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47 Insanely Practical Work From Home Tips from Our 100% Remote Team

The following is a great post from ALEX TURNBULL
Alex is the CEO & Founder of Groove. He loves to help other entrepreneurs build startups by sharing his own experiences from the trenches. Here is a link to the orig
inal article:

Last week, my wife and I decided we needed to stock up and hunker down.

We’re washing our hands. We’re social distancing. We’re a bit anxious.

But…we’re extremely fortunate.

We haven’t lost our jobs. The business hasn’t gone under and we have a roof over our heads.

I know it’s crazy right now.

The health crisis is real. There are thousands of people losing their jobs and businesses, with thousands more to come.

With kids home from school, a perplexing economy, and a world in crisis, it’s become impossible to function as normal, but I’m hopeful.

If you’re fortunate enough where business is doing okay, it’s time to adapt to change and plan for the future.

One of those changes, whether you like it or not, is remote.

Truthfully, I didn’t even want to drop this post because I felt weird about the timing, but Nathan encouraged me. ?

If you don’t know the Groove story, we’ve been working 100% remotely for the last seven years and know how to manage this lifestyle.

We’ve learned a lot—and so will you.

Our most practical work-from-home tips

This week, I asked the team to share their best strategies for staying productive while working from home.

Below, you’ll find 47 of the most practical work-from-home tips we could come up with—everything from the kind of chair you use to what you should do on your lunch break.

My best work-from-home tips as a founder and CEO

Let me start with a few tips for those of you leading organizations or teams.

Catching a wave

1. Get outside

Weather permitting, I try to get outside for at least a few minutes every day.

I love to surf and I live close to the coast. If it’s warm enough, I try to get down to the water as often as I can.

Even if I can’t surf, a quick walk through our neighborhood does wonders for my productivity when I get back to my computer.

2. Take 20 (for meditation)

Meditation doesn’t need to be a religious thing, and there are tons of great resources out there to help you get started.

I like to spend about 20 minutes a day meditating—usually first thing in the morning. It puts me in the right mental place to start my work with a clear head.

If you’re brand new to meditation, check out the Headspace app, which will introduce you to the practice in just a few minutes a day.

You can also find hundreds of guided meditations for free out on YouTube.

3. Trust the process

As a founder and CEO, my job is to set a direction and to design processes that guide the work of my team.

But even with my commitment to processes, it’s easy as a founder to get impatient—to jump in and try to “help” the team mid-project and unknowingly mess everything up.

No project produces results overnight. Set the direction, design your processes—then get out the way and let your people do what you hired them to do.

4. Trust your people

Yesterday I heard about a company that obviously didn’t trust its employees to stay productive while working from home.

They had managers calling their direct reports every hour—asking what they were working on, whether they were being productive or not.

I’m sorry. But that’s just insane.

Badgering your people is a recipe for resentful, low-performing employees.

All our teams have daily “standups” (we do them through Zoom). The meetings rarely go more than five minutes.

Each team member answers three simple questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What are you going to do today?
  3. Is there anything standing in your way?

Everyone is accountable to the team, not just to me or to their boss.

And, if something is standing in someone’s way, we (as leaders) can take action to remove the impediment immediately—so our people can do their work.

Trust your people.

They’ll be far more likely to do amazing work for you—remote or not.

5. Plan a trip (when you can)

Obviously no one’s traveling right now.

But whenever the world gets back to normal, getting away from my usual surroundings for a few days always recharges me—even if I’m still working.

During normal times, my family and I often travel up to Maine for a change of scenery and to get out of our normal routines.

Even just planning a trip puts some energy in my tank since it gives me something to look forward to.

A peek at my home workstation

Since everyone always asks…

This is my workstation. As with most things in my life, I prefer to keep it simple and uncluttered.

My home workspace

The team’s best work-from-home tips

I wanted to give you more than just my perspective on working from home.

Here (in their words) is what some of the team had to say about how staying productive while working remotely, along with some pictures of their home setups…

Nick McCreath: Co-Founder and Head of Product

Nick McCreath

Currently working from: An isolated farm somewhere in South Africa (no joke, it’s a little village called Bathurst)

1. Don’t expect immediate answers

When you work in an office, it’s easy to see when someone is at their desk, or if they’re tucked away in a meeting room having a conversation with someone else.

