law, chief commercial officer at Eagle Labs, which markets RSVP Skin Care for Men. One of the biggest opportunities he sees is converting men from “browsers to buyers.” RSVP has a proven track record built through its direct-to-consumer model and is ready to expand to physical stores. “RSVP is excited to bring this brand to select retail partners that are committed to creating a men’s care destination in store,” Law said. “Combining a strong e-commerce brand with the right strategic retail partners will unlock a lot of category growth potential,” he said, noting the brand can build market baskets, promote trade up and boost store loyalty. RSVP’s pipeline is bursting with innovation, including expansion into CBD. “We’re very excited to be launching new RSVP men’s skin care items with CBD. Consumers have reported a wide range of positive benefits with CBD in skin care products, and it will help attract new users to the brand and the category,” Law said. Mirroring trends in female personal care, natural ingredients are sought out by men and have always been part of the DNA at RSVP. “Men have also clearly embraced reading labels and are supporting brands that are aligned with their values,” he said. “We use a wide range of natural and organic products in our formulations, and [they] are manufactured in one of the greenest, most environmentally friendly facilities in the U.S.” The RSVP lineup includes more than 30 certified organic ingredients, including avocado, jojoba oil, aloe vera, pineapple extract, pumpkin seed extract and dragon’s blood. Bestsellers include Dragon’s Blood Foaming Cleanser, Exfoliating Bamboo Scrub and Anti Aging Face Serum.


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MEN’S GROOMING in the hair loss segment, and company officials said the brand is unique in that it’s a modern omnichannel men’s hair care and hair loss-focused brand targeting millennials. The products available in the Good Guy Wellness line are preventive treatments geared toward 18 to 34 year olds. The brand’s best-selling men’s hair growth gummies are especially popular — singled out for their flavor and nutrient-packed formulas. The range, sold online and at Walmart, also includes shampoos, conditioners and a hair regrowth treatment. “Millennial men are showing increased rates of hair loss. And whether that’s due to stress, genetics or other factors, they don’t have to rely on the same preventative measures that their dads or grandads used,” said Christian Patiño Webb, executive vice president of marketing at Good Guy Wellness. Another choice for those who want to make their hair thicker is Toppik, which makes the Toppik Hair Building Fibers product that features a keratin protein

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blend that works with existing hair to create the appearance of full hair. Walgreens, Ulta Beauty and Walmart are among the chains adding Toppik as a choice for those looking to boost their locks. At the other end of the spectrum, many men are embracing the beauty of baldness. According to Dennis Fisher, founder and CEO of Bee Bald, his brand is gaining steam at both brick-and-mortar and online stores. Bee Bald offers a range for men — with hair or without — that includes cleansers, scrubs, shave creams, healing balms and daily moisturizers, with SPF 30 and without. “We’re now selling in more brick-andmortar stores than any competing manufacturer marketing shave and skin care products exclusively to bald men. Granted, there aren’t too many, but we’re at the top,” Fisher said. “We’re obsessed about getting our message and products out to the more than 100,000,000 men in the U.S. who need us now more than ever.”

Indie brands are making inroads across all of beauty and personal care, and the same trend is emerging for men. Not all of the fledgling brands, however, are up-and-comers. Truefitt & Hill, established as a barbershop in 1805 in London, was named by the “Guinness Book of World Records” in 2000 as the oldest barbershop in the world. The brand has helped bring back safety razors with British quality, and more recently created grooming products in beard care and hair care now sold at Walmart. Retailers said they can attract men with unique lines — many born in salons or barbershops. Every Man Jack was a trailblazer in bringing newness to the men’s space. Now sold in Target, Whole Foods, CVS Pharmacy, Walmart, Sprouts, and Bed, Bath and Beyond, the brand brought a coolness to mass market once only associated with luxury natural men’s lines. Earlier this year, Every Man Jack introduced the benefits of charcoal to the deodorant category with its Activated Charcoal Deodorant. dsn


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Not Your Father’s Bar Soap A trip to the men’s grooming aisle illuminates the changes roiling the category By Laura Fontana

I Laura Fontana, DSN beauty director

t would be hard to miss. From products in the skin care, face wash, beard care, shaving tools and hair care segments, the ante for men’s grooming products and assortments has increased drastically. Men no longer are using the bar soap or aftershave their fathers once used, or sneaking product from their significant other’s beauty drawer. Even my own husband wants to know more and, trust me, that is no small feat. So, I recently took him on an exploratory mission to widen his perspective on all there is on offer in terms of men’s personal care products (more so, so he would stop stealing my facial moisturizer and get some of his own to use.)

It was interesting and humbling to find brands with purpose and those that are transparent with their ingredients and mission like Every Man Jack— whose products are naturally derived, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free, aluminum free and more. I expect to find more suppliers doing this, especially as consumers demand products that are safe and mirror how they want to care for themselves inside and out. As we began our journey into learning more about this growing category, I could not help but chuckle to myself as I saw how brands are marketing themselves by using humor to tap the psyche of the male shopper. By doing so, brands are are removing fear and instilling confidence in men who are becoming more aware about the types of products they use. Take Dude Wipes and its “Take it to the Hole” commercial with “Shark Tank’s” Mark Cuban, or Dr. Squatch and its videos on how to lather up with its all-natural bar soap and smell tests. Hair regrowth and hair color are other areas where companies are working to make men less hesitant to make a purchase. I remember my dad using products like Rogaine and Just for Men hair


color, but seeing new players in the market like Thick Head, which is destigmatizing male hair loss — showing how far this category has come. So, how did my mission with my husband go? We did plenty of research online before we took to the streets. We quickly learned there is no shortage of content and information being made available to consumers. Bloggers, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, made it easy for us to find a variety of unique and fun products that my husband was excited to try. It also was interesting and humbling to find brands with a purpose, and those that are transparent with their ingredients and mission like Every Man Jack, whose products are naturally derived, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free, aluminum-free and more. I expect to find more suppliers doing this, especially as consumers demand products that are safe and mirror how they want to care for themselves from the inside out. Being able to have access to these up-and-coming brands online, and not being beholden to our local stores, was like music to my husband’s ears. In addition, we found several brands offering subscription boxes with a collection of products from their portfolio to be sent to our house on a reoccurring schedule. Birch Box, for example, even has developed a men’s grooming box, tapping into the consumer who is looking to explore new offerings. To round out our mission, we ventured into several stores, where my husband suddenly was more aware of the amount of space retailers now devote to the category. Between the products that will arrive on our front porch and what he walked away with in store, he’s now armed with a wide assortment of new shampoo and body wash, as well as a skin care regimen that may go head to head with mine. I’m confident I will not have any more surprises when I go to get my favorite moisturizer only to find it’s gone because he was secretly using it. This new male consumer is no longer the underdog, using the same products his father did. Are you tapping into this market? dsn


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Looking into the Beauty Crystal Ball Cosmoprof once again gave retailers a close look at what’s in the beauty pipeline By Seth Mendelson


hree trends — going zero waste, smart adaptogens and vegan products — are shaping the beauty category across channels, and retailers looking to maintain or grow their share of sales in this vital category need to pay more attention to them. The 17th annual installment of Cosmoprof North America, held in late July at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, gave more than 40,000 attendees and 1,400 exhibitors from 43 countries a taste of just how important these trends are to the current beauty marketplace, and how professionals are viewing future prospects.


