Once seen as a niche sector, sports nutrition SKUs have undoubtedly become increasingly mainstream during the past five years. Here, Gillian Hamill outlines some of the category’s most popular ranges that will help pump up in-store sales without breaking a sweat
20 April 2016 | 0
In the past, high protein sports nutrition products were often only a fixture of gyms and specific health stores, but not anymore. In recent years, these products have significantly upped their profile across convenience stores, forecourts and supermarkets, making it even easier for consumers to incorporate sports nutrition into their busy lifestyles. In fact, a recent study by Empathy Research found more than half of Irish consumers regularly purchase some form of protein-enhanced food, snack or beverage.
Demonstrating these changing consumer attitudes, Alan Sheedy, head of category management for Topaz recently commented: “When we initially launched our Re.Store concept it was with the aim that we would revolutionise the customer experience with the highest quality in fresh food and healthy products. One of our most successful in-store categories in 2015 was our nutritional bay which targeted the more health conscious on-the-go consumer.”
Georgia Hickey, International Markets, Bord Bia previously explored the sports nutrition category in a 2014 report and demonstrated the sector’s growth in recent years. Hickey reported a tremendous growth in the health and wellness trend in Ireland in recent years; a move which has led to more Irish people engaging in what were once niche competitive sports such as bodybuilding and powerlifting. A recent Euromonitor report entitled ‘Sports Nutrition in Ireland’ revealed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% in the sports nutrition industry in Ireland between 2012 and 2013, according to Hickey. Significantly, the Euromonitor study found the category is expected to continue to grow at the same rate over the next few years.
At the time, protein powders were reported to be the most popular type of sports nutrition product in Ireland, but protein ready-to-drink (RTD) formats were also becoming more popular for easy on-the-go consumption, with 6.4% growth within the protein category between 2012 and 2013. RTDs made up just under 22% of protein products sold in Ireland, while protein powder represented over 63%. Protein bars saw the largest growth within the category, of 9.5% between 2012 and 2013.
Hickey concluded that in light of this growth, Ireland witnessed an increased demand for new and innovative products in this area. A fact which she noted was confirmed by the launch of products such as Avonmore’s Protein Milk, which has 50% more protein per serving than regular milk. Hickey added that due to the increase in popularity of health and wellness-oriented products, Ireland can expect to see the leading manufacturers of sports nutrition products continue to develop and diversify their product ranges in order to appeal to a wide range of consumers.
A Mintel report published for the UK in June 2015 entitled ‘Attitudes towards Sports Nutrition’ reached a similar conclusion with regards to the category’s ongoing potential. This study found that whilst three in four adults exercise, with six in 10 doing so at least once a week, only 28% of adults eat/drink sports nutrition products. Positioning sports nutrition products as an important part of an ‘everyday’ exercise routine thus offers potential for the market to bring new users into the category, the report stated.
Mintel also found that the number of over-55s is predicted to grow rapidly between 2014 and 2019. As such, meeting the demands of this age group will become increasingly important for the industry. According to Mintel, high-protein sports nutrition products tailored to people as they get older is the most popular product concept among this cohort. Backed by EFSA-approved claims relating to the maintenance of muscle mass, such products would be well placed to appeal, the market analyst added.
Exercise enthusiasts’ milk of choice
Avonmore’s launch in the protein space continues to gain momentum. Avonmore Protein Milk is now used by a wide range of exercise enthusiasts as their milk brand of choice. Convenient pack formats and 25g of high quality milk protein per 500ml, plus the ease of use at breakfast or on-the go is a key driver. The product is fresh milk with 50% extra high quality milk protein – so whether it’s in consumers’ granola, smoothies or as a drink after the gym, Avonmore says its level of convenience, flexibility and taste makes it a great choice.
Avonmore Protein Milk is supported with a national advertising programme featuring outdoor formats as well as digital and social media activity. The campaign idea is born out of the fact that training for any sporting event or individual goal isn’t easy. The campaign titled ‘Get in Session’ is a call-out to everyone to remember that it’s the preparations that matter the most and great nutrition has a massive role in realising consumers’ sporting goals. Anyone, any sport, anywhere. Avonmore Protein Milk brings together three powerhouses of Irish sport to get in session and show us how it’s done. The ad features Paul Flynn (GAA), Ian Madigan (rugby) and Kevin Doyle (football) taking us through a training session in the gym.
