More flavours: aland seeks to ramp up sports nutrition initiatives in 2019

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

aland is planning to increase the flavour offerings for its alandv bars this year.
aland is planning to increase the flavour offerings for its alandv bars this year.

Related tags Flavours Sports nutrition Strategy

Chinese dietary supplement firm aland is planning to introduce more flavours for its sports nutrition alandv bars this year.

The alandv sports nutrition products include 1) protein bars 2) cereal power bars 3) whey protein and 4) muscle building powder. 

Currently, its protein bars come in chocolate and strawberry yogurt flavours. The product comes in a 30g packet, selling at RMB$120 (US$17.50) for a box of 12 on its JD online order site.

Whereas its cereal power bars come in chocolate and wheat flavours, selling at RMB$108 (US$15.90) for a box of 12.

Moving into the New Year, the firm plans to pump up its presence in the e-commerce space and convenience stores, Aaron Gong, general manager said, with efforts targeted at consumers between 20 and 35 years old.

He also revealed that the firm would launch new sports nutrition beverage before summer to address present market gaps.

Besides sports nutrition, Gong outlined that the firm also focuses on two other areas, which are products for healthy ageing and functional candies.

External differences

The Chinese consumers have almost entirely different needs from the Western consumers when it comes to sports nutrition.

For instance, a product with higher protein content does not necessarily justify a higher price to the Chinese, Gong pointed out.

This is because the Chinese consumers typically do not consume protein products for hard-core sports such as muscle-building.

“They are looking for more convenient, on-the-go products with nutritional facts that are easy to understand,” ​Gong said.

“To the average consumers, it is unacceptable to pay a higher price for products (simply) because it has a higher protein content.The Chinese are not interested and are not ready to pay more for products with higher protein content.

“For example, it is hardly acceptable to the Chinese to buy a sports nutrition beverage containing 25g of protein for RMB$40 (US$5.8).

“The pricing needs to be low and (the functions of the product) must be easy to understand. In the product packaging, there is no need to emphasise too much on the protein content,” ​he explained.

From his observations, consumers are still concerned with the amount of sugar and fat that a sports nutrition product contains.

“Consumers are still more interested in zero sugar and zero fat content. They understand the rationale behind this well, and thus, we will also need to start (the product marketing efforts) from here.

“We will (also) need to improve the flavour, customise the package size (to attract buying interest).”

Internal differences

Due to the different stages of economic and social developments, the demand and understanding of sports nutrition products vary in different Chinese cities.

“China is a huge market, there are different tiers of cities and thus different demographics. The preferences in the North is different from the preferences in the South,”​ Gong said.

For instance, while Western or imported brands are sought after in the 1st​ and 2nd​ cities such as Shanghai, local brands are more popular in the 3rd​ and 4th​ tier cities, he pointed out.

He explained that consumers from the lower-tiered cities usually buy their products from convenience stores and pharmacies which are mostly selling local brands.

“Also, in lower tiered cities, the product marketing and advertising that the local brands have done are more attuned to the needs of the locals.

“(For example), they (local brands) fare better in terms of product flavours, packaging and brand communication,” ​he explained. 

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