Formulating a finished product is a combination of science and art, where room for creativity collides with research, cost, safety, efficacy, and consumer trends. This critical role in any organization is an exciting one to fill; however, the task of seeking out the most efficient solutions comes with a laundry list of challenges and considerations from start to finish.
Regardless of the specific requirements your organization has in place, it is important to have a plan to streamline your thoughts and ideas. In this guide, we’ll focus on five key considerations for a sports nutrition formulator as well as solutions and ideas from the Verdure Sciences portfolio to create an impactful solution in the crowded sports supplement market.
1. COMMUNICATE THE GOALS OF THE TARGET MARKET
While sports nutrition may seem like its own audience, there are many segments within that each have unique needs and demands for a targeted finished product.
For a formulator, research, data, and trends can be complicated and simultaneously essential in delivering an effective and sought-after solution to a targeted segment. Disseminating complex information to all people involved in bringing a formulation to a finished product requires concise communication to ensure the solution meets the unique needs of the customer in mind.
The following questions may help to organize your thoughts and assist in communicating your specific considerations throughout the process to produce a market-dominating finished product.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Streamline Communication:
- • What problem will this formula help solve?
- • What are the barriers for purchase? Price, sustainability, clean label?
- • What is the end goal of this finished product?
- • What are the must-have requirements for the ingredients of this formulation? For the messaging?
- • What research or clinical support is needed to achieve your goals? Your audiences’ goals?
For example, maybe you decide to target at-home workout gurus sharing their regimen, workout tips, or health journey with friends. This audience might be focused on fast recovery in an effort to stay active with the family, rather than specifically targeting muscle mass, or perhaps these at-home influencers are most concerned with maintaining their ideal weight and keeping a healthy glow.
On the other hand, maybe you’re targeting elite athletes training to reach performance goals – what would they need to be at the top of their game for each training session? Are they worried about collagen and joint health? Maybe the biggest concern is cognitive acuity, mental clarity, and precise focus and attention. What about sports banned substances – should you focus heavily on clean label initiatives and clinical efficacy?
Knowing the goals of the audience you are aiming to reach helps bring structure to the formulation you are compiling and gives you a more firm starting point in what can otherwise be an overwhelming arena.
2. CONSIDER MARKET TRENDS AND CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE
By understanding and using market trends, you can pinpoint targeted health benefits and popular delivery methods to successfully offer a solution that your customer will not only pick off the shelf, but tell their friends about.
Let’s consider this idea in the context of our at-home workout opinion leader. This person is wanting to stay fit, squeeze in a quick workout, and maximize time with family. They want an easy solution to add to their regimen and a clearly defined solution to not only understand the benefits, but share with their friends and followers. The at-homer may skip a workout now and then, but they still want to share the positive impact of a formula with tangible results between workouts to achieve overall health and wellness.
You might find they also think about bone health and healthy aging. A solution that factors in bone health would be a key differentiating selling point that targets long term objectives often overlooked in the short term. With some knowledge of market trends, you can identify what they are hearing from their friends, what they are looking for in a formulation, and what key characteristics they use when making purchasing decisions like clean labels, sustainability, and traceability.
Conversely, the elite athlete is likely to be more concerned about clean label efforts and wants to know exactly what is going into their bodies. In fact, they might include this new finished formulation in discussions with coaches or nutritionists. These athletes want to ensure that they can get back to action quickly after an extra tough day while proactively tackling joint and immune health.
Elite athletes need mental clarity and focus to maintain a high level of training. Mental fatigue can inhibit the ability to push harder and train more aggressively. These customers might seek out a solution to keep them mentally engaged and clear through strenuous training.
Both of these, hypothetical in context, are real world audience segments in the sports nutrition market and both are equally likely to disclose their preferred solutions with their circle of influence. However, they are seeking vastly different finished formulas. Knowing the audience segment, their goals, who they talk to, as well as what trends they are influenced by, will help guide decision making about new formulations that appeal directly to target audiences and fill unknown jobs as well as the primary needs and objectives.
