On April 7, Nestle’s PowerBar unveiled its new Iron Girl energy bar, a subtly labeled nutrition bar targeting adult women with active lifestyles. Though the product co-opts the Iron Girl brand of triathlon events and other exacting races, it shies away from hardcore athletic messaging toward more serene packaging. The bar simply features “Iron Girl” in block print together with a delicate image of a butterfly (named Grace) on a solid yellow wrapper. Everything is neutral and relaxed.
The nutrition bar market is mature, crowded and noisy, but a renewed focus on lifestyle-oriented brands within the last year has opened wide niches for new companies and new lines to play in the space. According to Nutrition Business Journal, U.S. sales of nutrition bars, energy gels & chews grew a full 12 percent in 2010, after six straight years of underperformance. Iron Girl is one such bar, and has opted into the lifestyle category of active adult women, one in which calm, neutral packaging appears to be a growing trend.
Going quiet in the face of competition
thinkThin, a line of women’s nutrition bars from company thinkProducts, is another brand practicing such “quiet” marketing. For its February 2011 Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss issue, NBJ spoke to Lizanne Falsetto, CEO of thinkProducts, about this trend in labeling for women’s sports nutrition products. Falsetto articulated that thinkThin’s “labels are calm and serene. It’s all about the white space, a Zen call-out. When the field of competitors is so noisy, what do you do? You go quiet.”
The idea here is to relax, to make the purchasing proposition less stressful and less about guilt. This is especially important for weekend warriors looking to squeeze every minute out of every day. Consumers need to decompress more than ever, and softer branding is one way to foster this response in grocery store aisles across the country. With the introduction of Iron Girl, it looks like quiet labeling is now integral to introducing a female bar. Period.
Want to know more? NBJ’s Editor-in-Chief Marc Brush spoke in depth on trends focused on female sports nutrition consumers as well as broader trends affecting the SNWL world during NBJ's recent Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss Webinar.