At the end of July 2018, Johnson & Johnson announced it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Zarbee’s Naturals for an undisclosed sum. Zarbee’s is a privately-held company that was started by pediatrician Dr. Zak Zarbock in 2008 with the mission of creating naturally sourced cough, cold, and immunity products for children and adults. Zarbee’s first product was a honey-based kids’ cough syrup made with vitamin C and zinc and free of alcohol, drugs, and artificial flavors. Over the last decade, Zarbee’s Naturals has grown into a broad-based health and wellness brand. This brand and others like it have disrupted the cough and cold category, where traditional marketers are struggling to see real sales growth.
In fact, there have been several moves by large over-the-counter (OTC) players and consumer package goods (CPG) companies to reap the benefits of naturally positioned brands via acquisition. Royal DSM acquired i-Health (Culturelle) and Amerifit to enter the probiotics market in 2011. Procter & Gamble acquired New Chapter in 2012 and added a line of nutritional supplements with distribution in health food stores and natural specialty stores like Whole Foods. Also, in 2011 Pfizer Consumer Health acquired Alacer Corporation to take ownership of the vitamin C immune support brand, Emergen-C, and Reckitt Benckiser acquired the Schiff vitamins business. Clorox acquired Burt’s Bees line of all-natural skin care and personal care products in 2007 and Renew Life probiotics and supplements in 2016. Also, in 2016 SC Johnson acquired Babyganics, and more recently in 2017 Nestle acquired Garden of Life. Other independent companies that have capitalized on consumers’ preference for more natural OTC products and disrupted traditional OTC markets include Olly Vitamins, The Honest Company, Irwins Naturals, Nature’s Way, Natrol, and Maty’s Naturals.
Kline’s Natural OTCs study provides comprehensive sales and market share estimates through all outlets including health food stores, natural and specialty stores, and online retailers. It also includes insights from research done with consumers to understand usage trends, purchase patterns, and preferences. There are also in-depth profiles of 16 natural OTC players, including Zarbee’s Naturals. The report will be published in September 2018. For more information on how you can use Kline’s Natural OTCs study to help grow your business, contact us.