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Futuro keeps hand on pulse of consumers.

WILTON, Conn. -- Savvy consumers demanding better products are helping drive sales in the health supports and support hose categories, and the Futuro division of Beiersdorf Inc. is responding with new and innovative products.

"This has led to the need for over-the-counter products with greater medical efficacy, while also adding value for the consumer," Futuro director of marketing Larry LaPorta says.

To meet the changing consumer demands, Futuro has recently introduced several new products.

For instance, LaPorta says, the company's stirrup ankle support is a medical quality product available at mass market outlets.

The company's anti-embolism stockings, he notes, not only provide the recommended compression level, but deliver a number of other benefits.

"A trend that we see is that consumers are more in tune with the fact that help is available in-store," LaPorta says, noting the proliferation of in-store medical clinics and the growing number of consumers turning to pharmacists for guidance.

Futuro's new products are developed with consumers in mind, he says. In fact, the company starts its product development process by querying consumers on their needs and incorporating their desires with input from the company's medical advisors and design engineers.

"We obtain consumer and medical input on the new designs throughout the entire development process," LaPorta says. "This is done to ensure that we develop and launch the optimal product."

After a product hits store shelves, he says, the company continues to evaluate it to ensure that it continues to have relevance.

In the first half of this year, Futuro has added four new items to its roster of products.

Since thousands of people suffer nighttime pain and have different needs than those who have daytime problems, Futuro has developed two night health supports.

The new Night Wrist Sleep Support provides light compression and comfortably maintains the wrist in its neutral position to help relieve arthritis pain and pain associated with carpel tunnel syndrome.

The company's Night Knee Sleep Support cushions the knee joint to enable a comfortable night's sleep.

In addition, the company has introduced a wrap-around ankle support that LaPorta says builds on Futuro's unique spiral lift design and allows for adjustable compression; and the aforementioned anti-embolism stockings--latex-free support hose that contain an antimicrobial to reduce odor.

"In the back half of 2007," LaPorta says, "we will be introducing a new plantar fasciitis night support.

The comfortable, low-profile support, he notes, keeps the wearer's foot at the recommended therapeutic angle while he or she sleeps to relieve the foot or heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

Founded by George Jung in 1937 and acquired by Beiersdorf in 1996, Futuro is celebrating its 70th year in business.

LaPorta says the dedication and focus to meeting consumer needs that Jung displayed when he began the company continues to be at the heart of Futuro's operation and has helped it become a leader in category management.

"We work with each retailer to develop a customized set which balances the need to maximize productivity and profitability with providing shoppers with a portfolio to address their specific needs," LaPorta says.

Futuro a division of Beiersdorf Inc. 187 Danbury Road Wilton, Conn. 06897

Key contact: Larry LaPorta, Director of Marketing

Web site: bdfusa.com

Phone: (203) 563-5800

Fax: (203) 563-5895

Primary business: HEALTH CARE Wound care, athletic supports

Marketplace booth #2333
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Title Annotation:Marketplace 2007/Corporate Profiles
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Jun 25, 2007
Words:549
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