The Best Medicine

A number of deals came to light in October that underscore the licensing community’s continued focus on health and wellness. The announcements involve healthy-living initiatives both traditional and non-traditional:

  • Buzzfeed partnered with Macy’s for an exclusive line of 100 millennial-targeted home goods that promote well-being, tied to its Goodful health and wellness brand. Among the licensees are Aerogarden for in-home gardening systems, Cuisinart for home electronics such as digital food scales, Epoca for 32 SKUs of simple-to-use non-electric housewares ranging from gadgets to nonstick cookware to juicer/zesters, and Welspun for bedding made of moisture-wicking Hygro cotton. The products debuted in 400-plus stores at the end of October, with 100 featuring a shop-in-shop configuration.
  • BalanceDiet, a 25-year-old diet and wellness brand with roots as a regional weight-loss chain, is expanding its North American licensing program to include products for the kitchen, including spices, ingredients, cookware, gadgets, aromatherapy, foods, and soft goods. Opportunities include both branded and “seal of approval” relationships, as well as licensing of proprietary ingredients. The company has had a seal-of-approval endorsement program in place since 2005 and has licensed small-batch proteins and select supplements. It also markets 25 of its own products, including fat burners, multivitamins, healthy snacks, protein drinks, and similar items. Leisure Growth Holdings manages the brand’s licensing activities.
  • Adventurer, author, and reality TV star Bear Grylls and his agent Beanstalk have licensed Tobar for a line of performance protein and energy bars made from buffalo worm powder, in flavors such as cranberry-chia and dark chocolate-fig, to be sold throughout Europe. This may well be the first licensing deal in the insect powder-based health bar category.
  • Hearst Magazines retained Earthbound Brands to expand the licensing activities for its Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazine titles. The two properties have spurred a number of licensing agreements over the years, overseen by other agencies, including subscription boxes for the Men’s Health brand and supplements for Women’s Health, both of which will continue. Potential categories for expansion include nutrition, food, fitness, personal care, and lifestyle products. Hearst purchased these and other health and wellness-related magazine titles from Rodale in early 2018.

The global wellness economy was valued at $4.2 trillion in 2017, according to an October 2018 report from the Global Wellness Institute. Moreover, worldwide wellness spending grew 6.4% annually from 2015 to 2017 (almost double the pace of global economic growth during the period).

Of the total, $1.083 trillion was due to personal care, beauty, and anti-aging; $702 billion was attributable to healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss; $595 billion came from fitness and mind-body, and $119 billion was associated with the spa economy. The remainder of spending, GWI says, was devoted to sectors including traditional and complementary medicine, preventive and personalized medicine and public health, wellness tourism, wellness real estate, thermal/mineral springs, and workplace wellness.

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