Homeopathic and natural solutions claim their shelf space

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Homeopathic and natural solutions claim their shelf space

By Michael Johnsen - 03/08/2018
Natural is now the name of the game. A lot of center store buyers have been seeing this trend play out across the food aisles, but it’s a consumer trend that’s impacting the over-the-counter medicine space, as well.

That’s why officials at companies offering homeopathic remedies and other natural solutions have said their products continue to resonate with consumers — they represent an alternative to traditional medicines.

But rather than creating a natural remedy destination set, suppliers said that retailers looking to best capitalize on that natural trend should merchandise these homeopathic solutions within their respective categories. “The wellness industry is exploding across categories,” John Ende, general manager, Americas, at natural remedy manufacturer Nelsons, said. “[But] consumers want what they want where they shop, regardless of drug class or category.”

Similasan director of marketing Yann Pigeaire echoed Ende, noting that the time has come for homeopathic products to get a share of shelf space alongside traditional OTCs.

“Homeopathy is a category that continues to grow, which means there is more and more consumer demand for it,” Pigeaire said. “I would recommend for retailers to look for those [homeopathic] solutions and give them proper place inside the planogram. Try to avoid merchandising it in its own natural section outside [of the category]. That’s not how people shop.”

But shop they do — for the calendar year 2017, homeopathic remedies generated $400.9 million in sales on growth of 1.2% across total food, drug and mass multi-outlet centers, SPINS reported. The lion’s share of that growth is coming out of cough-cold solutions. The cough-cold category represented 36.4% of the total homeopathic market and was growing at a double-digit rate even before this past season’s virulent flu season created a run on all cough-cold products. However, homeopathic and other natural solutions cut across many categories, including sleep, eye care and pain relief.

Nelsons, for example, has developed a strong natural solution set across stress relief and sleep. “We work closely with our retail partners to select the best products for each of their retail sets. That may mean we have full distribution of limited SKUs, and limited distribution of others. When the product assortment and distribution plan is co-created with our retail partners, both sides win,” Ende said, adding that it’s important to get merchandising right. “We work with key retail partners to develop merchandising units and materials that work for the product assortment, the consumer and the retailer.”

In eye care, Similasan has created a natural solution set that cuts across age-related conditions, as well as allergy. “The factor that’s unique about eye care generally is it tends to get worse with age,” Pigeaire said. “But conditions like allergy continue to impact consumers at a younger age.”

And the homeopathic pain-relieving ingredient arnica has developed a strong following in mass markets, judging by the success of Boiron’s Arnicare, a perennial top-10 external analgesic best seller across food, drug and mass channels.

“Retailers should increase their offerings in [all of these] categories,” Gary Wittenberg, vice president of national sales at Newtown Square, Pa.-based Boiron USA, said. “Clearly, the consumer has spoken in looking for these types of products. A retailer would be wise to beef up their entire natural offering.”


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