Thorne extends sports nutrition efforts with EXOS partnership

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sports nutrition, Nutrition

Thorne extends sports nutrition efforts with EXOS partnership
Practioner channel specialist Thorne Research has taken another big step into the sports nutrition sphere with a partnership with sports fitness firm EXOS to launch a new line of supplements.

Big opportunity for clean, quality message

The sports nutrition segment has been seen in recent years as one of the fastest growing segments of the dietary supplement sphere and has been seen as one of the best opportunities for bringing new consumers into the market.  But with all of the excitement has come warning signs, too, with the category being plagued with spates of tainting of products with steroids or other undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients. It has also come to be seen as the playground for rogue formulators who are eager to employ the latest stimulant-like ingredient of dubious botanical origin in pre workout products and other supplements.

The perception of shoddy quality and a culture of skirting the rules have made the sports nutrition category an easy mark for athletes claiming that their failed doping tests were the result of taking a tainted supplement.  To take just two prominent cases from 2014​, Jamaican sprinter Osafa Powell and German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle both have attempted to blame their failed drug tests on tainted products.

So Thorne has seen an opportunity to bring sports nutrition products to market that trade on the company’s high reputation for quality.  The company first dipped its toe into the field with a Thorne Performance line​ in 2012 and built on that with the launch of ThorneFX in 2014.

Network of clients

The new line with EXOS brings a new array of capabilities and opens new markets, the companies said.  EXOS, formerly known as Athletes Performance, is a firm offering training, nutrition and recovery and wellness services to athletes and corporate clients.  Among the company’s recent kudos has been acting as the training consultant in 2014 for Germany’s World Cup champion soccer team.  This new partnership allows the company to offer its own line of nutrition solution to its clients, said  Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition research for EXOS.

“We have a mindset of working with clients on the basis of movement, nutrition and recovery. We have always used supplements as part of our methodology,”​ Carson-Phillips told NutraIngredients-USA.

“Up to now we were just using other vendors.  This is our first foray into having a true partnership on supplements. We were piecemealing a solution together and now we have an opportunity to bring that all under one umbrella. Thorne offers great quality, testing and efficacious ingredients at efficacious doses,”​ she said.

Paul Jacobsen, CEO of Thorne, said the products will be distributed both through EXOS’s set of clients and through Thorne’s in-house practitioner network, and the plan is to go direct-to-consumer at some point, too. 

“It’s going to a combination of taking market share from some of the existing sports nutrition products and growing the market in other areas.  We think we are going to bring new players into the market because of the quality inherent in the Thorne name. You have people who have been reluctant to come into the market because they are leery of being hit up on a drug test,”​ Jacobsen said.

The line includes some sports nutrition mainstays such as multivitamins, omega-3s and protein products, but will build out over time to include some more innovative offerings, Jacobsen said.

“As we go along we will develop more unique products. We are not looking simply to copy what other people are doing,”​ he said.

NSF Certified for Sport

Several of the products, those most likely to be used by elite athletes, will be NSF Certified for Sport at the outset, Carlson-Phillips said.  The plan it have the entire line certified.

“It’s a lengthy process, but its a wonderful program. It’s the gold standard,”​ she said.

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