The Grocer’s 2017 Top Products Survey, THE definitive guide to the current state of the UK’s grocery industry

Health has had a powerful influence this year not only on Brits’ choice of food but also on their selection of haircare products.

The fashion for healthy lifestyles was 2017’s “most important macro consumer trend that shaped the haircare market” says Nielsen analyst Nikoleta Andrianakou. “Shoppers are attracted to brands with natural ingredients and/or natural positioning.”

Which suggests shampoo and conditioner would have lost value, rather than staying more or less flat, had it not been for salubrious innovations like Garnier’s Ultimate Blends range containing maple sap (see below).

That said, the biggest NPD of the year in terms of value sales was a mainstream offer without agrarian cred. The new Head & Shoulders Men Ultra sub-brand from P&G coined in almost £4.2m. Because while the leading haircare brands are woman-centric - especially in styling - guys are still front of mind when it comes to innovation.

“The challenge we continue to address is to change the perception of young male shoppers who believe anti-dandruff shampoos are old-fashioned,” says Ian Morley, P&G sales director for Northern Europe.

In the styling sector, October saw Unilever moving to tap the ongoing male trend for longer locks - and return value to an inflated market - by unveiling Mega Hold, VO5’s first hairspray for blokes. “We’re committed to our evolving target audience and are confident VO5 Mega Hold Hairspray will shake up the market” says brand manager Freya Ulbrick.

Styling has been worse hit by higher prices but all of haircare has suffered, with frugal shoppers cutting back on products for their barnets or switching to cheaper alternatives, says Andrianakou.

Plus, Andrianakou adds the growing influence of the discounters is affecting the asking price of new products. “NPDs are being priced at a lower level and do not bring as much value as before. Retailers are giving less support in this category as it is not driving value or bringing more people to store. However, smaller and newer brands, such as Fudge Urban and Plantur 39, are enjoying significant growth and retailer support.”



Ultimate Blends Maple Healer by Garnier

Castor oil and maple sap: it almost sounds good enough to eat. But these are the main ingredients of Garnier’s range for brittle, fragile and very damaged hair. It’s a haircare lineup that’s bang on trend, offering natural ingredients (and no nasty parabens) as well as health benefits. Plus, it comes at category-livening premium prices (all the thick end of a fiver) across shampoo, conditioner and balm, which all promise to repair and nourish your battered barnet.

The Grocer Top Products Survey 2017: Up!