The network marketing giant, which sells supplements, beverages, personal care items and a variety of consumer goods, is using its earlier acquisition of the XS brand, a line of beverages billed as “healthier energy drinks” which was founded by a former Amway distributor in 2001 and fully acquired by the company in 2015. The sports nutrition brand extension, which now takes the name into supplements, features products such as protein powder and shakes, pre- and post-workout supplements, energy bars and sports drinks.
The launch will allow the company, which is the world’s largest network marketing company with $9.5 billion in revenue, to access a new and important market, said Jackie Nickel, Amway’s chief marketing officer for the Americas. It will also help boost sales for a company whose financials have taken a hit in recent months; currency fluctuations and weak results in China pushed Amway’s revenue to its lowest point in five years.
“Half of all adults in the United States are current users of sports nutrition products, and out of that group, 50% are under the age of 35. This is a young and vibrant market that is significant to Amway and its Independent Business Owners,” Nickel told NutraIngredients-USA. Nickel said Amway figures the sports nutrition market at $19 billion in the US and growing rapidly.
Long history in supplements
Amway has been in the dietary supplement game for years with its Nutrilite line of products, a brand that actually preceded the founding of the company in 1959. The Nutrilite brand had its roots in California in 1934; Ada, MI-based Amway took full control of the brand in 1994. As the company grew, it relied on feedback from distributors as to what new products were needed. And Nickel said distributors were looking for products to sell that matched their own lifestyles.
“We knew that many Amway Independent Business Owners enjoy an active lifestyle and consume sports nutrition products. Their feedback played a significant role in our launch planning. We see the growing demand for sports nutrition products as an opportunity for Amway Independent Business Owners to reach new consumers,” Nickel said.
The choice of protein sources has become a differentiator in the crowded powder supplement field. Some formulators tout the benefits of a single source, such as whey protein isolate, which has a claim to be the most rapidly digested of all sources. Other tout plant proteins because of their clean label, sustainability or vegetarian benefits. Amway has chosen a blending approach for their sports products, using forms of both whey and casein to get a sustained release effect and a more complete amino acid profile, Nickel said.
“Historically, whey has been king in the world of sports nutrition. Today, however, there is growing evidence to support the use of a diverse blend of proteins. Take our XS Sports Protein Powder, for example. This product helps build lean muscle with 23 grams of five different types of whey and casein proteins,” Nickel said.
Beyond protein the line will also feature ingredients such as beta-alanine, rhodiola rosea, medium chain triglycerides, turmeric, glucosamine, acerola and tart cherries, and selenium.