You don’t have that luxury in a remote environment. 

You usually have no clue what your teammates are up to even if they’re actively working at any given time. 

Don’t expect answers immediately if you send someone a note. Even if it looks like they’re active on Slack, they might just be busy with other things at the moment.

They’ll get back to you when they’re ready.

2. Get a second screen

I really like having a second screen for my home office. That way I can have Slack or my inbox available without cluttering my desktop or having to navigate between apps, which is a huge time waster.

No extra screen, no problem. Check out Duet or Sidecar, which can turn your iPad into a second monitor.

Nick’s workspace

3. Use lots of Slack emojis

Make liberal use of emojis in Slack or your team chat application.

When people can’t see you physically, it’s tough to know if you got the message, if you’re at your desk, busy, etc… So a little emoji with a status that you’re heads down on a task or out for lunch can go a long way.

It’s also completely okay to snooze notifications for a while so you can focus.

Nick really is on a farm

4. Keep your furry friend close by

Frustrating meeting? Give your pet a belly rub and watch that stress vanish.

5. Be aware of your team’s schedule

When working with teams across multiple time zones, keep tabs on when people’s days start and end so you can make sure you ask for things during times that are convenient for them, not just you.

6. Keep your workspace clean

Do your best to keep your workspace tidy.

I have a routine of tidying up first thing in the morning (not the evening before) which puts my mind in the right place for the day and keeps me as organized as possible.

Lisa Foster, Head of Customer Success

Lisa Foster

Currently working from: Las Vegas, Nevada, where even the casinos are closing right now

1. Stick to your normal schedule

Stick to a schedule. Have a set shift. Start working at a set time, take a lunch break like normal, wrap up your day just like you were in an office. It’s not a free-for-all; it’s just a location change.

2. Use status updates in Slack

I use status updates and emojis in Slack to keep my whereabouts known.

When I’m on with a customer, in a meeting, or away for lunch, I set my status so people know what I’m doing and whether I’m available or away from my keyword.

3. Have an office, but move around

You need a dedicated space to work, but don’t be afraid to move around too.

Sit outside, in the kitchen, at a coffee shop (whenever that becomes “safe” to do again). See where you like to work and are most productive, then do more of that.

Lisa’s workspace

4. Make a technology backup plan

Have a back up plan for staying connected.

Know what you’ll do if you have an internet outage or your computer crashes to get yourself back online asap. Don’t wait until it happens; have a plan in advance for getting back up and running quickly.

Marcin Bunsch, Head of Engineering

Marcin Bunsch

Currently working from: Kraków, Poland

1. Establish rituals

Have a ritual for start and finish of work. It’s very easy to blur the lines, so you need something that marks the start of work, like getting dressed or making a pot of coffee.

More importantly, make sure you have an end-of-day ritual so you can switch off thinking about work and start resting.

2. Change clothes when you’re done with work

Get dressed for work, but then change clothes when you’re done. This helps me maintain work-life balance—even when the commute is 3 steps long.

Antonio Marcello, Marketing

Antonio Marcello

Currently working from: Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

1. Add 10 minute breaks to your schedule

Try to establish a routine, including one or two 10 minute breaks throughout your day.

2. Eat meals away from your desk

Don’t work through your meals. Stand up and go somewhere else in your house to eat—preferably away from your desk.

3. Reach out if you’re feeling isolated

Take advantage of the company’s tools to organize and communicate your work better (Trello, Confluence, Drive, Slack, etc.). And if you’re feeling alone or isolated, let someone know!

Your work friends are just one message away! ?

Cristian Todorovic, Design

Cristian Todorovic

Currently working from: Berlin, Germany

1. Put your phone in the other room

Make sure there are no distractions around your working space. I leave my phone in the other room and only check it during lunch time.

2. Have some basic fitness equipment

Every other day, I grab my dumbbells and fire up a 15–20min session. You’d be surprised how many exercises you can do just with a simple set of dumbbells.

3. Raise your laptop

Stand up and put your laptop on any higher surface, I use a regular komoda from Ikea as my improvised standing desk and it’s great.

4. Get away from the screen

Your productivity is a finite resource and it will reach a peak sometime during the day, so the best way for me to recharge is to move away from the screen.

