Will c-stores be the next main destination for sports nutrition?

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Protein newcomer Foundation Fitness to launch at major c-store show

Related tags Sports nutrition Convenience store Convenience stores

Protein beverage newcomer Foundation Fitness is making its debut at a major convenience store trade show next week, signaling the channel’s increasing role as a point of sale for sports and performance-positioned products.

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Served in slender 12 oz. cans, Foundation Fitness’ branding and package design take cues from the energy drink category to inject novelty in the mature ready-to-drink protein space.

“We wanted to look at protein differently,”​ said Matt Knox, vice president of Wellnova Consumer Healthcare​, the company behind Foundation Fitness.

“Brands in the category today are looking at protein as a source for dieting and bodybuilding. We’re looking at it as a source of fuel, more like energy,” ​he told us.

There are four varieties in the Foundation Fitness line: Protein Water, Protein Nutritional Shake (made of whey), Plant Protein Shake, and Coldbrew with Collagen. Each of these varieties have multiple flavors.

The minimum amount of protein in the line is 20 g per serving (in the collagen coldbrew) and it goes up to 30 g per serving (the nutritional shake).

The company will debut this line at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show in Las Vegas next week. “NACS is one of the bigger branded beverage show, and convenience stores control around​ [a quarter] of the packaged beverage market,” ​he said, citing data from NACS.

More and more sports nutrition brands want to hit c-store shelves, and more and more sports nutrition companies are exhibiting at the show.

Last year, The Nature’s Bounty Co brands Met-Rx and Pure Protein exhibited at NACS for the first time. So did Glanbia Performance Nutrition’s brands, which used the show to announce the launch of its RTD and RTE products at c-stores​ for the first time. Both parent companies will be exhibiting again this year, according to the 2018 NACS Show list of attendees.

Major mass retail accounts

In addition to c-stores, Foundation Fitness is also looking at the mass channel. It already has several mass retail accounts, which Knox kept under wraps to announce later this month but said that one of them is one of the largest national grocery chains in the world.

Not too long ago, sports nutrition products were sold almost exclusively in bulk at specialty stores like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe. But these retailers have reported loss or at best paltry quarterly or year-over-year growth.

This is one reason that motivated Wellnova to launch and debut in c-stores and mass. “We look at where the consumer is going. Amazon and Apple are doing well because they go to where consumers are at all times,” ​he said.

“Consumers shop at mainstream mass, consumers shop at c-stores, so we need to be available there, and that’s where we’re going to be.”

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