As always, 2016 has been a major year for the supplement industry and there’s still months left! Still growing at a strong pace, the industry is slowly but surely evolving, moreso in some areas than others, but there is definitely a noticeable shift. Perhaps one of the biggest changes we’ve seen so far is the demise of the joint venture between supplement juggernaut MusclePharm and Arnold Schwarzenegger. After 3 years, the legendary bodybuilder has jumped ship with an unflattering press release about his time with the company. This failed opportunity by MusclePharm has resulted in the demise of what could have been an amazing supplement line and also a parent company who is doing it tough.
In other news, Jim Stoppani, creator of the popular Jym Supplements has officially lost the plot and all sense of modesty thanks to his recent rants on being the only company with non-proprietary blended protein powders. Except that it’s not. While his supplements are good, his attitude is not and it’s only a matter of time before that situation implodes on itself. In more positive news however, there have been hundreds of new releases this year already, which has resulted in greater choice for you, the consumers, but also a lot of extra information. Which is why we’ve done the hard work for you and document the trends and the best new supplement releases of 2016.
Trends in Supplements for 2016
While the supplement market has stayed relatively stable the last year or so with no significant changes, there have been small movements here and there of where the industry is going:
- Diversification of Existing Brands – Bigger brands have started to further diversify their range by simply adding some extra ingredients to existing products such as the new C4 series from Cellucor and the Nitro Tech series from Muscletech. Other brands such as MusclePharm have simply created slightly different versions of existing products and have lumped them to a new, more hardcore “Black” series.
- The pre workout category is still one of the most active sectors with companies looking at creating either stronger formulas, more novel formulas or more research backed, non-proprietary formulas.
- The Rise of Green Tea – Green tea supplements, especially in Australia has taken off. Considered a less stimulating fat burner, trainers are drinking these by the bucketful, but it’s still important to be cycling off these once in awhile.
- Vegan & Natural – Vegetarian, vegan and more natural supplements aren’t anything new to the industry, but bigger companies now are starting to see the value in this target market. Expect to see more vegan formulas and “FREE” formulas such as gluten free, lactose free, etc.
- Alternative Protein Sources – As with any industry, being the first at something comes with some massive advantages. This is why a few companies have decided to tackle alternative protein sources such as chicken protein, fish protein and insect or cricket protein as a way to break into the industry and gain market share.
- Workout & Trainer’s Snacks Market – The snacking sector is relatively untapped. Sure you’ve got your protein bars and cookies, but people are looking for more. As such, expect companies to invest in different types of higher protein and healthier snacks to be added to the line. You’re already seeing this with protein chips, veggie chips, protein pretzels, higher protein nut butters as well as Paleo and dairy free meat bars. Another big trend is high protein RTDs or "ready-to-drink" beverages, which aren't your typical protein shakes. Think high protein water, high protein iced coffee and even high protein iced tea.
New Supplement Releases from Big Brands
1. Optimum Nutrition – One of the slowest movers of the year, Optimum are continuing to release supplements as part of their “Gold Standard” range. With only one significant release so far in the form of the Gold Standard BCAAs, Optimum are tipped to release one or two more before the end of the year.
2. Muscletech – With over 10 releases and counting, Muscletech are perhaps the biggest mover of any supplement company. There could be a whole new article just on new Muscletech supplements alone, but below is a quick three point summary:
- Brand Name Piggybacks – New releases with minor tweaks using existing popular supplement names such as Nitro Tech (Nitro Tech Nightime, Hyperbuild, Rapid Mass, etc), Cell Tech (Hyper Build), Hydroxycut Hardcore (Elite Sport) and Mass Tech (Extreme 2000)
- Copies – The release of Premium Gold 100% Whey Protein seemed a little too similar to another big brands protein.
- New Supplements – Truly new supplements releases such as Whey + Greens and After Build post workout formula.
3. Cellucor – Best known for their pre workout C4, Cellucor have taken full advantage with the rise in popularity of a range of different C4 variants such as C4 Ripped, C4 Neuro, C4 Mass and C4 50X. In addition, the company have decided to expand their COR Performance range with a COR Casein, COR Gainer, COR Creatine, COR Glutamine, COR CLA, COR Fish Oil and COR Sport Protein Bar. Nothing truly exciting, but a sound venture.