“Beauty with a conscience is a key driver for innovation today,” said Lan Vu, co-founder and CEO of the Paris-based trend forecasting agency Beautystreams. “From zero-waste practices to ethical ingredients to sourcing and clean formulations, brands know that consumers are seeking to live ever more mindfully, while still delighting in the user experience. If eco-living is the price of entry for brands today, holistic innovations across multiple touchpoints will be the key differentiators.” Marcia Gaynor, a beauty retail executive strategist and former Walgreens beauty executive, said natural ingredients and ingredient transparency were hot topics on the floor,

especially in regard to skin and body care, as well as some color lines. All channels are getting into this segment in response to consumer demand, she said. “It’s going to be a matter of their efficacy and whether they perform to the consumer’s expectations as to whether they will succeed.” Naturally, several of the trends identified by Beautystreams were seen in items presented by exhibitors at this year’s Cosmoprof. The following is a roundup of some of the most interesting products on the show floor that reflected the latest trends, as well as some brands that were just pure fun.


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ZERO WASTE Daily Concepts Bio-Cotton Makeup Removers

The latest in makeup-removing pads are reusable bio-cotton rounds that can be washed and reused, and are sold with a laundry bag. Daily Concepts’ version instructs users to add a small amount of warm water, remove makeup, wash the remover pad and use again — no cleanser needed. By reusing pads, consumers are “dramatically reducing waste,” said Emilio Smeke, founder and CEO of Daily Concepts. The $12 kit includes various sizes of pads.

Foamie Shampoo Bar

This innovation from Germany is playing off the very hot trend of container-free hair care products. Positioned as “the world’s first hair care range on a rope,” Foamie Shampoo Bars are formulated to optimize hair and scalp with vegan, cold-pressed formulas. Items are plastic-free and made and engineered in Germany. “Each bar is ergonomically designed with a curved shape that adapts to the head, and also has three bumps to massage the scalp,” said Carlos Soares Moreira, vice president of Americas. The bars are available in three versions: Hibiskiss for Damaged Hair, Aloe You Vera Much for Dry Hair and Shake Your Coconuts for Normal Hair. Each bar retails for $10.


Anyone doubting whether color cosmetics will survive the category’s recent stagnation need not look any further than Crayola Beauty. One of the chicest collections to debut at Cosmoprof, Crayola Beauty, created by


Crea Cosmetics, also has heart: all formulas are vegan, made in Italy, and utilize the brand’s iconic yellow and green boxes. The line’s project manager, Michelle Pinedo, said the collection aims to deliver an elevated beauty experience. “We are working with luxe manufacturers who make premium brands. And, all products have been made to be used and applied with your fingers,” Pinedo said. Roughly 60 color items, not including foundation, with the hero item being its Face Crayon, can be used on eyes, lips and cheeks. Crayola Beauty is priced from $15 to $40 for highlighters, mascaras and palettes.


Capitalizing on the wellness-meets-beauty phenomenon is Mineralgia, founded by Los Angeles-based chiropractor Bridgette Rozenberg. The line targets ailments ranging from back pain and sore muscles to arthritis. Rozenberg, who operates a wellness practice, developed the cream more than 10 years ago, and it has since become an effective tool in treating her patients. “I wanted to develop a completely safe, natural pain reliever that would work in my practice. The result is Mineralgia, a product that is so gentle I can use it on my kids, who are into sports,” she said. The paraben-free cream is vegan and contains Dead Sea minerals, in addition to camphor, menthol and arnica to target sore spots. In preparation for the move to retail, Mineralgia was repackaged in January. It retails for $34.95.

craze. “We are the first to have inclusive, vegan and cruelty-free lip products,” said Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler. “Beauty once looked like a linear landscape. Now, inclusive is what all beauty brands are trying to be.” The Lip Bar is inclusive by offering shades that work with a variety of skin tones, and marketing them with imagery that reflects a diverse consumer base. “We have shades for everyone from Anne Hathaway to Lupita Nyong’o,” she said. The Lip Bar makes everything from lip glosses, lipsticks and lip lines. Prices average around $13. The brand received an investment in 2018 from beauty industry veteran Richelieu Dennis, co-founder and CEO of Sundial Brands.

Joban Beauty

The newest player in deodorant offers a category-changing twist. Coverant is the industry’s first nontoxic deodorant and full-coverage concealer by Joban Beauty. The patent-pending product is designed for multicultural women who tend to suffer from “dark underarm syndrome,” which company officials said can make women very self-conscious. Available in three shades — light, medium and dark — Coverant is formulated to suit any skin tone and is transfer-resistant, water-resistant and sweatproof. It’s also vegan, free of aluminum or parabens, and features a natural fragrance. “It’s an unfortunate phenomenon when there are annoying little dark hairs trying to peek out of your cleanly shaven follicles,” said Sati Bains, who founded the company with her sister, Sharan Bains. Coverant targets a range of underarm discoloration issues from The Lip Bar Launched in 2012, it is easy to say that The dark spots and large pores to darkening. “Multicultural women or women with Lip Bar was way ahead of the vegan-formula


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

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


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

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COSMOPROF NORTH AMERICA HIGHLIGHTS darker hair are more likely to have this problem,” Bains said. The product also can help women who suffer from acanthosis nigricans — a skin condition that causes dark discoloration in body folds and creases, typically affecting armpits. Coverant will retail for $18.

Ayr Skin Care

Founded by Kirsten Thomas in a quest to create a product that would work for her sensitive skin, Ayr is run by her daughter, Fiona Briggs, with self-taught Thomas in the lab overseeing batch production. The family-owned and -operated business’ most unique trait is its “patent-pending … technology, incorporating a blend of plantbased ingredients to create a silky texture for creams and serums,” said Briggs, who is vice president of marketing and operations. Ayr consists of 12 items with a focus on facial care. The line, which launched in 2017, recently was repackaged with sleek teal and white containers, and is manufactured in its own facility in California. One of the most interesting items Ayr features is its new Awaken Revitalizing Eye Serum, with a vegan formula that incorporates vitamins C, E and B5 to counteract the effects of diminishing sodium hyaluronate levels, along with a natural blend of probiotics, green tea, pomegranate and caffeine for antioxidants. It retails for $65.


In February, June Faraham launched Golden Elixir, a phytoactive face oil for the face and neck, utilizing pure plant extracts and actives to repair, hydrate and regenerate skin. Ingredients


include vitamin C, CoQ10 and Collageneer, a trademarked blend that includes turmeric and pepper, a combination Faraham said is reliant on one another to be effective. In addition to the face oil, Golden Elixir includes three superfood adoptegenic blend powders — cacao, mushroom and golden — each of which addresses a different need. Mushroom aims to release anxiety, cacao looks to add a boost of energy and golden fights inflammation. Each requires one teaspoon of powder to be added to 8-oz. of warm nut milk or water. The oil sells for $88 and the powders range from $44 to $48. Farahan saw an opportunity to create an oil that would “not only deliver precious ingredients to nurture skin, but fill a gap in the luxury market for such a product.”

Lee said. The Rose x Hibiscus Mask brightens and hydrates, while the Love Cica x Opuntia Mask looks to soothe and hydrate, with organic centella asiatica and Korean prickly pear cactus. Each mask retails for $8.

JUST FOR FUN Blenderelle

While makeup sponges are all the rage, one recurring question is how one properly stores them in a vanity and cosmetic bag. Enter Blenderelle, The Original Makeup Blender Case, founded by Sam Palmer in 2015, which is an antimicrobial, ventilated makeup sponge case. “I was using a makeup sponge, and there was no good place to store it. I filed a patent to protect the idea and launched a ventilated swirl closure case,” said Palmer, who now has three patents on her product. The case is formulated with silver, which acts as a natural antimicrobial that lasts the lifetime of the product, and is designed with effective ventilation so the sponge can “dry on the fly” after rinsing. Available in pink, black and gold, Blenderelle retails for $12. And this year, Palmer launched an updated version of the case, which now snaps to close, that retails for $12.

