Better late than never, it’s time to publish our 2021 Supplement Awards. Mike and Ben sat down to review 2021 at large, and then doled out a smaller batch of awards — all brand-based — compared to what we did for 2020’s year-end awards.
In general, 2021 was a continuation of 2020, but with some added wrinkles due to the ongoing supply chain issues. The brands that came ready to deal in 2020 were the same ones that kept momentum in 2021.
In addition, given the supply chain situation, this was not a great time to start a new brand, and few new ones were started – but one is definitely on our radar as a brand to watch in 2022.
Finally, we have a new award that we’ll continue to award in the future: MVP of the year! This will go to a person who contributed incredible talents to the industry, beyond what any single brand or product accomplished.
This is posted as Episode #061 on the PricePlow Podcast. Video and audio versions are below, with the details after that:
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There are five awards:
Best Supplement Innovator of the 2021
This year’s innovation of the year goes to Glaxon, hands down. Going through our Glaxon News page, you can see the numerous product releases, but also consider the new ingredients they brought to market too:
- BioNMN (in NAD+ Synergy)
- GG-Gold (both in Glaxon Anomaly)
- NeoShield (in Protos Whey)
- DracobelleNu (both in Wonder Collagen)
- Pep2dia (in Xerion)
- MyoSeq and MyoSeq Vegan (in Xeno Amino and Protos Vegan)
- Sichuan Peppercorn (in Slyce)
These products are all innovative due to these ingredients and beyond. We discuss specifics behind Wonder Collagen, Protos Whey, Goon Mode, Neuro 365 and more. Note that the above list is not all-inclusive – there are even more new ingredients in those formulas!
Looking forward, Glaxon is partnering heavily with GNC, who’s making major moves to push innovation forward. Since seeing Beyond Raw, we’ve become quite bullish on GNC, and are bullish on this partnership as well. More coverage to come on that in 2022 – but for 2021, the innovator is hands down Glaxon.
Further details can be learned in Podcast Episode #057: with Glaxon’s CEO Michael Bischoff and chief science officer / formulator Joey Savage.
2021 MVP of the Year
During Podcast #057 linked above, Mike joked that his “brand of the year” was actually a person — a man whose products were all over Mike’s supplement stack, yet across several brands. Of course, a person can’t win brand of the year, but they can win MVP of the year.
That man’s name is Doug Miller, founder and CEO of Crush It Holdings, operating CORE Nutritionals, Merica Labz, and Merica Energy. Doug also co-owns Arms Race Nutrition alongside Julian Smith. Each and every one of these brands is doing huge things, with constant product launches that continually hit it out of the park.
In addition, Doug has opened a gym (Crush It Coliseum), owns the Nutrition Corners retail stores, runs the Boss Status podcast, and still finds a way to be a family man.
In 2021, some of the notable releases included:
- CORE Lifeline Series
- Merica Energy Restoration – The new cans are beautiful and flavors delicious
- Merica Labz Restoration – BOOM, Patriot’s Whey, and Super Sized were all phenomenal
- The new BOOM Pre Workout (Mike’s top “mainstream” pre)
- Arms Race Elevation (whey protein isolate) was absolutely delicious
Most forget that the incredible NAPALM Red White & Boom pre workout was launched in 2021 as well.
We also appreciated that Doug was the first in the industry to come onto the PricePlow Podcast in Episode #050 to openly and honestly explain why he had to raise protein prices, as the inflationary supply chain situation showed no end in near sight.
Other contenders were:
- Marc Lobliner, who’s taking some very strong and highly admirably stances with respect to his Outright Bar‘s retail positioning
- Fouad Abiad, who’s doing all the right things with HOSStile Supps and his Real Bodybuilding Podcast (he’s also quickly becoming “the voice of bodybuilding”)
- Dr. Domenic Iacovone, who will get mentioned in an award later on, as he’s building an empire down in Florida with his best friends.
But once again, Doug Miller of Crush It Holdings is the man of the year.
Breakout Supplement Brand of 2021
A perfect transition from our MVP of the year leads us to the brands run by one of our MVP contenders, Dr. Domenic Iacovone. His two brands, Revive MD and Raw Nutrition really started to impact the industry in a big breakout way.
The biggest news, which was announced in Episode #052 of the PricePlow Podcast, was Dom and his partner Matt Jansen were bringing in now-3-time Mr. Olympia Chris Bumstead as a partner in Raw Nutrition. They launched with two great supplements, one of which is the phenomenal Thavage Pre Workout.
Besides the incredibly comprehensive health formulas that Revive MD has put together — many of which are being copied by other sports nutrition brands — the crew is making huge moves. They’re truly building a new mecca down in Florida, and it’s honestly one that’s going to rival those of past generations. Dom’s Instagram profile says it all: “Building an EMPIRE with my best friends ✌🏼”.
