As sports and active nutrition brands look to attract more consumers, there is a clamour for innovation in the sector, but traditional approaches to product development can all-too-often leave companies with uninspiring ‘me too’ products that consumers do not engage with, says Nick Morgan, director at Sports Integrated.
“Instead of just being about a gut feeling, or a little bit about seeing what's out on the market, it's about taking quite a 'big data' approach,” he tells NutraIngredients ahead of his interactive session at the upcoming Sports Nutrition Summit in Amsterdam. “So understanding pretty much all products in the market and how you can manoeuvre around the data to see where opportunities exist.”
The session, set to round off the opening day of the three-day summit, will explore in-depth data on sports nutrition bars, with Morgan providing commentary around the data and looking at how general impressions of the marketplace stack up against the reality.
“We’ll be looking at why people may have done what they have done with their innovations, and with that we'll do some polling on what people think they already know about the market, versus what the market is actually showing when we take a big data approach,” explains Morgan.
Using this ‘data-driven approach to innovation’, the brand innovation expert will guide delegates through an interactive session designed to make us question the traditional approaches to innovation and product development.
Sports Nutrition Summit
The Sports Nutrition Summit, brought to you by NutraIngredients is back for a second year!
Bringing together industry and research professionals in the active and performance nutrition space, the Sports Nutrition Summit aims to bridge the gaps between cutting edge science, business strategy and key regulatory developments to shine a light on the key consumers in the sports and active nutrition industry, and what you can do to meet their needs.
Challenging you to know your market the 2019 programme will explore the latest scientific and product developments across the consumer spectrum - looking at active sports nutrition consumers by category and life stage.
‘Build-a-bar’: Category focus
The session will focus specifically on applying these principles to the bar format, which he says represent “probably one of the most interesting and exciting areas of sports nutrition, particularly because people use is synonymously to describe how sports nutrition is going mainstream.”
Indeed, he noted that because the format of a bar itself offers an 'on the go' format, it means they ae often seen as more accessible for normal people to be able to engage with when compared to other popular formats such as powders.
"As the market has evolved, I think you're seeing two really interesting extremes of the landscape play out,” he noted. “One of which is the classical protein bar - I'd call it the high-low bar, which is high in protein and low in sugar, and was made famous by brands like Grenade and PhD. Those bars have really captured the imagination, they have a great macronutrient profile.
“Then on the other side, you have the 'food first' bars, which have low ingredients, food that you can pronounce, and are all based on ingredients that people would imagine they could make if they were making a bar at home,”
“Those two competing dynamics are really personifying the mainstream approach to bars,” said Morgan.
The sports bar category is also seeing diversification in retail channels, he said, noting that this is driving further growth in the segment and a greater focus on innovation that has seen many brands focus a good deal of innovation in the area in recent years.
“With that we are seeing so many people innovate, but we're also seeing so many new people enter the market, and with that brings a lot of noise and it also means that brands need to be really clear on how they are going to differentiate and where they are going to go next,” Morgan explained.
“Whilst there have been a lot of bars on the market, a lot of the launches are for bars that are very similar to other brands, and consequently for those that survive the test of time, trying to understand where white space opportunities are is going to be really important, and is going to need to happen to underpin the next wave of growth in the area.”
The session, lined up for the opening day of the second annual Sports Nutrition Summit, will take a data-driven approach to navigating the cacophony of product data on existing bars, giving the audience an understanding of some of the key trends that they might not have noticed or seen before, says Morgan.
“With that we start to identify how you can use the data to better see and understand where potential white spaces are.”
With less than three weeks until the main event kicks off, register now to make you are there!