She came up with the idea of including a second indicator on the product so that the user could be reassured, without a shadow of doubt, that the test has been carried out correctly and the result confirmed, either negative or positive. “Of course, we have been happy with the performance of Predictor in its present format,” said Caralt. “But it is human nature for individuals to try and read something into a result. If a woman is really hoping she is pregnant, she may try and see that in the result. Now our second indicator will confirm the result one way or another so there is no doubt.” In its simplicity, it is a major contribution to Predictor and the development may lead to new patents. The new design will eventually replace the current model in all markets. The brand, which has seen many refinements since its launch nearly 30 years ago, is Chefaro’s biggest single product and is sold all over the world. How does it work? A pregnant woman produces a special hormone – human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) – and Predictor can detect its presence in the urine. After taking a urine sample using the pen-type stick section of the Predictor, it is inserted in a plastic cartridge. At this stage, with the traditional Predictor, a color moves across the test “window” and a second smaller control window on the cartridge. If the woman is pregnant, a dot appears in the test window after a few minutes. If there is no dot she is not pregnant. With new Predictor the process remains the same with the test window, but now there are two smaller windows alongside. After four minutes a dot appears in one if the test has been performed correctly and if the other window becomes clear after the same period of time this means the test is complete and the result will not change. “It is a very simple improvement to Predictor, but that extra feature can give enormous confidence to a user,” said Chefaro’s managing director for Spain, Harmen Lewin. “We are very proud the idea came from here and believe the new design will give us a major boost in the marketplace and further distance ourselves from our rivals.”
Chefaro carried out intensive consumer surveys with the new kit before the project was given the green light. Said Caralt, a graduate in international marketing from Barcelona university who has been with Chefaro 10 years: “We received an excellent response to our survey. People were overwhelmingly behind the new approach; many said it was fantastic and very easy to use.” Her dual control idea was developed by the Organon Teknika technical team in Boxtel, the Netherlands, who worked with the Predictor manufacturing unit in Dublin to modify the product mould and perfect the new design. Prototypes were available in a remarkably short time, just over a month after designs were completed, and the whole launch schedule from idea to new product was condensed into little more than six months. Predictor has built a sound reputation in world markets as a high technology, premium brand that is easy to use and the introduction of innovative features over the years has kept it well ahead of its rivals. However, recent years have seen an influx of low price own-label brands and competition has become increasingly aggressive. This has not prevented Predictor making strong progress and reinforcing its market leadership positions. New Predictor, which like the present product can be used by women at any time and as early as the first day a period is due, is being launched this autumn, initially in Spain, the Netherlands, UK and Germany (Femtest). In Spain, where pregnancy kits are sold only in pharmacies, sales of Predictor are well ahead of any of the 30-or-so rival brands and Lewin expects this latest generation product will add about 10 percent to Predictor’s current 60 percent market share. Major promotional campaigns have been organized in the launch countries to accompany distribution of the product.
Chefaro, the name for home healthcare
Chefaro, with headquarters at Oss in the Netherlands, is at the heart of the over-the-counter home healthcare and diagnostic markets, supplying among other products not only home pregnancy tests, but non-prescription medicines, vitamins, analgesics and antiseptics. Last year it recorded sales of NLG 200 million. Chefaro – the name reflects the business’s origins, Chemical Factory Rotterdam – was established in the Dutch port in 1933 as a producer of raw materials for the food industry. Specifically, it made the chemical that turns brown bread to white. As a sideline, the company began to develop over-the-counter products and this represented a major part of the turnover by the time Akzo acquired Chefaro. The business, which employs about 300 people, has built on its tradition of innovation and now has a substantial portfolio of products. But it is Predictor that is the flagship brand and the new model is set to enhance its reputation in all its geographic markets.