Growing up in East Yorkshire my Gran believed in 3 square meals a day. Very substantial squares. Another childhood rule was brushing my teeth twice a day and only as an adult have I come to question the logic in carrying out this “important” cleaning regime after only two of the day’s three meals.

The 3 square meals a day concept is now well and truly broken, with breakfast occasions in serious decline and people increasingly grazing during the day. Yet advice from the British Dental Association is still to brush twice a day, morning and night. It’s a regime that seems stuck in the 1970s.

With the Oral Care sector worth around £1bn, split roughly evenly across these two consumption occasions, the lunchtime opportunity alone that’s missed by the major branded suppliers must be worth up to £500m –  and that’s without adding in other On-The-Go occasions like dates, important meetings and travel. It’s a gaping hole in innovation that chewing gum manufacturers have been happy to fill.

At last, though, some agile Oral Care suppliers are waking up to this opportunity and an interesting range of On-The-Go solutions is starting to emerge. The technology is difficult, which means prices are a tad uppish, but it’s resulting in a fascinating range of delivery mechanisms across the different brands:

UltraDEX Fresh Breath Spray: Some find the idea of a spray a little off-putting, but, powered by the same anti-bacterial as the UltraDEX mouthwash, this provides a long-lasting freshness at under 5p per spray. Good value and ultra-effective.

Swish To Go. A new arrival in 2017, and possibly the best delivery of all, but at a high price of 50p per sachet. It leaves your mouth both fresh and clean and – as Gran would appreciate – the foaming sherbet experience is great fun.

Splat Express Oral Care Foam. Yet another different delivery mechanism, this foam from family-owned Splat was a winner at 2017’s Beauty Shortlist Awards. It can’t be swallowed, though at a mid-price 10p per use it’s worth consideration.

CB12 Boost. No complaints about its efficacy, but it’s pricey and somehow manages to provide the worst of all worlds with an unsatisfactory chewing experience and slightly chemical flavour…and you’ve still got to dispose of the gum.

Dr.Heff’s Remarkable Mints rounds off the variety of products available in this emerging sector. Developed by dentists, Dr. Heffs help to combat plaque, erosion and decay through a combination of xylitol, calcium and green tea extract. They’re a very pleasant mint so they would be a simple upgrade for someone currently relying on mint sweets as a breath-freshener.

Paul Newberry, founder of Swish To Go, describes the category opportunity like this:

“As consumers’ lifestyles take them further away from home and for longer periods, they feel increasingly constrained by being chained to the bathroom for their oral care needs. Developing high efficacy products which can deliver anywhere, anytime oral care solutions meet a real and growing consumer need. This major category opportunity needs to be recognised and prioritised by retailers.”

What we really need now is for Boots to create a clearly-merchandised Oral Care On-The-Go segment and to pull together these innovative suppliers to deliver a marketing and promotion story that educates and engages consumers. With On-The-Go occasions booming there’s a substantial opportunity.

Can On-The-Go drive fresh growth in Oral Care?
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