The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Boning up on Added Calcium Sales

Boning up on Added Calcium Sales

Health and Wellness

April 30, 2007

Boning up on Added Calcium Sales


It has been years since doctors started telling us that women are a) at risk of osteoporosis if

they don't consume enough calcium and b) ought to take calcium supplements if they are not

getting enough calcium from food sources such as milk, cheese, and other dairy products.

New evidence compiled by The Nielsen Company in a new LabelTrends report suggests

that consumers are now choosing their calcium sources in foods and not in supplements or

other nutritional aids. This data is based on on-package claims that are specific to "calcium

presence," "excellent source of calcium," "good source of calcium," or a comparative calcium


In the first stage of life, LabelTrends finds that Baby Cereal & Biscuits and Baby Juice products

that had a "calcium claim" on the label both showed a significant increase (15.2% and 44.9%

respectively) in equivalized unit volume (EUV) in the past 52 weeks ending March 24, 2007 in

Total U.S. Food/Drug/Mass Merchandiser stores (excluding Wal-Mart).

EUV was also up in product categories that shoppers seemingly wouldn't even think about

buying for calcium benefits, like Canned Pineapple (up 6.8%), Cookies (up 38.9%), Flavored

Snack Crackers (up 200.2%), Frozen Hors D'oeuvres & Snacks (up 23.8%), Shelf Stable Grape

Juice (up 29.7%), Muffin Mixes (up 21.9%), boxed dry Spaghetti (up 74.5%), and even Dinner

Sausages (up 58.7%). Clearly the tide has shifted, and as a result of both merchandising and

consumer education, there is little doubt that having a calcium claim on the label for foods

translates to an increase in sales volume.

The story is more complicated for supplements.

Measured in terms of EUV, "complete nutritional products" boasting a calcium claim saw

increases for the first time in four years - up 26.5 percent after three year declines of over 30

percent each year. Nutritional supplements with calcium claims on their labels also continues

its steep rise (70% this period) after four years where we see increases of 21.7 percent, 67.1

percent and 69.4 percent respectively. Over the same period we saw dollar sales increase from

just over $6.3 million in 2003 to over $32 million in 2007.

Unlike the food categories, where shoppers are willing to accept added calcium in categories

that may seem far-fetched, on the shelves of vitamin and supplements they are a bit more


"Complete nutritional diet aids" boasting a calcium claim for example, again measured in terms

of EUV continue their decline - down 7.7 percent, marking it three years in a row that sales have

plummeted. While the decline may not seem on the surface to be significant, when taken in the

context that this category boasted sales of over $463 million in the 52 week period ending March

29, 2003 and now measures just a mere $18 million for the 52 week period ending March 24,

2007, retailers and CPG brands alike need to take note of the ever evolving diet and the health

and wellness proficiency of shoppers in the vitamin and supplement categories.

Topline? When it comes to buying products for added calcium, shoppers are willing to experiment

across food categories, but looking for more logical pairing in their vitamins and nutritional