Fitness is not an Industry, it is a basic requirement of all living beings, as they say, “Survival of the fittest”. During the course of COVID-19 pandemic, all scientists/doctors also said that the “Fit will Survive”. Hence, I reinstate that fitness is no luxury, no option but a necessity for all.

Since the lockdown was announced in the last week of March 2020, we have been talking about the adverse effects on the economy. And a few segments are seen as the most affected, such as Aviation, Tourism, etc., whereas the fitness segment being ignored completely. Fitness is a combination of exercise & proper diet, in this gymnasium provide the platform for exercise and nutritional supplements provide that additional nourishment, both are essential requirements of our body. And due to depleting natural resources and fast-paced lifestyles, most of us remain malnutrition but do not realize it.

The gymnasiums are mostly rented/leased properties and they recruit special professionals, commonly known as trainers to help their customers achieve their individual fitness goals. The owners of gymnasiums are mostly those people, who were once gym customers themselves and got inspired to start their entrepreneurship. Almost all of them are first time entrepreneurs, and while running their households, they are also employing a million others. Now the situation is very bad, with all of the repercussions of lockdown for both the employers and employees. Most of the property owners are not showing mercy and claiming rents with no inflow/revenue being generated.

To understand the impact of this Pandemic over the Sport Nutrition Companies like ours, I would first like to explain the business model for in-depth understanding. Absolute Nutrition is amongst the TOP Sports Nutrition Brand of the country with PAN presence. We work on a traditional Business Model, which means, we supply to distributors who in turn supply to retailers and gymnasiums. We have a large sales team force to facilitate sales; also, a specific team that does sampling and provide education about our products in these gyms. Since the lockdown of gymnasiums, our top-line has had a steep fall with negligible sales, whereas we cannot refuse salaries to our employees both on Humanitarian grounds and also for our attachment with them. The Nutrition Industry currently is in total mayhem and I fear it would take many more months to resume normalcy. All the above-mentioned dealers and distributors employ millions.  And similar to gymnasiums, they also operate through rented/leased shops.

Having said that, everything has pros & cons, the one good thing about the future is that more people will join the fitness regime as they would understand the Golden rule of “Survival of The Fittest”. People are currently engaged in home-workouts which includes many of those who were not into this habit of exercise pre-COVID have started to follow this. As our Honorable Prime Minister has also said that going forward history would have two periods, first is Pre-COVID and second Post-COVID. Currently, we are in between the phase of the pandemic, but I would like to assure all my patrons that Post-COVID, the future will be better. It is actually worth the pain that we all are going through currently.

Point No. 1 more people will now become health conscious and hence, the fitness industry will grow at a much rapid pace.

Point No.2 is the most important. The declaration of ‘Atma Nirbhar’ by our Prime Minister is not just a statement, it is an invitation for all of us to raise our standards and thought process to become Global Brands, which means to manufacture the best in India. Doing this, we will not only be self-reliant but will also enable us to export our products and build a stronger nation.

Absolute Nutrition started branding itself as “India Ka Imported Brand” some 8-9 months ago. This slogan is very close to my heart, we just tend to overate a product if it is manufactured in a developed country like the US. My friends but I would like to highlight some facts here to substantiate that ethical companies like Absolute Nutrition exist in this country. The Whey Protein Concentrate has 80% Protein and Whey Protein Isolate has 90 % Protein, unfortunately, we cannot generate this much with our dairy. Hence, we are dependent on countries like the United States. We at Absolute and many other brand partners are importing the same Whey Protein Concentrate/Isolate, which most of the imported brands are doing. We have a complete automatic plant with minimal human interference as is the case with the majority of Imported brands, but we differ in pricing and value for money. Suppose, if Rs.1000 can get you the same thing, why to invest Rs.2000 just for a stamp and maybe better packaging.

Now and forever, we all have understood that prevention is better than cure. In this phase of the Pandemic, prevention means two things: first is social distance and second of strong immunity. Social distance is very critical but may last for just a few months. Once the world invents the vaccine for this virus, we would not majorly require social distancing but in the long-run, the most critical thing is our immunity, who knows how many more viruses, plagues may happen in our life cycle and for our generations. So, the best way to fight is having more power than the enemy, power here means our internal Immunity.

We at Absolute, are already foreseeing that currently India represents just 2% of the global nutraceutical market and is way behind in terms of per capita expenditure on nutraceuticals (just $2.5 compared to the global average of $21). We have a dedicated Research and Development Team, who is working extensively for the last 3 months to research and develop Globally Best Immunity improving formulations. We have been mainly labeled as a Sports Nutrition Brand till now, but going forward we would be a household brand, our products would be beneficial for a kid aging 10 years and a Senior aging 70, we are working very hard with our Global Partners to offer Internationally best formulations under our brand. We are already at advanced stages and should be able to launch our new range by mid-July.

We at Absolute are moderate, we believe in the culture of modernism but yet traditional. Today India has fared much better than some developed countries when we talk of COVID penetration per million people, deaths per hundred, etc. I strongly believe, this is something supernatural, maybe our genes, immunity, or our culture. Hence, we believe in total transparency, we do not offer fancy MRP’s and fancy discounts, which most of the other brands do. We believe in offering the best product at a very affordable price with some amount of profits for us to retain our growth. We have been advised by many of our channel partners to change/improve our packaging.  They say that as per the results our products are even better than imported ones, but we should look more attractive. Although principally we don’t want that, but again doing that is not going to cost much. So, we have decided that post lockdown, we would be seen in a new “Avtaar”. All our products will have an all-new packaging. Beyond this, as already briefed we are launching 10-12 General Wellness Products.

Through this article, I would also like to engage the attention of our central government and would request them that Gyms be allowed to operate immediately with Standard Operating Procedures as they carry much less risk than trains, flights, or for that matter saloons. How I wish that our Honorable Prime Minister reads this and rethinks to evaluate risk from gyms and I would also like to remind his good self the promise of the “Fit India Movement” started by him.

Last but not the least, my friend I would like to thank you for your patience and time spent reading my mind and heart; I promise that I and my whole team would always put in our best to deliver only the best to you.

Abhinav Mallik
Author

A Journalist who has been working for B2B segment for almost half a decade. He has developed a knack of writing deliberate reports on indigenous market leaders across different sectors like health, fitness and sports goods manufacturing. He developed a discrete interest in covering business reports including business events, expos, and trade fairs.

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