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Specialist sports nutrition: efficient niche product manufacture

Published on 22 June 2017

getting started in sports nutrition manufacturing powders and weights

Personalised sports nutrition is one of the latest trends to impact this industry. How do small-scale ‘garage entrepreneurs’ tap into this trend and meet growing demand? We discuss how when getting started in sports nutrition manufacturing small-batch, high-product-variety can be scaled up, efficiently and cost-effectively. 

Specialist sports nutrition for the win

The Olympic legacy, grassroots initiatives like Parkrun, clever advertising and social media engagement – all of these things have arguably contributed to an increase in sports participation in recent years – and along with it, an increase in the consumption of sports nutrition products.

One of the biggest trends to hit this market is undoubtedly that of personalised sports nutrition. Generic protein shakes and energy gels just aren’t cutting it for many, and an increasing number of professional athletes, serious bodybuilders, or fanatic amateurs are looking to nutritional supplements that are tailored to their needs – their sport, their body type, their fitness goals – in that quest for the elusive PB.

Challenges in personalised sports nutrition manufacture

For the entrepreneur getting started in sports nutrition manufacturing, the area of personalised sports nutrition is an exciting one. There is an almost infinite number of sport or activities that can be combined with different fitness goals, nutritional requirements and consumer demographics, so the opportunities to get creative with different recipes and marketing tactics are endless. Alongside this, of course, is the tempting prospect to sell these specialised products at premium unit prices!

From a manufacturing point of view however, it is often much more difficult to make a wide variety of specialist SKUs. Unlike mass-market production, in which only a few, cheaply made products are sold at cheaper unit prices but in very high volumes to appeal to a broad audience, specialist products are often made in much smaller batches, in line with their niche demand. This can increase the amount of waste created, and a greater diversity of specialist manufacturing equipment is required for multiple dedicated production lines.

Lean manufacturing in specialist sports nutrition

In ‘Lean’ manufacturing, the ultimate goal is to reduce or eliminate Lean-Management.jpgas many sources of waste as possible along the production line – whether that is physically wasted ingredients or products, or wasted time and effort that can slow production down. When manufacturing a variety of higher-value specialist products in small batches, efficiency and cost-effectiveness is crucial to maximise those all-important profits!

Scale up your specialist sports nutrition business with IBCs

With proven success in powder-handling industries such as pharmaceuticals and food production, Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) can effectively reduce or even eliminate many of the sources of waste seen in traditional manual or continuous production lines.

Matcon IBCs are precision-engineered to suit batch sizes large and small – and they are all fully compatible. Say, for example, you are manufacturing protein powders with lots of different flavours. In a traditional manufacturing approach, you might require a different production line for each different variety. However, with an IBC system, a large IBC can be used to blend the base recipe, and this can then be cleanly dispensed into several smaller IBCs to continue processing the different varieties turning them into more bespoke products.

Furthermore, the unique Cone Valve design of Matcon IBCs allows complete discharge from the IBC, prevents dust from entering or escaping, and protects against recipe material segregation. This gives much finer control over batch quality – which is of paramount importance for the discerning consumer of specialist sports nutrition products!

Flexible and affordable, an IBC-based system can grow and change with your business as you hit your own new personal bests.

From garage start-up to global success:  how to grow your sports nutrition  manufacturing business. Download the free whitepaper
Posted by Kathryn Perry
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Topics: Sports Nutrition