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Hain Celestial dives into relaxation beverage pool with Sleepytime shot

By Hank Schultz , 03-Dec-2012

Hain Celestial has taken a new tack with its line of natural shots, launching a relaxation shot featuring valerian among other herbal ingredients.

The shot, branded Sleepytime Snooze, uses the brand name but not the formulation of the the Sleepytime tea, a longtime member of the Celestial Seasonings stable.

“Arguably, Celestial Seasonings with its flagship brand Sleepytime, is the most well known brand in calming and sleep.  So what better brand an efficacious, all-natural sleep aid than Sleepytime?” Blake Waltrip, vice president and chief marketing officer at Celestial Seasonings told NutraIngredients-USA.

“It’s a much more potent natural sleep aid.  It’s a herbal supplement and it’s been designed and formulated to help consumers with occasional sleeplessness, whereas traditional Sleepytime Tea is a  calming and soothing product,” he said.

Growing market

Hain Celestial’s research shows a big opportunity in the sleep market, with 3 out of 4 adults reporting that they regularly struggle to get a good night’s sleep. According to the company, total sales of over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids are predicted to increase by nearly 22 percent by 2016. Much of this growth is expected to be driven by natural and homeopathic sleep alternatives, which now command a 26 percent share of the total OTC sleep aid category.

The shots are packaged in the familiar 2.5 ounce bottle format and come in  three flavor: berry, peach and lemon ginger. The shots are currently available at Walmart stores nationwide and online.

“What you find out there is there are a lot of people using products off label to address their occasional sleeplessness issues.   For example a lot of people are using Benadryl as aid to get sleep,” Waltrip said. 

“What our research has shown is that there are a number of issues that consumers are not as happy about with those products. Concerns about being groggy, or not as fully functional the next morning.”

Clincial trial in works

The shots feature a 1760 mg blend of herbal ingredients including valerian, Relora, a branded combo of magnolia officianalis bark extract and phellodendron amurense bark extract, chamomile and a low dose of melatonin.

“We got the help of a leading expert in formulation of dietary supplements because we wanted to make a product based on ingredients that were already tested an known to work for consumers,” Waltrip said.

At the moment, the company is relying on existing science results for each component of the formulation to extrapolate the efficacy of the finished product. But Waltrip said a human clinical trial of the finished product is in the works.

Celestial expects good uptake of the relaxation shot by trading both on the overall brand equity and the Sleepytime name.  And, unlike the other company’s other two lines of natural shots (based on green tea and kombucha) that focus on the energy category, the relaxation arena is not as big but is also not  nearly as crowded.

The energy-focused shots, Waltrip said, are more of  “a segmentation play; we know there are a lot of consumers who would like to take and energy shot but are not happy with putting certain chemicals in their body and would like to have a natural alternative. It’s going after taking a slice or segment of that very large energy shot market.”

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