GoodBelly maker enters supplement space mostly to placate existing consumers

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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GoodBelly maker enters supplement space mostly to placate existing consumers
Next Foods, maker of the popular GoodBelly line of probiotic juice drinks, has delved into the supplement space with the release of a line of capsules containing the Lactobacillus plantarum 299v strain featured in its beverages. But it’s not so much a shift in business strategy as an attempt to answer a need among its consumers, the company’s CEO said.

“It’s not so much a new direction as an offer to consumers who say when they’re traveling they can’t take their GoodBelly with them,” ​Alan Murray, CEO of NextFoods told NutraIngredients-USA. 

“It’s mostly to keep our existing customers happy. The second biggest complaint we were hearing was; I drink GoodBelly every day, how can I get those same benefits while I’m traveling?”​ he said. 

Next Foods probiotic drink GoodBelly is one of the 3% of product launches that got beyond the $20 million sales threshold partly because unlike some competitors it did not over extend itself by “getting way too much distribution without getting consumer pull”​ to justify expansion, said Murray, who was a presenter at the Probiota Americas event​ that was hosted by NutraIngredients-USA in San Diego in June.

Overextending distribution is tempting for brands eager to grow, but it can cost a lot of money so that there are insufficient funds for other business components, such as marketing, Murray said.

When GoodBelly launched it concentrated its efforts on the early adopter market at a regional Whole Foods, and “only once we had established a base of consumers with them … [did] we decide to move to the next retailer,”​ which was in the same natural channel, Murray said.

Once GoodBelly was firmly established in the natural sector at Whole Foods, Sprouts and Natural Grocers, it expanded into “more progressive retailers like Kroger and Safeway,”​ but still has not gone into club or mass “because that can always happen at a later stage,”​ he said.

As far as the supplement foray is concerned, Murray said it will remain small scale for the moment. “It’s not as if we believe we can be the next Culturelle. We are not putting a lot of marketing dollars behind this,” ​he said.

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