Hemp Beauty Urang

This Korean beauty brand, positioned as a line steeped in wellness, uses natural and organic ingredients for sensitive skin. Launched in late 2016, Urang was founded by Jina Lee, a mother and holistic aromatherapist who was desperate to find products that suited her atopic, allergy-prone skin. She set about creating unique formulas and dived into studying cosmetic ingredients, chemistry and fragrances. The Urang line consists of 13 items, several of which are quite distinct. Take their Urang Love Rose x Hibiscus and Urang Love Cica x Opuntia Masks, “both of which utilize a unique two-pouch system that preserves the freshness of the liquid essence to be combined with the 100% organic cotton mask,”

CBD products were well represented at Cosmoprof, with one of the brightest lights coming from Hemp Beauty. Founded in 2018 by CEO Lindsay Solomon, Hemp Beauty includes three different lines — one for wellness, one for skin care and one for body. One of Solomon’s most popular items is the Good Vibes Relief Roller priced at $50, which has a metal tip that “cools skin to the touch and eases muscle tension to the neck or sore muscles with a combination of fast-acting CBD, magnesium and lavender,” she said. The CBD used in the products is sourced from Colorado and Kentucky. Products bear QR codes that, when scanned, reveal each item’s certification of authorization, batch numbers and testing information for peace of mind. dsn


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Proactive Growth Engagement plays a large role in growing the therapeutic men’s hair care segment By Charlene Deegan-Calello

T Charlene Deegan-Calello, vice president, new product development and research and development, Atlantic Coast Brands


he current growth in the men’s personal care and grooming market highlights a shift in the way that male consumers traditionally have approached their personal care. Previously, men have shopped based on utility, with very little research behind the purchase required. Products have had price appeal and solved immediate needs. Unlike the women’s beauty segment, much of men’s personal care has centered on everyday grooming essentials, with a muted focus on prevention, wellness or diversity. In the recent past, if you examine men’s products or messaging, you would have been hard-pressed to find an equivalent stress placed on market-redefining claims like sulfate- or paraben-free, even though some of these approaches may provide for healthier scalp options. An easy example of this thinking can be found simply by looking at the men’s hair loss market. All of the messaging and images were firmly stereotypical — older men, with a very narrow depiction of lifestyle or life stage. There were no early or interventional conversations and very little education or connective content presented. Fast forward to 2019, and the men’s personal care market is experiencing growth, in part because of how brands are engaging with men. In the hair loss category, for example, rather than a focus on the after-the-fact loss, scalp health now is a fundamental part of the conversation, and brands are not waiting for men to begin losing hair before engaging them. They’ve begun a dialogue with the consumer, regardless of the stage of hair thinning or loss the user finds himself in. When the category is approached this way, preventive messaging tied firmly to overall wellness and emotional well-being has begun to resonate, and we find more men being more thoughtful about the products they use, with a willingness to use them more often. Men are embracing education and they are embracing communities that feature connective content and product reviews. Men still want convenience and ease of use. They simply more are willing to search for information


about ingredients or end benefits than they have been in the past. They also want to see representative diversity, and that is important, but particularly important in the hair loss segment. A full 25% of men begin the hair loss process before they reach the age of 21 years old. In terms of the manner in which topical therapies for men work, these therapies are most effective at the early stages of loss when the user has just started losing his hair. However, most messaging has targeted middle-aged men, who may have experienced a prolonged period of loss, and featured images of older men limited in diversity. It is essential that we target our messaging to the consumers when they will best benefit from product use. Product marketers have rethought their approaches to this segment, and this thinking can serve retailers as well. Men’s therapeutic hair products typically are merchandised without the same setup or graphic images as other products (think men’s body sprays), which typically incorporate images and colors that are interesting and have high aesthetic appeal. These other sectors appeal to a more youthful consumer with shelf language and images. Men’s hair loss products also often are on the lowest tiers of a shelf set. With the prevalence of men’s hair loss as a primary issue that they face, it might be worth rethinking the shelf placements of these products. Men’s products rarely are featured at the front end of the store. A prominent front-end placement of men’s fixtures might better offer the in-store education and inspiration men need. These products are not impulse purchases, they are based on therapeutic need, and placing them up front both makes shopping for them and removing the stigma of the purchase easier. There is a fundamental wellness element found in hair regrowth products, and adding some of these products to a wellness section will better communicate to consumers primed in 2019 to listen and to purchase based on a brand’s willingness to engage them. dsn


Cleaning Up Keys to winning in the booming premium men’s grooming segment By Sam Swartz

Sam Swartz, co-founder and vice president of marketing, Duke Cannon


“Dude, what shower soap are you using right now?” my friend asked. “Honestly man,” I answered, “it’s some teenage body wash brand with a scent called ‘Swagger’ or something. I’m not proud of it.” “Dude, I know. I use the same brand. It’s so embarrassing.” This was the quick, bourbon-fueled conversation my business partner and I had in 2010 that precipitated us quitting our comfortable corporate jobs to launch our own brand of men’s grooming goods. The gap in the marketplace was too large to ignore. On one end, you had large, mainstream brands catering to teenage boys with sophomoric — and sometimes misogynistic — advertising, or you had super-premium brands that catered to Wall Street traders. The everyday, 25-to-45 year old guy looking for quality goods and relevant branding? Well, he was all but being ignored. The Duke Cannon brand was born out of a desire to meet the needs of that large, underserved market. We call that market the Mainstream Upgraders, and they represent 1-in-4 males, or more than 10 million American men, between the ages of 25 to 44, according to MRI-Simmons research. These guys are educated with above average income and below average free time. They are the exact dudes who are likely to stop at a drug store to fill their immediate grooming needs out of convenience. Of course, we were not alone in our insight to cater to this valuable demographic. Over the past few years, a handful of brands have entered the premium men’s grooming segment, fueling the category and helping to offset the losses in men’s shaving. According to Mintel, the premium men’s grooming segment is expected to grow 8% per year through 2022, while the total category grows only 2% per year. This is a blended rate, however. It’s important to realize that progressive retailers that are placing big bets on premium men’s grooming are far exceeding the category norms. We understand, however, that space is even more limited in smaller format environments, so it’s critical to place the right bets. Based on our experience

with trendsetting retail partners, here are the keys to winning with premium men’s grooming: 1. Remember that brands matter In an age where almost anything can be contract manufactured, we’ll admit that it’s not hard to launch a SKU of soap or shampoo. It’s hard to launch a brand that matters to an increasingly discerning audience, however, and brands do matter in this category. According to MRI-Simmons, 57% of men would pay more for a purpose-driven brand. Duke Cannon, for example, employs a mature blend of humor, while celebrating positive virtues like hard work and chivalry, and giving back 5% of net profits to veterans’ causes. The brand appeals not only to men, but the women who often buy for them. Similar brands that offer substance to go along with their style are best poised to win. 2. Offer full assortments to capture the wide swath of grooming needs It may be obvious to some, but men often can be creatures of habit. When they find something they like, they tend to stick with it. And if a man likes a brand’s soap, he’s more likely to buy its hair wash or beard balm. Therefore, prioritize generalist brands that offer a full assortment and simplify the decision process instead of looking at a number of specialist brands focused on different segments. 3. Merchandise prominently Traditional retail wisdom suggests it’s best to dedicate the most valuable display space to the biggest and most established brands. Yet, we’re seeing the most progressive retailers — the ones enjoying the most incremental growth in this segment — dedicate premium endcaps to newer, up-and-coming brands. Not only does this help drive trial of the newer brands, but it creates a sense of cachet and discovery that elevates the status of the whole store. It’s simple: People like to discover new stuff and want to be in the retail environments that facilitate that discovery. dsn


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Duke Cannon’s purpose is simple: to make superior quality grooming goods that meet the standards of hard-working men. Our products are tested by soldiers, not boy bands. We manufacture in America and donate a portion of proceeds to veterans causes. Men, and the women who buy for them, want to buy Duke Cannon in your stores. BODY






Our complete portfolio of grooming goods is available to help you crush premium men’s grooming.


