“We wanted to create a line of products that are not so much operating at the fringe of sports nutrition. We wanted to help people to be healthy athletes to begin with, to be clean athletes to begin with. We wanted something that you would not be afraid to recommend to someone you train with or your kids if they want to take the products,” Tim Monk, senior vice president of marketing for Douglas told NutraIngredinets-USA.
Monk was an All-America as a swimmer at the University of Denver in the early 90s and has been a top level triathlete. He said he leaned on his own experience and tapped into the sports-oriented employee culture at Douglas and parent company Atrium Innovations while helping to plan the new product line.
“We want to really focus on the middle of the market because there is really nothing there. No one has really focused on the core health of the athlete. There is always something out there that will claim to make you faster, but when we work in the practitioner space, all of our products are designed to make people well and we took some of that spirit and created this sports line,” he said.
Full product line
The Klean Athlete line has some crossover with many other general product lines in that it features a multivitamin, an antioxidant formula and a probiotic supplement. It also includes products more focused on active athletes, such as a cognitive support offering, a whey protein isolate product, an electrolyte replacement supplement and an endurance chew that includes ribose.
All of the supplements are certified through the NSF Certified for Sport program, which ensures that they are free from any trace of more than 180 substances on the World Anti Doping Agency’s banned list. This is becoming an important distinction in the sports space, as doping tests don’t afford the same kind of minute wiggle room that other standards might. There can’t be any detectable level of these substances in the athletes’ urine. Period.
Douglas Labs, based in Pittsburgh, PA, has a 60-year history of selling supplements in the health practitioner channel. It is the second company in a week operating in the practitioner channel to launch a sports nutrition line, following Thorne Research’s launch of Thorne Performance.
And, like Thorne, Douglas has plans to expand the distribution of the line beyond its traditional practitioner base. While it will still sell the supplements through doctors, Monk said the company also plans to distribute them through a network of certified coaches and trainers.
“One of the things we realized is that someone like my triathlete coach, if he wants to recommend supplements, he has to send someone to the retail shelf. It’s the same reason that the health care practitioners channel was developed, to give doctors high quality products that they could recommend to their patients. We feel strongly that we can do that with the coaches and trainers segment,” Monk said.
“We have already been approached by trainers from Major League Baseball and elsewhere because the products are certified and tested to be free of banned substances. We will also provide the product to registered athletes through our website. It’s not a food-drug-mass product; we will stay true to our roots,” he said.
In addition to these sales outlets, Monk said distribution in high-end fitness club chains, such as Lifetime Fitness, would be a good fit for the product line.
Monk said the supplements went out on soft launch through the company’s normal practitioner channel several months ago. The supplements will be distributed by Douglas Labs, Monk said, but will have their own, separate brand identity under the Klean Athlete moniker.