3. HAVE A PASSION FOR SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
Now that the formulation has an audience, clearly defined goals, and is aligned with market trends, you have a framework for a formula that can break through market clutter and create enthusiastic brand ambassadors. A successful formulator should be passionate about the research and dedicated to getting to the crux of the science to make informed choices and offer solutions that not only work, but the audience can rely on.
Considering our audience segments and what we know about them, the at-home influencer would benefit from a gut-health product for overall wellbeing and a balanced gut microbiome. By adding benefits for gut health, a formulation that goes beyond initial needs would stand out from the many other options in the market.
For this example, you might choose a pomegranate-probiotic to offer a focused approach for a healthy glow, antioxidant support, and healthy aging. For the athlete, the information gathered might lead you to target immune health, recovery, and balanced inflammatory responses as this person is often seeking solutions to recover quickly, maintain overall health to stay active, and ensure they have a balanced inflammatory response to help promote muscle growth and limit soreness from intense training.
A curcumin and pomegranate combination would be an advantageous offering with synergistic solutions for antioxidant support, immune health, recovery, and joint support.
However, as with any formulation concept, it is vital to find ingredients that synergize—many potential synergies are actually antagonists that negate the possible benefits that each ingredient may otherwise offer on their own—and you want to ensure that there is science to back this up. A formulation with clean labels and limited ingredients to maximize benefits could be an ideal solution to meet overall goals and maintain a training regimen.
However, before jumping in with both feet and looking at the various botanicals to fulfill these needs, research must be done to ensure the success of the formula. Substantiated science offers additional confidence for an efficacious solution with tangible benefits. With this in mind, start drafting a list of gold standard ingredients with targeted applications to all your customers’ needs, then you can start considering specific brands that offer those solutions.
4. BUILD WITH BRANDS
Researching the available offerings that fill the needs of your audience begins with the big picture and choosing branded ingredients offers the reliability, consistency, and validity that customers seek.
Consumers can access more information now than ever before. Because of this, many supplement brands transparently share the details of their formulations or ingredients with customers to meet demands and foster trust.
Branded ingredients, generally speaking, offer reliable, safe solutions and may exceed expectations with traceability and sustainability efforts. Formulas utilizing branded ingredients can often rely on a wealth of information and third-party verification, in turn making it easier to provide messaging to your targeted audience segment, further educating them on benefits they might not be fully aware they can expect from a solution.
5. CHOOSE A PARTNER WITH INSIGHT
The next step in this process is perhaps the most important: choosing the right partner. An ideal partner can help identify solutions to meet the needs outlined by research and customers’ expectations. Be sure to look for a company who:
- • Prioritizes sustainability, global stewardship, and an ethically managed supply chain
- • Has long-standing relationships with farmers and raw material sources
- • Maintains a high level of quality control and assurance
- • Builds relationships with customers and understands needs
- • Has established brand and industry recognition
- • Prioritizes research for clinically backed extracts with proven safety and efficacy
- • Consistently offers customer service that exceeds expectations
Patented, clinically supported, and offering full traceability, Pomella®, Punica granatum extract, in conjunction with probiotics and collagen may offer a symbiotic solution for the at-home workout enthusiast by supporting a healthy gut microbiome. Akkermansia muciniphila, for example, is an ideal bacterial strain (probiotic) to consider for synergistic potential with Pomella® (which would act as a prebiotic to feed the bacteria), paired together with collagen, the proposed formula may support a total skin-gut complex for a healthy gut microbiome and healthy skin. 11
Ask your Verdure customer service representative for more information on this potential synergy and be the first-to-market offering a complete skin-gut complex by combining Pomella®, prebiotics, and collagen to support healthy aging from every angle.