Go walk your dog, grab a snack behind your house, go for a 15-20min walk.

You’ll be surprised how much these simple things will help you reset and get extra hours of productivity in your day.

Ena Sadikovic, Design

Ena Sadikovic

Currently working from: Setúbal, Portugal

1. Invest in good headphones

Get a pair of good headphones for minimizing distractions from outside. I find this super important for creative work as it helps to stay in the flow.

2. Schedule your work

I sit down in the morning and plan out how much time I’ll need for each task I have coming up. It helps me stay productive and it keeps me from overcommitting.

Erika Trujillo, Customer Success

Erika Trujillo

Currently working from: Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.

1. Use small packages for snacks

Have snack sized packages of items, and not large bags.

Keep a happy appetite but avoid the binges by preparing smaller sized food items and fruits ahead of time.

1. Don’t sit all day

Regular standing breaks and stretches help keep me loose and focused when I may get tunnel vision while working from home.

I use my Apple Watch to remind me to move every now and then. You can also use a mobile app on your phone. I used Stand Up! before I got my watch.

Erika’s workspace

Glenn Roberts, Engineering

Glenn Roberts

Currently working from: Australia

1. Noise-cancelling headphones

Noise. Cancelling. Headphones. Now.

2. A high-quality headset and microphone

Get a contact-center-quality headset—one that can filter background noise while you’re speaking on a call. I recommend Jabra office headsets.

3. Use ergonomics to your benefit

Get your chair and screen positioned comfortably. Use adjustable swinging arm mounts for external monitors. For laptops, try a Roost laptop stand.

Glenn’s workspace

4. Batch you work

Write in chat rooms, write emails, share screenshots, record screencasts.

On the receiving side, process your communication channels in batches, when you are ready. Turn off unimportant notifications that interrupt you.

Jared Scheel, Engineering

Jared Scheel

Currently working from: Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

1. Set boundaries with family and friends

Set clear boundaries and expectations with family and friends. Just because you work at home does not mean you are freely available during all hours of the day.

2. Create a separate, focused space for work

Your kitchen table might do in a pinch, but separating environments will help you focus during work hours and disengage during home hours.

Jared’s workspace

3. Turn your camera on during meetings

Let people see you on video calls. Seeing other people’s faces builds empathy and trust, encourages (some) level of body language expression, and prevents feelings of isolation.

One of our team Zoom calls

Matt Beedle, Engineering

Matt Beedle

Currently working from: Thailand

1. Eliminate distractions

I use Focus, which blocks websites and apps where I’m likely to get sidetracked.

I have it hooked up to my Vitamin-R so when I start a pomodoro, it cuts off Messenger, Airmail, and a load of other stuff.

When my pomodoro finishes, everything is automatically re-enabled

2. Find your most productive hours

Work in your most productive hours.

Personally I like to go to bed super early and work early in the morning.

Matthew Spence, Engineering

Matthew Spence

Currently working from: Canterbury, Kent, U.K.

2. Pajamas aren’t for everyone

If you are struggling to get in the right mindset, maybe working in your pajamas isn’t the right option for you. Try getting dressed in whatever you would wear to an office.

1. Create an isolated space

Find an isolated spot where you can work without being interrupted.

If you know there will be people around, noise cancelling headphones can go a long way to creating an isolated “space.”

Spence’s workspace

Melissa Rosen, Marketing & Customer Success

Melissa Rosen

Currently working from: San Diego, California, U.S.A.

1. Put extra effort into planning

Put more time into prep work so you can work asynchronously. We use sprints here and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Since you won’t be able to grab your coworkers anytime throughout the office, have a plan for deciding what work will get done, who is responsible for what task, and what your deadlines are.

Hold meetings to get any resources or ask any questions before starting work. You’ll be able to work on your own for hours or days at a time without needing to reach out to other team members constantly for more info.

You’ll be way more productive.

2. Ignore any advice that doesn’t work for you

Feel free to ignore any and all suggestions that don’t work for you.

I personally love working from my bed or couch, and I’m definitely not getting out of my pajamas during this pandemic.

Melissa’s favorite workspace

Don’t force it if something isn’t working for you. Do what feels natural and what helps you get things done.