A national sampling programme for the product is underway within sports clubs, gyms and at large events such as races and triathlons.
Fuelling winning performance
The Energise brand is going from strength to strength by tapping into consumers’ needs for affordable energy. Energise Sport holds 21% share of the on-the-go sports category* and sales continue to climb at +13% year-on-year as recession-hit consumers pick up the great value €1 price-marked pack (PMP).
Available in Orange and Mixed Fruit flavours, Energise Sport’s isotonic formulation, with electrolytes and added vitamins, enters the blood stream faster to ensure hydration and fuel winning performance.
And now Energise is bringing affordable energy to the stimulant energy category with Energise Edge 440ml. The brand says this shows how the combination of great quality and great value stimulates consumer demand.
Energise is the only sports and energy brand that is 100% produced in Ireland. The range includes Energise Sport and Energise Edge, both delivering top quality products at a great price.
*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack OTG Sports Category – MAT February 2016)
Linking up makes sense
Made from 100% premium beef, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is naturally high in protein and low in calories making it the perfect snack for health conscious consumers, whether it’s after a session at the gym or simply on-the-go.
Jack Link’s Beef Jerky owes its unique flavour to a secret old recipe, with its distinctive smoky sweetness that ensures an authentic, enjoyable meat experience. Over 130 years of experience and a lot of skill has gone into mastering the global phenomenon that is Jack Link’s Beef Jerky which has become such a hit with Irish consumers and gone on to become Ireland’s number one beef jerky since Ampersand launched it five years ago.
The Jack Link’s product range allows retailers to offer innovative healthier snacking options leading to incremental snacking sales, higher margins and profits for retailers. The outer display box takes up a relatively small amount of shelf space and the brand’s selection of clip strips means the products are ideal to be multi-sited to offer an incremental sales and margin opportunity. Both formats can be displayed next to crisps and snacks and the clip strips are perfect for positioning next to drinks in the refrigerators and deli counters in-store.
Ampersand has continued to grow the Jack Link’s brand and the meat snack category year-on-year while maintaining the position as Ireland’s number one beef jerky. The range has been extended to four flavours; Original, Sweet and Hot, Teriyaki and Peppered. There have also been line extensions in format size with 25g and 75g bag options with the 75g offering great value and even more tasty Jack Link’s Beef Jerky to the consumer.
Deluxe delivery of low sugar, high protein fix
Kinetica Sports’ new Protein Deluxe bars strike the right balance between high protein and superior taste, without the guilt
Irish sports nutrition expert Kinetica Sports has unveiled its brand new Protein Deluxe range of high protein bars, offering a nutritious, tasty and convenient snacking option perfect for consumers looking for a low sugar, high protein fix.
Available in two flavours: Cookies & Cream – a crunchy vanilla biscuit flavoured bar with a layer of caramel and milk chocolate coating – and Chocolate Brownie – an indulgent chocolate bar with caramel and milk chocolate coating – the Protein Deluxe offers the much sought after balance between high protein and superior taste, without the guilt.
Healthy convenience continues to grow as a key sales driver in the grocery retail channel with more than half of Irish consumers regularly purchasing some form of protein-enhanced food, snack or beverage (Source: Empathy Research).
Kinetica’s range of convenience products which are widely available in SuperValu, Applegreen, Topaz, Esso, Spar, BWG Eurospar, Mace, Londis, Costcutter and other selected stores are providing Irish convenience retailers with a strong and trusted home-grown brand which delivers the highest quality in protein products in a convenient and accessible format, appealing to all customers.
Paul Donegan, managing director at Kinetica Sports welcomed the addition of Protein Deluxe to Kinetica’s line-up of products, commenting: “High protein snacks are challenging the more traditional convenience purchases and we are thrilled to introduce Protein Deluxe to our range of bars. The Protein Deluxe range offer health conscious shoppers a convenient and effective way to incorporate a high protein and low sugar snack into the diet.
