Most Brits will miss at least one day out of seven on holiday through sunstroke, upset tummy or hangover, according to health insurer Standard Life. And, for grocers on the receiving end of this steady flow of consumers, there are increasingly rich pickings to be had in the market for anti-diarrhoeals.
According to IMS, in January the grocery market for this category was valued at £8.2m, up 19% on the previous year, supported by a 3.7% volume increase. More units of anti-diarrhoeals are now sold through grocery than through pharmacy - 2.8 million versus 2.5 million [IMS MAT January 2005] - although the size restrictions on grocery packs means the value in pharmacy remains higher.
Players such as McNeil, which markets grocery packs of its Imodium brand, already recognise the importance of the grocery channel. McNeil notes that more consumer awareness of self-selection and self-medication has been key to both the success of the market and its two Imodium sub-brands, Imodium Instants and Imodium Plus caplets.
Like others in the category, it will be watching with interest Procter & Gamble’s application to launch its all-round tummy trouble remedy, Pepto-Bismol, into grocery. As Mintel notes in its recent minor ailments report: “The switch of many products from pharmacy to General Sales List (grocery) status is chiefly responsible for rising sales in the supermarkets. GSL products tend to garner more manufacturer marketing support than pharmacy products, largely due to their potentially wider market appeal.”
To cash in on this possible new market impetus, McNeil has scheduled a £3m campaign for its Imodium Plus brand, running until August and taking in TV and travel-related promotions.
Chris Markwick, national account controller for the Imodium brand, says sales of anti-diarrhoeals significantly increase over the summer period.