4. MusclePharm – There’s no denying it, but MusclePharm isn’t in the best position at the moment. You’ve got to hand it to them though that amidst all the issues within the company, they’ve still managed to release a tidy handful of supplements. Their “Black” series is in full swing with Amino 1 Black, Creatine Black, Assault Black and Combat Gainer Black. They’ve also spent time updating (quite successfully I might add) the look and formulations of the Hybrid Range including new releases of Assault, Shred Matrix and Amino 1 as well as completely new products such as Combat 100% Whey, Clean Mass Weight Gainer and Combat XL
5. BSN – Like its brother company, Optimum Nutrition; BSN has had a relatively slow start with only two new releases. This includes a stronger, more hardcore variation of their pre workout known as NO Xplode XE as well as a cleaner, lower carb and lower fat version of the Syntha-6 known as Syntha-6 Edge. We don’t really expect BSN to make any other significant moves this year as they’re still trying to come to terms with the lack of popularity of the DNA series.
Pre Workouts Galore
6. Dedicated Nutrition Unstoppable V2 – One of the most anticipated new pre workout releases, the second generation of Unstoppable doesn’t disappoint and is a must for anyone truly looking for a strong pre workout. One of the most innovative companies around, their new releases such as Re-Grow GH booster and Enigma lean muscle enhancer are exciting products which should continue to help them amass new fans.
7. Pro Supps Hyde V3 – It’s hard to believe this underrated pre workout is already onto its third release, but the new Hyde V3 is a conglomeration of both the first and second versions of the pre workout. One of the most underrated supplements in the category, Hyde V3 is perfect for trainers looking to take their workouts and performance to the next level. The company have also released an excellent pump support product known as NO3 Drive as well as the strong fat burner Vexxum.
8. EHPLabs PSI & RPM – Creators of the extremely popular fat burner Oxyshred, EHPLabs have been mostly cruising this past year. Their two releases this year are both pre workouts; one more geared towards pump and one for energy and endurance. The pre workouts aren’t too bad as standalone products, but the combination of the two definitely make it a formidable competitor in the category.
9. Giant Sports Giant Rush – If you’re looking for energy to train, Giant Rush is the supplement for you. It’s an incredibly simple, but effective supplement and does exactly what its name suggests; offers a serious rush of energy. It does lack a little when it comes to the other beneficial pre workout effects, so it might be ideal to combine it with the company’s other newly re-released pre workout Giant Pump. It should be noted that Giant Sports have also released a Giant BCAA formula.
10. BPI Best Pre Workout – Continuing with their “Best” series, BPI have released their Best Pre Workout, advertised as the world’s first ketogenic pre workout. The supplement itself contains MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) as well as three different salts of beta-hydroxybutyrate (a key ketone body). It’s an interesting new venture from BPI and they are certainly pushing the envelope with this new supplement. The research on ketone bodies supplementation is still in its infancy, but with backing from the US Department of Defense, it’s definitely an area to keep a close eye on. BPI have also released a new protein bar known as BPI Best Protein Bar and will be bringing back a new reformulated version of their flagship pre workout 1.M.R.
Restricted Pre Workouts & Fat Burners
Due to differences in restricted ingredients, there are some excellent new and re-released pre workouts and fat burners that deserve a mention, however are only available in certain countries and not in others. The supplements listed below can be found in the US and Canada, but you might have a hard time finding them in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. These include:
Alternative Protein Powders
16. Pharmafreak Beef Freak – The famous Canadian company isn’t the first to produce a beef protein, but it’s good to see them release one anyway. It’s a decent alternative to dairy proteins and is ideal for those who are lactose intolerance and gluten intolerant. Whether it’s a sustainable venture is another issue, but Pharmafreak are one of the few companies that have a vegan, a dairy and a beef protein in their range, which is definitely something to be applauded.
17. Crik Nutrition Protein Powder – Arguably one of the first protein powders on the market made from crickets, expect to see many other competitors appear in the next few years. Actually made with crickets and plants, the supplement doesn’t have the highest percentage of protein per serve, but it does contain about 1000mg of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids and is a highly sustainable, gluten free and lactose free protein powder. Taste wise, you can honestly hardly tell the difference between this and many others on the market. As the taste preferences of consumers evolve and grow, so too will the popularity of alternative protein sources such as this.
18. IDF CHiKPro – Another novel protein, CHiK Pro is a chicken protein isolate powder that was released as the Arnold Fitness Expo this year. Like that of beef protein, it is nutritionally very similar to regular dairy proteins and provides a high protein percentage, being low in fat and negligible in carbs. While it deserves a mention, we don’t really think it’ll really take off.
