HEALTH

GNC acquires U.K. sports nutrition e-commerce retailer

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — GNC Holdings on Wednesday announced it has acquired A1 Sports Limited (d.b.a. Discount Supplements), a multi-brand sports nutrition e-commerce retailer in the United Kingdom. 

The acquisition was funded with cash on hand. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Following the acquisition, GNC.com, LuckyVitamin.com and discount-supplements.co.uk will continue to operate as separate businesses, each with its own product offerings and target customers.

"Discount Supplements offers a broad selection of competitively priced proprietary and third-party products, and is a leader in the U.K.’s sports nutrition market," stated Joe Fortunato, GNC chairman, president and CEO. "This market — estimated to be [$485.9 million] — has demonstrated consistent double-digit growth, which is forecasted to continue. The online channel has captured nearly one-third market share and is growing faster than the market overall," he said. 

"Entering the U.K. and other key European and Scandinavian markets are core elements of our strategic plan to expand GNC’s global reach," Fortunato added. "With this acquisition, we are well positioned to capitalize on the fastest-growing channel in Europe’s top market. We also see the potential to leverage GNC’s marketing, product development and procurement capabilities to drive synergies. This includes having Discount Supplements introduce premium GNC sub-brands in the sports nutrition, vitamin and diet categories into the U.K. and other markets."

Discount Supplements — founded in 2004 — is expected to grow to approximately $32.4 million million in revenue in 2013.

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Research Now launches diabetes panel

BY Michael Johnsen

PLANO, Texas — Research Now announced the launch of its Diabetes Panel, a collection of 336,000 deeply-profiled panelists in the United States and Canada who have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity. Research Now’s Healthcare Panels also include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, hospital executives and administrators.

"As the nature and treatment of health conditions is so complex, we wanted to enforce the need to get insights from a variety of healthcare professionals and caregivers that go beyond a standard doctor," stated Vincent DeRobertis, SVP global healthcare for Research Now. "Due to high client demand, our Diabetes Panel is the first in a series of condition-based panels that we will be rolling out over the next 12 months. Our goal for this series is to be able to approach each condition uniquely, and focus on holistic solutions that will provide a deeper knowledge base of the condition."

Of the original 2,000 respondents who were pre-screened, approximately three-quarters of both Americans and Canadians reported that they, or someone they know, have diabetes. Among the 75% of respondents in the United States, 17% reported having Type 1 (2.3%) or Type 2 (14.7%) diabetes, whereas only 8.8% of this surveyed audience in Canada reported having Type 1 (2.3%) or Type 2 (6.5%) diabetes.

In order to prevent diabetes, 69% of the surveyed audience in both the United States and Canada who did not report having diabetes said they watch their sugar intake and try to maintain a proper diet and workout regimen.

"What’s most disturbing about this study is that, despite diabetes being one of the fastest growing diseases in America, both Americans and Canadians struggle with recognizing the symptoms," DeRobertis noted. Among the surveyed audience in the United States, 61% of respondents acknowledged they were aware of some of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes. However, of this group, only 35% could accurately name a symptom. Among the same audience, 69% acknowledged they were aware of some of the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, but just 43% could accurately name a symptom.

Likewise, 57% of the surveyed Canadian audience acknowledged they were aware of some of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, but only 32% could accurately name a symptom. And among the same audience, 63% acknowledged they were aware of some of the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, but just 38% could accurately name a symptom.

The survey went on to find that just 64% of U.S. respondents and 54% of Canadian respondents agree that their healthcare provider supplies adequate information about diabetes awareness and prevention.

"It is impactful stats like these that help to illustrate the lack of awareness when it comes to diabetes, and where healthcare providers should take more notice," DeRobertis said. "As we move into a new era of Obamacare and next-generation medical technologies, it is imperative that more resources be directed toward diabetes management tools and health programs to prevent diabetes."

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The 10 products you may have missed at Natural Products Expo East

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE — DSN visited the Baltimore Convention Center last week to check out the Natural Products Expo East. DSN reviews its top 10 new products from the show. 

The products identified below all have curb appeal, meaning they look like they’d fit in on a mass merchant’s shelf and may serve a niche customer base that’s shopping food, drug and mass outlets but not buying these specialty items, necessarily. 

