Blazing ahead with HBC

Grocery Headquarters salutes companies in the health and beauty care categories that continue to make an impact at retail and beyond with its HBC 2013 Trailblazer Awards.

In June, Grocery Headquarters introduced the inaugural class of general merchandise Trailblazer Award winners. Now, the celebration moves on to the heath and beauty care industry, awarding the innovators and pioneers within its diverse categories.

hylandsManufacturers have chosen to set their sights on and dedicate their efforts to local communities and around the globe. Some have made a name for themselves in the history books with products that have been trusted for centuries. Others generate buzz with hot, new concepts.

Whether they are being recognized for product innovations and integrity, unique marketing initiatives, social responsibility or environmental sustainability, all have earned the right to call themselves a 2013 Grocery Headquarters Trailblazer Award winner.

Ansell Healthcare
Officials at Ansell Healthcare say one word sets them apart—innovation. “Ansell was the first to introduce, and is now the only condom manufacturer to offer a complete line of revolutionary non-latex polyisoprene condoms,” says Carol Carrozza, vice president, sales and marketing for the Iselin, N.J.-based company. Ansell-owned SKYN represents the next generation of condoms, recommended by 97% of users, based on consumer feedback, she adds. Since the introduction of SKYN Ansell has seen a dramatic increase in sales, with a 25% year-over-year increase.

Carrozza says Ansell strives to bring sexually active consumers advanced products. The company has expanded its product line to offer users greater sensitivity, enhanced stimulation and better sex by conducting rigorous consumer research and asking users what they want from a condom. “We then design products in response to their needs,” she says. “We are providing our users with expanded options in the sexual wellness categories with a variety of products for every need.”

BabySpa products have been developed to recognize that there is a clear distinction between the skin care needs of a newborn and those of a toddler. According to company officials, the Coral Gables, Fla.-based brand, owned by Expro3, offers a natural baby care collection with a targeted stages approach that works in harmony with a baby’s development. Each stage features products tailored to address the changing skin care needs as babies grow from newborns through toddlerhood.

Stage One products are formulated for the delicate skin of newborns through crawlers; a phase when their skin is more vulnerable to irritations, chaffing, flakes and dryness thus requiring soothing, healing and nourishing elements.

Stage Two products are formulated for toddlers’ tender skin. This is a phase where their skin is more developed and exposed to outdoor elements, changing climates and harsh environments thus requiring more protective, calming and hydrating elements.

“BabySpa is not only skin-friendly but eco-friendly, and as part of our commitment to sustainability, our ECOCERT certified ingredients are derived from renewable resources,” says Tino Reiser, BabySpa president and founder.

Brush Buddies
Brush Buddies was launched in 2008 to address a seemingly universal problem—how to convince consumers that the boring task of brushing at least twice a day fbrushbudor the dentist-recommended two minutes is vital to their health. After surveying thousands of dentists, parents and kids, Brush Buddies’ answer was to “make brushing fun” with innovative oral care products.

For 2013, the Fontana, Calif.-based company is developing more than 20 new products starting this summer. Brush Buddies is the exclusive oral care partner of The Smurfs 2 movie with Smurfs Talking, Poppin’ and Standard toothbrushes. This fall, Brush Buddies makes brushing fashionable with the Bling! toothbrushes in six colors, featuring hundreds of individual jewels embedded onto each handle.

Brush Buddies will also launch the SoniClean sonic cleaning toothbrush, which includes four specially designed brush heads for whitening, sensitive teeth, adults and kids. A UV Sanitizer that cleans all four brush heads is included. The holidays will see Brite Beatz, featuring a synchronized music and light show within a toothbrush. “As you can see, Brush Buddies’ mission is to keep producing new products to make brushing fun,” says Anish Patel, CEO.

Energizer Personal Care
In 2007, Energizer Holdings formed the Energizer Personal Care (EPC) division. This new division combined Schick Wilkinson Sword Razor and Blade portfolio with the then newly acquired Playtex Products portfolio, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen products, Wet Ones and Playtex Infant. The company continued to deepen its shaving brands with the addition of Edge and Skintimate in 2009 and the American Safety Razor Co. in 2011. Through it all there has been one constant: a continued emphasis on innovation and execution.

