Recently there have been a few issues that are relevant to consumers of sports nutrition products which we would like to talk about today. Operating as we do, in a climate where government seems to want to regulate supplements out of existence, or, alternatively, tax the hell out of it, it is especially important that we ensure that, as an industry, we operate to the highest standards. To this end, I want to draw your attention to something which has recently come to light that should be of interest to all consumers.
Protein Powder Fluctuations
Anyone who has been consuming protein powders for a few years will recall the days when a 5lb tub could be purchased for as little as £25 and the user could expect to receive a very high quality whey protein with minimal fats and carbs for this amount. Unfortunately these days are in the past now and the average price of protein has skyrocketed in recent years, driven largely by increasing consumer demand for whey and dairy proteins from large sports nutrition manufacturers who have been buying thousands of tonnes at a time as well as a boom in demand in the developing world. The history of mankind suggests that as societies grow, more affluent consumers will increasingly favour higher protein diets so this trend is not likely to change any time soon. It is now quite common that premium protein powders such as Instant Whey and Gold Standard 100% Whey retail at around the £45 mark for a 5lb tub. The manufacturers, who have increased their trade prices, have told retailers this is due to rising wholesale prices for the basic ingredients which most protein powders are comprised such as whey protein concentrate.
Cheap protein? Buyer beware
The market for sports nutrition and in particular for protein powders is extremely price sensitive, with a small cost increase causing many consumers to use cheaper protein powders. In the real world, we can expect that something which is cheaper is generally of poorer quality. While this rule will not always hold true for manufactured goods, for commodity products such as gold, oil, or protein powder, it is the case that to obtain something cheaper necessarily means accepting poorer quality. While we can consider that branded proteins can charge a premium compared to a no name brand this premium is usually a lot less than the consumer would imagine and for a protein powder with a very high protein content the premium will be very small. This is why when commodity prices increase most manufacturers of whey proteins will have to pass on the price increase due to the small profit margins they operate under on their protein products.
So, what are we to think when we see a company offering a deal on a product that seems too good to be true? Where the price of a product does not seem to reflect the composition of the product and where the product enjoys a hefty price discount compared to similar products we have to ask questions.
In our next blog post we will look at some historical cases that provide some insight.
© 2012, Reggie Johal. All rights reserved.