Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA via video, John Herman, Chief Commercial Officer, Nutrabolt, said: “When everything [COVID-19] started to hit we started to really understand that channels were going to be changing and we need to throw our original operating plan out the window, we started to look to manage the near term, focusing on making sure that any spend we were having was thoughtful, with a reduction in marketing, trade or promotions because the shoppers that were out there were looking to spend based on need and demand rather than trying to find a deal.
“So, we really shifted to accelerate our efforts within our new channels of distribution, and continue our efforts within food, drug and mass. We’ve continued to see really strong bounce back within any channel from Walmart to Target, and we are seeing higher penetration within their digital platforms as well.
Herman added that the number one app downloaded nationally during the height of the Coronavirus crisis was the Walmart Grocery app. “So, we wanted to see how we could activate on that platform, make the marketing investments to evolve with where the consumers are shopping.
“It’s all about insulating from the downturn on the specialty side, and trying to monitor when that will all bounce back.”
Herman added that the company is full-steam ahead on new product development for their food, drug and mass channel products, and the digital side. However, the company has paused its NPD for the specialty channel, where pipe fill and new product innovation are on a quarterly basis. This is “better understand what specialty as a channel looks like once COVID passes”, said
“Holistically, with the impact with what’s been happening with COVID – the lockdowns, the shopping behavior – it really came down to change within the channels and the points of distribution that we’re seeing the sales occur. So, as you look at the general market, the traditional channels within specialty basically shut down.
“And the brands that were distributed heavily within the gym channel were obviously really impacted. However, if you look at the points of distribution where people are shopping now, if you look at the digital channel or FDMC, those are actually doing quite well and thriving.
“I think you see an acceleration of shopping patterns changing, and whether that’s shopping within your food, drug or mass, or regional grocery store, shopping on Amazon, or using new technologies like Instacart or Shipt, the brands that are diversified there are continuing to win.”
Herman also discusses Nutrabolt's experience across global regions, and how health and wellness will accelerate and evolve.