Category Captain: Baby Food and Consumables: Abbott Nutrition

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Category Captain: Baby Food and Consumables: Abbott Nutrition


To gain a greater share of the overall “mom” shopper, a national food retailer teamed with the leading baby brands, foremost among them Abbott Nutrition’s Similac, to create the “Baby Smiles, Mom Saves” event. The goal was to draw excitement and attention to the entire baby category by leveraging its largest brands.

For the event, which ran from late March to late April 2011, all Similac non-WIC SKUs were featured in ads or on TPR, with an offer to buy two participating large-size powders or two big packs of participating Huggies or Pampers diapers and receive $5 off. Similac SKUs were displayed within the baby aisle, as well as on end caps in 734 stores chosen according to a formula volume-per-store analysis.

Although national formula consumption is declining, the event drove category growth for the retailer. Total non-WIC formula category dollar volume increased 0.9 percent, while non-WIC formula category dollar volume growth, spurred by Similac, increased 6.7 percent. In all, there was a 10 percent increase in two or more transactions of participating formula products, and program participants spent 17 percent more in total store spending during the program period and made 6 percent more trips vs. the pre-period.

At another national food retailer, where the infant formula segment was losing market share to competitive retailers, the hunt was on for a way to not only reward loyal households already shopping the baby care aisle, but also to distinguish the retailer from the competition. With the aim of making the aisle a destination, the retailer sought to provide shoppers with consistent, competitive pricing; ad placement; and displays.

After careful analysis, the decision was made to co-merchandise infant formula with complementary categories to help drive incremental category growth and establish the category as a key entry point for the baby care aisle. During its first quarter of 2011, the retailer held a two-week loyalty event at about 2,270 stores across the country for Similac, PediaSure, Pampers and Beech-Nut products, with an offer to save $5 instantly at checkout with the purchase of $25 of select items. Similac was featured on end caps and in ads, and the deal was further sweetened by a four-week TPR.

The total baby care category increased 18 percent during the promotion vs. the prior two weeks, with formula up 24 percent, diapers up 11 percent and baby food up 12 percent. The average lift during the promotion was 35 percent to 40 percent vs. the prior eight weeks, and 16 weeks after the promotion, large-powder weekly dollars were still averaging between 15 percent and 16 percent higher than in the weeks before the promotion.