The sports nutrition industry has exploded in recent years, and ‘garage start-ups’ have been particularly successful at tapping into this growing market. But don’t rest on your laurels – this business is as competitive as the sports men and women it serves, so to continue to grow your enterprise, you’ll need to stay ahead of the rest. We discuss one way in which you could future-proof your sports nutrition company to give it a competitive edge.
Whether for serious athletes, health conscious consumers or fad-followers, there’s no denying that sports nutrition has become big business in recent years. Small-scale ‘garage entrepreneurs’ have particularly engaged with the trend for protein powders, energy drinks, nutritional bars and other innovative supplements, and have surprised many of the industry’s major players by enjoying rapid growth and success after getting started in sports nutrition manufacturing.
But trendy industries like sports nutrition are liable to change – while protein shakes might be popular one week, the Next Big Thing might be just around the corner, and for the small-scale nutrition manufacturer to stay ahead of the competition it’s important to be resilient to that change.
How do you do this when
a) your business has enjoyed growth on the strength of one product, or a small product range, manufactured at a small scale, and
b) you have limited capital and resources?
One way to future-proof is to plan ahead. You can’t always predict the future, but by thinking now about your plans for growth, what products you make now, what you will make in the future and how you will make them, you can design your manufacturing facility to be as flexible as possible right from the outset.
Bridging the gap
Working at small scales, you might use a manual production line system in which ingredients are mixed, processed and packaged by hand. Traditional industrial manufacturing set-ups, in contrast, often use fixed, automated production lines, close coupled equipment and processes.
How do you bridge the gap, especially when you have limited investment capital and building space?
Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)
Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) provide a cost-effective and flexible solution to grow your nutrition operation. From getting started to future-proofing your manufacturing facility, IBC's improve your flexibility to adapt with changing market trends.
Manual production is simple, but time-consuming, and tipping, mixing, pouring and packaging ingredients by hand invariably creates waste. It is physically challenging too – especially when trying to scale up or juggle multiple recipes.
Continuous fixed processing resolves many of the operational challenges of manual handling, but if you need to change recipes, want to try out a new product, or increase your batch sizes significantly, then you’ll need to invest in new production lines, and maybe even a bigger, specialist building.
With an IBC-based production system, however, you have the best of both worlds: the flexibility associated with manual processing without creating waste, and the capacity to handle larger volumes on an efficient, streamlined production line, without needing to install completely new equipment for each variety.
With IBCs, common, larger-volume batch processes – like mixing the base recipe for a range of protein shake powders (pre-mixing) – can be efficiently handled in bulk, while smaller processes – like adding flavourings to the base recipe – can be dealt with separately. You can manufacture large or small batches of multiple products at once, easily trial new product lines, and experiment with different recipes, without significant capital investment.
As a leader in innovative IBC-based powder handling manufacturing systems, talk to Matcon to find out how IBCs can affordably grow with you as your business grows.