Infant gas and colic is a common concern many parents and caregivers have been struggling with for centuries. Gas creates painful pressure when trapped in the still-maturing digestive tract of an infant. This can often be as a result of colic, as infants swallow large amounts of air when crying. Although 20-25% of infants experience colic, the number of products providing gas and colic reduction falls short compared to the consumer demand around this need (source).
Colic is defined by many experts as inconsolable crying in an infant that lasts many hours a day, starting in the second week of life and lasting until about three months of age. Many physicians refer to Dr. Morris Wessel’s definition, often referred to as the “Rule of Threes” or the Wessell Criteria, which defines a colicky infant as a child who cries for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for over three weeks.
Gas and colic continue to be an issue in infant nutrition
Parents and caregivers look to infant nutrition products for solutions that can reduce discomfort and colic in their infants. The volume of consumer discussions about gas and colic reduction as a benefit of infant nutrition products has been consistently high for the last two years.
Gas and colic reduction is the fourth most discussed benefit that consumers seek, ahead of features like convenience and quality, and only slightly behind that of affordability.
Consumer Discussion Over Time US Data, July 2017 – June 2019
Infant nutrition brands are missing this major opportunity as consumer interest in gas and colic reduction continues to outpace products claiming this benefit. Gas and colic reduction makes up 11.7% of online consumer discussions, yet only accounts for 4% of product offerings in-market. While gas and colic reduction continues to remain largely unmet, brands are instead hyper-focusing on benefits that are already widely available, such as immune-strengthening, quality, and gourmet.
Consumer Discussion vs. Product Claims, US Data, July 2017 – June 2019
Smaller brands are stepping up to address this unmet consumer demand. Mommy’s Bliss was founded by mothers who were disappointed by the gap in the market with a lack of products available to ease infant colic and fussiness.
Brands Addressing Gas & Colic Reduction, US Data, July 2017 – June 2019
The market for gas and colic reduction remains open
Brands that promote gas and colic reduction have a promising opportunity to gain traction among consumers. It remains to be seen whether big brands will correct their brand positioning and respond to consumer demands in this area, or whether the opportunity gap will be filled by smaller niche brands who take advantage of the vacuum in the market.
Written by Uri Goldberg,
Director of Insights at Signals Analytics
Uri Goldberg is a management expert, specializing in serving governments and corporations on strategy, innovations and economic development issues. He worked with McKinsey & Co. where he directed key consulting projects for Fortune 500 companies, as well as governments in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He also served as Foreign Policy Aid in the office of Israeli President Shimon Peres in his former capacity as Vice Prime Minister.
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