Natural Foods Merchandiser


NBJ Sizes Market for Sports, Weight Loss
Nutrition Business Journal?s 2003 ?Sports Nutrition and Weight Loss Report? called the category a $14 billion opportunity last year.

In 2003, sports and energy beverages dominated the business with nearly $4.8 billion in sales, or 34 percent of the market. Liquid meal supplements for weight loss accumulated nearly $2.5 billion in sales, but growth slowed to 8 percent, NBJ said. Sales of weight-loss supplements in pill form declined 16 percent to $1.7 billion, as marketers backed away from ephedra.

Wondering where the growth was? Low-carb foods grew from $120 million in 2001 sales to $830 million last year. As active consumers searched for grab-and-go snacks with a nutritional benefit, drinks grew 10 percent and nutrition bars, 26 percent.

Schiff Business Drives Weider Sales Growth
As energy bars post double-digit sales increases, the market has not been kind to Weider Nutrition International Inc. Weider launched Tiger?s Milk, which it calls ?the original energy bar,? in the 1960s. The Salt Lake City company intends to keep spending big to promote its Schiff MoveFree brand of glucosamine and chondroitin.

In an investor conference call March 25, Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wood said sales have been strong for dietary supplements, but that Weider sports and bodybuilding products have had to compete with low-carb and weight-management products for shelf space in mass merchandise channels. Weider?s line of ?classic? bodybuilding products do better in ?enthusiast? channels such as health food stores and gyms, Wood said.

Weider Nutrition said March 25 that it earned net income of $2.6 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, on $67.5 million in net sales for the third quarter ended Feb. 29, compared with $808,000, or 3 cents per share, on sales of $57.7 million for the year-ago quarter.

As for Tiger?s Milk, which Vice President of Marketing Rob Marandino calls ?the original nutrition bar out there,? Weider is launching a line extension called Kula, aimed at teens, sold in convenience stores and promoted as a good-tasting, nutritious alternative to chocolate bars. For the health food store channel, Weider is rolling out ?king-sized? Tiger?s Milk bars at a higher price point and low-fat, low-carb Body Shaper bars.

Teens have responded well to Kula marketing messages that stress energy, sports performance and ?feeling good? along with taste, Marandino says.


Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 5/p. 18

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