When the weather gets colder, time-poor consumers will self-medicate by buying over the counter medication. Independent retailers are in a perfect position to cash in.

As most adults suffer two to four colds a year, stocking winter remedies during the cold season provides a huge opportunity for independent retailers.
The trend for self-medication helps indies as consumers who are ill will go their nearest shop and buy medicines, whatever the cost, as it is a distress purchase.
“Medicated confectionery is widely recognised as a distress purchase and, as such, offers 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.
Indeed, that was certainly the case in the first three months of 2018 as an extended winter and high incidence rates meant sales of Fisherman’s Friend were a record +33.4% higher than average for Q1 (Ceuta Healthcare).
The promising start to the year has continued across all outlets, as the brand’s sales in the seven months to the end of July this year are ahead by +3% compared with the same period in 2017 –and by an even more impressive +5% in impulse and convenience outlets.
Furthermore, convenience retailers have contributed 44% of all Fisherman’s Friend sales in 2018 – the largest of any channel – making the brand an essential must-stock for the forthcoming annual cold and flu season.
“With shoppers inclined to stock up for the colder months, particularly during high incidents of illness – and often ditching higher-value items in favour of more cost-effective remedies – lozenges provide an effective solution,” explains Stimson.
“This also helps to maximise opportunities amongst shoppers looking for quick relief from minor ailments, especially if well-known and trusted brands are positioned near the till point. Indeed, to capture those all-important impulse purchases, the key is to stock brands that are recognised and trusted by the customer,” advises Stimson.
Within the Fisherman’s Friend UK range, Stimson points retailers to its best-selling varieties, including Original Extra Strong, Sugar Free Blackcurrant, Aniseed and Sugar Free Honey and Lemon.
“Fisherman’s Friend has very high consumer loyalty within the UK, due to the brand’s iconic heritage and the ‘cult-like’ following of the UK’s best-selling flavour, Original Extra Strong, which contains more menthol than competitor brands. At the same time, we’ve introduced a raft of fruity variants over the years to appeal to shoppers who want the benefits of menthol but with a more subtle, softer flavour, and these are proving increasingly popular, says Stimson.”
“Partnering classic Original Extra Strong with a selection of our fruity flavours will ensure you have a lozenge line-up that appeals to different consumer needs, taste and flavour preferences,” recommends Stimson. “This is of growing importance within the medicated confectionery category, with research showing that flavour is a key purchase driver for consumers in this sector.”
Visibility of Fisherman’s Friend will be bolstered again this winter with a heavyweight marketing campaign featuring a combination of digital, social media and PR activity – as well as extensive trade promotions and sampling – to support the key winter sales period and maximise sales during the cough and cold season.
This will include the brand returning to TV screens in the New Year with adverts once again featuring world renowned tenor, Alfie Boe. The £1m burst of TV activity will run throughout January 2019 across ITV and satellite channels in the UK.
“The Fisherman’s Friend campaign featuring Alfie Bow has become seminal amongst our loyal fan base who expect to see Alfie on screens at the start of the New Year. Our record-breaking start to the year also proves how much sales growth benefits from the campaign,” explains Stimson.
“As such, it is a natural decision to repeat the activity as the ‘Alfie effect’ clearly resonates with shoppers, bringing new consumers in to the category, and extending our appeal across generations.”
Trusted brand
As a familiar and trusted brand, Lockets has helped to keep Brits going through the winter months for many years.
Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s medicated confectionery portfolio is currently worth £8.4m and represents 9.9% of the total category (Nielsen).
A brand consumers depend on to help them get through the day with a clear head, Lockets contains a soothing liquid centre and clearing menthol, whilst its double action formula is one that can be relied upon to calm stubborn coughs and colds and ease discomfort.
Each pack contains 10 sweets and the range includes 3 flavours – Honey & Lemon, Extra Strong and Cranberry & Blueberry.
Mars Wrigley Confectionery has a range of POS to help retailers make the most of their over the counter medicines and encourage customers to buy on impulse. Having a fully stocked display will help maximise profit potential and guarantee repeat visits from customers.
“Over the counter medicine is increasingly important for retailers to stock during the colder months as consumers become more reliant on stores that can cater to all of their top-up-shop needs,” comments Dan Newell, Confections Marketing Manager, Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “Lockets is a trusted brand which helps many people get through the day, easing colds and coughs so families can get on with what’s important. With this is mind, our great range of POS will support retailers and help boost their sales during the winter season.”
New look
Halls, the number one relief candy brand in the UK (Nielsen) will unveil a new look, plus new price-marked packs, ahead of this winter season to help retailers drive relief candy sales.
Available from October 2018, the new designs will champion the different roles of both the Mentholyptus and Soothers products to help educate consumers on the different functions of relief candy.
The Halls Soothers design will showcase the texture of the sweets and its real fruit juice centre, to emphasise the gentle “soothing” benefit of Soothers.
Whereas the design for the mentholyptus range displays the “clearing menthol action” benefit through the dialled-up relief cue on the pack.
The modern and impactful new designs have been developed to achieve a stronger stand-out on shelf, while ensuring better consistency across the Halls and Halls Soothers ranges.
Price marked packs offer a number of advantages for both the shoppers and retailers.
For shoppers, PMPs offer reassurance they are not being overcharged in convenience and contribute to positive perception.
Whereas for retailers the Halls PMPs will help to direct retailers to the top sellers over lower rotating SKUs, generate improved ROS through stand-out on-shelf and customer trust while having the convenience of clear pricing. Halls price marked packs are available to order now.
Consumers will also be educated on the range qualities in a new above the line digital out of home advertising campaign in December which will target high footfall locations in close proximity to stores, in order to raise awareness of relief candy throughout the cold & flu season.
Amy Lucas, brand manager for Halls, said: “We know that our new designs will stand out on the counter, and that the consumer will have confidence identifying which Halls sub-range will best fit their needs throughout the winter season.
“With total Halls being the number one Relief Candy brand in the UK, and Halls Soothers seeing a double-digit growth (11.6%) during last cold and flu season, we believe that the new look and the PMPs, combined with a nationwide OOH campaign close to stores, will provide a real opportunity to inspire purchases and help retailers drive relief candy sales.”
Advertising close to convenience stores will help drive awareness and demand.
Retailers should take advantage of this investment by stocking up ahead of the cough and cold season on consumer favourites.
If space is limited, Lucas says stock up on best sellers – Halls Soothers Blackcurrant and Halls Extra Strong, with Halls Soothers Blackcurrant 45g being the number one SKU (Nielsen).
Price marked packs will help maximise sales especially when stocked at the counter.
Consider dual siting on main fixture and at counter. For further category advice, visit deliciousdisplay.co.uk.