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

If toothpaste and toothbrush makers are smiling about an extra £11.4m in sales, it will be the folks at P&G with the widest grins.

Gleaming, pearly white grins, of course. “People see having white, healthy teeth as an indicator of demonstrating overall health,” says P&G sales director Ian Morley, whose Oral-B brand is up £23.5m (10.5%) overall, on volumes up 5.1%. Premium NPD focused on whitening, sensitivity and health has been crucial, he adds. “Oral health is at the core of Oral-B heritage. The brand was actually created by a dentist, and Oral-B Pro-Expert is the toothpaste most used by dentists in the UK.”

Based on value sales, this year’s most successful oral care product launch was Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair paste, says Nielsen analyst Kate Pobjoy. “Since launch in June 2017, it has achieved £995k sales, and it still has room to grow distribution further. There have also been three new variants launched under the Oral-B 3D White range - Arctic Fresh, Vitalizing Fresh, and Luxe Glamorous White - that have performed well in 2017.”

Higher average prices in all three oral care sectors is further evidence that shoppers are still prepared to pay more for the right products, in spite of all the economic uncertainty. As with P&G, rival GlaxoSmithKline says playing the health card is key.

Indeed, last year’s oral care top launch, GSK’s Sensodyne Deep Clean Gel, has helped drive £3.7m growth for Britain’s second biggest toothpaste brand. The extension of Corsodyl into toothpaste (see below) for the first time can be seen in a similar light. “Oral health is an everyday need,” says Jo Cooper, sales director for retail at GSK. “Teeth whitening is increasingly important. People want whiter teeth and brighter smiles.”

Still, oral care space is being squeezed in store. Pobjoy notes a 3% decline in distribution points for the sector, with standard lines seeing the greatest space losses (see Colgate, Aquafresh and Listerine’s declines). “This is mainly down to range rationalisation,” adds Pobjoy. “Sainsbury’s started this by simplifying the fixture to make it easier for people to navigate and other retailers such as Tesco are following suit.”


corsodyl ultra clean

Corsodyl Ultra Clean by GSK

Gleaming ‘Hollywood’ smiles are in demand by Brits - and so are healthy teeth and gums. That combination of need states was the inspiration for GSK’s March launch: a formulation with 67% enamel-whitening sodium bicarbonate. Designed to encourage shoppers to trade up to specialist oral care products, it’s aimed at people with, or susceptible to, gingivitis. Ultra Clean was the hero product of Corsodyl’s rebrand in the spring, backed by an £8.8m marketing spend.

Related files/tables

The Grocer Top Products Survey 2017: Up!