Editor's Spotlight: The Nutra News Review

LISTEN NOW: Sports nutrition deals, seaweed start-up innovation ... and 'the Google of the gut'? - The Nutra News Review

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

It's not easy to keep up with the fast pace of the news, but the weekly Nutra News Review is your best shot. Our editors run down their weekly news highlights - giving you the inside track on the top news and analysis from the last seven days.

Listen to Nathan Gray, Will Chu and Nikki Cutler rundown their highlights of the week's news...

On our agenda this week is:

1) Sports nutrition acquisition

Earlier this week, Science in Sport (SiS) revealed its intentions to purchase fellow sports nutrition company PhD Nutrition in a €36.8m (£32m) deal, with the majority financed by a share offering.

The statement released by SiS revealed plans to extend PhD's presence in international markets including the United States, which is the largest protein market globally.

According to Euromonitor, the sports protein powder market is valued at $4.7bn, buoyed on by strong sales online and growing interest among casual exercisers and the ‘regimentation of fitness.’

These drivers, coupled with SiS’ and PhD’s strengths, make for a cosy relationship as e-commerce and the rise of casual exercisers go from strength to strength.

Obstacle races, CrossFit, boot camps, have been identified as the kind of sponsorship and sampling opportunities that sports nutrition brands are looking to align themselves to.

In addition, E-commerce has few international boundaries that retail have to contend with as SiS look to boost its protein offerings in a sector that is exhibiting market gains across Europe and the US. Read more by clicking here.

2) Exercise and the microbiome

On Thursday, researchers in the US reaffirmed previous observations that show exercise-induced changes in the gut microbiota.

Exercise and its relationship to gut health is an emerging area in sports nutrition, as both the public and private sector investigate cause and effect, probiotic solutions and personalised nutrition possibilities.

These findings support the idea that exercise is almost invariably part of a healthy lifestyle with exercise clearly influential in beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Additionally, the findings give rise to possibilities in tailoring exercise plans according to an individual’s gut makeup adding to the raft of personalised services that extend towards, nutrition and medicine. Read more by clicking here.

3) The Google of the gut?

This week saw an international team of researchers – led by scientists in China – unveil an impressive new tool that they termed the microbiome search engine – which promises to help navigate the complex world of bacterial big-data and become the google of microbiome data.

The Chinese team behind the tool – known as MSE – says it is designed to help evaluate the novelty and impact of bacterial strains, and could help academics and industry focus research and development - and mine datasets for promising new strains.

The lead author of the study said that by searching for the most structurally or functionally similar microbiomes in a super-fast manner, the MSE tool offers the first opportunity to relate each microbiome ever published to the microbiome big-data known to mankind so far.

Another person who worked on the study is top microbiome researcher Rob Knight. He said the searches that the new tool allows will become an important first step for data analysis in all sorts of microbiome studies. Read more by clicking here.

4) Seaweed start-up

Our startup spotlight this week was the company Doctor Seaweed’s Weed and Wonderful. The company is run by former marine biologist Craig Rose who wanted to make it easier for consumer to benefit from the many health benefits of seaweed.

His range of products includes a supplement and a range of three seaweed infused oils. Craig says that seaweed is an incredible source of a number of vitamins and nutrients, but it’s a particularly good source of iodine – a nutrient in which many women are deficient. Read more by clicking here.

5) Marketing to men

Consumer analyst Max Gonen has given us a preview of the findings from his research into the way men view sports nutrition and the marketing mistakes brands are making.

Conducting the research for the brand strategy agency Healthy Marketing Team, Gonen interviewed, observed and surveyed hundreds of men who participate in strength training in Sweden and the U.S. His research found that modern men are bombarded with information and advice from so-called experts on the internet and on social media.

The research shows this is making them sceptical over who the real experts are. This has made men particularly resistant to being stereotyped and keen to create their own personal identity. This means that brands should concentrate on how they can support their consumers’ functions, rather than trying to show they know the identity of their consumers. Read more by clicking here.

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