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Ready for the Mane Event Only six years old, this Huntsville, Ala.-based beauty company is taking retail by storm By Seth Mendelson


ant a model for success trying to build a brand in the current retail environment? One does not have to look much further than The Mane Choice to see how a combination of savvy digital marketing and mainstream retailing can create a buzz in the overall beauty segment. The Huntsville, Ala.-based company was formed six years ago after its founder and current CEO, Courtney Adeleye, decided to take matters into her own hands and develop a deep conditioner that could correct her hair damage issue caused by a hair color treatment. Adeleye wrote about the damage and her solution on the Internet, and demand for it quickly spread. As more people asked, she had to choose between her career as a nurse and making the product to satisfy the growing legion of YouTubers begging for their own supply. “So many people wanted the product that it got to the point that she had no choice but to say yes,” said Ebony Bomani, the master cosmetologist and educator for the company. “The demand was so strong through social media that she really had no other option.” Less than a decade later, Bomani said that The Mane Choice is humming on all cylinders. The company produces more than 100 products across 15 different collections in the hair, body, men’s care, babies and accessories segments. It also pays particularly close attention to its booming hair growth vitamin products. As importantly, The Mane Choice assortment has caught the attention of consumers across the country with a combination of eye-popping packaging and a vibrant marketing campaign through traditional channels and especially through social media. In fact, Bomani said that sales are exploding. She said the company registered about $25 million in sales in 2017 and nearly $50 million in 2018. That volume could reach $100 million this year and could double again in the next 3 to 5 years. “We are the fastest growing hair care brand in the country,” she said. The secret to the company’s success, she said, is the amount of care the executive leadership places in research, development and testing. Adeleye was a nurse before getting involved with The Mane Choice, and her 84

The Mane Choice founder and CEO Courtney Adeleye started the company six years ago.

husband is a physician. “They take this all very seriously,” Bomani said. “All of our products are backed by science and research, and are heavily tested. And, we are constantly looking to improve our assortment and make sure that we have the products that our customers want across all of our categories.” Marketing is vital for the company. Calling the company and its more than 35 employees the “Purple Team,” Bomani said that the color is central to getting the word out to consumers about The Mane Choice. “Purple is symbolic of royalty,” she said. “Our job is to make consumers aware of what we offer. So we are painting the town purple and we are painting the store purple by constantly doing [road shows] that answer consumer questions, and hand out samples.” The strategy is working, she said. The Mane Choice has product in a growing list of retailers, including CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, Target, Publix, Kroger and Sally Beauty. “We need their help to help educate the consumer,” she said. “And, many are doing a great job with merchandising and allowing us to use in-store vehicles to build awareness of the category and our products. Some even allow us to create a “retail-tainment” setting, where we bring DJs and food, and reach out to people that way.” dsn


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wahlusa.com Contact us at 1-800-334-4627

The Brand Used by Professionals® Since 1919

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©2019 Wahl Clipper Corporation *Based in part on data reported by Nielsen through its Scanning Service for the trimmer & clipper Category for the 52 week period ending 12-28-2018, for the XAOC & FDM markets.

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So long warm days of summer, and hello pumpkin spice season. With summer officially out the door, fall is making its way in, which means beauty routines might need a bit of a readjustment and shoppers will be on the hunt. To entice both consumers who aren’t ready to give up summer and those who are preemptively clad in flannel, DSN has highlighted products that bridge the gap between seasons and might stand out. No matter the season, highlighting skin is always in, and the e.l.f. Cosmetics Glow Gleam Beam Highlighting Palette can help with that. Available in light and dark shades, each contains three different finishes — glitter, shimmer and metallic — that can take a day glow into an intense night look in one swoop. It currently retails for $10 at Target.com.

Not ready for fall? The Peach Slices Citrus-Honey Aqua Glow moisturizerserum hybrid is infused with annatto seed and grapefruit, orange and lemon peels. This product is light as water, soothes all skin types and looks to give skin a litfrom-within glow. It retails for $11.99 at Peachandily.com.

Once the look has been set, but perhaps needs a little refresh, that’s where the florence by mills Zero Chill Face Mist comes in. The rose-infused spray also contains lavender for calming moisture, and seaweed and thyme extract for some pollution-busting power. It currently retails for $10 at UltaBeauty.com.


For those looking to add a little bit of darker color to their makeup routines, lilah b.’s Divine Duo Lip & Cheek does just that. Available in eight shades that range from true red to champagne shimmer, the long-wear formula is creamy, provides blendable and buildable color, and can be worn on the lips or cheek either day or night. It currently retails for $46 at lilahbeauty.com and Sephora.com.


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Self-care Revolution With less taboo, retailers are looking to cash in on the sexual wellness category By Nora Caley


re mass retailers prepared to compete — at least to some degree — with adult novelty stores? That is the question many in the industry are asking as more affordable sexual wellness products, including toys and gels, are hitting the marketplace and taboos on selling these items in mainstream stores fade away. The result is that more and more traditional retailers have been updating their sexual wellness sections to include not just family planning and contraceptive products, but also sex toys, devices, lubricants and other items that consumers might


otherwise buy online or at competing retailers. The products available at food, drug and mass retailers tend to be lower priced than those in adult novelty stores, with more discreet packaging and an emphasis on self-care and enjoyment. Retailers are looking to these new products to drive growth in an otherwise uneven category. According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, for the 52 weeks ended July 14, sales of sexual health products in U.S. multi-outlet stores — grocery, drug, mass market, military and select club and dollar stores — totaled roughly $1.05 billion, an increase of 3.9% compared with

the same period the previous year. The subcategory that saw the most gains was sexual enhancement devices, with sales of $35.8 million, an increase of 20.6% compared with the previous year. Sales of personal lubricants increased slightly at 0.6% to $243.5 million. Manufacturers said retailers are beginning to realize they can attract an audience that sees the products as not being taboo. Instead, they are something consumers are adding to their shopping lists, and often picking up as impulse buys. Some retailers still are calling the sections family planning and stocking mostly condoms, while others


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are using signage that says sexual wellness and carrying several devices by more than one manufacturer, although some are covered in anti-theft gadgetry that must be removed by a staffer. Part of the change in thinking is due to a demographic shift. Millennials’ attitudes about sexual wellness are different from those of the baby boomers. The Atlantic, in a December 2018 article about millennials and sex, pointed out that “shameladen terms like “perversion” have given way to cheerful-sounding ones like “kink,” and that has opened some doors. Women’s magazines from Cosmopolitan to O, The Oprah Magazine offer not only sex advice, but guides to buying the right vibrator, or using current parlance and personal massagers. Perhaps, most importantly to retailers, Amazon has many products under its sexual wellness banner, and even offers a list of 100 best-selling items — among the top 10 items are five condoms, four lubricants and one toy. “Millennials are the new driving force in sexual wellness,” said Michael Trigg, owner and CEO of Las Vegas-based Trigg Laboratories. “Fun products that appeal to them are the fastest rising segment of the category.” Trigg Labs makes the Wet brand of lubricants, including its premium Wet Platinum Silicone Lubricant and its newest product — Wet Desserts Frosted Cupcake Flavored Lubricant. “Consumers love something new,


Manufacturers said retailers are beginning to realize they can attract an audience that sees the products as not being taboo. Instead, they are something consumers are adding to their shopping lists and often picking up as impulse buys. fresh and fun,” Trigg said. “Features like taste are a big change with growing sales.”

