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Fueling Change with Glanbia Nutritionals: The Shifting Dynamics of Energy Needs in Food and Beverage

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The Food Institute had a spirited conversation with Bill Waltzek, senior customer marketing manager at Glanbia Nutritionals, during a webinar focused on the evolving energy landscape within the food and beverage market.

Bill and Brian Choi, CEO and managing partner of The Food Institute, delved into a pair of recent health and wellness studies conducted by Glanbia and by Mondelez, the latter in partnership with The Food Institute.

“Consumers are snacking more now than at any moment in history.”

Choi set the stage by revealing a global increase in snacking—from 78% to 86% of consumers indulging—emphasizing the fact that today’s consumers crave more energy.

Snacking has not only become more prevalent worldwide but also increased in frequency, with notable growth in morning and afternoon snacking—rising by 42% and 22%, respectively, since pre-pandemic levels.

Glanbia Nutritionals, a forerunner in the field of nutrition innovation, prides itself on its deep understanding of consumer preferences, which Waltzek demonstrated with a list of trends impacting the energy space.

Six Trends Driving the Category

Energy & Alertness – Energy/Alertness is the top health claim in new product launches in North America.

Energy Drinks – Energy drinks represent the largest share of the functional beverage market and are expected to grow over 3% annually in the next five years.

Natural Ingredients – When purchasing products focused around energy, consumers want low sugar, high protein, and natural ingredients.

Energy Plus – While energy drinks are thriving, there is an opportunity to introduce energy’s functional benefits, like brain health and mental focus.

Mental Health – Mental wellbeing is recognized by consumers as being just as important as physical wellbeing.

Optimizing Energy – Consumers are proactively boosting their energy levels to optimize their day rather than being reactive.

The dialog also highlighted key macro trends influencing the industry, including the impacts of inflation, the rising demand for sustainable products, the push toward personalization in nutrition, and the leaps in food technology. Choi pointed out the pandemic’s role in altering consumer eating patterns, noting an increased focus on immunity, weight management, and especially energy needs.

Proactive vs. Reactive Energy

A significant portion of the discussion revolved around the concept of energy management from the consumer’s perspective. Waltzek highlighted a space for nuance between products that offer immediate energy boosts and those promoting sustained vitality for enduring energy needs—perhaps before a drop in energy is even perceived. This nuanced consumer approach, ranging from reactive to proactive, has diversified demand across product formats, including beverages and snacks, tailored to satisfy taste, health, and convenience preferences.

For Quick Energy Demands, Consumers Grab a Can

When consumers are trying to meet quick energy demands, Waltzek explained that beverages dominate 80%:20% compared to food options.

While the names leading the energy drink category have remained mostly consistent in their market share, the winds of consumer sentiment can quickly turn a brand into more than just a can—as evidenced by the 129% year-over-year sales growth of Celsius.

Opti ATP

One of the session’s highlights was the introduction of Opti ATP, Glanbia Nutritionals’ optimized bioidentical adenosine 5-Triphosphate (ATP) supplement. Opti ATP is designed to remain stable through the shelf-life of the beverages to which it is added, fueling the body and supporting holistic health by enhancing performance and aiding in muscle growth and recovery.

As the session wrapped up, the dialog made it evident that energy needs and solutions are expanding beyond traditional boundaries driven by changes in lifestyle, health consciousness, and technological innovations. The insights provided a roadmap for the food and beverage industry, underscoring the importance of innovation, consumer-focused product development, and the pursuit of holistic well-being.