Q&A: Piping Rock looks to build future growth

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Q&A: Piping Rock looks to build future growth

Kim Vigliante, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Piping Rock, said that innovation and driving sales are the focus of the Bohemia, N.Y.-based company’s marketing plans. Drug Store News spoke with her about the company.

Drug Store News: Tell us about Piping Rock and what’s new with the company.
Kim Vigliante: Our focus at Piping Rock across all our different brands is on driving sales and bringing new, innovative products to market. We offer the latest trending products in wellness at an unbeatable value because of our ability to do in house what many competitors outsource. Because of this, we can guarantee excellent quality, a great price and, importantly, speed to market.

To support our growing demand and to better serve our customers, we are building for future growth and investing in our company infrastructure, research and development, as well as customized information technology systems. Additionally, part of our growth strategy includes facility expansion plans. We are very excited to announce the opening of our new Aurora, Ohio facility this summer. This new location was carefully chosen to better leverage our operational capabilities and enhance our shipping access points throughout the country.

As we strive for product and quality excellence, our new products support a “clean” platform, which includes, but is not limited to non-GMO, gluten-free, preservative-free, etc.

DSN: Are new products hitting the market?
KV: In terms of new products, we’ve launched quite a few this year that are right on pace with the latest supplement trends.

With the growing popularity of the Keto Diet, MCT oil has become a highly demanded product by consumers. Our Nature’s Truth 100% Pure MCT Oil is a vegetarian, unflavored, Keto-friendly liquid. We also will be introducing additional MCT oil products in the coming months.

Another segment that has generated a lot of buzz is hemp oil. We have launched both a hemp oil concentrated liquid formula and a soft gel formula. We are seeing immediate success early in the launch and expect this category to surge with rapid sales growth.

We also have two new black elderberry supplements in Nature’s Truth. At Nature’s Truth, we offer Sambucus Black Elderberry in a capsule and also a super-concentrated liquid, both of which are crafted from handpicked berries only found in the nutrient-rich soil of the Austrian mountains.

DSN: How is the VMS category performing? What are the trends out there?
KV: We are very pleased that we continue to be the top broadline growth driver in the entire U.S. vitamin category, as well as No. 1 in essential oils, according to Nielsen.

The VMS category, on average, has seen moderate growth over the past year, according to Nielsen, with minimal sales growth of 2% this latest 13 weeks and 4% for the latest 52 weeks. The brands that are driving growth are the ones bringing innovation forward that is relevant and aligns with the latest consumer trends. These brands truly understand what consumers are looking for.

DSN: How can retailers maximize sales in this category?
KV: Retailers should lead with innovation, not duplication. I cannot tell you how many SKU rationalizations we’ve done with retailers that show shelves stocked with significant duplication from categories that are declining. For example, by filling the shelf with 40 different fish oils and 40 different vitamin Cs, retailers aren’t optimizing their assortment. They may, in fact, be confusing customers with too many options. By offering a wider selection of differentiated products, retailers will be better positioned to react and keep on pace with ever-changing industry trends. By partnering with us, we can help retailers identify these opportunities, drive foot traffic and maximize sales.

DSN: What can you offer retailers to help educate consumers?
KV:We want our retailers to succeed, which is why we work with them closely on developing plans that support their specific needs. We have had a lot of success with targeted social media outreach programs, email campaigns and specialty microsites that educate consumers and support specific initiatives. Through these different programs, we can highlight trending products at a specific retailer and even drill down to a specific location to draw consumer traffic into their store.

In addition to these programs, we’ve partnered with retailers to educate their in-store health and beauty advisors on our products, so that they can better educate consumers. At store-level, we also work with retailers on signage, shelf cards and displays that communicate our message in main traffic aisles.

Kim Vigliante is the senior vice president of sales and marketing at Piping Rock.