Snacks: The Future of Supplements?  1/21/2016

What is your daily ritual like? Grab a quick breakfast on the way to the office. Maybe a midmorning coffee and a snack after lunch? These routine actions and eating habits are part of our daily lives. It’s one of the major reasons why starting a diet or healthy lifestyle can be so challenging. We’re so used to our routine. But, what if you could keep your current eating habits and be healthier? This is what the snack/food supplement market is capitalizing on in a big way.

The most notorious supplement to take over this niche market is, undoubtedly protein bars. According to our data comprised from the distribution of over 5 million samples, protein bars and protein-based snacks comprise 40 percent of all purchases in our protein shop category with a majority of these consumers marking their health goals as being focused on weight loss. For the weight loss category, protein bars offer the opportunity to replace an unhealthy afternoon snack time with a better option - a tasty protein bar.

Through thousands of customer surveys, we’ve found that the best way to motivate a person to begin taking a product or start on a healthier track was to not disrupt their lifestyle, but to create alternatives to their current eating habits. Products that allow consumers to keep their current lifestyle and dietary habits perform far beyond other products. Replacing an afternoon snack with a delicious protein bar gives the consumer the opportunity to skip the chips or candy bar for a low calorie protein bar - instead of giving up their snack time altogether. They still enjoy their afternoon treat and they don’t feel guilty about it. This is an important and powerful insight that bleeds into many areas of healthy living.

Even sleep category products have taken advantage of this insight. This new food-type sleep supplement category, including everything from sleep aids to pre-bedtime snacks, performed higher in their sampling programs than traditional pill form supplements. Emerging products in this category include brands like NightFood -- a nutrition bar made for late night snacking. These top sellers contain small amounts of actual sleep aid ingredients, but have a kick of protein and less sugar than most regular late night treats. Again, replacing one habit (in this case, late night snacking) with a healthier option has created a new niche in the sleep aid product category by showing consumers an easier way to begin dieting.

One increasingly emerging category for a snack-based product is the energy and endurance category. We’ve sampled and collected data on every type of energy product including chews, pills, powders, patches, candies, and even inhaled products. Consistently, the top rated products have been chocolate or flavored snack/food-type products that contain energy ingredients (most often caffeine). These products repeatedly went on to be top sellers after their sampling program and have some of the top ratings in our customer data. Products like Energems, a tasty chocolate gem that carries a kick of caffeine, are top-rated. Again -- these gems replace afternoon candy or sweet soda cravings, trading one unhealthy habit for a better option.

One final example of the power in creating a better tasting product for a traditionally pill/powder based category is with multivitamins. Almost every major multivitamin company has released their adult version of a gummy vitamin. Reviews of traditional pill-based multivitamins as compared to similar products in gummy form yield contrasting survey results. Taste has a commanding way of increasing a product's perceived effect or quality.

Allowing consumers to continue their current eating habits or lifestyle choices makes products more desirable and is a great first step for consumers to begin living healthier lifestyles. Help customers change a habit; don’t try to get them to start a new one.

Or contact Lisa Carrillo, SVP of Health & Beauty Care at 440-528-0427

Paul Jarrett

Bulu Box

Paul Jarrett is CEO and Co-Founder of Bulu Marketplace, Bulu Marketplace is a data-driven, proprietary matchmaking platform built to connect retail buyers and consumer packaged goods suppliers. (

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