Sports nutrition appeal in Colombia “remains limited” despite growth

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / JackF
© Getty Images / JackF
As the internet and direct selling channels prove popular routes to market for sports nutrition brands in Colombia, we explore the segments and players leading the landscape and the challenges they face, with market research provider, Euromonitor International.

Sports nutrition recorded 4% current value growth to reach COP 73 billion ($21 million) in 2018,” ​stated an analyst at Euromonitor International​. The rise in the adoption of sports nutrition products comes as an “increasing number of Colombians practicing sport support the category’s growth”.

Sports and Well-being Make an Impact

Sports protein bars registered the strongest current value growth of 11% in 2018, emphasizing the focus on self-care and well-being in sports. Athletes and bodybuilders’ increased interest in protein-based diets, as well as the growing awareness of protein as a macronutrient is contributing to this uptake.

Information and knowledge on “the application of macronutrient to increase muscle development and recovery from energy-sapping activities or strenuous sports such as marathons, triathlons, CrossFit, among others”​, is also on the up, market research provider Euromonitor International adds.

Drawing on potential drivers of sports protein popularity in Colombia, Euromonitor explains that “such high levels of protein cannot be obtained solely through regular meals, increasing sports protein products’ growth”​.

Widening the Target Market

Demand for sports nutrition “remains limited”​, at present, among selected consumer groups, however. Interest and sales are currently centered around people who regularly visit gyms, and in particular, the young male 20s to mid-40s demographic is the core audience for sports nutrition products.

Highlighting restrictive ideas that currently exist in Colombia, Euromonitor International went on to explain how “demand from women remains much weaker, especially because sports protein powder has acquired the perception of being the cause of fat gain”.

Overcoming Bogus Product Sales

Sports nutrition products are primarily sold in specialist stores and by direct sellers. However, internet retailing is becoming a significant channel”​, despite the fact that e-commerce sites are becoming associated with the distribution of contraband and counterfeit products.

Increasingly, the Colombian marketplace is recognizing the key problems relating to the presence of fake products, namely how such items are proving to be the cause of disease, and the difficulty in identifying sellers.

Direct selling, therefore, is proving a strong strategy for sports nutrition. Omnilife, for example, has grown a significant representative network, while Omnilife Manufactura de Colombia has continued to stay ahead of Newlab Nutrition through its Power Maker and Magnus brands.

How are Major Players Responding?

Entry into the sports nutrition market is seeing interest from the likes of modern brand Almacenes Éxito, which is exploring a potential offering in sports protein products.

Broad product portfolios are also gaining traction, as Universal Perfect Nutrition has witnessed with its range of protein supplements, sports non-protein products and imported products, favored by Colombian consumers. 

Domestic natural manufacturers have been successful in launching their e-commerce sites and achieving double-digit value growth. However, Euromonitor International emphasizes how Colombia’s category growth is failing to follow global trends as its unstable economic environment in 2018 and the perception that products are expensive and a luxury, is impacting the category.  

Specialized products and product line extensions are also a priority for foreign manufacturers with established and known brands. This approach proves a popular “strategy to remain interesting to the consumer and target sports people who have already defined their nutritional objectives”, Euromonitor​ International revealed.

Newlab Nutrition, which boasts both domestic and imported brands, has seen its MuscleTech and Cellucor’s Celltech brands launch specialized products Nitrotech Power, Ripped and 100% Gold Whey, and Celltech Hyper Build. The ongoing promotion of Newlab Nutrition’s imported brands — Action Pro, MusclePharm, MuscleTech and BSN — in sports such as CrossFit has created a positive reputation among consumers.

The premise for these line extensions is to add to the regular product ingredients such as Creatine, L-Carnitine or pre-workout supplement”​, Euromonitor International said, which will help to create a differential and sought-after product offering.

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