The launch includes 15 products spread across three brands, said CEO Greg Horn, who earlier in his career spent a number of years at GNC itself. The launch includes a series of products under the First brand, built around single active ingredients, the condition-specifc Purpose Nutrition line, the MedVital brand, which features bioactives associated with the Mediterranean Diet, and a satiety drink called SatisFIVE. The formulation principles behind the products address what Horn sees as gaps in the market.
“This line was kind of born out of frustration. There a lot of ingredients in the market where you see the clinical trial was done on a certain dosage, but by the time the formulators and brand marketers get involved, the dosage is cut below what was used in the trial to save money,” Horn told NutraIngredients-USA.
Going the branded route
Horn said that borrowed science and low dosages are the bane of the industry. The new products feature branded ingredients that carefully align with what has been featured in clinical trials. The Lipoxanthin product, for example, which was formulated for health metabolism support, features Cinnulin PF, a cinnamon extract produced by supplier Integrity Nutraceuticals International, and Chromax chromium picolinate from Nutrition 21.
“We founded these lines on the idea that if you have a natural substance that can actually positively affect health, why would you want to use less of it, so that it won’t have that effect? In all these products the principle was that we use the exact form, the same purity and the same dosages as were used in the clinical trials,” he said.
Other products in the line feature Niagen, ChromaDex’s branded form of nicotinamide riboside and BroccoRaphanin, a branded broccoli extract produced by Frutarom.
With the increasing penetration of Amazon and other online commerce platforms, the question can be raised, why bother with brick and mortar at all? Horn said launching with GNC made sense not only because of his history with the company but because of the support it can provide. Communicating the value proposition that the new lines offer is best done in a face-to-face setting, he believes.
“GNC has a phenomenal footprint, and they have a very engaged customer base,” Horn said. “They also have roughly 17,000 employees who can tell customers about new nutrition products and how to get the most out of them nutrition programs. The staff is another benefit that you don’t get in the online world.”