For the elite athlete, Restoridyn® is a clinically efficacious combination of curcumin and pomegranate. This clinically studied, patent pending, polyphenol blend advantageously hones in on the antioxidant potency of pomegranate combined with the adaptogenic abilities of curcumin to offer multi-prong support.7
Clinical evidence suggests Restoridyn® is an adaptogenic nutritional approach for recovery and immunity support resulting in an increase in overall performance, stamina, and deceased fatigue. This powerful polyphenol is an ideal solution to target athletes and fills multiple needs such as promoting restorative benefits, maintaining consistent training regimens, and improving a balanced inflammatory response.7
This synergistic blend also offers a clean label solution with sports banned substance testing supported by third-party certifications that appeals to athletes of all levels.
For market differentiation, the addition of bone health ingredients may appeal to both target audience segments discussed in this guide. Calzbone® is a proprietary Cissus quadrangularis extract clinically demonstrated to target bone health as a source of phytonutrients that have been shown to aid in the building of bone by supporting the mineralization process (bone cell generation) through osteoblastic and alkaline phosphatase activity.8 Research shows Calzbone® improves bone density and decreases fracture healing time, supporting a wide variety of audiences.8
Additionally, for mental clarity, Bacognize® (Bacopa monnieri extract) is clinically demonstrated to support mental clarity, attention, memory, and mood.9 Studies have shown positive improvements in a number of cognitive functions.9 Adding Bacognize® to a formulation supports a clean label approach to focus without being a stimulant.
Empowered with clearly defined audience goals, market trend insights, researched applications, branded ingredients to offer tangible health benefits, and the right partner, a formulation has solid footing in exceeding audience needs and standing out in the crowded sports nutrition market. Ready to get started? Verdure Sciences is standing by to help maximize your efforts and support your formulation needs.†
Want to get more ideas from our forward-thinking team?
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
About Verdure Sciences®: Verdure Sciences® manages ingredient innovation throughout the integration of supply network, production, and research platforms. With an expanding pipeline of proprietary, standardized botanical ingredients supported by pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and clinical research profiles, we work toward our unified vision to offer safe, effective ingredient solutions. Verdure Sciences® is a registered trademark of Verdure Sciences®, Inc.
Visit www.vs-corp.com for more information.
1 - (2019 Aug.) Sports Nutrition and High Energy Supplements Market 2019 Global Analysis, Growth, Size, Share, Trends, Forecast to 2025.” MarketWatch. 2019 Dec. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/sports-nutrition-and-high-energy-supplements-market-2019-global-analysis-growth-size-share-trends-forecast-to-2025-2019-08-09.
2 - (2006 Oct.) Sports Science Exchange 96 Volume 18 Number 1 Herbs and Athletes. 2019 Dec. Retrieved from https://www.gssiweb.org/sports-science-exchange/article/sse-96-herbs-and-athletes#articleTopic_1.
3 -(2014 June) Ogilvy Cannes Study: Behold the Power of Word of Mouth. 2019 Dec. Retrieved from https://www.adweek.com/digital/ogilvy-cannes-study-behold-the-power-of-word-of-mouth/
4 - (2019 Oct.) Three Pillars of Creating More Word of Mouth For Your Brand. 2019 Dec. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/10/29/three-pillars-of-creating-more-word-of-mouth-for-your-brand/#2666f65b39f7
5 - Word Of Mouth Facts And Statistics To Use In 2019. 2019 Dec. Retrieved from https://www.omnistartell.com/blog/word-of-mouth-statics/,
6 -(2018 Dec.) Was 2018 The Year of The Influential Sustainable Consumer? 2019 Dec. Retrieved from https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2018/was-201 -the-year-of-the-inuential-sustainable-consumer/
7 - http://marketing.vs-corp.com/restoridyn-science
8 - http://marketing.vs-corp.com/calzbone-science
9 - http://marketing.vs-corp.com/bacognize-science
10 - https://marketing.vs-corp.com/longvida-science
11 - (2019 July) Pomella and the Gut Microbiome: Potential to Act as a Prebiotic. PDF file.