Food Intolerance as Infinity Zone for Future CHC Growth

The parents of a 15-year old who died in 2016 from anaphylaxis have set up a groundbreaking £2.2mn (US$2.7mn) oral immunotherapy trial focusing on children and young people with milk and peanut allergies. The 3-year oral immunotherapy (OIT) trial is the first major study funded by The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, a charity set up by Natasha’s parents. The aim is to prove that everyday foods containing peanut or milk, which when taken carefully according to a standardised protocol under medical supervision, can be used as an alternative to expensive pharmaceuticals to desensitise patients. “This project presents a unique opportunity to establish immunotherapy as a practical treatment that will allow people with food allergies to live a normal life,” said Professor Hasan Arshad from the University of Southampton, which is leading the trial in collaboration with partner universities and clinical allergy centres.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: Anyone who has attended one of my recent Global Trends presentations will know that I am passionate about “The Future Resumed”, picking up the Infinity Zones from the CHC New Paradigms report I co-wrote in 2019. These are as attractive today as they were then, with just a two-year delay in progress caused by Covid-19. One of the most exciting prospects is what we now call Health through Digestion, a broader category than just gut health, and stimulated by fairly new research proving that probiotics can assist the vital work of the gut-brain axis and deliver benefits to other parts of the human body. Conversely, food allergy and intolerance can have a negative influence on other parts of the body, which is why it is surprising that the CHC market for these conditions is so poorly developed.

When I reach this part in The Future Resumed presentation, I refer to a number of high-profile deaths of mainly young people, such as Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who inadvertently ate unlabelled foods with what for them were toxic substances. These are extreme examples, of course, and most of us will experience very mild side-effects, but let’s not forget that almost every person on this planet has at least one form of food allergy or intolerance.

Preventing or treating this widespread condition divides into three parts:

  1. Diagnosis, which will tell us the foods and drinks to which we are allergic or intolerant. At the moment this is a clinical procedure, but there is no reason why consumer health products can’t take over and build a very successful early-stage franchise
  2. Prevention. The second part is to avoid eating the particular foods to which we are intolerant, or if that is impossible to take some form of preventive agent, such as Lactaid (J&J) or Beano (Prestige)
  3. Treatment. If prevention is not possible – and often it isn’t as we just don’t know what is included in restaurant and fast foods – there will be very high demand for treatment products. Indeed, along with products for sleep and mood, this is the greatest area of unmet consumer demand in CHC

I strongly believe that most of this market will roll out in the consumer sector, but our industry seems shy of investing in the necessary R&D and clinical work and unwilling to build successful brands in what could be a US$10bn market in 10 years’ time.

Our newly-published 2022 edition of CHC Yearbook offers a comprehensive overview of leading markets and companies, global retailing and category and brand reviews. To order your copy, or for more information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

North America Conference Report

Nicholas Hall’s North America e-Conference was held last week, with various speakers giving inspiring presentations on the latest trends in the CHC market, innovations, rising brands, keys to brand success, modern marketing strategies and future growth categories.

Nicholas Hall began the webinar by unpacking current key trends in the industry, such as high interest in probiotic & prebiotic products and CBD, despite markets for both flatlining. He examined how many jumped on the immunity bandwagon in response to the pandemic, with brands such as elderberry-based Sambucol experiencing great success in 2020, but also how this category has seen a slowdown in the first few months of 2021. Nicholas concluded with a look ahead at Infinity Zones (future growth categories), which include probiotics, food allergy & intolerance, cannabis, sexual health and obesity (among others).

The following talks focused on the non-prescription imperative, and how the current challenge of access to health treatment in the USA may best be addressed. Mary Alice Lawless discussed the new and exciting capabilities of Biograph by Amwell, which uses fully customisable, layered frameworks for proper implementation of labelling strategies and allows for communication and education to be personalised to an individual profile. Jim Parker and Joseph McGovern discussed the issue of undertreatment in the USA and the steps that can be taken to increase and improve access to treatments on a non-prescription basis, including CHC product development and advances in technology to help consumers self-diagnose conditions and ensure proper self-selection. Clark Richardson finished this section of the webinar, concluding that the next crops of OTC switch candidates will require different tools to help consumers safely select and use medications, and that comprehension studies, self-selection studies and actual use studies must be undertaken.

The Non-Prescription Imperative: Switch to return as key driver of US OTC growth

Next up, Douglas Stukenborg gave insight into the keys to success he discovered when helping to create the Welly plaster brand. His tips included the need to start with the problem in a category rather than the answer, to limit/leverage distribution to manage risk and to launch fast & fix fast. Second in the segment on Challenger Brands, Daniel Hassan described how brands IB Gard, REMfresh and Fiber Choice became successful while 85% of new CPG brands fail. His advice included building enduring brands in the drug free space, creating patented prescription-quality innovations, winning support in the medical community, and providing science to allow educated consumers to believe in products and to allow doctors to recommend products.

Anna Mayo and Corinne Shindelar then discussed online sales trends, movement towards subscription services for vitamin products, the increasing popularity of click and collect and DTC brands, the trend towards clean and natural and plant-based products among younger consumers, the growth of the natural/organic industry, the increase in herbal supplement sales in the USA and the growth of consumer interest in GMO-free, cruelty free and vegan products. Finally, Michelle Bottomley described the “Modern Marketer’s Tool Kit”, with focus shifting from product-centric to consumer-centric, and from product sales to consumer portfolio growth. She also discussed how modern marketing can flex across a continuum of art & science to utilise multiple channels and integrate all communications to give 360-degree surround of the target consumer with a seamless, personalised experience at every point of contact. Steve Sowerby rounded off the conference with a helpful summary of each speaker’s contributions and some interesting closing thoughts for the industry moving ahead.

If you were unable to join, contact us to purchase a recording of the North America session. Next on the agenda is our APAC e-Conference 2021 on 23 November and the Latin America e-Conference 2021 on 14 December. To find out more about these conferences, entry submission criteria for any of the awards, or to book your place, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

Prevention better (and growing faster) than cure

otcinaction

For many years now, Nicholas Hall has been highlighting how OTC subcategories focused on prevention are growing faster than those directed towards treatment or intervention. This long-term trend in the CHC industry continues to take root, thanks to the growing power of categories like probiotics (another Infinity Zone, covered in last week’s blog).

At this year’s Vienna conference, Nicholas Hall presented a slide of the fastest-growing OTC subcategories by CAGR (2014-18), comparing those focused on prevention with those centred around treatment, and this showed that seven of the Top 10 most dynamic subcategories in recent years had a preventive focus. Sexual health is a relatively new driver of this trend, with two subcategories in the Top 5 – erectile dysfunction and emergency hormonal contraception.

Top 10 prevention

Vitamins, minerals & supplements have long been the main driver of this prevention trend, with probiotics and vitamin D the two key subcategories. Innovation and niche product positioning (i.e. to prevent allergies, candidiasis, age-related illnesses, etc) have helped fuel probiotics growth, while the dynamism of vitamin D sales has been driven by rising awareness of the high levels of deficiency in many markets and the benefits  of supplementation.

Herbal memory & brain health is an increasingly attractive subcategory, as exemplified by RB’s recent launch of Neuriva, a new product designed to support “brain fitness” and prevent cognitive decline. Royal jelly is taken widely in Europe and Asia-Pacific as a way to prevent fatigue, while just outside the Top 10 in CAGR terms are magnesium, zinc, pregnancy vitamins and hair & beauty supplements. According to OTC New Products Tracker, the latter was the fifth most active OTC subcategory in 2018 in terms of launch activity, with 150 innovations.

Last chance to pre-order Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.