Beta-Alanine Set For Growth In Sports Nutrition And Healthy Aging Post-COVID, Natural Alternatives International Reports At SupplySide West 2021

Jennifer Grebow

Nutritional Outlook

The beta-alanine market is primed for growth, bolstered by consumers’ increased focus on health and wellness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said.

The beta-alanine market is primed for growth, bolstered by consumers’ increased focus on health and wellness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mark LeDoux, CEO and chairman of the board of directors for Natural Alternatives International Inc. (NAI; Carlsbad, CA), during the SupplySide West trade show. This bodes well for NAI’s flagship CarnoSyn and SR CarnoSyn beta-alanine ingredients, which LeDoux said he expects to see significant business gains for in both the sports nutrition and healthy aging markets moving forward.

“CarnoSyn has had a wonderful run of late,” said LeDoux at the show, “and I think it’s only going to get started again.” CarnoSyn, like many sports nutrition ingredients, saw sales decline last year when gyms closed—but not for long, said LeDoux. “Once the gyms started opening in different venues, we’ve seen a very good uptake again in revenue,” he said, “and we think that’s only going to grow.”

The healthy aging market looks promising for SR CarnoSyn, which is a sustained-release version of CarnoSyn designed for the healthy aging market and providing benefits for muscle function, brain health, heart health, bone health, and systemic health, among others.

Consumers’ increased focused on health and wellness post-COVID is a boon for SR CarnoSyn. “The adoption of material into the healthy living space is really getting interesting,” said LeDoux, “and we think within the next year, it’s going to grab some serious momentum. We think calendar year 2022 is going to be quite dramatic when it comes to SR CarnoSyn.”

The growing aging demographic globally will play a role, and so will the pandemic. One of the things the pandemic has done—“pretty much globally”—LeDoux said, is “reinforced the people’s intuition that taking supplements is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.”

Part of NAI’s focus is now on expanding delivery formats for SR CarnoSyn, which include a tablet and a powder.

Growing Pros—and Pains

The contract manufacturing side of NAI’s business is experiencing the same overwhelming growth seen throughout the dietary supplements industry especially during the pandemic. Since the pandemic started, said LeDoux, NAI’s sales “were up 100%.”

“I mean, our forecast this year is almost meaningless at this point because we took that snapshot three months ago,” he added. “When we release earnings in a couple of weeks, we’re going to have to adjust it again.”

That said, like businesses within and outside of the supplements industry, NAI isn’t immune to the worldwide labor shortages and supply chain problems. But LeDoux said his team is working out the challenges.

“Every supplements supplier I’ve talked to in the last few weeks is suffering the same problem,” he said. “It’s not so much lack of material, although there are some spot shortages of hard-to-get ingredients that are seasonal. It’s lack of staff. Lack of personnel. Now, if you’re just running 9-5, five days a week, you’re probably doing fairly well, but you’re also not experiencing the same growth that most of the industry in our area is experiencing. We could run our plants 24/7 for the foreseeable future and in about nine months we might catch up. And that’s the reality of it.”

Between NAI’s facilities, including in Carlsbad, CA, and Switzerland, the company employs hundreds of staff. It also plans to open a new facility next year that LeDoux said “will generate millions of dollars’ worth of product.” For now, the company is looking to offer employment opportunities to repatriated veterans in the U.S., and it may temporarily shift some employees between sites, including from Switzerland. “We have the benefit of having a really nice facility in Switzerland, and they don’t have labor shortages in Switzerland,” said LeDoux. “In fact, we have a labor surplus.”