Nathan Collier, Marketing

Nathan Collier

Currently working from: Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.

1. Get a virtual accountability partner

I use a service called FocusMate, which is a bit like virtual coworking.

You schedule a time to do a one-hour video call where you’re committing to work on one major task during that time.

The service matches you with someone else who wants to be productive in that hour.

When the time comes, I log in and we do a video conference call, but we don’t talk. We just work with the camera on and our microphones muted.

I know it sounds weird, but it’s my personal secret weapon for getting a ton of stuff done in a small amount of time. I often do 4–6 sessions a day.

2. Lift your laptop to eye level

I do everything on my MacBook Air. After about a year working remotely, I noticed it was hurting my neck to stare down at a screen all day.

So I bought an adjustable laptop stand that raises the screen to eye level. It’s been a big help for my posture and my neck feels a lot better.

The stand also folds up really easily, making it portable, which has been great since I’ve been stuck at home lately. I normally work from a coworking space.

Nathan’s kitchen table setup

3. Don’t rely on bluetooth headphones for calls

I have a couple of sets of bluetooth headphones that I love and use all the time. But they have a habit of dropping when I’m on Zoom meetings.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to join a meeting and not being able to hear the audio. Or to hear the audio and have people not be able to hear me.

For that reason, I usually use my old corded EarPods that came with my iPhone 6 for calls and meetings. At the very least I always have them nearby.

Tair Assimov, Engineering

Tair Assimov

Currently working from: Barcelona, Spain

1. Work from cafes or coworking spaces (when it’s safe to do so again)

To escape cabin fever, work once or twice a week from cafes, or better, from coworking spaces. This should give you a motivation boost and appreciation of working from home.

But only after COVID. ?

2. Don’t skip your workout

Exercise is even more important when working from home because it’s easy to just stay inside all day.

Working remotely gives you immense flexibility with your schedule, so take advantage by working out during times that other people find difficult.

For instance, can you go to the gym, go swimming, go jogging, or take a bike ride before noon while others are at the office?

Tayo Agagu, Engineering

Tayo Agagu

Currently working from: Cape Town, South Africa

1. Get used to asynchronous communication

Be comfortable with asynchronous communication.

Messages you send to teammates might not get an immediate response, but that’s okay.

Check out this post for a detailed description of how asynchronous communication can boost productivity: Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive.

That’s us. What about you?

Of all the responses we got from our team, I think I liked the one from Melissa the best:

Feel free to ignore any and all suggestions that don’t work for you. What works for me may not work for you.

She’s right. Try things and see what works best for you. Keep what works. Ignore what doesn’t.

But always be open to getting better.

Nootropics for healthy cognitive function

People in many countries, including the U.S., are experiencing an increased life span.1 However, the aging population aims not just for increased, but optimized, years of life. Paramount to this are strategies to improve cognition or delay age-related cognitive decline. Supporting cognitive function is something that can, and should, be considered, even before the earliest signs of dementia are noticed.

Nootropic, a term coined in 1972 by Corneliu E. Giurgea, Ph.D, refers to a nontoxic substance that enhances learning and memory, facilitates communication between the brain hemispheres and enhances neurological resilience.2 Nootropics are commonly utilized to prevent or support early states of cognitive decline; they are also utilized by those who simply wish to optimize their cognitive function.

Cognitive function can be enhanced in a variety of ways. Studies show high levels of free radicals in the brains of those with cognitive decline.3 Antioxidants that can cross the blood-brain barrier tend to support cognitive function and protect the brain from the expected effects of aging. Vasodilators increase blood perfusion to the brain, enhancing oxygen levels and aiding glucose utilization.4 Substances that support neurotransmitter levels, particularly acetylcholine (ACh), can treat dementia.5 Finally, substances that support neurogenesis and increased neurological plasticity via modulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) show great promise in enhancing cognitive function.6

Ginkgo bilboa (ginkgo) leaf is a well-known nootropic herb. Ginkgo trees belong to the Ginkgoaceae family, an ancient family cultivated for thousands of years for medicinal use in China. Much of the ginkgo used in research studies is a standardized product (EGb 761) of 22 to 27% flavonol glycosides, 5-7% terpene lactones, and less than 5 ppm ginkgolic acids. Ginkgo increases circulation to the brain, supporting glucose levels and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) utilization, and decreasing free-radical damage. Nootropic effects may also be due to increased levels of BDNF.6 Ginkgo is most effective when used for at least six weeks; long-term dosing is safe if the patient doesn’t have a clotting disorder or using anticoagulants (ginkgo thins the blood and should also be discontinued prior to surgery). Adulteration/contamination of ginkgo can be a concern,7 so analysis should be done on ginkgo sources to ensure a high-quality product.

