Who shops for sports nutrition products at the c-store? Glanbia gives us a glimpse

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Some of Glanbia Performance Nutrition's new product launches debuting at the NACS Show today.
Some of Glanbia Performance Nutrition's new product launches debuting at the NACS Show today.

Related tags RTD Rte Protein Energy

Half of sports nutrition shoppers at c-stores buy products in the category as a source of energy, according to a market study conducted by the parent company of Optimum Nutrition, BSN, and other popular sports nutrition brands.

“These are high value shoppers that spend 40% more annually [compared to the average consumer] and are under-served in c-stores due to lack of brand availability that they know and trust,”​ said Jean Terminiello, national director of immediate consumption at Glanbia Performance Nutrition, which owns the brands Optimum Nutrition, Isopure, BSN, thinkThin, and several more.

Emailing us from the 2018 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show in Las Vegas, Terminiello said that the data came from an extensive, yearlong ‘on-the-go nutrition’ study by channel, conducted with market research firm Seurat.

The research included consumer and retailer surveys, though she did not disclose the exact size of the sample.

It has been around a year since Glanbia Performance Nutrition first announced that it would be aggressively pursuing the convenience store and mass-retailer channel​ at last year’s NACS Show in Chicago.

Previously, its products were mostly distributed in the specialty sports nutrition and supplement retailer channels.

“Today, our products are in over 10,000 U.S. outlets including Speedway, 7 Eleven, regionals such as Kum & Go, Meijer Gas, Bolla Markets, Road Ranger, and thousands of independents,”​ she said.

“At the end of the day, our vision for convenience stores is to help them drive basket growth by bringing in more shoppers, driving more purchase frequency and spend,” ​she added.

“We see convenience store retailers embracing these trends; they are offering greater variety on shelf and in the cold vault with prominent merchandising and messaging to capture these incremental consumers and occasions.”

Increased RTD and RTE product innovation

More results from the survey revealed that a third of sports nutrition brand buyers at the convenience store look for a ‘performance’ boost.

“They are looking for ‘performance’ products that they know and trust to maximize their pre/post workout routine,”​ she said.

While brands like Optimum Nutrition and Isopure started with bulk-sized tubs of protein powders, Glanbia Performance Nutrition’s brands have been ramping up new product development in the ready-to-drink and ready-to-eat space (or in industry abbreviations RTD and RTE) to better serve consumers in this channel.

Glanbia Performance Nutrition is calling this category of RTD and RTE products with recognizable sports nutrition brands ‘on-the-go-nutrition.’

“Our ON snack portfolio offers a range of protein content from 10g-20g, all with high quality protein and great taste as a differentiator,”​ she said.

“ON’s popular 100% Gold Standard Whey and Essential Amino Energy offer convenience in on-the-go powder stick packs, and our ON and ISOPURE beverages offer the additional functionality that consumers are seeking.”

“In snacks, many chains started out with ON Cake Bites, and have now recently added ON Protein Crisp and ON Protein Almond innovation to capture consumers’ interest in protein format variety,”​ she said.

“Some large chains regionally tested our Optimum Nutrition snacks earlier this year, and based on success, are now expanding with nationwide authorization across all ON product lines.”

What’s next?

Untapped growth is in the crowded RTD beverage space, she added.

“Two in three energy drink consumers are dissatisfied with current assortment in c-stores; as such, c-stores are trailing in growth,”​ she said. 

“Consumers are saying that they want more functionality and more natural sources of caffeine; they want more protein drink options, less carbs, less sugar and exciting new flavors. We predict strong growth for c-stores in ‘on the go nutrition’ beverages as they embrace innovation and contemporize their cold vaults with ‘on the go nutrition’ sets to help capture their share of the growth.”

At this year’s NACS Show, the company is showcasing the latest additions to its beverage portfolio.

“Our new RTD innovation will include ON’s Essential AMINO ENERGY Sparkling + Electrolytes, a 3 in 1 drink that provides energy from natural sources (Tea Leaf and Coffee Bean), 5g of powerful amino acids and electrolytes,”​ she said.

“Our ISOPURE Zero Carb 20G beverage is refreshing with zero sugar and zero fat. Both have the potential to disrupt the traditional energy and protein categories by offering a unique combination of functional benefits, superior macros and ingredients in refreshing flavors that taste great.”

Join us for our inaugural Sports Nutrition Summit 2019

The Sports Nutrition Summit will bring together leading scientists, market analysts and innovators in a unique, market-leading face-to-face event. Building on parent company William Reed’s success in running its Probiota Americas series, the event will unite stakeholders from across the value chain in a one-of-a-kind networking opportunity. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The event’s agenda will include sessions on market size and projections. Who are the customers? Where are the growth opportunities? Formulation questions. What are the best supported ingredients? What are the up-and comers? Where is the innovation? The science of sports nutrition. These sessions will focus on the latest studies in the field. What modes of action are best supported? What are the trends in research?

Lessons from the world of sport. How are supplements used by athletes? How does that affect how more mainstream consumers view them? Marketing issues. How do companies best reach their consumer? What kind of influencers should companies look for to help in this communication?


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