Expanding the Set

Others agreed that flavored lubricants are a segment that can help retailers increase sales in the sexual wellness category. “Retailers are dipping their toes into more alternative categories than in years past,” said Catherine Corsaro, director of marketing and product development at United Consortium. “For example, on a shelf crowded with a variety of standard personal lubricants, our flavored formulas and arousal gels are receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from buyers and consumers.” The company’s Muse brand added new flavors to its edible, water-based lineup of personal lubricants. The new flavors include creme brûlée, mint chocolate and salted caramel. A new foaming toy cleaner and a rebranded lineup of arousal gels also are available. Consumers want to be able to purchase these products in the retail stores that they frequent. “The growing acceptance of

big- box sexual wellness is now an expectation, not a surprise,” Corsaro said. “As such, we’re seeing buyers recognize that instead of fighting stigma. The best option is to leverage the white space categories that will attract consumer attention without negatively impacting their brand image.” The new products reflect a shift in the sexual wellness products from need to want, which can help drive incremental sales in the aisle. “Consumers immediately know what these are for, without explicit explanation, leading to an impulse buy,” Corsaro said.

Women’s Self-care

Last year, Newton, Mass.-based Clio, a personal care company, launched its plusOne line of high quality, affordable sexual wellness devices. “PlusOne entered what’s been essentially known as the ‘adult novelties’ category as a sexual wellness brand, and ever since then, we’ve seen other vibrator brands adopting a similar language,” said marketing director Stephanie Trachtenberg. “While the taboo around the subject still exists, it’s much more inclusive for brands


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when you position yourself in terms of wellness and self-care, as Americans are increasing their spending in this area.” Not only has the language changed, with words like massager, arouser and stimulator to describe the devices, but more products now exist. “There’s also been a surge in lotions, creams, etc., for a more expanded feminine wellness offering extending beyond simply hygiene,” Trachtenberg said. Clio is focusing on the connection between self-care, health and beauty, and is pursuing independent studies on the topic. “We’re excited to be pioneering a bit of a self-care revolution in beauty as well,” Trachtenberg said. “Positioned under self-care for both wellness and beauty, we’re reframing the context of how we relate to ourselves.” The brand is launching four new products this fall, including two devices — the Air Pulsing Arouser and the Mini Massager — as well as toy cleaning wipes and a personal lubricant. “We will continue to grow with the increasing demands of the female consumer


in all aspects of self-care,” Trachtenberg said. “The feminine health aisle and family planning aisle have the potential now to merge into one self-care/wellness aisle to be more inclusive of the consumer need state, so she knows exactly where to find the products she’s looking for.”

Health Focus

Another shift taking place is how the sexual wellness category reflects the health demands of consumers. Products were once solely focused on preventing pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections. These days, consumers have different health goals and want other benefits, and seem less interested in contraception and family planning than previous generations. That change in thinking presents a challenge to manufacturers and retailers. According to IRI, sales of male contraceptives totaled more than $348.9 million, down 1.3%. Unit sales are down 4%, to 38.46 million. Meanwhile, sales of female contraceptives are up 9.4% to $421.9 million.

The decrease in condom sales is not due to a lack of sex. Although some media stories have indicated that millennials socialize in groups and tend not to date or have sex as often as expected, a recent report from dating app Match.com refutes the sex-drought myth. In its ninth annual “Singles in America” study, which surveyed more than 5,000 single men and women living across the United States, the matchmaking company found that 49% of Gen Z and millennials are motivated to find a sex partner, and most millennials and Gen Z singles reported being sexually active within the last week. When asked how often they’d like to have sex, the majority of both Gen Z and millennials said 2-to-3 times per week. Okamoto USA, which makes thin condoms called 0.04, has been working to educate consumers, especially younger adults, about condom use. “Most people think of condoms as a nuisance, so you’re trying to get people to use products they don’t want to use,” said an Okamoto spokesperson. “There is a whole group of millennials and now Generation Z that are not educated about STIs.” This audience also lacks substantial knowledge about condoms. “When you ask what kind of condom they use, nine times out of 10 they say lubricated, but they’re all lubricated,” the spokesperson said. “People know more about their shampoo than about their condoms.” To help remedy this, Okamoto launched a new line called Wink. The company tested several names, and Wink resonated because it suggests the wink emoji and being in on a joke or a secret. The company is supporting the launch with social media, online marketing and with a large quantity of samples. Consumers can visit the Wink website and request free samples by filling out a form. That starts a conversation with the shopper. “We want them to connect with us, and we’re going to connect with them,” the spokesperson said. “We want to get them to feel comfortable talking to us. It’s a very serious and personal subject, and we are going to do it in a fun yet serious way.” dsn


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Okamoto Debuts Line of Condoms Okamoto U.S.A. has introduced Wink, a line of condoms available in Slider, Closer, Studded and Super. Slider and Closer are 0.04 mm thick, similar to the brand’s flagship 0.04 thin condoms. Studded is textured and is 0.07 mm thick, while Super is an extra large 0.065 mm condom. All condoms come lubricated.

PlusOne Follows Up Launch

Trigg Labs Adds Flavor Trigg Labs is expanding its line of Wet Desserts Lubricants. The newest flavor is Wet Desserts Frosted Cupcake Flavored Lubricant. The company’s fruit and dessert lines are free of sugar, parabens and gluten, and are available nationally at major food, drug and mass retailers. The lightweight and stain-free lubricants have a silky-smooth formula that washes away easily with water. Other flavors include salted caramel, whipped cream, bananas foster and crème brûlée.


Sexual wellness brand plusOne has added to its line of adult products available at brick-andmortar retailers. Last year, the Newton, Mass.based Clio corporate group company launched its premium but affordably priced Vibrating Bullet, Dual Vibrating Massager and other devices. This fall, the line is expanding with more products, including a Mini Massager and Air Pulsing Arouser, offering novel new sensations at the same affordable prices. With a compact form that fits in the palm of one’s hand, the Mini Massager offers a discreet experience that’s shaped to conform to the body’s curves. The Air Pulsing Arouser offers an innovative sensation: instead of vibration, the product stimulates through gentle puffs of air. Also new are plusOne self-care products, with a personal lubricant and toy cleaning wipes that pair with the rest of the line. These plusOne products are available at mass retailers across the country.

Lifestyles Intros Intimate Accessories Skyn, the condom and lubricants brand from LifeStyles Healthcare, launched three new intimate accessories — Skyn Vibes, Skyn Shiver and Skyn Thrill. Skyn Vibes is a quiet, yet powerful massager that is ergonomically designed to offer a custom pleasure experience by featuring 20 speeds and pulsations. Skyn Shiver, a slightly smaller device than Vibes, is a sleek bullet massager that offers strong vibrations with seven speeds and modes. The smallest and sleekest device, Skyn Thrill, is a travel-sized accessory designed to look like a tube of lipstick for discreetness. The device features three speeds and is gold-plated for a sleek finish. All of the new devices are USB rechargeable and waterproof.