Bacopa monnieri (water hyssop) is an Ayurvedic herb traditionally used as a medhya rasayana (memory/intellectual enhancer). Water hyssop grows in swampy or marshy areas; the arial portion of the plant is used, making it a very sustainable product. Sometimes referred to as brahmi, water hyssop is often contaminated with Centella asiatica.8 Water hyssop is a potent antioxidant that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Administration is protective against toxic exposure, including tobacco and common environmental contaminants with neurotoxic side effects.9,10 Water hyssop also increases cerebral blood flow and supports ACh levels.9 Additionally, early research seems to indicate enhancement of BDNF.6 Multiple studies have shown water hyssop improves memory acquisition and retention, as well as attention and memory processing. Results are most pronounced after three months of administration; short-term memory improvements are not seen in research studies, although many patients feel subjectively better even with short-term administration.

Read The Full Article HERE

Considerations for success in the women’s health market

As with any other population, women have unique nutritional needs, life challenges and preferences that influence their purchasing decisions. Clinical studies have indicated a plethora of promising women’s health ingredients to help address nutrient shortfalls and enhance well-being at all life stages. In fact, Cornell University research identified a correlation between increased choline intake in pregnant women and higher information processing speeds in their infants (FASEB J. 2018;32:2172-2180). Additional studies are examining the potential brain health benefits of maternal choline intake as the children reach older ages, from 7 to 15. The importance of maternal health and proper fetal nutrition is well established, but research supporting the long-term effects gleaned secondhand, so to speak, is a game-changer.

A few key considerations can assist product developers looking to reach female consumers.

Identify the target audience

Although a given when creating any product, the women’s health category isn’t always clear-cut. Women from their teens to their 40s may be taking prenatal supplements. Market trends indicate some consumers are looking for proactive nutritional support decades earlier than women of the past, so Millennials may be seeking joint health products with different motivation than their parents, and likewise, their grandparents. The same goes for beauty-from-within products and more.

Create the right formulation

Dozens of ingredients are popular in women’s health products, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, protein/collagen, botanicals, carotenoids, probiotics, enzymes, yeasts, collagen and other nutrients. Drawing from the Ayurvedic practice of addressing various aspects of well-being, combination formulas are increasingly popular. Some women may follow a plant-based diet, and therefore require a vegetarian or vegan product. For others, organic positioning is a selling point.

Read The Full Article HERE

Protein powders for an expanding consumer base

Protein powder use among natural consumers is on the rise, according to SPINS data. While the US$892.5 million protein powders segment grew 4.2% over the past year (the 52 weeks ending April 21, 2019), sales in the natural channel of retail grocers grew 8.8% to $156.1 million, outpacing growth for the greater cross-channel segment. Tracking the sales of naturally positioned products across multiple retail channels shows that natural items also outpaced the greater segment’s growth, up 13.2% to $350.5 million as consumers increasingly seek clean, high-quality protein without artificial ingredients in a broader range of outlets. Even within the conventional marketplace, demand for natural protein powders is significantly increasing. Overall dollar sales of protein powders in the mainstream conventional multi-outlet channel was up 3.2% to $724.2 million, with sales for naturally positioned products climbing at a much faster rate of 17.2% to $196.0 million, while more conventionally positioned products remained relatively stable with a slight 1.1% decline to $528.1 million.

