Neat Nutrition, founded by former professional British swimmers Charlie Turner and Lee Forster in 2015, has carved a space in this competitive marked as an accessible, high quality, trustworthy, plant-based D2C sports nutrition brand.
But Turner understand better than most just how important it is to keep your finger on the pulse of the sports nutrition consumer market.
“When we first launched our products, we had a really strong USP, as very few other brands were offering truly accessible products with high quality, well-sourced, natural ingredients,” explains Turner.
“Of course, now the market is quite different and there are several brands in the market vying for those slightly older, sustainability and high-quality focused consumers.”
As such, the company has employed new strokes over the years in order to change with the tides, with the first big change coming at the end of 2018.
“We were trying to identify some of the biggest consumer concerns and we narrowed these down to not being able to travel with the products, and consumers missing deliveries.
“As a solution to this, we created the single sachet format for a number of our product lines which could be posted through doors and could be taken out for consuming on-the-go.
“That was really well received for the first 12 to 18 months, and then COVID hit and the need for that format dissipated and subscriptions were hit.”
The company also had a lot of business with gyms and hotels which used its product for protein smoothies and this revenue stream was temporarily lost during the lockdowns.
“We realised consumers needs had evolved substantially since the lockdowns as they re-evaluated their needs and their ideas around health and happiness. Firstly, clearly the concerns around missing deliveries and taking products out had suddenly disappeared as everyone was staying at home.”
To find out how else their consumers’ needs had changed, they conducted a survey which garnered 2,000 responses and revealed that 71% of respondents had a problem with productivity and focus while working from home and 46% had trouble with sleeping.
“It was clear that COVID had brought with it a concern around mental health, stress and sleep and a greater focus on holistic wellness,” Turner says.
As such, the brand launched a range of three wellness supplements last month, in capsule format, with each targeting a differnt area of concern: focus and energy, sleep and relaxation, and immune support.
All the supplements are plant-based and come in recyclable packaging. They contain a range of herbs, vitamins and adaptogens, such as cordiceps, rhodiola, and ginko.
The supplements are the first in a series of wellness focused products that the brand has lined up, as well as new formulations of the protein products to give those lines a wider range of health benefits.
To further hit home that message of 360 wellness, Turner says the company is turning its blog into a ‘wellness hub’ where it will share features and videos providing education on the ingredients in the products as well as tips and tricks to help live a healthier lifestyle.
And with sustainability and brand ethos also remaining high on consumers’ agendas, the brand is about to launch ‘Neat Nutrition community’ which will encourage consumers to get involved in the brand’s environmental efforts by offering a range of incentives.
“We will incentivise shoppers to take part in some of our CSR activities. For example, if a shopper plants a tree and sends us a picture then we could congratulate them with free product or vouchers. We will also encourage consumers to spend time volunteering for the charities we work with.
“The ultimate aim is to create a movement which has a real world impact. Even if we just encourage shoppers to try mindfulness or share their meditation tips, it all plays into that desire to offer a holistic health service.”