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Homeopath to Success No longer reserved for specialty retailers, homeopathic remedies are approaching their heyday By David Salazar


omeopathic products at retail are one of the biggest success stories of a niche category going mainstream. Thanks to a confluence of factors — including the efficacy of homeopathic products, the increased interest from consumers in natural products, and the need for merchants to meet these consumer demands — the category, formerly reserved for health food stores or upscale natural retailers like Whole Foods Market, is quickly moving into traditional mass retail outlets. “The market for natural, homeopathic products has experienced significant growth, driven by an increasing demand for self-care and alternative medicine,” said Susan Hanson, COO of The Relief Products, a Reno, Nev.-based manufacturer of homeopathic products. “Add to this macro trend, the consumer’s emerging belief that, while pharmaceuticals sometimes suppress symptoms, homeopathic medicines work gently and systemically with the body’s healing mechanisms.” The latest numbers from Market Study Report show that the global homeopathy market will grow to $4.5 billion by 2024 from about $3.1 billion this year, a projected 6.3% compounded annual growth rate. The growth has been good for both consumers looking for effective products and mainstream retailers constantly on the lookout for new markets to entice these shoppers into their stores. “You can see a lot of the top sellers from places like Whole Foods moving over to CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and mass retailers like Target and Walmart,” said Alissa Gould, the volunteer communications chair of the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists. “In doing so, I think it’s helping those mainstream stores attract the natural shoppers into their stores, and it’s


connecting mainstream shoppers with these homeopathic products they may not have come across to begin with.” Gary Wittenberg, vice president of national accounts at Boiron USA, said that could be very good news for a retailer’s financial ledger, noting that the homeopathic shopper tends to have a larger market basket than other shoppers. He said that homeopathic growth has happened rather quickly over the course of the last decade. When he started at Boiron 10 years ago, the company had just one SKU at a national drug retailer — its Oscillococcinum flu relief product. Now, Boiron has 23 products on store shelves at that same retailer. The category also is largely driven by word of mouth, a grassroots trend that has one consumer telling another how well a homeopathic product worked for them. “It’s remarkable that with very little advertising

— in comparison with conventional medicines, homeopathic products don’t advertise as much — yet they still can earn their place turning over on shelf,” Gould said. As the category has grown, the AAHP has looked to bolster its regulatory-focused offerings. Typically, the organization offers three webinars a year. This year, it hosted its inaugural Quality and Safety Summit in Baltimore, where more than 100 attendees gathered for workshops focused on safety, quality and regulatory issues. It was keynoted by Francis Goodwin of the Food and Drug Administration’s office of quality and manufacturing. He reassured attendees that the FDA’s recent actions — in the first five months of 2019, the agency issued 10 warning letters to homeopathic companies — were the result of many companies being inspected for the first time, rather than larger issues regarding homeopathic ingredients and products. “He explained this is not an attack on homeopathy, but that a lot of these places were firsttime inspections,” said Gould, who also serves as Boiron USA’s director of corporate communications and public affairs. “I think our industry is going to improve greatly in terms of all the medicines out there being offered, and AAHP and Boiron certainly support this project the FDA is doing, completing these inspections in the interest of public safety.”

Opportunities Abound

Growth for homeopathic manufacturers has not just meant selling more of their flagship products, but expanding into new ones where growth is within reach. Los Angeles-based Hyland’s, which is a top seller in cough-cold, particularly children’s coughcold, has been targeting pain relief with its latest launches, the most recent of which is Flexmore Arthritis Pain Relief. The product, which comes in tablet form, kicked off at the National Association of


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As retailers look to expand their homeopathic sets, many top officials in this segment seem to agree on one key point — that the products not be relegated to a natural or homeopathic stand-alone set, but merchandised by need. Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo, and will be available in two SKUs, one of which is Flexmore P.M. to help consumers with occasional sleeplessness. Hyland’s president, Les Hamilton, said the products offer an additional option to those with arthritis pain. “We had great response to Flexmore. They have an easy-open bottle cap for people with arthritic hands and a complete formula that addresses the symptoms that people may be suffering from,” he said. “And since there are no known drug interactions with homeopathic products, you can take it in conjunction with other pain medications.” Flexmore joins an array of other analgesic products from Hyland’s, including ArniCare and ArniSport tablets — the former is designed for the “weekend warrior” with body aches, and the latter is meant more for pro athletes who have overexerted themselves. “There are four individually wrapped packages of four tablets in each box, so it’s easy for a runner or someone in the gym to take as they’re exercising,” Hamilton said. “You don’t have to carry a bottle around with you. It’s


nice to address the pain and so forth immediately while you’re exercising.” Hyland’s also has reformulated its Muscle Therapy with Arnica pain relief gel to be free of parabens, and with a new viscosity and color. The product still addresses muscle stiffness, bruising, swelling and soreness, Hamilton said, noting that “it’s a holistic, complete formula in our topical.” The idea of daytime and nighttime formulations that Hyland’s is using is one that The Relief Products also brings to its products. “Some OTC products today treat the patient with ‘day care’ only. Unfortunately, many conditions grow more difficult at night, such as pink eye, blepharitis, eye fatigue, tinnitus, allergies, etc.,” Hanson said. “Understanding consumer needs for 24/7 relief, The Relief Products offers relief from common ailments that tend to worsen at night.” The latest daytime/nighttime introduction from TRP are Nighttime Eye and Ear Care products, complementing its existing daytime drops. TRP’s Pink Eye Relief PM is designed to relieve burning and grittiness, as well as

overnight crusting, swelling and sleeplessness. “The Relief Products’ complementary nighttime medicines have allowed us to expand the daytime/nighttime segment, which for a long time has been applied primarily to cough and cold remedies,” Hanson said. At Boiron, the company is looking to expand its cough-cold and flu platform. The company supported its Oscillococcinum and ColdCalm products with ThroatCalm, a quick-dissolve sore throat relief tablet that has performed well. “Consumers have really embraced this natural solution versus products that just numb your sore throat,” Wittenberg said.“Consumers have really embraced this better-for-you solution versus products that just numb your sore throat,” Wittenberg said. He noted that the company has plans to launch a nasal congestion and sinus relief product, SinusCalm.

Making it Work

As retailers look to expand their homeopathic sets, many top officials in the segment seem to agree on one key point — that the products not be relegated to a natural or homeopathic stand-alone set, but rather merchandised by category or need state. “It gives the consumer a choice at the shelf when they’re looking for pain management, cough-cold products or whatever they need,” Hamilton said. The Relief Product’s Hanson said that retailers should be aware of the part they play in growing the category, adding that retailers need a keen eye for necessary innovation. “Retailers must understand that they must play an increased role in the continued emergence of these more natural and gentler medicines,” she said. “[Retailers should] recognize that there is no limit to patientbeneficial innovation, if retail decision-makers support those new entrants with fundamental, informed reviews as to how they will benefit the health and well-being of their patients.” Wittenberg emphasized the importance of informing pharmacy staff about homeopathic offerings. “Education is so important,” he said. “Outside of the doctor, pharmacists are the ones who are recommending the most products, and there’s not always that synergy between what the buyer places on the shelf and what the pharmacist is aware of.” dsn


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Organic Valley’s Fuel Focuses on Protein Organic Valley is packing organic protein and essential nutrients into its Fuel protein milkshake. Developed in response to consumer demand for high-protein and low-sugar options, Fuel highprotein milkshakes are produced without the use of pesticides or artificial growth hormones, the La Farge, Wis.-based company said. “Consumers want options that taste great and adhere to the strict USDA organic guidelines from a company that aligns with their values,” said Laurie Drake, senior brand manager at Organic Valley. “Organic Valley Fuel provides all that and more — great taste, high protein, low sugar, and the added benefit of knowing that the product comes from our cooperative of small family farmers that are committed to upholding the highest standards of animal care.” Containing 50% less sugar than its predecessor, the shake has 20 g of protein and is available in three flavors — chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Starting with USDA certified organic milk from the cooperative’s pasture-raised cows, Organic Valley uses an innovative ultra-filtering process that reduces the naturally occurring sugar lactose in milk, the company said. The products are available in single 11-oz. cartons that retail for $2.99, in four packs that retail for 10.99 and in 12 packs that retail for $29.99.