“With stunning gold packaging that is sure to stand out on shelf, the core low sugar, high protein message is visually impactful alongside the striking flavour variant imagery of Kinetica’s new Protein Deluxe.
“Ideal for those who crave a high protein snack in between workouts or casual exercisers in need of a quick fix while in the office or on-the-go, Protein Deluxe will appeal to a new wave of Irish lifestyle consumers and a rapidly growing convenience retail channel.”
The Powerful Water Company says it is committed to developing products that combine hydration and energy using natural ingredients for people on-the-go.
POW Energy Water is the UK and Ireland’s first hydrating energy drink – bringing together the hydrating power of water with natural caffeine, no added sugar, natural sweetness from fruit and no artificial flavours or colourings.
Each POW Energy Water starts with sparkling water. For flavour, the company sweetens with 100% natural fruit and the plant extract Stevia. To give consumers a lift, the water’s caffeine comes from natural Guarana, with added Ginseng root and Vitamin B. Finally mineral salts are added to aid hydration, leaving consumers with a product that is refreshing, lightly flavoured and has a natural lift to help them through their busy day.
Every 440ml bottle of POW contains only 42 calories and less than 1.5 teaspoons of naturally sourced sugar from fruit whilst providing the same amount of caffeine as a cup of green tea.
The Powerful Water Company doesn’t use any artificial colours or sweetners in any of its products so POW Energy Water is naturally clear with a hint of natural colouration from the fruit.
POW Energy Water is available in three natural flavours: Coconut & Lime, Cranberry & Apple and Citrus & Zest.
For more information, visit www.powenergywater.com #powtothepeople.
Q & A with…
Ed Woolner, founder and managing director, POW Energy Water
Ed, you developed POW after observing a niche opportunity in the market. How long did it take for this idea to reach fruition?
It took us around 12 months to develop the product and find the manufacturing partner.
How successfully have POW Energy Waters performed and grown in the Irish market since launch?
We have been working in partnership with C&C Gleeson. After the initial launch in August 2015 we have improved the formula and made some changes to the label, ready for 2016. Retailers and consumers have been really positive about the product and proposition; we have some good distribution and a great platform to build off for 2016.
How do POW Energy Water’s health credentials help the brand stand out from rivals?
POW Energy Water is completely different to any other energy drink on the market. Our proposition is about hydration and natural ingredients, which is the opposite to most high sugar high caffeine energy drinks which don’t hydrate and provide an energy spike. Our ingredients are natural, for example our sugar comes from apple and grape – we have around 12% of the sugar levels of a standard energy drink and our sugar is 100% natural. A 440ml bottle of POW has less than two teaspoons of natural fruit sugar and only 44 calories, I am really proud of that. Our other USP is our caffeine source is also 100% natural; a bottle of POW has the equivalent amount of caffeine as a cup of tea. POW is all about good energy and demonstrating that health can be cool.
How do you intend to market the brand in Ireland over the course of the next 12 months?
Being a start-up brand we are working hard to introduce POW to the market. Our focus is distribution and trial to drive rate of sale. We are in discussions with a series of events across Ireland to become partners; with over 20,000 people attending the series this will be a great way for people to try POW Energy Water and get to know the brand and benefits we offer.
Congratulations on the fact that your packaging is now 100% recyclable. How important are environmental considerations for the company?
Personally I have surfed for 26 years now. I grew up on the beach and continue to live within five minutes of the sea. I am very aware of the impacts PET bottles have on the environment and I want to encourage consumers that drink from PET packaging to recycle and make the effort to be responsible with littering so my children and everyone else can enjoy a litter-free ocean and coast.
Can you explain more about the #POWTOTHEPEOPLE initiative and ethos?
#POWTOTHEPEOPLE is about creating a platform that enables inspirational projects to become reality. POW is about good energy and we wanted to share this by providing €1,000 quarterly to an independent project that is about generating good energy and making a positive difference benefitting others or the community. Back in November we paid for a defibrillator to be based at Mullaghmore for the surfers at the big wave spot. If any ShelfLife readers have a project they think could be interesting, it would be great to hear from them!