“The people who work at EPC love to question conventional wisdom in search of new insights and perspectives,” says Michael Law, senior director of customer strategy and development for Energizer Personal Care, based in Shelton, Conn. “Whether it’s a product innovation or a fresh strategic solution for a customer, there is a constant desire to ask, ‘How could this be better?’ along with a drive to make it so.”

Energizer’s sustainability efforts can be seen in the Energizer Charitable Trust, a program that helps kids and young adults in underserved communities across the U.S., as well as those affected by natural disasters across the globe. Energizer prides itself on being a company of thoughtful, caring people and having an open, collaborative environment where these people interact, connect, build on each other’s ideas and get things done, regardless of level and across functional boundaries.

Hyland’s/Standard Homeopathic Co.  
“Promoting health and wellness is at the heart of the Hyland’s mission,” says Les Hamilton, vice president, sales for the Los Angeles-based division of the Standard Homeopathic Co. “The Masters Athletes program, for example, supports the efforts of extraordinary role models as they inspire and motivate others to live an active lifestyle.”
In 2012, Hyland’s supported Project America Run founder and Masters Athlete, Mike Ehredt, as he ran a marathon every day for 81 days (2100 miles) stopping at every mile to plant a flag to honor fallen soldiers in Afghanistan.

Hyland’s Masters Athletes have also paired with organizations such as Healthworks Community Fitness in Boston, to help women train to run a 5K, and provided them with nutrition, conditioning and strengthening expertise.

At its website, Hyland’s Masters Athletes continue to provide consumers with a wealth of motivation, inspiration and tips to help them live healthy, active lives.

i-Health is dedicated to providing natural health solutions to meet consumer needs. “To live up to this commitment, we have developed an expert understanding of women, our core consumer, and their health needs,” says Susan Lewis, vice president of marketing for the Cromwell, Conn.-based company. “It is through this deep understanding of both their physical and emotional needs that we develop products that provide the solutions women are looking for.”

Whether it be relief of menopausal symptoms, urinary health or digestive health issues, i-Health’s products; Estroven, AZO and Culturelle, have provided natural solutions that women have come to depend on. All of the products in the i-Health portfolio are based on a consumer expressed health need and are formulated with innovative ingredients that are supported by science so consumers can rely on their performance, say officials.

“Retailers have come to rely on i-Health for bringing successful innovation to market. Our brands are number one in all of the categories that we participate in and are driving significant growth as well,” Lewis adds.

Jakemans has been a trusted brand in the UK for more than 100 years. Since launching in the U.S. in 2008, it has also been well received by American consumers looking for relief from coughs, colds and allergy symptoms. Made from quality, natural ingredients, Jakemans Throat & Chest lozenges have a pleasant flavor without being overpowering or having a “medicinal” taste and odor, say company officials.

“Drawing from its century old history, the Jakemans Throat & Chest brand reconnects us to a time when relief often came from natural remedies found at the local apothecary,” says Denis Cronin, master broker for Jakemans, which has U.S. offices in Manchester, N.H. “Nostalgic brands are becoming more popular as consumers look to connect with products that bring them back to simpler times. Jakemans Throat & Chest branding and packaging embodies this with its old fashioned look and feel.”

King Bio
Safecare, manufactured by King Bio, has a name that says it all. Safecare stands for safety and innovation in natural medicine that works without negative side effects. “Our formulas utilize homeopathy’s stellar, 200-year-old record of safety, while bringing it into the 21st century with an innovative taste-free, pure water-based, easy-to-use, oral spray delivery,” says David Gerhardt, vice president of sales for the Asheville, N.C.-based company.

King Bio officials say as huge retail changes continue to occur, success can be found with integration. They add that consumers are well informed as to their health care choices thanks to the Internet and media personalities such as Dr. Oz. Because of this they want safe, natural medicine without negative side effects and natural beauty care products without toxic chemicals.

“Mainstream retailers know that if they don’t carry these products, shoppers will go elsewhere, including specialty and natural food stores,” says Gerhardt. “Shoppers want to see all of their choices at once, so integration within categories is now working well. Even natural food store chains are learning this, as they once had homeopathy in its own section. Consumers are savvy, and safe health care is what they demand. Safecare delivers.”

Majestic Drug Co.
The Majestic Drug Co. was incorporated in 1950 as a wholesaler and distributor of pharmaceutical necessities. In 1979 it entered the niche oral care market with the launch of Dentemp Custom, an over-the-counter temporary dental repair designed to re-cement loose caps and replace lost fillings.

