At this year’s SupplySide West show, Nutrition 21 (Purchase, NY) showcased two of its ingredients: Nitrosigine, an arginine and silicon complex with purported blood-flow benefits, and Velositol, which is said to increase muscle protein synthesis when combined with protein. The company also shared the details of its consumer-based marketing program. The company says that its print and digital ad campaigns help educate the consumer about its Velositol and Nitrosigine ingredients—and catch the attention of formulators and brand marketers.
Mallory Junggren, marketing director, Nutrition 21, told Nutritional Outlook about the company’s consumer-based strategy. “We do a one-page ad detailing the ingredient (whether that’s for Velositol or Nitrosigine), with a correlating one-third-page ad that promotes one of our customer’s products that the ingredient is in.” This strategy, she said, is beneficial for both brands. “We both gain nice traction and brand awareness.”
Currently, Nutrition 21’s products are featured in three consumer magazines: Flex, Muscle & Fitness, and Men’s Fitness. In addition to print ads in those publications, Nutrition 21 also features ads on the magazines’ websites. Junggren told Nutritional Outlook that the company is wrapping up its first digital campaign—a sponsored listicle promoting Nitrosigine’s performance-boosting benefits. She added that Nutrition 21 is also harnessing the power of social media, with sponsored Twitter and Facebook posts promoting its digital efforts. One of those efforts, she said, is an upcoming “Science Behind the Supplements” article on Velositol, which will be featured in the December edition of Muscle & Fitness.
At least one finished-product brand is already taking note of the benefits of Velositol. A reformulation of GNC’s Beyond Raw BCAA product with Velositol will hit shelves at the end of this month. Dorothy McEntee, director, trade & customer operations, Nutrition 21, told Nutritional Outlook that the Beyond Raw “is a huge product for GNC, and a huge placement for us.”
According to Sara Perez Ojalvo, senior manager, scientific affairs, Nutrition 21, Velositol is unlike any other product on the market. “There are all different types of proteins out there, and everyone’s claiming that their protein is the best,” she said. “Our ingredient is something that could really change the market. It’s not a protein; it’s something you add to any protein that makes it work better.” While the sports nutrition category is, obviously, where Velositol currently has the strongest foothold, Ojalvo said that there is also potential for middle-aged, or even elderly, consumers to embrace Velositol. “Around middle age…your muscle protein synthesis—the rate that you’re building muscle—decreases. So, to catch people at that age where you can really help boost and maintain muscle mass into old age, [Velositol] could be beneficial,” she said.
McEntee added: “We’re finding that it isn’t just sports nutrition or just one age group [who could benefit from Velositol]. Moms are concerned about their children getting enough protein, and the geriatric population is concerned about maintaining their strength and muscle mass.” While Velositol continues to make inroads in the sports nutrition supplement category through savvy marketing and consumer education, McEntee said, customers are also expressing interest in other food and beverage products, like bars or ready-to-drink beverages. “There are opportunities there, but it’s still pretty new to us,” she said.