Natural Attributes and Ingredients Fuel Growth

As further evidence of consumer interest in clean-label protein powder products, label claims such as grass-fed, non-GMO, and organic showed significant growth over the past year, as well. Sales for protein powders labeled as grass-fed grew 92.3% to $21.6 million as grass-fed becomes a benchmark for quality and an important production standard regarding animal welfare to the natural consumer. Protein powders labeled as non-GMO grew 9.8%to $235.6 million, while products without labeled non-GMO ingredients were in decline. Certified-organic protein powders grew 33.7% to $136.9 million, and protein powders with any amount of organic content grew 8.2% to $220.7 million. While use of artificial sweeteners in protein powders is still prevalent in conventionally positioned products, sales for products in the segment that contain artificial sweeteners showed decline, dropping 14.3% to $255.6 million. Protein powders sweetened with stevia (a natural, zero-calorie, herbal sweetener) or alternative sweetener blends containing stevia grew 6.4% to $223.2 million.

Cultural Influences Bring New Consumers to the Segment

In addition to the natural consumer, other shopper groups are jumping at the chance to use protein powder to meet nutritional needs. “Health and wellness is quickly becoming health and fitness, led by a newer wellness community culture that recognizes the importance of exercise and fitness to overall health,” said Scott Dicker, client support lead and subject matter expert in sports nutrition at SPINS. “This movement drives dedicated fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors alike to fuel efficiently for exercise and looks to protein for workout recovery and to reduce muscle soreness.”

Popular exercise trends such as CrossFit often promote dietary strategies as part of a lifestyle, bridging the gap between wellness and fitness verticals, and increasing demand for products that support specific ways of eating, such as paleo- or keto-positioned products. SPINS data show that paleo-positioned protein powders soared 55.7%, to $34.1 million, as the popularity of paleo and related ways of eating remain strong.

Read The Full Article HERE

Protein powder products: Differentiating in a crowded market

Protein is booming, and powders have played a huge role in delivering efficacious amounts of protein to sports nutrition consumers looking to build and maintain muscle mass. Tubs of ready-to-mix (RTM) protein powders have long been a visual mainstay of many sports nutrition stores, aisles and sections, and powdered ingredients are also used to fill sports supplement capsules and provide muscle to bars and beverages. However, the protein powder market is crowded, and the consumer shift to wanting higher protein intake via foods and beverages instead of supplements only adds to the challenges of making a protein powder-based product stand out and be successful.

For companies playing in the RTM protein powder space, differentiation requires innovative flavors and ingredient combinations, as well as enhanced bioavailability and responsible sourcing. The protein ready-to-drink (RTD) market is seeing increasing numbers of clear or water beverages with high protein content, in addition to new hot protein RTD products. The food segment has exploded with high-protein offerings as companies have found ways to infuse protein into an array of everyday foods and snacks. In every corner of the protein powder market, new technologies are supporting innovation.

The size and future of the protein supplement market varies depending on which market expert you ask, but Allied Market Research and Marqual IT Solutions Pvt. Ltd (KBV Research) both predicted around 7.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five or six years and a resultant market of US$8.7 billion. Zion Market Research calculated the CAGR at 5.7% and a size of $3.6 billion heading into 2024. Either way, the segment is expected to enjoy solid growth worldwide.

On the animal side, whey protein is set to grow 7.6% to $12.5 billion by 2024, according to Statista. On the plant side, the global pea protein market was about $101.7 million (all uses) in 2018 and should grow at a 17.4% CAGR through 2025, reported Grand View Research. Persistence Market Research reported organic pea protein should grow at an even more robust 7.2% CAGR through 2027.

Read The Full Article HERE

Flavor and function considerations when pumping up protein volume

Consumers increasingly are hitting the road to wellness and seeking out products high in protein to fuel their bodies before, during and after workout. Fortunately, today’s array of protein-rich sports nutrition products is in sharp contrast to yesteryear’s ready-to-mix (RTM), ready-to-drink (RTD) powders and energy bars that often fell short on flavor and taste.

Brands looking to enter the mainstream sports nutrition space must remember taste is always No. 1 in consumers’ minds, which means food developers must balance the beneficial effects of increasing protein content with the final product’s texture, appearance, taste and stability.

Plant proteins are available in isolates—including powders used for fortification—fractionated concentrates, and whole-food ingredients that are naturally high in protein and lend texture, color and flavor to foods and beverages. In addition to vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients and dietary fiber are other inherent benefits naturally packaged into wholefood sources of plant proteins. Furthermore, plant proteins meet several dietary needs.

