Herbal ingredient supplier benefits from incontinence product supply problems

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / Grinvalds
Getty Images / Grinvalds

Related tags Herbal dietary supplements Herbal medicinal products coronavirus COVID

The unpredictable spikes in demand that are distorting the supply chain in the current crisis has created another opportunity, in this case for herbal ingredients that help adults deal with urinary incontinence issues.

Run on incontinence products

The adult incontinence market is a large and growing one.  Just as consumers have obviously been nervous about not having enough toilet paper to get through this pandemic situation, they were apparently concerned with running out of adult diapers as well.  The stocks of these have reportedly been depleted to almost nothing in some locations.

There are relatively few truly satisfactory options in mainstream medicine to deal with these issues.  Surgery and physical therapy, such as pelvic floor exercises for women, are some of the treatment modalities. But the size of the adult incontinence product market, which is projected to hit $28.7 billion by 2025 on a global basis, shows that permanent solutions are few and far between.

US adult diaper retailer, NorthShore Care Supply, has reported its sales surged 250% over last year mid-March​ with shoppers buying three to four months of supplies at a time. They have reportedly halted all marketing campaigns, eliminated their 2-day guaranteed Amazon Prime shipments and imposed limits on the quantity’s shoppers can purchase. ​Kimberley Clark has gone into production overdrive to meet the demand for their incontinence and essential products. In response to shortages wholesalers, supermarkets, pharmacies and major retailers like Chemist Warehouse, Target and Walmart have imposed limits on the number of units allowed per purchase.

Herbal solutions

There are however some dietary supplements that have been researched to help with incontinence issues. One that has been on the market for years is a pumpkin seed extract/soy isoflavones blend called GoLess, marketed by Haifa, Israel-based branded ingredient supplier Frutarom Health. The developer of another herbal solution, Seipel Group, based in Brisbane, Australia, has reported high demand for their UROX ingredient. The ingredient is a proprietary blend of Lindera (Lindera aggregata​) root extract, Horsetail (Equisetum arvense​) herb and an extract of Crateva nurvala ​stem bark branded as Cratevox.

The ingredient has been developed over a period of years by Tracey Seipel, ND.  Her development work culminated with a randomized, placebo controlled trial in 2018 with 150 subjects that showed a clinically significant reduction inday frequency, nocturia, urgency and urge and stress incontinence​. Results were seen within two to four weeks. The strength of the science behind the ingredient helped it win last year’s Nutrition Research Project of the Year ​award from NutraIngredients-USA.

Meeting current demand, creating lifetime customers

Seipel said with the current uncertainty about the supply of incontinence products, more and more consumers are looking for alternatives.  It has created a challenge to meet the new demand, she said.

We have ensured we have a year’s supply of the raw materials (this is typical for us) and work with several US manufacturers to ensure we can meet competitive order turn around times. Seipel Group is not out of stock, but due to increased demand our business partners that use UROX in their ranges have seen demand beyond their expectations and are temporarily out of stock,”​ Seipel said.

Seipel said as with other categories of supplements that are flying off the shelves, like immune health products, there is an anticipation that demand will flatten over time.  It’s anyone’s guess as to whether the entire supplement industry will be permanently enlarged as a consequence. But in the case of her company’s ingredient, Seipel said she believes the new customers who come to the category are likely to remain. 

“Our experience in working in this bladder control category for the past 20 years is that once consumers experience the benefits of UROX, which are objective, tangible improvements in bladder control, they tend to stay on the product very long term. If they stop the product, typically symptoms return over a number of weeks. We have a very long customer lifetime value, compared to many other dietary supplements. So the increased demand due to possible hoarding will likely reduce but the increased usage by an increased customer base does not tend to reduce as the alternative to the benefits experienced is considered unacceptable,”​ she said.

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