One of the macro trends readily identifiable at the show was healthy-for-you snacks that look, feel and taste a lot like their guilty-pleasure cousins only with an attractive ingredient list. Of course, there were a lot of companies falling into this category. Food Should Taste Good stood out with its line of not-only-good-tasting-but-good-for-you chips. New this year was the seasonal Harvest Pumpkin tortilla chips, along with future mainstays Ancho Chile sweet potato chips, and Guacamole and Falafel tortilla chips.

 

Crunchies is no stranger to mass merchants with its line of freeze-dried fruits and vegetable snacks. But the company got its start in the specialty space and at the show launched its Little Crunchies — freeze-dried natural snacks designed and formulated for little people 1 year and older and bearing Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes licensed characters. Kosher certified and wheat and gluten free, Little Crunchies will be available in four flavors — strawberries and mangoes, strawberries, apple and bananas, and strawberries and bananas. 

 

InBalance Health showcased their InBars, meal replacement bars specifically formulated for people with diabetes in mind. But it’s a subtle pitch — "for weight- and glucose-management" — so as not to be restrictive to only people with diabetes. The bars are formulated with slowly digested carbs to minimize blood sugar spikes and manage hunger. The four flavors included in the line are strawberry banana, chocolate fudge, chocolate mint and chocolate cherry. 

 

In what may be the next "gluten-free" kind of message on the packaging, products sporting a "non-GMO" (i.e., genetically modified organism) logo were in ready supply. Trace Minerals Research had a number of products bearing the "non-GMO" logo, for example, including the Electrolyte Stamina Power Pack launched at the show. For workout recovery enthusiasts, it’s a berry-flavored effervescent packed with more than 72 electrolytes. 

 

And chia seeds may be the next super food to populate healthcare aisles. Already Joseph Enterprises, makers of the Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pet products, are marketing chia seeds to mass merchants. But these two companies below take the chia seed into a different direction — meal replacement bars and RTD juices. 

Get Chia featured its FruitChia line — the all-natural fruit and chia seed bar. Available in six flavors — strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, apricot, raspberry and pear — the bars contain 1,040 mg of omega-3 courtesy the chia seed ingredient. 

 

And Drink Chia had four flavors of its chia-seed formulated RTD fruit drinks, including mango tangerine, lemon blueberry, honeysuckle pear and strawberry citrus. And for those skeptical that 1,100 mg of chia seeds are included in the drink, the whole organic chia seeds are visible within the drink.

 

Fish oils are already a top-selling commodity among mass merchants, but these fish oils offer an implied promise of a more-natural, better-for-you fish oil source by way of their Norwegian origin. RenewLife has a complete line of fish oils under its Norwegian Gold banner. 

And Nordic Naturals, which has a strong professional distribution base in addition to retail, presented EPA Elite, featuring a very high concentration of omega 3 EPA that’s comparable to pharmaceutical grade. EPA is know for its mood and heart health benefits. 

Swisse Wellness is another company that has already introduced products into the mass space. But DSN got a sneak peak at what’s coming down the product development line for the Australian company — a complete sports nutrition line and skin care line. With Nicole Kidman serving as brand ambassador for a line that includes everything from a body scrub, hand cream and argan face oil to a body wash, shampoo and men’s deodorant spray,  the brand may have some mass appeal. 

Rainbow Light was on hand with its Embrace Prenatal 35+, a prenatal multivitamin specially formulated to address the unique nutritional needs of moms-to-be older than 35 years old. They may be onto something here — according to the National Vital Statistics Report issued Sept. 6, the birth rate among women ages 35 years to 39 years increased 2% to 48.3 births per 1,000 women in 2012. And the birth rate for women ages 40 years 44 years was 10.4 births per 1,000 women in 2012, 1% above the rate in 2011.

Embrace addresses the complex needs and conditions associated with mature pregnancies and the developing baby by helping to support blood cell production, enhance circulation and strengthen connective tissue, as well as support the development of brain, eyes, nerves, bone and teeth in baby. 

Let us know how we did. Send any comments or supplement coverage suggestions to Mike Johnsen at mjohnsen@lf.com.

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