“Consumer choices are driven by their quest to increase the repertoire of plant-based foods and protein in their diet as they directly link consumption to a healthier lifestyle,” said Melissa Sheridan, strategic marketing director, functional ingredients and additives, Kerry. “It is also linked to many consumers reducing their meat consumption, adopting a ‘flexitarian approach’ and an interest in a more sustainable food production system.”

While dairy proteins such as whey and casein traditionally have been the go-to proteins for building muscle, plant proteins are taking center stage as consumers look for ways to reduce their intake of animal-derived foods. However, the rapid advancement of plant-based proteins has created two key issues facing developers: mouthfeel and lingering off-flavors.

Consider pea protein, which can impart an earthy, grassy or beany aftertaste and gritty texture. Product developers typically will add other ingredients such as prebiotic fibers to change the texture of the protein and make it more palatable, noted longtime sports nutrition formulator Bruce Kneller, currently a partner with HiQ Financial Holdings Inc.

Read The Full Article HERE

The next generation of disruption in dairy alternatives

The large, complex U.S. dairy market faces several forces that are influencing growth and challenging the status quo. One trend impacting the industry across cheese, milk and yogurt, among other categories, is the competition from plant-based alternatives.

Once a nascent, niche trend driven by a narrow subset of consumers, plant-based formulations are now surging in popularity with more products entering the mainstream market. Growing concerns about the environment, animal welfare and personal health are attracting consumers to plant-based products, poaching sales from traditional dairy sectors in the process.

The rise and disruption of plant-based dairy alternatives has been steadily building for many years. Most notable is the category’s recent evolution from a rapidly growing upstart sector to one with widespread availability and mainstream appeal. In a way, this signals the onset of a second generation of plant-based alternatives, beyond merely acquainting Americans with the idea of consuming plant-based products and focused on expanding the sector to new frontiers and diversifying its offerings.

In the minds of many, dairy alternatives remain associated with traditional cow’s milk. For generations, cow’s milk has been as much of a staple commodity for U.S. consumers as any food item can be. Understandably, soy-based milk alternatives were the face of this sector for many years. More recently, the most sector expansion has been a result of developing other popular milk alternatives from ingredients such as almonds and cashews. In fact, sales of milk alternatives other than soy-based varieties skyrocketed in the U.S. from less than US$100 million in 2008 to just under US$2 billion in 2018, according to Euromonitor International.

Competition has increased significantly as more players enter the market, and, much like other fast-growing industries, concerns have grown over the potential of an impending stagnation as a ceiling is approached. Considering these concerns, manufacturers of dairy alternatives have sought new growth frontiers, a pursuit that has influenced the evolution of new formats that are quickly gaining popularity. Free-from-dairy ice cream and yogurt products have rapidly proliferated. According to Euromonitor International, both categories achieved double-digit retail sales growth in each of the last five years behind strong consumer enthusiasm for products, surpassing taste expectations and carving out notable portions of the market as a result. Though much smaller sales, free-from-dairy cheese products and even coffee creamers have also seen promising recent developments, demonstrating the potential for plant-based products to thrive well beyond serving as a contrast to milks and instead functioning as a class of viable alternatives to dairy more broadly.

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Digestive health market flourishing

Digestive health used to be a taboo topic, but the times they are a-changin’. NMI’s 2019 Supplements/OTC/Rx Consumer Insights & Trends report revealed 46% of consumers managing digestive problems are using supplements to do so, reflecting 52% growth from 2011 to 2018. In fact, the market research firm named digestive health among 2019’s top trends.

Probiotics deserve kudos for the years it took to educate and penetrate the market. They paved the way for simple conversations around yogurt and fermented food and beverages contributing to “regularity,” to more sophisticated messaging on the key role of the microbiome in overall well-being. Probiotics also opened the door for a range of ingredients, including prebiotics/fiber, postbiotics and digestive enzymes—some of which are just starting to gain momentum.

Although the market is ready for new offerings, brands must be thoughtful in their approach. “With digestive health gaining more popularity by consumers, many me-too products on the market are popping up, where formulations are simply copied and do not offer either a true unique point of differentiation, or nutrients in levels that have been supported in science to actually have a true benefit to the user,” noted Kara Landau, founder at Uplift Food. The nutrition advisor to the Global Prebiotic Association added, “I always recommend brands think about how their products can be developed with a unique spin to ensure they have a strong message that speaks to consumers, as well as one that incorporates ingredients in levels that can really bring about a positive effect on either digestive or gut health.”

