The beauty and personal care market has provided ample examples of successful influence designed product ranges and now is a great time for sports nutrition (SN) brands to jumping on this lucrative opportunity.
This is the view of Tom Morgan, senior market analyst for the market insights firm Lumina Intelligence, who gave NutraIngredients his opinions on the wider trends of the SN market during his report on the Women's Sports Nutrition market.
"This is a small trend mentioned in the report, but will be bigger in terms of performance nutrition generally. This is a trend coming in from the female led beauty category, with influencer made cosmetics and make up, indicating that if it’s pitched right it can perform well in performance nutrition too.
"As far as I understand it, there aren’t many at the moment, and those that exist have faced prior difficulties: the Tracy Anderson line released in Target is now no longer available on Target online for instance. But this was 2016."
He believes the market will be more susceptible to buying into brands such as this in 2020. One more recent example of a successful influencer-led SN product Morgan points out is Nutrabolt’s XTEND Elite BCAA blend created in partnership with Crossfit athlete Mat Fraser, in blueberry lemonade flavour, aka ‘Fraserade’.
But he says its important to tap into this opportunity before the ship has sailed.
"As with all things, there is a limit to how saturated a market can get with these types of things, but for performance nutrition at the moment, the time is ripe to capitalise on the influencer trends."
Women's sports nutrition
Providing an overview of Lumina's new women's sports nutrition market data, he points out that Lumina captured over over 4,000 SN products but just 2.5% of them were targeted towards female consumers.
Morgan says when brands get female focused SN right the results can be very lucrative as there are a lot of women buying into this market. He points out that Lumina's research shows 43% of Twitter users talking about fitness supplements were female in 2019.
In order to help brands to understand the different marketing strategies for sports nutrition to women, Lumina has created four definitions into which brands can be categorised.
These are brands that don’t actively target women but they are popular with the female market. One such example Morgan provides is Grenade, which consciously works to portray a gender-neutral message through its packaging and marketing yet it’s audience is an equal split male and female.
Morgan suggests the reason for this is the brand’s attention to quality.
“Some brands have a turnover of four months, from concept to launch. Grenade has been quoted as spending 17 months on development.”
These are brands which mostly sell non gender specific products but they dip their toe into the female market with a couple of products.
“These brand might have two similar products but market one towards men and one towards women. The issue with this is that women are likely to read the labels of the two products and see what the difference is.
“In the past, brands have sold one product for females and made it more expensive but they've barely changed the ingredients in each - in fact female targeted protein powders are 15.6% more expensive than general protein powders per 100g largely because women's products are usually significantly smaller.”
However, one brand which Morgan says has successfully dipped its toe into the female sports nutrition market is Six Star. He says the brand’s ‘Whey Protein for Her’ with a nearly entirely five star review score, contains added probiotics and botanicals, which suggests women respond well to these ingredients.
“They are also goal driven with imagery of female athletes on the pack and language around sports training and strength, rather than talking about making women look a certain way.”
However, Lumina’s data does show this is not the case in APAC countries, where the big emphasis tends to be on aesthetic benefits, as opposed to strength or power.
These are brands which communicate to female through the use of campaigns.
One brand leading the way in this style of marketing is LUNA bar – sister brand to the CLIF bar – which has ru a number of female empowerment focused campaigns.
One example is the brand’s commitment to closing the World Cup roster bonus pay gap by giving each of the 23 women named to the 2019 World Cup team the $31,250 difference to make their roster bonus equal to the men’s.
Morgan uses Women’s Best as an example of a successful specialist women’s sports nutrition brand dedicated to making products for women.
Morgan says this is a very successful company which concentrates its efforts on telling stories and communicating with consumers on social media to build a strong community.
Discussing women’s most sought after health benefits, Morgan says some of the few honest differences between male and female athletes is that female athletes can suffer from amenorrhoea, low bone density and low energy.
He says it makes sense for female-targeted products to supplement with vitamins and minerals to support these potential concerns.
Looking at health benefits, Lumina’s data shows that female focused products which have an ‘easy-to-digest’ claim on pack or have added probiotics tend to gain higher customer reviews.
“This is a pertinent issue for female consumer. Women are more likely to suffer from IBS due to the fact they have slower to elevate intestinal nerves.”
Therefore, Morgan suggests that some other potentially popular additions could be prebiotics and enzymes which are widely recognised as being beneficial to gut health and digestion.
Influencers, the microbiome, protein, formulation challenges and opportunities, and female athletic consumers are just some of the topics that will take centre stage at the NutraIngredients USA Sports Nutrition Summit in San Diego, Feb 3-5, 2020.
For more information and to register, please click HERE.