Brazil’s sports nutrition market proves ‘difficult to break into’

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / GeorgeRudy
© Getty Images / GeorgeRudy
Despite challenges to entry, there is growing consumer appeal in the Brazilian sports nutrition market. We talk pricing, politics and product innovation with Tom Morgan, Senior Market Analyst at Lumina Intelligence.

Online opportunity

Between Q3 2018 and March 2019, 5% of Brazil’s sports nutrition products were placed online — a modest figure. Review growth in the country has in fact been negative, with numbers dropping by 15% in those remaining products. While this is in “no way a sign it’s a bad market,” ​Lumina Intelligence’s Senior Market Analyst Tom Morgan reassures, it does indicate that it “is a difficult one to break into”​.

Describing the sports nutrition market in Mexico as “do or die”​, Morgan reveals that the online market for sports nutrition in Brazil is much larger than in Mexico, creating a “massive opportunity” ​for brands wanting to emerge in the marketplace. Ultimately, understanding consumers is key to preventing brands from floundering in the sports nutrition arena.

Pricing turn-offs

Pricing is high in certain Latin American marketplaces, including Brazil and Mexico, when compared to the average wage of workers. Along with the potential inaccessibility by consumers who cannot afford the products, many do not believe there is good value for money. However, the biggest threat to products’ survival is on the physical shelves.

Out of those brands that have been fortunate enough to not be removed entirely from brick-and-mortar retailers, not all have seen their product portfolios remain available to consumers. For those brands that are still in front of customers, some have seen the retailers carrying their ranges drop certain products.

Lumina Intelligence’s data reveals that this is largely an approach adopted by national retailers, rather than multinational companies.

Political environment

When it comes to political and economic decisions, Morgan explains that “contradictions between politics and markets are abound”.

Drawing upon one specific example, Morgan recounts the landscape in Brazil: “While President Jair Bolsonaro may have his reservations about the environment”, ​he has made the decision to discount newly released information​ showing mass shrinkage in the Amazon.” ​The approach has been adopted even though “Brazilian tastes for ethical and clean labeling is sky-high.”

In fact, 67% of sports nutrition products in Brazil make a clean label claim, and this figure excludes free-from claims such as gluten.

Brand entry and exciting innovations drive growth

Brazil supplements © Getty Images Vepar5
67% of sports nutrition products in Brazil make a clean label claim. Image: © Getty Images / Vepar5

The introduction of new regulations by the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (ANIVSA) for dietary supplements in 2018 in Brazil will mean it will become “a lot easier for brands to enter the country, and for existing brands to flourish and innovate​”, Morgan details — a development that is “certainly helping”​ the market.

Traditional brands are expected to show little deviation or diversion from current marketing strategies, largely due to their uncertainty about “making new releases in the contentious environment”.​ On the other hand, Lumina Intelligence expects to see the introduction of more plant-based products and exciting innovations in favour of those “on-the-ball brands”​.

In Brazil, a large proportion of the market is still focused on whey. Unveiling how “there is very little flavour innovation” ​in whey product ranges at present, Morgan shares how products that can “match the consumer pallet of the country would do incredibly well”​.

In addition, we are also likely to see the inclusion of a wider variety of functional ingredients, as brands seek new avenues to reach untapped customers.

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