Creasport brand creatine monohydrate, said to be 99.9 per cent purity, has been newly packaged and will be marketed by Dolder directly to fitness centres and gyms. The product, on display at Food Ingredients Europe last month, is Dolder's first to be sold directly to the end-user.
Creatine, produced naturally by the body, has been shown to improve performance and muscle recovery in athletes. Creatine supplements were also recently shown to boost both working memory and general intelligence. But European suppliers, namely DSM and German company Degussa, are under severe price pressure from Asian competitors.
"This is our way of saying to consumers that the product is guaranteed to be high purity and high quality. Before we could not always guarantee that contract manufacturers were not adding other ingredients to their products," Alexandra Schmid, business team leader for the Health & Fitness unit at Dolder, told NutraIngredients.com.
She added: "I'm convinced this is the right way to market quality. With every package you get a certificate of analysis."
The Swiss firm, which has been marketing the ingredient to manufacturers for the last four years, has already carried out market research on users in fitness centres and gyms and took the product to the Fibo fitness and bodybuilding exhibition in Essen, Germany in May this year.
Dr Fritjof Linz, account manager for DSM pharma in Germany and responsible for the creatine product, said the company will update the Creasport website to incorporate the new branding and image. Where the majority of brands use aggressive colours, the DSM-Dolder product has a subtle navy packaging.
"We are targeting the people who want to know that they are consuming a quality product and know what they are putting into their body," explained Dr Linz.
The product will be priced at the higher end of the nutrition products market, with a recommended selling price between €16 and €40 for a 500g pack. DSM is expecting to have a good idea of the value of the new campaign in the test market in six months time. Creasport for consumers could then be rolled out to other European markets.
There is currently more capacity for creatine production globally than demand, although the European sports nutrition market as a whole is growing a fast 8.4 per cent annually, according to a recent report from research analysts Frost & Sullivan.
"In Germany alone, consumption reaches 150 tons per year and we would like to have a significant share of this," said Dr Linz.
DSM's Food Specialties unit is also working on an energy drink to be supplied to the Dutch Olympic team. This too could eventually be marketed through a food and beverage manufacturer directly to the consumer.