The 2020 pandemic turned into 2021-2022 and increased supply chain and other business challenges, forcing sports nutrition brands and manufacturers to work harder to maintain production and inventory, not to mention launching innovative new products.
Ingenuity and partnership have plagued many of these companies, creating pockets of innovation. Natural Products Insider spoke to segment experts, who all pointed out that supply chain disruptions affect innovation, especially in terms of time and supply stability.
“Delivery times have increased, logistics and customs delays are widespread – the world is moving slower,” said Dan Lourenco, CEO and founder of the innovative Ghost Lifestyle brand. “Brands need to take these factors into account when designing brand / innovation plans, especially if they are trying to meet strict retail deadlines. He also noted that brands need to monitor the stability of the supply of ingredients (and suppliers) as they evolve in the innovation process, and suggested a number of questions for brands to consider: “Is“ stocks in stock ”likely to depend on the availability of ingredients? Can production rules abroad affect supply? Are prices stable?
Due to supply chain challenges during the pandemic, some innovations in Iovate Health Science, which owns brands such as XP Sports, MuscleTech and Six Star Pro Nutrition, lacked key ingredients. Raza Bashir, the company’s vice president of research and innovation, added: “Many of our packaging components were also missing, leading to delays.
Some of the ingredients affected include major components in this segment, such as creatine, whey protein, and amino acids. However, excipients, including fashionable alternative sweeteners, are also affected.
“For many people involved in sports nutrition, it started in 2020. In July, when there was a high consumption of erythritol, ”said Thomas King, CEO of Icon Foods. “Due to the previous shortage of corn, the supply was already low. Corn is a key ingredient in many of the ingredients used in sports nutrition, especially when it comes to reducing sugar.
However, corn has stabilized, he reported, and the price of corn derivatives such as erythritol is rapidly returning to normal. “The biggest factor in supply chain instability at the moment is logistics,” he said. “Ports are still periodically stopped due to COVID, but the real problem is intermodal transport, ie lorries moving products from ports to production. This is likely to stabilize only late [second quarter].
One of the most popular sports supplement brands, which has attracted many fans and customers, is RedCon1, which has reported similar struggles with the current state of the supply chain.
“Due to longer delivery times, shortages of materials, rising costs, etc., our goal is to keep existing key SKUs in stock and supply shelves to our retail partners,” said Eric Hart, president of the hot brand RedCon1, who pointed out innovation could lead to additional tensions in the current supply chain, which in turn would undermine core business. “We are still working on new innovations inside, but we are postponing commercialization.
Longtime sports nutritionist and product developer David Sandler, president and CEO of StrengthPro, has agreed that brands are still trying to innovate but are delaying delivery, sometimes indefinitely. He pointed out that the main challenges are slower response times due to research and development (R&D), late delivery times and availability of materials, and continued price increases for most components.
“Innovation is still a priority, but where X number of new products per year have been required, brands have focused on maintaining their shelf space, Amazon rankings and key distribution points,” he explained.
In terms of retail and distribution, “there are regions in the country and in the world where the production of bricks and mortar has been severely affected,” says Hart. “Those retail partners have to spend less dollars, so buying new products is probably not as important as making sure they turn on the lights and open the door.
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