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Ultimate Nutrition Is BACK But NEVER Actually Left


By Scott Welch

Ultimate Nutrition is a legacy brand based in Hartford, Connecticut and owned by the Rubino family. The brand has been in the sports supplement game since 1979 and their products are distributed in over 144 countries. They manufacture most of their own products which allows them to produce a good product at a good price while controlling the quality that goes into every bottle. This vertical integration has made them a force to be reckoned with since 1979. But Ultimate has not just been a low-cost product line, they have innovated sports nutrition as one of the first companies to sell creatine monohydrate, ion-exchange whey, amino acid capsules, MCT oil, and complex carbohydrate powders. Ultimate Nutrition has many popular products in the industry including Prostar Whey, ISO MASS, Muscle Juice, Iso Sensation, Flavored BCAA 12000, Cheat Code, REM Zone, Power, Balance, Pre-Gold, Intra-Gold, Post-Gold, JackT, and Gold Burn

Ultimate Nutrition History Overseas 

Ultimate were some of the pioneers of the whole sports supplement industry overseas. When North American companies just started to get into selling supps to the international market, you had a handful of what we’d call the “originals” in the overseas supplement game such as: Weider Nutrition, Ultimate Nutrition, Strength Systems, Cybergenics, Universal Nutrition, Champion Nutrition, Twinlab, MegaPro, and UniPro. These legacy brands did the heavy lifting to get their products distributed in foreign markets which paid off financially but also really helped develop the overall interest in sport nutrition products abroad. As the regulations on supplements increased overseas, Ultimate and the other “originals” already had their trademarks in place, regulatory documents in place and knew the markets giving them a major head start over the new companies sniffing around overseas. Ultimate really paved the way for sports nutrition companies of today to enter these markets. How well distributed is Ultimate Nutrition products? We can confidently say that to this day you cannot go to any country in the world and not find Ultimate Nutrition products. 

Ultimate Nutrition Hits The Reset Button 

According to Rich White, CEO of Sportika Export, in the summer of 2019 Ultimate’s executives decided to hit the reset button on their current business model. They were doing well as a company overall, had started a rebrand, developed some innovative new products and had brought on some new staff. But something just wasn’t right. Ultimate Nutrition had a loyal following in Canada and overseas, but executives felt that the business needed a fresh change of direction. This took a huge amount of courage to accept as many companies would just keep selling products like they’d done for over 30 years. But they wanted to build a different business model that could crush competitors all while continuing to operate and never stopping. Since they already had their own manufacturing facility, had perfected the art of making their products for the last three decades, and their products were being used by consumers in 144 countries, all they had to do was to get them there! Of course, they also needed to ensure that distributors and retailers were getting great pricing and great service. Like any company in the supplement industry, they had to stay on top of any new regulatory changes which are constantly evolving. To really own the international market and pave the way for the future, Ultimate Nutrition needed to partner with the best in international distribution which is where Sportika Export comes in. 

Ultimate Nutrition Sportika Export Collaboration

Sportika Export is a company that’s been distributing supplements overseas since 1991. They’ve taken the biggest North American brands including names like MuscleTech and Oh Yeah! and put them on the map globally, but they’ve also transformed lesser known brands like Inner Armour, API, Spider Labz and Ignite into well-known brands in far off areas of the world where you wouldn’t even think of. One of the things that makes Sportika the best in international distribution is the fact that they already carry so many brands in their portfolio which allows the distributors they work with to have access to most of these brands. They may not have to fill an entire container of just one company’s products which allows them to test newer brands or to cherry pick the best sellers from some of the more established product. Sportika is also in tune with any changes happening in each market because their staff are communicating with every country almost daily which allows them to alert the brands they carry on any regulatory changes coming, currency fluctuations, and variance in costs and efficiencies in shipping based on their years of experience shipping millions of dollars worth of products to these countries. And because they work with most of the largest brands in the world, they can leverage these brands to assist all brands in their portfolio to penetrate each market seamlessly and maintain price control. But why would a company that’s been selling to 144 countries (without the need for an international distributor) just give these relationships and book of business over to another company? Doing so would be sacrificing a major strength of Ultimate Nutrition but this would allow them to setup a better business model which made the change worth the sacrifice. By partnering with a company that shares Ultimate Nutrition’s passion and appreciation for sports nutrition in these markets, Ultimate is now setup to become stronger than they’ve ever been as a company. So a deal was announced in June that will have Sportika Export sell the brand in several key markets with Ultimate Nutrition continuing with direct distribution in the other markets. They also hired new staff with a passion for the industry, got their manufacturing running stronger than ever and are now pumping out products to fill massive orders through Sportika. 

Rich White is the CEO of Sportika had this to say on the deal. “We think this will be a tremendous success overseas and so far, the sales have been way beyond expectations.”

Devastating Alliance

This is a genius move for both companies as this leverages each of their strengths. Sportika is the top international distributor with expertise in regulatory affairs, logistics and has been servicing the same countries that Ultimate has been selling to for years. They also have all the relationships needed on the ground level which are very important to a brand’s success, especially overseas. Part of the terms of the agreement give Rich White and his team complete control over all aspects of sales in these markets which makes sense since they’re already servicing countries with the other 52 brands they carry.

Another small convenience is that Ultimate Nutrition is located just 10 miles from the Sportika Office. When this news first dropped, we saw many haters on social media attacking Ultimate Nutrition and their executives but that’s usually a sign of misunderstanding, jealousy or fear. At Muscle Insider, we’ve always known that if contract manufacturers with their own brands were to partner with supplement distributors (and media sources like Muscle Insider) it would be the final knockout punch for many supplement companies. Two of these three pillars are now in place with the Ultimate Nutrition and Sportika deal which will have a huge impact on the industry as we know it.

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