by Matt Weik
At the beginning, I read an article about nutraceutics by Nikki Hancocks, which discussed the most important trends and opportunities around the pre-workout category. I found some of the things she said interesting – both good and bad. As someone (I) who has been in the industry for almost two decades, I wanted to address some of the things she said and agree with my thoughts and opinions.
A "new" RTD pre-workout category?
One of the first things Nikki talks about in the article is that most pre-workouts are in powder form. And I'm sure you would look around at your local retailer or on the internet and agree – that's what I do. In fact, she mentions statistics that 92% of what we find in the pre-workout category is powder.
In the next breath, she talks about pre-workout RTDs (ready to drink). There is a big gap in the market for such products. I would rather say "eeeeehhhhhh". I worked at MET-Rx for almost a decade. I have seen a TON of pre-workout RTDs in the market. In fact, pre-workout FTEs were some of our bestsellers. One such product was NOS Pumped. It competed with our NO product Speed Stack Pumped with our competitor ABB. But those were not the only two brands that had an RTD in the pre-workout category – there were many (and some of them are still in refrigerators today).
After all, the overall FTE market has dried up a bit. Sure, you still see a wealth of FTE in the gym and complement the retailers' refrigerators, but not nearly as they were five or ten years ago. Heck, when I was using MET-Rx, we had a radiator planogram that our RTD products would fill every single pod in a cooler, without having to double the flavors.
While I agree that there is a market for pre-workout RTD, I see that there will be no big boost in the foreseeable future. The ship seems to have sailed and the brands are again focusing on pills, powders and capsules. And rightly so, because here are the largest margins. Many people now opt for the powdered version due to the price. You can easily find a pre-workout powder for less than a dollar a serving, where an RTD version costs you about $ 3, if not a little more.
Consumers who feel safe in reviews
If you follow my content, I wrote an article about how I read no reviews. This is my personal preference, but I'm sure I'm not alone with my reasons. In Nikki's article, she talks about how consumers use reviews to influence buying behavior. And I fully understand that concept that influence means a lot and if you have a bunch of reviews people feel better when they buy.
In my opinion, consumers should not have to rely on ratings once the brand has built trust with their customers. They should not have to be reassured if they get their credit card out. I know that when a brand I trust creates something new, I'm confident I'll try it without ever asking if someone liked it or not.
The pre-workout category is a bit different. And that means not everyone will get the same reaction when they do a pre-workout. A product can hit someone extremely hard while someone else does not feel anything. It really depends on individuality and how spiced you are with certain ingredients.
Pre-Workout Prop Blend Debate
Funnily, lately, l have also written about this topic. If you follow my work, you are sure that you have seen and read it. But Nikki addresses some of the issues that I want to address in this article. It issued a statistic stating that 60% of values in the pre-workout category are hidden by proprietary blends. Surprisingly (look at these statistics) she goes on to say that pre-workouts with proprietary mixes tend to generate more than 330% more product ratings than those with transparent labels. This statistic is absolutely amazing for me.
Consumers are getting better informed about nutritional supplements and the ingredients that are included in things like the pre-workout category. Many research themselves, which I think is great. I think it's good that consumers are no longer taking the word for things and reading and researching themselves. They learn what carnosyn is, what beta-alanine is, what purpose citrulline malate has, and the list goes on and on. And when they see such ingredients in products, they immediately know what to expect, rather than take and evaluate.
Stop being so intimate with your population
If you look at the demographics with the most pre-workouts and assume they are men, you're right. This does not mean that you should miss the ladies. More and more women are using pre-workout dietary supplements to get them up and running in both the weight room and the cardio room for their training. Do not be shy to deal with products more integratively.
Nikki also emphasizes in her article: "Consumer and market trends show that older consumers are increasingly interested in a more active lifestyle so as to remain mobile, mentally alert and independent for as long as possible. This will lead to a growing demand for products that support this goal. "
I said it in earlier things that I wrote. Everyone is looking at the 18-35 market, but what happens when they turn 36? Stop turning your back on consumers based on a demographic basis. Meet the needs of ALL people and see what happens to the sale.