Baby Brand Dapple Makes Walmart Debut Dapple’s plant-based products for babies now are more widely available. The Cincinnati-based company launched its line of personal care products in Walmart’s health and beauty department. Adhering to a plant-based methodology while also providing moisturization, Dapple’s product lineup includes such offerings as shampoo and body wash, baby lotion and more on the retailer’s shelves. “Leading baby care products are largely petroleum based, yet the effectiveness of alternative products was underwhelming,” said John Pearson, Dapple’s CEO. “Today’s parents don’t have to choose between a product that’s plant based and one that actually works. Our products are plant based and as pure as possible, with no brighteners, dyes, artificial fragrances or fillers. The personal care line provides 48 hours of moisturization, much longer than other brands.” The brand’s products, which also incorporate prebiotics to help restore and rebalance baby’s natural skin barrier, are nontoxic, tear-free, hypoallergenic, and pediatrician and dermatologist tested, the company said.


Natrol Launches Kids Melatonin Natrol is rolling out a new product aimed at helping children get to sleep. The company has launched Natrol Kids Melatonin, which is made to help children get back to a better sleeping schedule as they return to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 6-in-10 middle schoolers do not get enough sleep every night. “When children get fewer hours, especially over time, it builds up in the body as sleep deprivation that can affect growth, development and the ability to learn at school,” said Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician focused on sleep and healthy lifestyle. “Sudden changes in routine, like going from a summer schedule back to school, can be highly disruptive and throw children off cycle. In those cases, in addition to good sleep hygiene routines, a low-dose melatonin supplement like new Natrol Kids Melatonin can help get kids back on track with their sleep — it’s what I recommend to my patients who may have some difficulty sleeping.” Natrol Kids Melatonin is available in fast-dissolve tablets and gummies. The strawberry-flavored, fast-dissolve tablets each contain 1 mg of melatonin and 1 mg of lemon balm. The berry-flavored gummies contain 1 mg of melatonin. Both products are vegan, non-GMO and free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. They are recommended for children age 4 years old and older.


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Commonsense Snacking The better-for-you snack segment continues to see an infusion of innovation By Carol Radice


mericans are obsessed with snacking. Salty snacks, savory snacks, jerky, nuts, bars, cookies — the list goes on and on. And, as study after study has found, consumers increasingly are not only in love with snacks, often times they are choosing them instead of having a sit-down meal. In fact, research from Mintel shows some 90% of U.S. consumers eat at least one snack a day, with millennials consuming far

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more. As snacking occasions have risen, so too have the number of options available to consumers. While a wide variety of traditional choices still can be found, retailers increasingly are stocking shelves with better-for-you options. Many of these so-called, alternative snacks feature limited ingredient profiles and are plant- or vegetable-based. According to Expo East officials, the number of companies producing better-for-you snacks is on the rise, and many of them will

be exhibiting at this month’s show at the Baltimore Convention Center. One of the fastest-growing subsegments in the category is nutritional snacking, organizers said. Carrie Kocik, a spokesperson for New Hope Network, said the snack category is benefitting from the larger consumer trend related to healthy eating and better nutrition. Betterfor-you snacks are attractive because they offer consumers a portable and convenient way to eat healthier, she said.


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With sweet snacks, consumers are scrutinizing the amount of sugar they are consuming and becoming more aware of how much is imbedded in the products they eat. Kocik predicted that as this continues to grow in importance, more companies would look to minimize the added sugar they include and start considering such natural sweeteners as maple syrup, honey and dates. So, what is driving this interest in healthier snacking? Market researchers found that interest in grain-free and paleo dieting are two key contributors. According to the just released “State of the Natural Industry” report from SPINS, which looked at data collected during the last three years — from the 52 weeks ended May 21, 2017 to the 52 weeks ended May 19, 2019 — paleopositioned products grew by 45.3% to $537 million and grain-free products increased 76% to $272 million. While double-digit gains were seen across all channels, growth was faster in conventional outlets, which the report authors said was an indicator of the trend’s power and continued opportunity in the mainstream. Paleo’s profound impact is highly visible in the chips, pretzels and snacks category, where paleopositioned products are up 164% to $41 million and grain-free snacks are up 258% to $30 million. In looking at these changes in shopper behavior, Joseph Serventi, CEO of Plainview, N.Y.-based Hippeas, said consumers are shying away from products offering empty calories and are pushing to have more snacks with substance introduced, particularly ones that are vegan and plant-based. “People are looking for organic, gluten-free and plant-based snacks with superior and clean nutritional profiles,” he said. Given the rise in the number of people with food allergies, Serventi sees an opportunity for snack companies to introduce more allergen-friendly options.

Less is More

While it is true that consumers increasingly look to snacks for their nutritional benefits, others are looking for clean and simple ingredient profiles. Ken Cross, chief marketing officer at Voortman Bakery in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, said consumers are seeking

snack products with real ingredients, including fruits, vegetables and all-natural flavors. Interest in better-for-you products has been so extreme, Cross said the company has had to install an entire new line in its bakery to keep up with the demand. The interest in all things simple also extends to nutritional bars. Brooklyn, N.Y.based Freedom Bar was founded with just this concept in mind. According to CEO Saul Nadoff, when he created his company, the goal was to offer an all-natural bar that could be eaten by most consumers, with or without dietary restrictions. Through an arduous research and development process, he has created a limited-

ingredient bar that is non-GMO, vegan and kosher, and is free of gluten, dairy, soy and added sugar. Featuring just 4 to 6 ingredients, the bars are ideal for anyone with strict dietary needs, but also appeal to those looking for a healthy snack. Nadoff said in looking at other bar options on the market, he found many so-called health bars with highly processed ingredients and unnecessary sugar. “People are tired of trusting brands only to find they have been lied to,” he said. To be as transparent as possible, the company lists the products’ features clearly on the front of the package, with images of each ingredient in the bar. “It is such a good feeling to know you


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created something that helps people who follow restrictive diets, and, at the same time, people who are looking for healthy alternative snacks are attracted to our bars too,” he said. Given that salty snacks are one of the largest dollar contributors to the category, it is not surprising that companies in the segment are offering better-for-you options. For the past several years, Hanover, Pa.-based Utz Quality Foods has quietly been expanding its better-for-you snack portfolio to include such brands as Good Health, Snikiddy and Boulder Canyon. Following the simple ingredient premise, its Boulder Canyon kettle-cooked chips are made with potatoes, oil and salt. The company cooks the chips in different specialty oils, including avocado, coconut, olive, sunflower, safflower and, most recently, rice bran oil. According to Utz marketing officials, each of the oil varieties selected imparts hints of different flavor nuances, while creating a crisp crunch. Another snack company making a name for itself is Peeled Snacks. According to its website, the mission of the Cumberland, R.I.-based company is to create clean-label snacks that are as close to nature as possible. Their line of flavored organic baked pea snacks — puffs and crisps — provides half a cup of veggies per serving and are high in protein and fiber. In a press release, Noha Waibsnaider, founder of Peeled Snacks, said that when she started the company 10 years ago, she set out to make a line of healthy snack products that

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Just as pricing and placement are important components to boosting sales, so too is making sure shelves are stocked with the on-trend products consumers are looking for. That encompasses products featuring natural fruit and unique taste combinations. would energize people and satisfy cravings without a “crash and burn” effect. Peeled Snacks, she said, are made with real food, have no refined sugars or preservatives, have no cholesterol, are Non-GMO Project-verified, certified gluten-free, and USDA organic certified.

