Through the deal, 7-Eleven will carry Optimum Nutrition’s full line of protein snacks. This includes Cake Bites, Protein Crisp Bars, Protein Almonds, and Protein Wafers.
“We are very proud to have earned national availability in 7-Eleven and welcome these popular stores to our ON family," said Jean Terminiello, who directs the ‘immediate consumption’ category of products at Glanbia Performance Nutrition, parent company of Optimum Nutrition, which also owns thinkThin, BSN, Isopure, Amazing Grass, and more.
Brands like Optimum Nutrition and Isopure have been mainstays in the sports nutrition category, known for their bulk-sized powdered supplements sold on platforms like Bodybuilding.com or in specialty stores like GNC.
But since the fall of 2017, Glanbia started to ramp up product development in the ‘on-the-go’ space and focus distribution in the convenience channel, announcing its strategy at the 2017 National Association of Convenience Store (NACS) show in 2017.
While product development in the ready-to-eat (RTE) space has been more robust, Terminiello said, the company is starting to test the waters for ready-to-drink (RTD) products.
“Just last October we introduced Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY + ELECTROLYTES Sparkling Hydration Drink,” she said.
The product contains 5g of aminos, 100 mg of caffeine from natural sources, and electrolytes in a 12oz can “that is perfect for the convenience channel consumer who seek functional energy drinks.”
“We are currently zone testing ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY + ELECTROLYTES Sparkling Hydration Drink and expect that our success will earn approval for national distribution,” she added.
What is driving the surge of on-the-go sports nutrition?
“Two key need states are driving the surge of on-the-go offerings within sports nutrition,” Terminiello told NutraIngredients-USA.
The company classified them as ‘Performance Needs,’ where products are used before and after a workout, and ‘Active Needs,’ where products are used to kick start the day, boost energy, manage satiety, mindful snacking and permissible indulgence.
“Each channel over-indexes in different need states. The convenience channel plays bigger role for the Active shoppers while retailers such as GNC over-indexes with Performance shoppers,” she added, citing the company’s internal market research. Because of this, the company has increased activity in the RTD and RTE space without fear of cannibalizing its bulk supplement products.
“Ultimately, our goal is to provide each shopper with the right product and shelf communication to meet their on-the-go needs whether they are in a GNC or 7-Eleven,” Terminiello told NutraIngredients-USA.
Last year, Glanbia released the results of its year-long market study, which revealed what type of consumer sports nutrition products at c-stores attract.
They found that half of these shoppers buy these products as a source of energy, and are high value shoppers that spend 40% more annually compared to the average consumer who have felt “underserved in convenience stores due to lack of brand availability that they know and trust.”