NEWTON SQUARE, Pa. — The current cough and cold season started very slowly and began accelerating in late December. With the late start the category is still seeing strong numbers in January. “The previous year, the season started in late September and only went through December. The cough and cold category is now trying to compensate for those 2022 numbers,” notes MaryEllen Tefft, vice president of sales for FDM at Boiron USA.
She adds that one of the current trends revolves around a Food and Drug Administration ruling from last fall. “Last September, an FDA advisory panel unanimously agreed that phenylephrine, a popular decongestant found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications, is not effective. Consumers are now looking for phenylephrine-free alternatives in the wake of the media coverage. This has given many brands an opportunity to gain new users. There is also a shift happening where consumers are switching to more natural alternatives, including homeopathic medicines, that address nasal congestion and other cold symptoms and are nondrowsy, non-habit forming and phenylephrine free.”
She points out that Boiron has been the fortunate recipient of many organic social media mentions highlighting the successful use of its upper respiratory products, such as ColdCalm and SinusCalm. “Consumers are utilizing social media on multiple platforms to find product information and reviews before making their purchase decisions. The more time they spend browsing, the more likely they will make a purchase. Brand trustworthiness can be established via endorsements from trusted friends, family and even celebrities. These conversations taking place online are shaping the marketplace.”
According to research, Tefft says boomers tend to not be as brand loyal, and post-COVID they prefer in-store purchases over online ones. “With this in mind, retailers should be offering a diverse selection of cough and cold products aimed at this demographic. Now that many Millennials are parents, they are looking for cold products for their young children in addition to themselves. Millennials also tend to favor companies that take a stance on social and environmental issues and are aligned with their own values. Social issues don’t tend to impact boomer purchases as much. However, all three of these demographics are much more focused now on natural and better-for-you product offerings in the over-the-counter category.”
She adds that Boiron covers the entire spectrum of upper respiratory ailments with product offerings that include ColdCalm meltaway tablets that relieve sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and minor sore throat pain; SinusCalm meltaway tablets that relieve nasal congestion, sinus pressure and pain, and sinus headache due to the common cold or allergies; and ThroatCalm meltaway tablets that relieve occasional minor sore throat pain, as well as hoarseness from overused vocal cords.
“For multi-symptom relief for indoor and outdoor allergies, AllergyCalm meltaway tablets are easy to take for relief of itchy and watery eyes; sneezing and runny nose; itchy throat and nose; and cough associated with hay fever. Since all these medicines are homeopathic, they are nondrowsy and non-habit forming, with no risk of rebound congestion or interaction with other medications or supplements. This is especially important to consumers who want relief from their symptoms but still want to remain productive and alert,” she concludes.