Playing with Pricing and Placement

Products may be wide and varied, but the consensus from snack companies is the same — better-for-you snacks sell best when placed in the traditional snack aisle and are boldly called out with signage. And, as some have discovered, compared with other grocery segments, cookies are not as price sensitive as once thought. For example, Voortman officials said given that the lift from executing a price promotion at a modest discount is almost the same as at a deep discount, the best strategy is to increase the frequency of its ads and decrease the depth of its features. The other key observation company officials

made was that the lift from products on display is virtually the same at regular retail price as it is at a modest discount. “We have found that innovation is a much better driver of velocity off a display than price discounting,” Cross said. “By executing against these findings, we have been able to generate meaningful, profitable growth for us and for retailers.” The topic of placement is a little less black and white for nutritional bars. Seen as largely an impulse item, bars are versatile enough to be displayed throughout many locations within the store. For many companies, the first choice is for their better-for-you bars to be placed alongside conventional breakfast, energy and snack bars because, as Nadoff pointed out, “people who are shopping for a bar will see what we have to offer, how it compares to others and appreciate our message.” He also advised those who have the space to consider secondary placement options, including the front end.


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Mergers on the Rise

Innovation in Focus

Just as pricing and placement are important components to boosting sales, so too is making sure shelves are stocked with the on-trend products consumers are looking for. With better-for-you snacks, often that not only include products that are healthier, but also encompass products featuring natural fruit, unique taste combinations and culturally inspired flavors. In fact, according to Cross, some of the most successful innovations at Voortman have centered around the introduction of new flavors. “Consumers are looking for fresh and natural flavors, and we have responded with flavor options that are not typically available in baked goods,” he said. “This includes products like mango, orange cream, maple and key lime.” With so many salty snack options on the market, companies are differentiating themselves both through ingredients and globally-influenced flavors. For instance, Lundberg Family Farms, based in Richvale, Calif., recently introduced Bold Bites. The snack chips, made from organic rice, corn and black chia, come in such varieties as Sea Salt, Cheese Pizza, Street Taco, Korean BBQ, Mango Chile and Samosa. Another company that has not shied away from offering unique flavors is Hippeas. Its line of organic chickpea puffs come in such distinctive flavors as Vegan White Cheddar, Sriracha Sunshine, Bohemian Barbeque,

Pepper Power, Nacho Vibes and Himalayan Happiness. The company also has gone bold with its deliberately designed bright yellow bags to stand out on the shelf. “At Hippeas, we have made a commitment to keep all our snack innovations organic, vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO,” Serventi said. “It’s important to listen to consumers not just for trends, but for product innovations that will make their lives better.” Some companies are choosing to put a new twist on traditional flavors. As an example, Boulder Canyon’s latest flavor, Canyon Cut Sharp White Cheddar Kettle Chip, combines the sharp and tangy notes of aged white cheddar with a crunchy, ridgecut chip. The new variety features NonGMO Project-verified cheese and glutenfree ingredients. Boulder Canyon has taken a similar approach with its line of clean-label beef jerky. Available in four varieties — original, sweet, hot and teriyaki — the jerky is made with real ingredients, is gluten-free and offers 13 g of protein. Beyond taste, companies also are innovating with portability and convenience in mind. For instance, Freedom Bar recently launched Freedom Minis, 10 individually wrapped bite-sized bars for when people want a little something to snack on rather than an entire bar. Additionally, the company is currently working on launching a granola bar line for late 2019. dsn

As interest in healthy snacks increases year over year, the industry is seeing a number of mergers take place. Most recently, Simply Good Foods, parent company of Atkins and Simply Protein, acquired Quest Nutrition. Together, the two will have combined sales of more than $800 million. Quest Nutrition’s key products include bars, cookies, chips and pizza. Its brand has a loyal following and strong appeal with consumers between the ages of 18 to 44 years old. Joseph Scalzo, president and CEO of Simply Good Foods, said the merger would give his company access to Quest Nutrition’s experience within e-commerce, social platforms, specialty and other non-tracked distribution channels, while Quest Nutrition will benefit from Simply Good Foods’ expertise in building distribution in FDM channels and growing brand awareness. “The acquisition of Quest strengthens Simply Good Foods’ position within the nutritional snacking category by expanding our portfolio of brands and product offerings, while also providing us with greater consumer and channel diversification,” Scalzo said in a press release. “This combination delivers on our strategy to become a broader nutritional snacking company that offers consumers a wide range of brands and products that satisfy their nutritional needs.” In June, Mondelez announced it was purchasing a majority interest in Perfect Snacks, a San Diego-based company best known for its Perfect Bars, a line of refrigerated nutrition bars and bites for adults, and Perfect Kids, a line of bars aimed at younger consumers. Company officials said the move was made in part to help them gain entrance into the fastgrowing well-being and refrigerated snacking segments. — Carol Radice


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Rising Stakes for Social Responsibility Retailers are facing more pressure to relay credible progress on efforts By David Orgel

S 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.


ome years ago, social responsibility was a new concept, and its staying power wasn’t so clear. Not any longer. This topic not only has grown in importance, but also is impacting retailers in new ways. There is more evidence that consumers care a lot about this, and that retailer reputation depends on it. Maybe consumers are looking to the private sector to fill a larger void at a time of great polarization in our nation’s public discourse and political landscape. And who is more high profile in the private sector than retailers? More retailers get this. They are stepping up commitments on issues, such as sourcing transparency, animal welfare, packaging reduction and ethical workplaces. Retailers are giving more thought to how to best relay success stories. As more companies boost commitments, it raises the bar on how others need to respond. These strategies increasingly are essential to retailer reputations. They can no longer be ignored. When Harris Insights & Analytics unveiled its annual reputation survey earlier this year, it measured companies for such attributes as culture, trust, ethics and citizenship. Retailers making the top 10 included Wegmans, Amazon and Publix Supermarkets. You may question one or more of these picks, but it’s hard to argue with the premise that responsibility links to reputation. “The results speak to the growing role companies play in our social discourse, and America’s increasing desire for companies to take action on tackling social issues of the day,” said Neil Stern, senior partner at McMillanDoolittle, in a March column for Forbes. Social responsibility is taking more of a central role in retailer communications. I recently heard a senior Walmart executive at a conference emphasizing the retailer’s stances on palm oil and post-consumer plastics in describing

the central importance of sustainability in its efforts. There was no mistaking how much this message was being tied to the retailer’s overall mission. Likewise, DSN recently reported on a presentation by Kroger’s Gil Phipps, vice president of Our Brands, who outlined the retailer’s sustainability efforts in the Philippines, Rwanda and Egypt. His point was that social responsibility needs to be placed alongside other attributes like premium and exclusive as one of the key areas of product focus. That’s quite a commitment, and other retailers should take note. There’s definitely a generational aspect at play here. Phipps called out millennials in particular as a cohort that prioritizes social responsibility in making buying decisions. Having said that, I’m concerned about consumer skepticism and confusion. While sustainability is important to more than half of U.S. consumers, most say it’s difficult to know whether products are environmentally sustainable, according to this year’s Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation. Retailers need to make sure that claims are believable and proven. After all, consumers aren’t shy about calling out retailers that they suspect may be falling short. A new report from Solutions for Retail Brands analyzed consumer feedback on Twitter about six U.K. grocery retailers. Much of the commentary was about product preferences, but sustainability topics figured prominently. In fact, the excessive use of plastics in packaging by retailers was a major topic. It’s more crucial than ever for retailers to figure out how social responsibility should play in their organizations. Each retailer doesn’t need to solve all the world’s problems. However, relaying responsible and credible efforts on a few topics will go a long way towards boosting reputations and driving consumer trust. dsn


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