More recently, the South Fallsburg, N.Y.-based company has continued to innovate with Proxi-Plus, an interdental brush with a bonus flosser on the other end, Reline-It denture reliner and Senzzzzz Away, a tooth desensitizer designed to eliminate sensitivity to cold, sweets and heat for up to six months.

“Majestic’s commitment to providing innovative and high quality products at reasonable prices, supported by unparalleled customer service, continues to be the cornerstone of Majestic’s growth,” says David Fishman, executive president.  The company also promotes a family atmosphere with its employees, many of which have been with the company for quite a while.

Mason Vitamins
Established in 1967, Mason Vitamins has become known for providing quality nutraceutical supplements which consumers trust. The Miami Lakes, Fla.-based company manufactures more than 500 products, which they custom formulate, and is NSF- and ASI-certified.

In addition to supporting consumer health and wellness, Mason Vitamins does its part for the community as well. “Our community service encompasses support to major charities like American Cancer Society, Map International and BLUSOURCE along with our disaster aid relief to our independent community pharmacies and retailers,” says Gary Pigott, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Being in Florida, we’ve experienced more than enough hurricane devastations and we place heavy emphasis on getting our retailers back on their feet with free Mason products.”

Meda Consumer Healthcare
Meda Consumer Healthcare is the U.S. over-the-counter division of Stockholm-based Meda AB, a global specialty pharmaceutical company. As a key part of Meda’s business strategy, the consumer healthcare division extends Meda’s reach into the fast growing OTC and dietary supplements markets.

Meda Consumer Healthcare markets a range of OTC brands that have been recommended by doctors for more than 50 years to brand-new, cutting-edge products on the forefront of consumer healthcare trends.

Meda Consumer Healthcare “breathes new life” into the brands it acquires, says Jeffrey B. Cohen, vice president and general manager of the Marietta, Ga.-based division. Through a combination of proven marketing principles and cutting edge marketing techniques, Meda creates new lifecycles for its stable of brands.

“What sets us apart are our people—experienced marketers with deep passion for brands and expertise in consumer focused marketing and customer driven sales,” adds Cohen. As diligent and committed brand stewards, Meda Consumer Healthcare’s people focus on priorities, collaborate quickly and continuously work to improve market performance in order to improve the lives of consumers and patients, he adds.

“Natracare is more than a brand; Natracare involves itself in community, education, fund raising, sponsorship and mentoring,” says Theresa White, senior executive officer for the Greeley, Colo.-based company. “We are proactive in many environmental and social improvement campaigns and believe our participation allows us to be responsible citizens that provide opportunities for conservation and social improvement projects to take place.”

Natracare continues to invest in projects around the world, supporting women and their communities in order to improve education and living standards. It is currently providing support funding to Women in Europe for a Common Future for building safe and sustainable school toilets, as well as training of mentors and advisors, hygiene and health training for children and health/rights training for girls—initially in Tajikistan under the Safe Schools Sanitation Project.

“We support many youth-led projects that mobilize and inspire young people all across the U.S. to engage with eco-issues, including Teens Turning Green, Project Green Challenge and PowerShift. We do this because we have a philanthropic approach which means that we use profits generated by the company to put back into society in order that others can express and explore their concerns, ambitions and curiosity,” White adds.

Navajo Manufacturing Co.
Navajo Manufacturing Co. prides itself on the ability to not only provide more product categories to the retailer from a single source, but the expertise—based upon research—to improve the performance of these categories. “From a category expertise standpoint, our research of the HBC trial and travel consumer decision tree identified price was near the bottom in their decision process. The consumer wants a large selection, neatly organized, easy to shop and brands they use at home,” says Mike Stotts, vice president of sales for the Denver, Colo.-based company.

Navajo developed the “Dispensit,” a multifunctional gravity fed display vehicle, designed to clearly identify brand as well as serve as an inner within the case pack. As a result, the display is always fresh as a new “Dispensit” is received with each reorder, says Stotts.

“That is why today, our retailers are showing double-digit growth in this category and refocusing their efforts to grow it even more,” he adds. “Navajo Manufacturing will continue to bring innovation to existing categories, and be on the leading edge of emerging categories as well.”