Every time we cover a Dr. Dom supplement — whether it’s Revive MD Lipid or Revive MD GI+ — we learn something new. These guys are even making Fiber fun to talk about! They’re bringing health to the bodybuilding masses, and we think they’re going to go well beyond that demographic.
But the most major news is that Chris Bumstead is part of the team, the new mecca is in Florida, and everyone needs to look out.
2021 Supplement Brand of the Year
For the third year in a row, Ghost Lifestyle has brought the house, and they once again deserve PricePlow’s Brand of the Year award for 2021. Checking our Ghost supplement news page, they started the year with a bang – the V2 series, which brought new versions of flagship supplements in Ghost Legend, Ghost Size, and Ghost Pump. The nearly-perfect Ghost Burn was tweaked to include NNB Nutrition’s CaloriBurn, increasing its status as an efficacious, well-tested fat burner.
Anytime a brand this large reformulates or updates their flagships, it entails a good amount of risk, and Ghost came through with flying colors. But with partnerships like what they have with Nutrition21 in Nitrosigine in Ghost Legend and nooLVL in Ghost Gamer, the brand has kept the inside of the tubs as impactful as the outside.
They then moved into collab season, and hilariously, Ghost did so many things that their own highlight reel missed some of their Christian Guzman V4 series! We discuss how great Maxx Chewning’s Legend pre workout is, driving home the point that nobody is leveraging athletes quite like Ghost.
Towards the end of the year came the Space Jam collaboration, with new formulas in Monstars vs. Tune Squad that are both excellent. Getting back to protein, we saw the Ghost Protein RTD, as well as some fun flavors like Coconut Ice Cream Whey and Gingerbread Vegan.
The most major collaboration of all, however, was Ghost Whey OREO — something that Nabisco said would never happen… and by 2021… it happened.
Meanwhile, we discuss the rapid expansion of Ghost Energy, which is crushing it in Texas through their HEB partnership. They ended the year with Orange Cream, which lives up to the hype for those who want that creamy aftertaste effect, only with no calories in this can.
All throughout, they’ve continued to showcase behind the scenes footage in their Building the Brand YouTube Series, staying true to how they’ve begun.
The point is this: Ghost may look friendly, but they are relentless.
As a footnote, we have to add that the second-place contender was Glaxon, who definitely brought some heat late in the year with all of those releases discussed in our Innovator of the Year section.
Supplement Brand to Watch for 2022
As mentioned in the intro, it’s incredibly tough for new brands to launch this year, but one new brand in particular is making a lot of noise early on, and that’s STORM Lifestyle. We’ve been incredibly impressed with STORM Pre Workout and STORM Focus, and since filming the podcast, have covered the excellent STORM Burn.
On top of brands we always watch (Ghost, Glaxon, Revive/Raw, Crush It brands), there are several beyond STORM that we’re very excited for:
- Kaged Muscle, with their next evolution of Kaged Muscle, fronted by the insane Pre-Kaged Elite and some great new natural products coming
- RYSE Supps, whose powerhouse team now includes TJ Humphreys and Greg Helton as VPs and have a new RYSE Energy Drink coming and additional collabs
- Primeval Labs just launched several updated Ape Sh*t series supplements, we’re excited for what comes next now
- Alpha Prime Supps, which was our brand to watch for 2021 is this year really putting the hammer down
- Chemix, Black Magic Supply, and Myoblox all have great things coming out of Georgia – stay tuned to what Anthony Presciano and his crew pump out in coming years.
- Performax Labs, who’s already launched a ton of rebranded formulas and has at least two wildly interesting supplements coming that we can’t wait to disclose
- Beast Sports Nutrition, who has the new Beast Mode X coming
- Universal Nutrition / Animal – Ben will be alpha testing some new products, the dream job for a New Jersey based guy!
- Myprotein always has great functional foods and we’d love to see more of Eddie Hall
So many great brands to watch, but in terms of rookie brands, Mike’s got his eye on STORM. 2022 should be an excellent year!
Notice The GNC Factor
Something interesting to note here — while recapping these awards, we repeatedly noticed a point of singularity: GNC’s fingerprint is all over these awards.
Team Live Well has key partnerships with all of the top brands listed here — especially Ghost, Glaxon, and Doug Miller’s Arms Race Nutrition. This is on top of their own brands like Beyond Raw, which are bringing an unheralded amount of innovation to the table as well. Even Revive MD and Raw Nutrition are at many of the independent franchises.
In terms of companies to watch for in 2022, keep an eye on the retail powerhouse. They’re in all of the right places and are doing more than most realize. This is clearly a forward-looking company, and we firmly believe that GNC deserves a second and third look from consumers and brand operators alike.
We’re excited to see how 2022 goes – so far, things are looking bright for the industry and PricePlow will be there to cover the science and the industry news.
Show notes for this episode are at https://blog.priceplow.com/podcast/2021-supplement-awards
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