WATCH: Glanbia China to focus on lifestyle nutrition on back of sports nutrition success

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sports nutrition, China, female

Glanbia Nutritionals is seeking to propel its growth in China via general lifestyle nutrition, in addition to its sports nutrition stronghold, with a key focus on creating new concepts in tandem with its customers.

With a turnover of about US$1.5bn, Glanbia Nutritionals' portfolios span nutritional ingredients and finished consumer products.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia ​at Food Ingredients China 2019, David Townsend, VP of commercial (APAC), said the firm would focus on providing protein products for both the sports nutrition and general lifestyle segments in China.

One of the key steps, is to work with commercial partners, including retailers, in developing new consumer products.

In the past three years, it has been working with a sports accessories retail chain which has about 300 stores in China in developing sports nutrition products, such as protein beverages, nutritional bars, and isotonic drinks.

“We are well known in whey protein and sports nutrition, less known in lifestyle nutrition and this is what we are working towards to in China and the broader APAC as consumers change their lifestyle habits and there are a lot of people getting into sports,” ​Townsend said.

To meet protein demand in Asia, Glanbia PLC had recently invested in a cheese and whey protein processing facility in Michigan, US.

One of the aims, Townsend said, was to produce whey protein for the Asian market.

“This is one of the largest investment till date, total investment is over US$300m. The aim is to produce a lot of whey protein for the Asian market,” ​he said.

The firm had also acquired Watsons, a manufacturer of pre-mixes and specialty products, such as edible colourings, to boost its range of offerings.

Female sports nutrition in China

Elaborating on the sports nutrition market in China, Glanbia Nutritionals said that there were more Chinese females consuming these products.

“Especially for females between 20 and 45 years old and above, they see exercising and bodybuilding as part of their daily lifestyles. We see that as there is a change in lifestyles, there are more types of consumer groups emerging in the sports nutrition category and this is why we are focusing more on female sports nutrition market,”​ Judy Jiang, the BD director said.

Jiang explained that unlike males who train for muscle building, females mostly exercise as part of their weight management and body sculpting regime. Thus, different types of ingredients will be used for these two consumer groups.

For example, to increase satiety and control their food intake, ingredients such as casein and whey protein with a larger molecular mass are used in female sports nutrition products.

On the other hand, whey protein, whey isolate protein and some functional ingredients, such as BCAA are more commonly found in males sports nutrition products.

Watch the video to find out more.

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