When Meg Conrad shops for baby products for her 3-month-old daughter, Elin, she always checks the label.
"I try to avoid products that have sulfates, parabens, phthalates and artificial fragrances," the 30-year-old Conrad said. "Everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream, so I want to protect my daughter from any harmful chemicals and toxins that could potentially be in products."
What won't you find in Conrad's bathroom? Johnson's Baby products. The 124-year-old iconic brand has contributed to a sales decline of 20 percent since 2011 in Johnson & Johnson's Baby Care unit, which includes Aveeno and other lines, to $1.9 billion last year. Sales in the first quarter of 2018 declined 14 percent in the U.S.
J&J says it's still the global leader in the category, but acknowledges it needs to make a change. So the company has redesigned the line to appeal more to moms like Conrad, with a plan to introduce it to stores in August.
"Perhaps because of our success, we became a bit complacent and did not want to mess with success, for lack of a better expression," Jorge Mesquita, worldwide chairman and executive vice president for J&J's $13 billion global consumer unit, said in an interview with CNBC. "Frankly, we failed to see evolving needs from millennial consumers, millennial moms, and we failed to evolve our model."
Conrad said she and other new parents care a lot about what's in their baby products.
"All of my friends who are having children are very focused on this, so I've actually gotten a lot of ideas from what my friends have used on their children and what's working for them," Conrad said.
Her brand of choice is Erbaviva, an organic line reportedly used by the Kardashians. Brands like Jessica Alba's Honest Co. are also gaining steam, according to market research provider Euromonitor International, with pledges that they're free from ingredients like phthalates and parabens.
J&J removed parabens, which are used as preservatives, from its baby line in 2015, and phthalates, often used to control a product's structure, in 2009, said Trisha Bonner, associate director of research & development at J&J Consumer.
But when J&J started the research for the line relaunch three years ago, it talked with thousands of moms, and discovered the brand needed to go further, she said.