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DDD seeks brands to distribute in the UK

11 November 2014 • by Deborah Wilkes

DDD seeks brands to distribute in the UK

DDD comprises a group of businesses that offers a "complete service to take a health and beauty product from idea to the consumer's shopping basket", says managing director Tom Horner

DDD is seeking health and beauty brands to distribute in the UK, says managing director Tom Horner, pointing out that the company is one of the country's leading distributors and manufacturers in this sector. Horner adds that the UK-based company also wants to extend its international reach through distribution partners in the US, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia and other key markets worldwide.

The company is particularly keen to handle health and beauty brands that are already established in the UK, Horner tells OTCToolbox, but it will also consider new brands. Horner stresses that any new brand must have a "point of difference" in the marketplace.

According to Horner, DDD offers a "breadth of service that is unique in the UK health and beauty market". "As both a contract manufacturer and a major supplier of branded products, we have a unique perspective on the market," he says.

Horner notes that DDD's Dendron division offers a portfolio of well-known brands including Astral moisturisers, Bazuka wart and verruca remedies, Blistex lipcare products, the Dentinox and Snufflebabe baby care ranges and Otex earcare products.

Dendron covers the "full range of trade channels for health and beauty products in the UK", says Horner, adding that it now generates more of its sales directly from multiple grocers – including Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco – than from multiple pharmacies including Boots and Lloydspharmacy.

Relationship with retailers

Commenting on Dendron's relationship with retailers in the UK, Horner stresses the importance of taking a "long-term view on the profitability of its principal companies". "We aren't afraid to have tough conversations with retailers and defend our position," he says, "but we also build relationships with them through joint business plans and off-site strategy days."

Horner says DDD's success in the UK is built on long-standing partnerships with its principal companies. It has worked with US firm Blistex since 1964 and UK-based Dermal Laboratories, which is the parent company of Diomed Developments, since 1991. "We treat all brands as our own," he maintains.

He adds that DDD takes a long-term view of brands. "Our ideal partner is one that shares our approach to brand building and is willing to invest for growth," he says.

Plans for the international business

In addition to its presence in the UK, DDD has an International division that operates in more than 40 countries through a network of distributors. International sales are seen as a key growth driver, and Horner says international sales have recorded double-digit increases each year for the past five years.

DDD mainly exports products to Africa and the Middle East, adds Horner, noting that Egypt is the company's largest market outside the UK. He points out that DDD only uses "in-country distributors".

The largest export brand is Dentinox baby products, continues Horner, followed by the Wate-On vitamin tonic that is a big seller in Nigeria. Astral, Blistex and Snufflebabe are also important export products.

Horner says DDD would like to double its international sales over the next four years. The company is actively seeking distribution partners in key markets in the Americas – especially the US and Brazil – as well as in Turkey and Indonesia.

Snufflebabe would be the lead brand in the US, says Horner, as the nasal aspirator and other products in the range would bring something new to the marketplace. DDD has just streamlined its baby products offering by relaunching the Nasosal nasal drops and spray and 4Little1 nasal aspirator under the Snufflebabe brand (see below).


Founded in 1912, DDD is a privately-held company that owns a number of health and beauty brands including Astral, Blistex, Dentyl Active and Snufflebabe. It also handles brands for other companies, including Bazuka, Freederm and Ibuleve for Diomed Developments; Seabond and Vagisil for Combe International; and OdorEaters for Blistex Inc. It has just taken on the Sea-Band range of products for motion sickness and morning sickness.

Horner points out that DDD comprises a group of businesses offering a "complete service to take a health and beauty product from idea to the consumer's shopping basket".

In addition to the Dendron and International divisions, DDD also comprises the Fleet Laboratories contract manufacturer and Trinity Scientific laboratory services business.

Discussing Fleet Laboratories, Horner says the division produces around 400 different products a year, and has the capacity to take on more medical devices, pharmaceuticals and toiletries.

Set up a contract analytical laboratory

Commenting on Trinity Scientific, Horner says it was a "natural step" for DDD to set up the contract analytical laboratory in 2012. "We were frustrated by poor customer service when using external laboratories," he explains, adding: "We believe there is a niche in the market for a contract laboratory that can offer great customer service coupled with technical expertise."

Acquisitions have been a significant element of DDD's growth strategy over the years, with Astral joining the portfolio in 1994, Snufflebabe and Nasosal in 2010, 4Little1 in 2013 and Dentyl Active in 2014. DDD has also acquired technology, says Horner, citing the technology behind Blistex Cold Sore Cream (docosanol) as an example.

Horner says DDD is currently taking an "opportunistic rather than a proactive" approach to acquisitions. "We are interested in established health and beauty brands that do not compete with those of our principal companies," he says, adding that DDD would ideally like to acquire brands that have "scope for growth, can be taken overseas, and can be manufactured in-house".

For more about DDD and contact details visit the group's website at