The 66,000-square-foot facility will be devoted to the production of nutrition bar brands like MET-Rx, Pure Protein and Good’n Natural. NBTY says once the plant is up to speed it will produce one million bars a day and will create 150 jobs.
“We actually already have a plant that’s across the street, and this is an addition of that plant. This will allow us to double our capacity,” Andrea Staub, spokeswoman for NBTY, told NutraIngredients-USA.com.
“We are seeing increasing demand in the market, and one of reasons we chose to expand was to meet this demand,” she said.
MET-Rx and is a sports nutrition brand that includes supplements and protein powders. The MET-Rx bar is a high-protein, meal replacement product. Pure Protein has more a of a healthy lifestyle positioning, and includes a whey protein powder product in addition to the bars. Good’n Natural are whole food bars that include some organic ingredients.
The meal replacement market in the United States has remained robust even through the recession, showing 6.9% growth in the 2006-2011 time frame, according to market research firm IBISWorld. The company estimated the overall market for the products in the U.S. in 2011 at about $2 billion.
Fulfilling the ‘active nutrition’ vision
The expansion in bars manufacturing capacity fits with an NBTY strategic vision to go after the ‘active nutrition’ market, a broader positioning that the sports nutrition niche. About a year ago, when discussing the company’s fourth quarter results, NBTY CEO Jeff Nagel said: “In active nutrition, we’ve really got a fantastic category trend.
“We’re doing research right now that would suggest that high protein, low fat or low carb solutions have a lot broader application in a lot more consumer segments than purely sports nutrition.”
Bars, in particular, were “a very good fit with lifestyles and a broad range of demographics and needs”, he said, and NBTY was in the right channels to cash in.
“As they go broader in their appeal that means more sales in food, drug and mass.”
$3 billion sales milestone
NBTY passed a milestone recently when it announced preliminary 2012 revenue figures that put the company over $3 billion in sales for the year.
The company said the sales figure would range from $3.05 billion to $3.07 billion and consolidated EBITDA for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2012 is forecast to range between $556 million and $566 million. These figures compared with a final sales figure in 2011 of $2.96 billion. The final year end, audited report is expected to be finished by Nov. 30.