You might be sweating your ’whatsits’ off as you read this but cast your mind back a few months and you’ll shiver at the thought of March, which was the second coldest month since records began more than 100 years ago. Sneezes, coughs and colds hit higher-than-average levels, sending demand for remedies soaring. And such was demand that Tesco apparently maintained winter levels of supplies for its customers.

Obviously forecourt stores don’t have huge amounts of space for cold and flu remedies but their customers will expect to find the basics things like paracetamol and medicated confectionery. And luckily for those short on shelf space, products have been getting smaller. New from Mondelez is Halls XS, mini packs of powerful vapour action sweets in lemon and peppermint varieties. The peppermint flavour has a cooling intensity of ’five’, making it the strongest menthol level on the Halls’ power meter, while the lemon sweet is a mid-level ’three’ ideal, apparently, "for those challenging moments when you need to breathe deep and stay cool". The brand introduced the menthol power meter to help consumers understand the range more easily.

Halls XS comes in a slim, sliding box with a rrp of 75p.

Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelez, says: "The new mini piece size is extending the brand into invigoration, driving everyday consumption, which has delivered almost double-digit growth for the Halls brand. Appealing to a younger demographic, it brings a fresh new dimension to the Halls portfolio."

She adds that the XS launch followed a successful 2012 for the Halls brand, which saw a new citrus variant and a high-profile £1.3m ’Breathe Deep. Stay Cool’ campaign last autumn. "The activity continued to extend sales of Halls beyond the traditional cold and flu season. The campaign reached over 20 million people and the trial provided 94% uplift in stores where the new Halls counter display unit featured next to tills. During this period the Halls brand also experienced 11% growth (Nielsen data)."

Nash says medicated confectionery is a high-impulse category and therefore should always be merchandised at the till point in a prime position to maximise exposure and sales. "Over 80% of customers will only visit 20% of a store during their visit, but the one area that all purchasing customers will visit is the till. Therefore it offers sales opportunities for retailers and a last chance to offer consumers products before they leave the store.

"Although many retailers consider displaying mints or gum in this section, research shows that stocking a cross-category range of top-selling products such as mints, medicated sweets, confectionery and gum is the best way to maximise overall sales in this area of the store. Ideally retailers should also merchandise products in a counter-top unit to help drive awareness and visibility."

To help boost sales around the till zone, Mondelez has recently introduced the ’Fresh Stop’ unit.

The new unit holds the company’s best-selling mints, gum and medicated confectionery lines and is designed to fit small counter tops with an eye-catching design to attract impulsive shoppers.

Another mini product is Jakemans Minis a miniature version of Jakemans original soothing sweets for on-the-go relief. The sweets come in 25g bags, rrp 49p, in Jakemans’ two most popular menthol flavours: throat & chest and honey & lemon. They contain no artificial colours or flavours and are suitable for vegetarians.

Double impact

A product that’s currently a big hit is Covonia’s Double Impact lozenges which, according to IRI data, were the fastest-growing lozenge brand last year. The brand has since extended its range to include four flavours: extra strong, berry blast, strong original and new strong original sugar free. Each features a double-sided lozenge design one side warms your mouth and throat, while the other releases powerful menthol vapours.

Covonia marketing manager, Ed Round, comments: "Consumers continually tell us that they want stronger, more impactful flavours especially when their senses of smell and taste are not at their best.

"All the key national grocery multiples now stock Covonia Lozenges and retailers have benefited with increased basket value when compared to cheaper competitor brands. Convenience retailers should take note of this opportunity to boost profits and stock up."

Finally, a product that seems purpose made for forecourts, with all their male customers is Manflu, a vitamin, mineral and herbal extract booster shot offering ’comfort, soothing and sympathy’ in a bottle for men on the go.

It can be downed ’straight up’ as a shot from the bottle (for an instant boost) or poured into a mug with hot water from the kettle to make a soothing brew. Consumers are being encouraged to keep a stash at home and an emergency bottle in the car and at work just in case!

Jonathan Evans, founder of Cheshire-based Manflu, says: "We are here to help and make life a little easier.

"Now, there’s no need to dig out the sticky honey from the back of the cupboard, slice up a lemon, hunt for cloves, crush garlic, figure out where to get a ’touch’ of ginger from, or find Granny’s ’secret’ ingredient. Manflu Hot or Shot means no fuss, no mess. Everyone wins."

The natural lemon, lime & honey flavour concoction, which is protected by an amber tinted glass, contains 1,250% of a man’s recommended daily amount of vitamin C, (the equivalent of a dozen oranges) plus echinacea and zinc. It contains just seven calories per bottle and is gluten, wheat and dairy free, vegetarian friendly and contains no salt, sugar, artificial colours or flavours. Rrp is £2 for a 60ml bottle.

Also available are Manflu Lozzers, described as a ’lozenge within a lozenge’, providing soothing and comforting lemon-lime and honey on the outside with a black menthol power lozenge in the middle for men who need that "double-comfort-kick".

The convenient individually wrapped lozenges come packaged in a Manflu tub, rrp £1.69.

making the Switch to kleenex balsam

Kimberly-Clark is investing £1.2m in support for Kleenex Balsam, which encourages families to reach for tissues when hay fever strikes.
The campaign aims to educate families about how hay fever causes the nose to become extra sensitive, which requires a change to the family’s tissue needs. Instead of using ordinary tissues, sufferers are encouraged to switch to Kleenex Balsam, which is infused with a protective balm containing calendula, to soothe and protect the nose. Jenny Beral, Kleenex marketing, comments: "People don’t always realise that hay fever makes your nose extra sensitive. We want to ensure that mums, as the key tissue shoppers, are aware of this and are providing for their family’s needs by purchasing the right tissues. We are therefore encouraging people to trade up from ordinary tissues to Kleenex Balsam. Through this investment we will optimise the hay fever season and hope to drive incremental sales for retailers as well."