Nice-Pak Products
In 1957, Nice-Pak Products was founded with the vision that wet wipes could become the ideal solution for all daily cleansing, sanitizing and disinfecting needs across an assortment of applications. With a desire to create and deliver superior products at competitive prices, Nice-Pak has pioneered the global wet wipe industry through its commitment to research, quality, innovation and service.

“Our Nice’n Clean branded portfolio not only provides premium pre-moistened wipes across all categories but also emphasizes a commitment to sustainability,” says Thomas Hernquist, president of the Orangeburg, N.Y.-based company. “Many of these products are made using the earth-friendly fiber Tencel. With an emphasis on customer insight and the constant development of new technologies, we have a continuous pipeline of new products for all to enjoy. The future for wet wipes is full of growth and endless possibilities and Nice-Pak will continue to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers.”

PharmaCare US
PharmaCare US is the North American home of Real Health Laboratories, Sambucol, Skin Doctors and Kids Smart brands. Officials for the San Diego-based company say they are committed to providing unique, effective, high-quality natural solutions that address both specific and general health concerns.

“Innovation is at the very heart of our business, and our business is improving the lifelong health and well-being of our customers,” says Kimberly Weld, vice president. “We continue to build upon our original success in nutritional supplements by providing an entire line of comprehensive and natural formulations designed for specific and general healthcare needs. Currently, our line consists of a wide range of supplements for all ages, ranging from our top-selling Prostate and Sambucol formulas, to solutions for whole body health, innovative children’s products and products for very specific health concerns.”

Innovation at PharmaCare includes keeping an eye on emerging technologies and coordinating improvements with its global offices, partners and scientists. The company tests products thoroughly to ensure that they meet consumers’ needs and satisfaction. Research and development teams include global biotechnology organizations renowned for their ingredient and packaging innovation. “Yet we believe our greatest R&D insights come from customers who enjoy PharmaCare products every day,” Weld adds.

pharmaviteAs a leader in the dietary supplement industry, Pharmavite was among the first companies to obtain the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) Verified Mark for many of its Nature Made products. The verification means the product meets stringent quality criteria set forth by USP. Pharmavite officials say the focus on meeting the highest industry-wide standards is evidenced by a 2013 Pharmacy Times survey finding that Nature Made is the number one pharmacist recommended brand in eight key segments, including letter vitamins, CoQ10, omega-3/fish oil, flaxseed oil, garlic, diabetic multivitamin, herbals and cholesterol management.

“As a company, we have focused on the experience and relationship the Nature Made consumer has with our products,” says Mark Walsh, chief operating officer of the Northridge, Calif.-based company. “We strive to meet high standards in both the quality of our products and the vitamin experience. On behalf of Nature Made, we invest millions in state-of-the-art production and scientific research to advance new product innovations.”

Similasan USA
Similasan USA prides itself as being a leader in the growing all-natural industry with efforts focused on educating both the retailer and consumers on the benefits of homeopathy.

“At Similasan, our unending commitment is to help people not only feel better, but to feel good about feeling better. Guided by our Swiss heritage, we offer natural homeopathic remedies that provide symptomatic relief,” says Haley Ball, product manager for the Highlands Ranch, Colo.-based company. “We are dedicated to ethical practices and integrity in all that we do.

Similasan currently sells 17 SKUs with emphasis in three categories: eye care, ear care and pediatric cough and cold. Products are formulated using natural ingredients and produced according to regulations by both the Swiss Medic and the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices.

“As the natural movement continues to outpace other segments, expect Similasan to expand its selection of homeopathic products to meet the consumer’s demands,” Ball adds.

Wahl Clipper Corp.
Wahl Clipper Corp. is committed to the most important natural resource—American jobs, says Steven Yde, director of marketing for the Sterling, Ill.-based company. “We also take our social responsibility to the community very seriously,” he ads.

Wahl is intimately involved in several charitable organizations at the local level as well as a few national charities such as Movember for prostate cancer research and the PetFinder Foundation to stop the euthanasia of adoptable pets.

In addition to their charitable efforts, Wahl is a leader in sustainable manufacturing processes through recycling, prairie restoration and the use of alternative energy sources. These commitments go back to Wahl’s philosophy of being a responsible entity that puts people and their families first, says Yde.

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