Active Nutrition concepts help marketers reach consumers in their individual ‘tribes’

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Active Nutrition concepts help marketers reach consumers in their individual ‘tribes’
Connecting with the concepts driving Active Nutrition can help brands reach consumers who are subdivided into individual communities of interest, experts told an online audience this week.

In a forum discussion that capped NutraIngredients-USA’s Active Nutrition Online Event, experts told the audience that consumers in the Active Nutrition market are segmented into areas of specific interest. One participant, Tim Avila, principal in the consulting firm Systems Bioscience, went so far as to call them ‘tribes.’  

Divided into ‘tribes’

Active Nutrition consumers, those end users who find themselves on the ‘lifestyle’ end of sports nutrition product ranges, are connecting with products via their specific interests. They’re less motivated by ingredients or products categories, he said. In other words, strength trainers look to products recommended by other strength trainers, rock climbers take what other climbers are taking, etc.

“There are so many tribes out there, based on whatever activity it is they’re interested in,” ​Avila said in the forum that was broadcast earlier this week.

“The paradigm has changed so much. This category is about experience. Consumers are thinking about what are the brands and products that fit the lifestyle they want to pursue,”​ he said.

“That’s the economy we’re dealing with. This is not about prevention or generic nutrition but it’s also not about underground niche marketing. This category comprises both emerging trends and mainstream elements and that’s why brands are excited about it,” ​Avila added.

Susan Kleiner, PhD, was another member of panel. Kleiner, who is a practicing nutritionist consulting with professional sports teams and is also in charge of science and communication for the carbohydrate-based finished product brand Vitargo, said what used to be underground applications have now become more mainstream. 

Thus, messages once aimed at raw egg-swilling gym rats can now be adapted to reach more consumers.

“When I started my research in the early 1980s, strength trainers were not considered athletes and strength training was not considered exercise,” ​Kleiner said. “Today, we think everybody should be doing it.”

More women coming into category

Rachel Kreider, MPH, RD, is head of innovation and private label at​. She said one of the changes is that more and more women are coming into the category. And​, once the realm almost exclusively of the dedicated bodybuilders, is trying fo find ways to meet them.

Smart marketers will find ways to reach these consumers with specific products and strategies, rather than just putting a bow on a product originally aimed at men, Kreider said. The so-called ‘Pink It and Shrink It’ strategy.

“Our site traffic skews about 70% male. And about 80% of our purchasers are still men. But we have added female specific content and landing pages aimed at women,” ​Kreider said.

On demand sessions

To hear all of the Active Nutrition Online Event sessions on demand, click here​.

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