As the colder months approach, over the counter medicines and winter remedies become increasingly important lines for multiple retailers, and in particular convenience format stores to stock to keep local shoppers going when they’re not feeling well. With British adults experiencing two to four colds a year, stocking winter remedies during the cold season offers retailers a huge opportunity.

“Medicated confectionery is widely recognised as a distress purchase and a huge opportunity for retailers to capitalise on impulse sales during the winter cough and cold season,” says Martin Stimson, Area Business Manager for Fisherman’s Friend in the UK.

2018’s extended winter and high illness rates sent Fisherman’s Friend sales soaring a record +33.4% above average. This promising start has continued, with brand sales in the seven months to the end of July up +3% compared with the same period in 2017 – and an even more impressive +4% in grocery multiples.

Fisherman’s Friend’s visibility will be bolstered again this winter with a heavyweight marketing campaign digital, social media and PR activity as well as extensive trade promotions and sampling. This will include the brand returning to TV screens in the New Year with adverts again featuring world renowned tenor, Alfie Boe. The £1m TV burst will run throughout January across ITV and UK satellite channels.

“The Alfie Boe campaign featuing Alfie Boe has become seminal amongst our loyal fans, who expect to see Alfie on screens in early New Year. The ‘Alfie effect’ resonates with shoppers, bringing in new consumers and extending our appeal across generations.”

The key to Winter OTC sales is to display these products prominently in store. agrees Dan Newell, Confections Marketing Manager at Mars Wrigley Confectionery, marketers of Lockets:

“At Mars Wrigley Confectionery we have a dedicated range of eye-catching POS to help retailers make the most of their OTC medicines and encourage customers to buy on impulse. Fully stocked displays help maximise profit potential and guarantee repeat visits from customers.”

Lockets is a trusted brand which has kept Brits going through the winter for many years. Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s medicated confectionery portfolio is worth £8.4m, 9.9% of the total category. Lockets contain a soothing liquid centre and clearing menthol, available in Honey & Lemon, Extra Strong and Cranberry & Blueberry.

Solpadeine is the number six brand in value sales in total OTC. Brand owner Perrigo recently invested £1.3M into marketing Solpadeine, their highest investment in four years. Laure de Brauer, head of marketing, get well brands at Perrigo says:

“Pain is a universal health problem. We believe no pain should hold you back, and are dedicated to making sure consumers are equipped with the right pain relief, for the right pain, for the right amount of time.”

Babycare is another important part of OTC medicine, says Andrew Wormald, Brand Manager at Dentinox. Dentinox is experiencing growth across its babycare SKUs: Teething Gel is growing 7% YOY and has 11% of the category, while Colic Drops are up 6% to almost £600k and the Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo is in double-digit growth.

Dentinox continue to reach out to first time mums and recently launched a campaign targeting high-profile mummy influencers with recent new babies, which is being supported with blogger partnerships, social media and PR.

Maximising Babycare sales – Dentinox

Andrew Wormald at Dentinox says retailers should bear in mind that first time mums gravitate towards brands they have heard of. Retailers need to list a breadth of baby medicine brands while using market leaders to signpost the category. For time-starved parents, convenience also shouldn’t only be considered in terms of product use. This needs to include the retail experience and communication of product features.

It’s a pain…

As the football and rugby seasons get under way, Potter’s Herbals research shows more than one third of us have avoided social activities or sports due to stiff or sore joints and over three quarters of adults have woken in the morning experiencing stiff joints.

Dr Chris Etheridge, advisor to Potter’s Herbals says: “Trials shows comfrey helps relieve pain, inflammation and joints/muscle swelling, including degenerative arthritis, myalgia in the back and sprains, contusions and strains.”

Potter’s Herbals’ Comfrey Oil with Eucalyptus is a soothing blend of herbal oils containing comfrey, which is renowned for its healing properties and traditionally used for treating minor sprains and bruises and Eucalyptus essential oil.

