Profitable foot care category grows steadily

August 11, 2008

Consumers have never had more choices when it comes to treating their tootsies. Today's foot-care category boasts a solid mix of products designed to treat corns, calluses, bunions, warts, odor, wetness, and fungus. Also lining the foot-care shelves are orthotics, insoles, and inserts, along with popular foot grooming items.

This article is contributed by the Hamacher Resource Group ( http://www.hamacher.com/). Based in Milwaukee and with offices in the United Kingdom, HRG's comprehensive services combine the art of communicating with the science of data analysis to improve the profitability of every link in the retail healthcare supply chain. Manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, and others count on HRG for strategic solutions to their business goals.

Consumers have never had more choices when it comes to treating their tootsies. Today's foot-care category boasts a solid mix of products designed to treat corns, calluses, bunions, warts, odor, wetness, and fungus. Also lining the foot-care shelves are orthotics, insoles, and inserts, along with popular foot grooming items.

According to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), the foot-care category generated over $620 million (in food, drug, and mass outlets, excluding Wal-Mart) during the 52 weeks ending April 20. The category has continued to see slow but steady growth over the last five years. Consumers rely on foot-care products for both cosmetic and medical reasons, and the category remains an integral part of every pharmacy's front-end.

Modernization of callus care

For centuries, people have been treating their calluses by soaking their feet in warm water and sloughing off dead skin with pumice stones. Though pumice stones are an effective method, the fast pace of modern day life leaves consumers with less time to spend on treating unsightly calluses. One manufacturer recently addressed consumer concerns by putting a new spin on an age-old idea.

Last year, Kerasal Callus Removal Cleansing Pads made their debut. These dual-sided pads bring modern-day convenience and hygiene to callus care and are the first of their kind. Each pad is pre-moistened, so no soaking is necessary. One side of the pad is abrasive like a pumice stone, to remove dead skin, while the other side is smooth to provide soothing cleansing. The pads are disposable and come with a resealable bag. Convenience and innovation in callus care have created new interest in the category.

Don't sweat it

Certain Dri is a name synonymous with protection against excessive underarm perspiration. Recently, Certain Dri walked into the foot-care arena to address another consumer concern, excessive foot perspiration. Feet have over 250,000 sweat glands and can produce up to eight ounces of sweat each day. More than 70 million Americans report that their foot perspiration is a problem.

In the spring of 2008, DSE Healthcare Solutions launched its Certain Dri Moisture Control Pads and Certain Dri Microsponge Powder. The pads contain aluminum chloride, an ingredient recommended by podiatrists to treat excessive foot moisture and odor. The powder can be used directly in shoes to keep foot odor at bay. Used together, this ground-breaking new system builds on the brand reputation of the Certain Dri name.

The fungus among us

Toenail fungus and athlete's foot are embarrassing and uncomfortable conditions for many individuals. When consumers look to cure these conditions, the speed of the treatment is usually the most important factor driving purchase. Unfortunately, many people treat conditions like these only until the symptoms go away, which doesn't necessarily cure the condition. Pharmacists can help educate shoppers about continued treatment.

Both women and men experience toenail fungus and the percentage of sufferers is divided equally. Most sufferers are over age 45 and only 30% of consumers who have the fungus actually treat it. There is opportunity here to reach the other 70% who may not be aware of the OTC options available for treating fungus and athlete's foot.

Triple Paste AF is a new antifungal product designed to treat the spreading problem. The new medicated ointment combines miconazole nitrate with the Triple Paste base that has been used as an effective and gentle diaper rash cream for years. It is especially effective for problems involving the rubbing of skin or moist conditions.