Packaging for sports nutrition: “Decoding” complex products for the mainstream market
18 Jul 2018 --- Packaging not only protects and preserves the inner contents but also plays a communicative role by supplying the consumer with essential information. Sports nutrition has made the leap from niche market to mainstream, giving suppliers new impetus to do all they can to stand out. NutritionInsight investigates some of the trends in the sports nutrition packaging market, and key concerns that come with a market that is ever evolving.
In a busy market that is only growing, it is essential for brands to stand out in the battle for consumer attention. Innova Market Insights data notes how sports-related claims are trending, with the indexed number of new food and beverages being launched with a sports-related claim increasing by 25 percent between 2013 and 2017.
Wide appeal: Clarity is key
Despite today’s consumers being more informed about nutrition and ingredient lists in general, it is important for sports nutrition products to be understood by the general public as they cross into the mainstream.
Peter Hayes, Co-Director of Brand and Packaging Design at PB-Creative, a design agency based in London, tells NutritionInsight that when it came to designing the Lifeplus Be sports nutrition packaging, a crucial objective was to “decode” and “demystify” the complicated world of sports nutrition through the brand’s packaging.
“Traditionally, sports nutrition products have been targeted at more niche groups, like those wanting to build muscle mass or lose weight, for example. We positioned Lifeplus Be to take a more conversational approach on pack and talked about the product benefits in understandable terms – rather than reams of complex information about scientific ingredients,” says Hayes.
“A clear, holistic brand message is fundamental, especially when targeting everyday people interested in leading a healthier lifestyle. Consumers are on-the-go and want a no-nonsense approach that doesn’t overpromise. Brands must be clear on-pack about the product’s efficacy. What does it do – boost energy during exercise, aid recovery afterwards? Simplicity and tone of voice are fundamental,” he adds.
Transparency and trust
As consumer understanding of sports nutrition products increases through “decoded” products, for example, transparency is necessary to gain trust.
“Transparency is probably the biggest trend we've noticed in packaging currently. Customers are more informed than ever before, and they want more than just bold fonts and bright colors. They want to know what they're eating and why it's good for them, and effective packaging is the way to deliver that information,” Chris Flynn-Rozanski, co-founder of Plasma Nutrition, tells NutritionInsight.
The sports nutrition market is not satisfying simple needs such as hunger. Therefore, it is necessary for suppliers to drive home efficacy in a trustworthy way. Consumers want to understand what their potentially “complicated” sports nutrition product is doing and how it will benefit them.
“Also, the products are often quite expensive, so you’re asking people to invest, albeit in themselves. There’s a bigger job for branding as a result. The consumer needs to have absolute confidence in the product, so establishing an emotional connection and building trust with the target customer is imperative,” adds Hayes.
How is packaging for sports nutrition different from other markets?
Sports nutrition is an umbrella term that incorporates a range of products; however, Flynn-Rozanski points out that many customers typically use their sports nutrition every day, and that it is widespread for those containers to be left on the countertop. Therefore, designs must accommodate this and “easily blend into a consumer’s living space.”
The packaging design of Orb Wellness vitamin supplements Flynn-Rozanski highlights as an example, as they reflect an awareness that the supplements may be on display.
Furthermore, companies are innovating to increase ease of use and reduce mess, both of which are vital for successful “on show” products. Another company he notes is TricorBraun, which created an innovative resolution to the problem of the powder scoop. The patented EZ scoop from the company solves the problem of consumers having to dig around in their powder to retrieve their scoop, thereby promising to avoid compromising hygiene and creating mess.
What does the future hold?
Normal is the new ideal, Hayes states, therefore, “sports nutrition brands need to think about the message they put out there, and design has to support that. It’s not about being impossibly ripped; it’s becoming more about being the best version of you that you can be. Brands need to connect with consumers.”
“The clever use of color is one-way brands can connect: With Lifeplus Be each subcategory – Be Focused, Be Sustained and Be Recharged – features a color shift, which represents the consumer need-state associated with that phase of a workout, while linking back to the core brand colors of Lifeplus. The mix of color and a clean white canvas communicate the brand’s approachable and inclusive personality, combined with a subtle metallic pinstripe detail and simple icons that reinforce the efficacy of the scientific formulations and make each of the product benefits easy to understand.”
Flynn-Rozanski highlights the space for “having fun” with packaging, noting Grenades uniquely shaped packaging and ioWHEY protein’s square protein powder protein shake. “Any time you can get customers talking about your products, it's great for your brand,” he adds.
Sports nutrition is a broad category encompassing many different products. Packaging and branding can help the market as it moves into the mainstream, solidifying consumer understanding and engagement with brands.
By Laxmi Haigh
This feature is provided by NutritionInsight’s sister website, PackagingInsights.
To contact our editorial team please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.