[Editor's Note: Welcome back to our "Inside Look" series, in which we assess the present and future of the supplement industry by talking with CEOs, founders, and senior executives from some of the most respected and innovative companies in the sports nutrition field. GAT has been around for over fifteen years, but has made great strides recently, both in expanding its product line and greatly enhancing its visibility in the industry and among athletes. Team GAT athletes include IFBB Pros "Big Ramy" Mamdouh Elssbiay, Kevin Jordan and Dennis James, as well as Robert Oberst, a swiftly rising superstar on the Strongman circuit, who we'll be talking to in-depth very soon here at ProSource. In this installment, however, we're talking to Charles Moser, CEO of GAT. As always, his opinions are his own.]
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Charles Moser, CEO, GAT: Simply stated, our philosophy is that we want to make sports nutrition more enjoyable for the serious, "extreme," workout enthusiast. From a manufacturing standpoint, this means making products that taste good and provide satisfying benefits. From a marketing standpoint, it means creating advertising that is entertaining and truthful.
Our philosophy is fueled by experience and passion. The GAT corporate team includes veterans of the sports nutrition industry who live and breathe what they do.
ProSource: Tell us a little about how your company got started.
Charles Moser: GAT was founded in 1997. The first "breakthrough" product was Jetfuel, an encapsulated diet and energy formula. Sales took off, which allowed the brand to grow by introducing more products.
ProSource: What key feature of your product line distinguishes it from those of your competitors?
Charles Moser: GAT is most distinguished by the uniqueness of its formulas and the attention to detail that goes into making each one.
Everyone probably says this, but we really do scrutinize our formulas with a fine-toothed comb. During the R&D process, several formulas are typically designed, sometimes many, before settling on one. The identity and quantity of each ingredient is chosen for a specific reason.
If the addition of an ingredient won't make the product perform better, then it has no reason for being in the formula. It may make the label look more "attractive," but if it doesn't add real value to consumers' lives, then it's just marketing "smoke and mirrors," as they say.
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Charles Moser: Our clinically tested pre-training formula, NITRAFLEX, is probably the product we are most known for. The product launch was highly successful in the sense that consumers loved the way NITRAFLEX made them feel. Largely for this reason, sales continue to grow to this day. NITRAFLEX has definitely been a success story for GAT and has produced many satisfied users.
ProSource: How important are the trade shows and expos to the growth of your company?
Charles Moser: At the end of the day, products are king. You can go to all the trade shows the world has to offer, but if your products don't satisfy consumers, you won't last long.
That being said, if you have solid products, then trade shows can help to build relationships with the trade and consumers. You just have to be strategic about which shows you go to and how you spend your money at each. Trade shows can be expensive. We have to be careful to save our money for making better products!
ProSource: What does your company do to ensure ethical standards?
Charles Moser: In the sports nutrition industry, there is no "official" set of ethical standards. Regardless, we always try to follow our moral compass and do the proper thing.
ProSource: Let's say a customer is just starting a fitness regimen, can only afford one product, and he/she comes to you. Which one supplement do you recommend? Why?
Charles Moser: A protein supplement like Supertein. Use it to prepare a protein shake and drink it soon after exercise. At the same time, you may want to consume a small amount of carbohydrate, such as 1-2 pieces of fruit, depending on what type of exercise you are doing.
Protein supplements like Supertein provide a convenient way to boost your intake of high-quality protein, which in turn supports the growth and recovery of muscle tissue. Plus, Supertein tastes delicious. So there's the extra satisfaction that comes from that element.
ProSource: What do you believe are the best and worst things about the supplement industry?
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The less regulation there is in an industry, you see, the more consumers must count on the industry players -- in this case, sports nutrition companies -- to do what's right. Not everyone lives up to that responsibility.
Indeed, there will always be companies that cut corners, such as by using ineffective doses of ingredients, making misleading advertising claims, and so forth. These practices seem all too common in the sports nutrition industry, so much so that when someone comes along who tries to do the right thing, they can be at a severe competitive disadvantage. This is a big problem, one that is currently holding the industry back.
ProSource: What do you think is the key to continued success in this industry?
Charles Moser: Honesty and sensibility.
Honesty is of course key to success in any business. If people can't trust you, they won't continue to buy what you're selling.
Someone once said that sports nutrition is all about "selling hope in a bottle." If the industry is to succeed long term, it needs to start selling "solutions in a bottle."
That brings us to sensibility. Sensibility means being able to observe and listen to people and figure out how to solve their problems. Most sports nutrition companies could stand to spend less time on clever marketing and more time on solving problems. They would make more money and make consumers happier. Everyone succeeds.
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Charles Moser: The entire sports nutrition sector is poised for great change and advancement, not necessarily in the next two or three years, but maybe in five or ten.
The "great change" will not have to do with ingredients, but rather how dietary supplement products are presented to consumers. In turn, this will impact the way consumers interact with them. If we said anymore than that, we'd be letting the cat out of the bag!
ProSource: Thanks, Charles, for sharing with our readers.