Not surprisingly, it appears as if the first aid category is ahead of the curve — and a bit of a lifesaver for consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Historically dependent on preparedness shopping, the category is perfectly suited to thrive during the crisis, as consumers have become more mindful of what they need to stock up on in order to minimize trips to the store.
Suppliers and retailers in the space said that helping consumers be prepared for anything plays a large part in their efforts, in terms of both assortment and education. At the same time, preparedness has not hampered innovation nor efforts on the part of retailers to play up their store brands in the space. Additionally, players in the first aid category are looking for better ways to meet consumer needs by stocking better-tailored first aid kits at a time when the segment is seeing strong sales growth.
Innovation is not just reserved for suppliers, though. Indeed, the first aid tape, bandage, gauze and cotton segment is dominated by private label, based on IRI data for the year ended July 12 in U.S. multi-outlets. Recognizing the potential, CVS Pharmacy also has been bolstering the positioning of its private-label offerings in first aid by bringing innovation to the space alongside national brands and category mainstays.
“At CVS Pharmacy, we are proud to lead with innovation from our store-brand products within the first aid category, while ensuring we also have the extensive national brand options for our customers — ensuring we always are staying on trend and identifying unique marketplace opportunities,” said Brenda Lord, CVS Health vice president of store brands and quality assurance. “First aid and wound care is a category we’ve been innovating in for years, from launching unique Manuka Honey Bandages to diversifying our first aid kits to suit a variety of needs that are not one-size-fits-all.”
The retailer’s CVS Health store-brand Manuka Honey Bandages are sold in two iterations — adhesive strips and spot bandages, both of which are waterproof and infused with medical-grade honey meant to help maintain a moist environment for optimal wound healing.
At Randob Labs, innovation has taken the form of new packaging and innovative delivery methods for its flagship Sting-Kill product.
For Sting-Kill, Randob Labs president Jim Creagan said the company worked with the Emerson Group to create packaging with clear benefits messaging. Creagan credited the messaging as playing a role in the product getting chain-wide distribution at CVS Pharmacy. The packaging was featured on the company’s signature Sting-Kill swabs and its newer Sting-Kill wipes, which offer a convenience-minded approach to neutralizing the pain associated with bee and wasp stings.
“Sting-Kill swabs and wipes are single-use, convenient and unique delivery forms, but more importantly are extremely easy to use,” Creagan said. “This is especially important when a sting first occurs so as to administer immediate relief. Both Sting-Kill swabs and wipes portability lends it to easily fit into a backpack, car glove compartment or medicine cabinet.”
Randob also is highlighting its Chiggerex as a product that is essential for consumers in the 19 states where chiggers are highly concentrated, or the 12 states where they can be a nuisance. Having revived the once-defunct brand after acquiring it, Creagan said that it still sells well among those who need it.
“Retailers in these affected areas should stock Chiggerex because it continues to be the No. 1 selling brand for the treatment of chigger bites and has a large, loyal following because its unique formula works so well,” he said. “In fact, during its short disappearance from the market until Randob Labs acquired the brand, consumers were searching where to find Chiggerex and some were paying near $50 a bottle on eBay.”