High Protein & Healthy Snacks
19. Quest Nutrition Crunch Protein Bar – Back to doing what they do best, Quest Nutrition launched the Crunch Protein Bars earlier this year, a tasty cereal bar that taste like waffles. Pretty enticing if you ask me. While they haven’t been officially released at time of writing, they will join the other new Quest product, the Quest Keto Cups and expand further on the Quest snacking empire.
20. MyProtein – A company based in the UK, MyProtein carries a massive range of supplements, but is known for its huge range in high protein snacks, foods and drinks. From noodles, to granola to pasta and wafers and everything in between, MyProtein specialise in either high protein and/or low calorie food and snack options that fit in perfectly with any serious trainer’s lifestyle. This year alone, they’ve added some high protein granola, high protein syrup and some whey protein enhanced nut butters just to name a few.
21. Tribeca Health X50 Broccoli Chips – Best known for reigniting the green tea craze with their supplement Green Tea X50, Tribeca have released a couple of supplements this year including their X50 Broccoli chips, a tasty and nutrient packed alternative to biscuits, chips as well as other snacks on the market. It’s not super high in protein, but it does offer a delicious way to help meet your vegetable intake.
Sick of the usual chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and cookies n’cream options? The supplement industry is hearing you and companies are starting to look outside the circle when it comes to protein and supplement flavours. Take for example the rise in the popularity of the “Birthday Cake” flavour. While you have companies such as Optimum Nutrition letting their customers vote for the flavours, others have taken it upon themselves to just create their own. Some of the most interesting ones we’ve seen include:
22. Axis Labs Muscle Delight – French Toast
23. GU Energy Gels – Cucumber Mint
24. Rivalus Rival Whey – Glazed Doughnut
25. Gaspari Nutrition MyoFusion Advanced – Maple Bacon Pancake
26. Man Sports Dirty Bulk – Milkshake n’ Fries
Redesigns & Old Favourites Return
27. Dymatize Nutrition – The veteran brand hasn’t released any new supplements so far, but have completely redesigned their logo, which suggests that the company might be ready for a big move later in the year. Time will tell and we’ll be sure the first to update you if things do change.
28. Animal – It’s been a couple of years since a good majority of Animal products were removed from the Australian market. However, they’ve made a comeback this year and have picked up right where they left off. The company have also finally decided to release their flagship multivitamin Animal Pak in powder form, which is much more enjoyable than taking what seemed to be the never ending pill packet. Their relatively new Animal Whey is also experiencing a surge with 13 delicious flavours now in the mix.
Notable Brands to Look Out For
29. Body War – Hailing from Australia, the company isn’t a new brand, but they’ve consistently produced some of the best supplements available in the relevant categories. All transparently labelled, Body War supplements are strong and utilise some of the best ingredients for their respective purpose. Their two latest releases include the excellent test booster Alpha Test and the comprehensive greens supplement Daily Greens.
30. Blackstone Labs – A company that has escaped the radar for many trainers, they are best known for their specialty supplements, especially in the hormone support arena. They’ve already released three significant products this year including the delicious 3-Whey protein, the unique test booster Epi-Test and the night time fat burner Trojan Horse. We see even more releases coming from Blackstone before the year is out, so they’re definitely worth keeping an eye out for.
The following supplement releases are worthy of a mention and they do get the job done, but aren’t super exciting unless you’re a diehard fan.
Future Supplements Trends of 2016 and 2017
It’s always interesting to see how the industry changes. From the demise of pre workout staple ingredient DMAA to the rise of transparent labelling and non-proprietary blends, the world of supplements is ever changing and it’ll be exciting to see what happens next. A couple of things we think should or will happen include:
- Mass Gainers for Vegans – This area of the industry is relatively untapped. While there are vegan and vegetarian protein powders, there are negligible mass gainers for this group. In addition, more mass gainers and other supplements which are both lactose and gluten free would be handy to have as part of the range.
- Sustained Release Supplements – Sustained or time release proteins powders and drugs in capsule form has been around for years. With a protein powder, it’s as easy as adding some slower digesting protein into the mix. Extended release pre workouts and fat burners is the next step for the industry as a way to provide trainers the chance for longer lasting effects and remove the need to have more than one serve. A few companies have already started using this technology including Performix and Olympian Labs.
- Customised Supplements – Personalised nutrition is a concept that has experienced rapid growth in recent years. This is thanks to increased information when it comes to diagnostics and nutrigenomics, the science between the interaction between nutrition and our genes. Being able to easily customise your own supplements, either with help or by yourself is a new venture that will set the standard for the future of the supplement industry.