To her point, a 2017 review pointed out only 5% of adults consume the recommended level of dietary fiber—and that although fiber supplements appear to provide a concentrated, convenient source of fiber, most do not provide the health benefits associated with it (J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 29[4]:216-223). The review authors noted, “Not all fibers provide a laxative effect or regularity benefit, and some can even be constipating.”

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Finished product innovation give sports nutrition consumers more options

Finished product innovation give sports nutrition consumers more options

The global sports nutrition market is, in a word, massive. And it’s only going to continue to grow.

Different research firms will give you different dollar figures, but the consensus is the market is huge and only getting bigger. Grand View Research predicted the global sports nutrition market will reach US$24.43 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.7 percent. Market Research Future is even more bullish, predicting the global market to reach $39 billion by 2020; Zion Market Research predictions go even further, estimating the market will reach $45.27 billion by 2022.

Not long ago, this market consisted mainly of two things: electrolyte-filled sports drinks and ready-to-mix protein powders. And while these products still make up the largest parts of the sports nutrition market—Euromonitor International expects those two subgroups to account for more than $7 billion each in 2020—they are hardly alone in today’s sports nutrition market. Supplements, bars, sweet and savory snacks, spreads, baking mixes and more now inundate the sports nutrition market as consumers seek new and innovative ways to obtain the benefits they seek.

With an ever-growing consumer base, the key for brands who wish to take advantage is to be sure they have a product for everyone.

Brands like Kodiak, IDF, Natural Force and others all understand this changing landscape. As the sports nutrition market continues to expand from athletes and body builders to the population at large, supplementation should continue to take new forms.

As Grand View researchers put it, “[A] growing consumer base…[and] widening base of health-conscious population are anticipated to foster the growth of the market over the coming years.”

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Personalized nutrition for the supplement industry

Personalized nutrition for the supplement industry

Personalized nutrition is the future. Currently, the model for pharmaceutical companies is treatment that will work for most patients, while modern wellness is moving toward a model that determines if a treatment works for an individual patient. Personalized nutrition equips consumers with the knowledge and power to make choices about desired actions as it relates to customized individual health and wellness; the making of “the citizen doctor.”

Major disruptors exist in every industry. Firms such as Uber, Spotify and AirBnB have turned age-old industries on their heads. We should expect the same in the health space. However, the health industry faces unique challenges. For one, the market is highly regulated, making it slow to change. Second, the lack of shared data hinders growth. Third, quality assurance (QA) is key. These roadblocks to progress are set to ensure the highest level of care and privacy for consumers.

This empowerment to the patient is now occurring because consumers can analyze their DNA at a reasonable cost, which was unheard of a few years ago. The tools of personalized nutrition can be evaluated in five major areas that can be innovated using data:

  • Gene sequencing
  • Brain mapping
  • Vitals tracking
  • Big data
  • Genetic customization

These tools rely on the advancement of technology and the complexity of computers to lead the charge. On the surface, taking this approach to developing new ingredients is costly and time consuming. However, it quickly becomes clear that personalized nutrition is not only better for consumers, but is also great for nutrition brands’ returns on investments (ROIs). Personalized nutrition allows patients to be treated to their own specifications, rather than in a generalized way, which may not be effective. Imagine being able to use exactly the right amount of a nutrient, and thereby reducing the amount of waste and ensuring efficacy.

An example is with curcuminoid as a personalized supplement. First, one’s personal situation is analyzed. Then, genome sequencing adds additional information. DNA-based variations in the genes or enzymes impact different consumers in a variety of ways. Knowing ahead of time if a patient will have an adverse reaction to treatment allows doctors and consumers to make a better-informed decision on the optimal dose or treatment. The curcuminoid is analyzed using rapid separation liquid chromatography (RSLC) technology, and other fingerprinting technology. This step is key. Rather than assuming each each plant is perfectly uniform, it assumes imperfections are in the system. This testing allows for quality control (QC) at the end product, not at the origin. The end game is efficient and cost-efficacy. Both the consumer and the supplier will see the upside of this.

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