Glanbia sees sports nutrition NPD opportunities in plant-based and convenience offerings

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

A man running up a slope. ©Getty Images
A man running up a slope. ©Getty Images

Related tags Glanbia Sports nutrition Npd

Glanbia has identified plant-based innovation and new ready-to-consume formats as key areas for sports nutrition product innovation to capture new consumers across its brands, including Optimum Nutrition, Isopure, and Body&Fit.

Glanbia's flagship brand, Optimum Nutrition, has reported a global revenue growth of 34.9 per cent on the back of positive demand in FY2021.

The brand is heavy in the areas of protein products in the form of shakes, powders, snacks, as well as weight gainers.

Asked the areas for new product development, Daniel Beatty, general manager Asia at Glanbia Performance Nutrition said that the company would be introducing new products in the ready-to-drink/eat space.

“Beyond developments in flavour, we see a lot of movement in the ready-to-drink, ready-to-eat products and smaller pack sizes for the on-the-go consumption occasions,”​ he said, adding that the firm would focus more strongly on the brands BSN, Isopure, aside from Optimum Nutrition.

On the other hand, the demand for plant-based options is also seeping into the sports nutrition sector.

Beatty said that plant-based alternatives and products for energy were the areas for capturing new consumer segments.

There has been innovation around plant-based protein powder in sports nutrition which is said to improve the digestibility of the products.

So far, some of the plant-based products by Glanbia include Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant, Amazing Grass Protein Superfood, and Think! Vegan High Protein Bars.

With Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant as an example, the ingredients used include organic pea, brown rice, and sacha inchi proteins. 

Asia’s top performers

Within Asia, the best-performing markets for Glanbia are in Japan, South Korea, and Singapore.

While the consumption of sports nutrition, especially protein powder, is associated with weightlifting, the company noticed that most of its consumers also engage in team sports such as football, basketball, as well as running.

“Our consumer mix is slightly skewed towards male. In general, they are aged 25 to 44 who exercise at least three times a week,” ​said Beatty.

The findings are from the company's annual consumer surveys conducted last year in South Korea, Japan, and South East Asia.

Building muscle mass, getting in shape by developing lean muscle, maximising athletic performance and the pursuit of an active lifestyle are the common reasons for consuming sports nutrition products.  

Elsewhere in Malaysia, Optimum Nutrition has consistently ranked within the top five on online shopping events. 

For example, in April, the brand took the top spot for the best-selling brand in the health category during the 4.4 Shopee sale – rising above Dettol, Iconic Medicare, Kinohimitsu, and Kitsui.

However, sports nutrition has not picked up growth momentum in other South East Asia markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam, largely due to a lack of awareness.

“We believe there is in general, a low awareness of the importance and benefits of sports nutrition and affordability,”​ said Beatty, adding that education around sports nutrition benefits and ensuring product affordability would be required to drive market growth.

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