Expansion in Latin America helps fuel sports brand SDC Nutrition's rapid growth

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Expansion in Latin America helps fuel sports brand SDC Nutrition's rapid growth

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SDC Nutrition, a producer of sports nutrition products, has seen growth in Latin American markets help to push the company to the rank of the fastest growing manufacturer based in Pittsburgh.

The company recently announced its expansion into Costa Rica and the Cayman Islands; a development  which has been part of a dizzying growth curve for the company in the region, said Devenee Schumacher, marketing director for SDS.

Demand for quality

“There is a huge demand for quality products (in Latin America) and they are definitely looking for our products.  There is a demand for non GMO, gluten free and lactose free products,”​ Schumacher told NutraIngredients-USA.

“We just started our international push in late September, and we are already in many markets,”​ Schumacher said. SDC Nutrition Inc. has gained significant market presence in Latin American pharmacies and retailers in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, Spain, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela.  Some of the retailers in the region that have signed on include  GNC, Vitasalud, Walmart and Farmacorp. 

The Like many sports nutrition brands, SDC has a personal story to tell.  Schumacher, who is also one of the co-founders, is trained as a chef and started manufacturing her own blends based on whey protein isolate while working with a trainer, Sean Marszalek, who helped found SDC and is now the CEO.

“I started creating my own protein bars to snack on. I decided that if I’m going to do this, I’m going to use a clean protein and create a clean product,”​ Schumacher said.

The company launched in 2009 and added its own manufacturing capacity in 2011. In addition to taking the fastest growing manufacturer honors as measured by the Pittsburgh Business Times​, SDC is the fourth fastest growing company of any sort based in the metro area. The company reportedly has seen more than a 200% CAGR since its founding.

Building relationships

Schumacher said language proficiency, whether in Spanish or Portuguese, is an important factor for success in Latin American markets.  More so than in other parts of the world, where English or perhaps Mandarin is the lingua franca in the dietary supplements industry, many transactions are conducted in the vernacular in Latin America.

“They might have one person who is fluent in English, but everyone else may not be,”​ Schumacher said. “We really try to support our partners down there and build relationships across the company.”

One of the key members of the SDC team who has helped build the Latin American marketing strategy is Jaime Tavarez, vice president of international sales.  SDC, Tavarez said, “wants to do more than sell products internationally. We are committed to building brands in these markets with people and resources on the ground.”​ 

SDC offers powdered nutrition products under four brand names: About Time, G6 Sports, Splash and BME Labz.  In addition to producing and marketing its own products, the company also offers contract manufacturing services.

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