DSN Retail Excellence Awards — Natural

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DSN Retail Excellence Awards — Natural

By Seth Mendelson - 01/08/2018
Standing out in a crowd.

That is pretty difficult when it comes to the natural products segment among HBC brands. With the category growing at steady double-digit rates for at least the last five years, a large number of suppliers have entered the market, all hoping to grab their fair share of this burgeoning segment.

The result has been a mixed bag for retailers, who are often caught between finding enough space for a hot category and making sure that they do not go overboard with selection, especially from companies that are simply offering redundant products that are already on the shelves.

Drug Store News wants to do its part to help retailers understand the suppliers who can help them make a difference. Our Retail Excellence (REX) Awards—Natural are designed to help merchants learn more about products that make a difference in this growing category. Here’s a look at the 2018 REX award winners:

Boiron
“We are the global leader in homeopathic products,” said Gary Wittenberg, vice president of national accounts for Newtown Square, Pa.-based Boiron USA. “No one sells more of these products than we do.”

Not bad for a nearly 86-year-old company founded in France by twin brothers Jean and Henri Boiron. Today Boiron offers more than 200 SKUs in a number of different segments, including cough-cold, external analgesics and children’s medicines. “We believe in educating the healthcare professional about Boiron and our many products,” Wittenberg said. “We want them to understand exactly what we offer and then give their recommendations to their patients. Besides our sales team, we also operate a medical sales team that is charged with influencing the influencers.”

Boiron has recently introduced ThroatCalm, designed to temporary relieve minor sore throat and hoarseness; Camilia, which relieves the symptoms of teething, including painful gums and irritability; and baby ColdCalm to the marketplace.

“Right now there are very few natural alternatives for mom to pick from on store shelves,” Wittenberg noted. “And, they are looking for natural alternatives, especially for their babies. If they can’t find it at your store, they will walk out and shop elsewhere.”

Carma Laboratories
For more than 80 years, Carma Laboratories has manufactured Carmex brand lip care products and, although Carma Labs is a family-owned business based in a small Wisconsin town, it produces an impressive volume of products for both national and international distribution.

The company continues to produce its original lip care formula in its iconic jars as well as tube and stick, and has expanded the line to include a natural formula, flavored moisture-rich lip care products and Carmex Cold Sore Treatment.

Carmex Comfort Care is a natural lip balm, providing long-lasting moisture with the help of nature’s best ingredients. It is formulated with natural colloidal oatmeal, contains antioxidant-rich fruit seed oil to help restore lips’ natural beauty and provide hydration, and helps defend against free radicals that accelerate the appearance of aging. The product also is formulated with beeswax and cupuacu butter to improve moisturization and soften lips. Carmex Comfort Care comes in three flavors: Mixed Berry, Sugar Plum and Watermelon Blast.

“We are committed to driving continued growth both for the brand and for our retailers by developing lip care products that consumers will love,” said Jona Mancuso, vice president of marketing for Carma. “The brand has a lot of market momentum right now with Carmex dollars sales up 10.7% in a lip balm category that is growing 1.9%. Extending the brand through meaningful innovation is one way we’ll work to maintain that momentum.”

Derma E
What started as a small health food store in southern California has turned into one of the leading natural skin care companies in the country. And officials at Simi Valley, Calif.-based Derma E are quite proud of that history.

“We have been in business for 34 years, and we are quite proud of our roots,” said Jeff Carducci, senior vice president of North American sales for the company. “We are the only one of the top 10 companies in the natural facial care segment that is still family-owned and not owned by a private equity group. We think that says a lot.”

Derma E offers about 100 SKUs in facial care, including products in the cleanser and moisturizer segments, as well as hair care, body care and therapeutic products. “Our mission is simple,” noted Carducci. “We want to deliver products that exceed the standards in the natural product category. We are an open book to what is inside all of our products, and we believe that strategy has helped us develop a strong emotional connection with consumers — and that we have earned their trust.”

He added that retailers need to focus on these types of products because of consumer interest in quality when it comes to skin care items. “The type of consumers who look for these products are highly educated and willing to spend money on the right products,” Carducci added. “Retailers who want to bring these types of consumers into their stores need to stock our items.”

Éclair Naturals
Company officials at Éclair Naturals said their mission is to create great natural products for people who are looking for these types of items. “We believe that everybody deserves to have access to luxurious body care products that are also natural, efficacious and affordable,” said John Matise, the company’s CEO.

[pb]“We also believe in being socially minded and environmentally conscious as a company. One example of this is where we take our bar soap trimmings and make ‘mutt soap’ which is a hodgepodge of many different types of our bar soaps. We then give this to our partner, Convoy of Hope, to be used in disaster relief efforts, homeless shelters and other community outreach programs. This accomplishes two of our company goals simultaneously — zero waste and helping those less fortunate.”

The Chatsworth, Calif.-based company focuses on three main strategies: the luxuriousness of products, the purity of its formulas and food-grade ingredients, officials said. Food-grade ingredients are used to create unique formulas that are also vegan, GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and cruelty-free. “We know our consumers won’t settle for anything less than the best, which is why we are rooted in our mission to bring them the purest, most luxurious ingredients,” Matise said. “That means never any harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, silicones, propylene glycol, or synthetic colors or fragrances. So there is never any cause for concern.”

The line includes a wide range of body and hair care products, including soaps, scrubs, bath bombs and bath salts, moisturizers, deodorants, hand sanitizers, shampoos and conditioners.

“Making our products affordable to everyone is one of our main objectives,” he said. “That is why they are priced at a ‘masstige’ level, and we focus our attention on the food, drug and mass markets for approachability and convenience. It is a challenge to make a difference in the constantly growing market of natural products, but we believe we bring a unique and more complex perspective by offering high-quality products that adhere to our strict brand promise and our ‘Never Any’ seal, one of the most comprehensive ‘free from’ lists in the industry.”

Healthy Ventures
Jim Lacey, CEO of Healthy Ventures, said that his company is perfectly positioned to take advantage of changing consumer demands. “The shopper today wants natural sleep aids,” he said. “The category is exploding because consumers are tired of synthetic products. Plus, our products work. They keep the person asleep without any of the side effects that come with synthetic products.”

The Westlake Village, Calif.-based company offers Berry Sleepy superfruit sleep aids an