Nelsons is a popular OTC supplier whose products sell well all year round. Following the successful launch of RESCUE PLUS® Lozenge, Nelson’s RESCUE PLUS brand is adding a new product to its portfolio, RESCUE PLUS Lozenge Berry. on RESCUE Pastilles’ research showed the blackcurrant flavour to have a 10% increase in appeal, and an 18% increase in unit sales vs Orange & Elderflower. It appeals to 25- 34s seeking a moment of calm in today’s constantly connected society.

RESCUE Brand Manager Emma Goessen says: “Consumers want “on the go” products to support their busy lifestyles. Extending the RESCUE PLUS range has enabled us to continue strengthening our position as the no.1 brand leader in emotional wellbeing, and providing a wider choice for consumers looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Nelsons’ fully integrated campaign sees the updated ‘Breathe’ creative taking over tube and train car panels and 16sheets on station platforms. Jakemans Brand Manager, Elizabeth Hughes-Gapper is positive about the multiples’ role in helping consumers cope with the misery of a sore throat during the winter months:

“Local supermarkets and convenience stores are often the first port of call for busy consumers looking for remedies to soothe symptoms while on-the-go. Close to home and easily accessible, these outlets are perfectly placed to offer consumers solutions to help relieve their early symptoms.

Jakemans menthol confectionery is available in 100g bags and convenient 41g stick packs, making Jakemans a winter handbag essential. Jakemans is introducing their Cherry Menthol flavour in stick packs to supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores nationwide. With increased demand for menthol confectionery in the winter, it is vital for retailers to stock a range of affordable products to treat cold, flu and sore throats. Jakemans range includes Throat & Chest, Honey & Lemon and Cherry Menthol in 41g stick pack format and traditional 100g bags with Throat & Chest, Honey & Lemon, Cherry, Peppermint, Menthol & Eucalyptus, Blackcurrant and Blueberry.

Samantha George, Olbas Brand Manager, says:

“The return of the cold and flu season is upon us. Many consumers will continue their everyday commitments whilst fighting a cold. Cold and flu remedy products are often distress purchases, when consumers are desperate to soothe symptoms and avoid disrupting their busy lives. Local supermarkets are in prime position to serve these needs with a selection of effective OTC remedies.

Olbas Health Care Professional, Dr Roger Henderson, says:

“Consumers are looking to aid nasal congestion and relieve colds and coughs, without needing to see their GP. OTC decongestants or nasal sprays are effective ways to help reduce the congestion often linked to sinus problems. Olbas’ range meets the needs of every family member, including Olbas for Children for three months old or over, and Olbas Nasal Spray, clinically proven to unblock the nasal passages as well as prevent the spread of viral infections.”

Baby hygiene goes hand in hand with OTC medicine and winter remedies as an important store traffic builder. Christine Dugendre, Milton Sales & Marketing Manager says parents with new babies need to be confident of their little darlings’ hygiene at all times, including the winter. Milton has been a leading name in sterilising for over 70 years, in homes and hospitals throughout the UK and beyond. The company’s innovative products include its Milton ‘Mini’ Portable Soother Steriliser, which safely sterilises soothers in and out of home, the Solo Travel Steriliser and the Combi Microwave and Cold Water Steriliser, which can be used with its Sterilising Tablets or award winning Sterilising Fluid. Milton also has a hygiene range including Antibacterial Surface Wipes, Antibacterial Surface Spray and Antibacterial Hand Gel to help parents keep their baby’s environment germfree.

Finally, Skye Lucas-Banks, Bassetts Vitamins’ Marketing Manager points out that children’s vitamins are another important component in local supermarkets and convenience stores’ OTC and winter remedies offering. Bassetts Vitamins has added a new product to its portfolio this autumn, Omega-3 + Multivitamins pastilles in orange flavour for 3-6 year olds. Launching in time for the new school term, the latest variant also contains Vitamin B6 to support normal psychological function and Vitamin B5 to support mental performance. Bassetts Vitamins are available at RRP £5.50 for 30 days’ supply.

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