Myprotein Success Story: From £500 to Global Nutrition Giant

Myprotein Success Story: From £500 to Global Nutrition Giant

Cathy Carpetta

Cathy Carpetta

February 29, 2024

What began with a single question - "What's actually in this protein powder?" - has snowballed into a multi-million dollar empire. 

Myprotein's story is one of curiosity, strategic expansion, and community building, transforming it into a global leader in sports nutrition.

Join us as we uncover the secrets behind Myprotein's meteoric rise and its mission to empower individuals worldwide to live healthier, more active lives.

1. Myprotein overview  

1.1 Oliver Cookson: The marketing mind behind Myprotein's founding

In 2003, Olivier Cookson's interest in weightlifting led him to question the origins of whey protein, sparking his entrepreneurial journey. 

“I was a keen gym goer and I used to buy protein powder from what was the leading sports nutrition company in the UK at the time. And about six months in I looked at the back and thought, ‘What actually is this?’”

After a quick Google search, Cookson realised the high costs and wasteful disposal of whey protein. It sparked the idea of selling affordable and accessible protein. 

Cookson founded the sports nutrition brand Myprotein in 2004 with just a £500 overdraft. 

Despite initial setbacks with securing funding, Cookson persevered, leveraging an extended overdraft to purchase bulk quantities of whey protein.

Oliver Cookson's promotional efforts began with a keen understanding of his target audience and where they gathered online. Myprotein's marketing journey began with a keen insight into the power of forums as a promotional channel. Cookson initiated a $10 'sticky post' advertisement experiment, which proved to yield positive returns.

This initial success paved the way for further promotional activities, including the development of Adwords campaigns and the exploration of other marketing channels.

1.2 Acquisition by The Hut Group

In 2011, Myprotein was acquired by The Hut Group (owner of Lookfantastic) for £60M. 

The brand continued its expansion and became one of the most famous brands globally for sports nutrition.

1.2 Acquisition by The Hut Group

In 2011, Myprotein was acquired by The Hut Group (owner of Lookfantastic). 

The brand continued its expansion and became one of the most famous brands globally for sports nutrition. In 2023, the worldwide sports nutrition market was worth $45.24 billion.

The online revenue of amounted to US$351.5m in 2022 according to eCommerceDB.

1.3 Sustainable initiatives 

Myprotein implements several initiatives aimed at sustainability. Here's an overview:

  • Myprotein aims to minimise waste by sending all its waste to either recycling facilities or for conversion into energy (RDF - Refuse Derived Fuel).
  • They strive to use recycled materials in their packaging and ensure the remaining packaging is recyclable.
  • Myprotein launched a clothing line called A/WEAR, made entirely from organic cotton, which uses less water and avoids harmful chemicals during production.
  • Most recently, they launched a program where over 150 tonnes of unused protein were reprocessed into fish food.

2. Myprotein rise to popularity: Leading brand in sports nutrition

2.1 Growth strategy and market expansion 

Myprotein's growth strategy centres on three pillars: expanding product offerings, enhancing e-commerce platforms, and extending international reach. 

Myprotein continuously diversifies its products, investing in research and athlete collaborations to develop scientifically proven supplements tailored to evolving customer needs.

Myprotein focuses on optimising its e-commerce platform to ensure user-friendly ordering, fast deliveries, and responsive customer support.

  • Free delivery over £45 and within 2-3 working days for the UK
  • Different payment methods including Klarna Buy Now Pay Later
  • Returns up to 30 days 
  • Attractive bundles 
  • Recommended products
  • Free gifts
  • Live chat

Free gifts of myprotein's website
You can get up to 5 free gifts per order!

Lastly, international expansion is pivotal, with Myprotein localising websites, partnering with distributors, and adapting products and marketing to resonate with diverse regional audiences.

It expanded to 56 international markets, achieving exceptional growth, notably in Japan with over 400% increase from 2017 to 2020. Key to its success in Japan was THG's data-driven approach, tailoring products to local preferences, including unique flavours.

Sakura strawberry milk limited edition protein powder only in Japan
Sakura strawberry milk limited edition protein powder only in Japan!

2.2 Strategic partnerships and sponsorships

Myprotein has grown through strategic acquisitions and partnerships, expanding its product range, strengthening its e-commerce platform, and boosting its global presence. Here are some notable collaborations:

  • MP Clothing: Acquired in 2013, Myprotein expanded into fitness apparel, broadening its offerings.
  • MP MAX: Acquired in 2014, enhancing its sports nutrition products in the UK.
  • The Catalans Dragons, a French rugby team: Official sports nutrition partner since 2018.
  • Williams Racing, British Formula One: Official nutrition partner since 2023.
  • HYROX: Myprotein is the official nutrition partner for HYROX, ‘the global sport of fitness racing’, for 2023-24 seasons.

2.3 Myprotein marketing strategy unveiled 

2.3.1 Leveraging social media through challenges and educational videos

Myprotein has become a leading brand in sports nutrition by effectively engaging with the sports community and influencers. 

Myprotein uses various social media channels to engage with its audience effectively. On YouTube, the brand offers educational videos aimed at enriching consumer knowledge, covering topics relevant to sports nutrition and fitness.

Myprotein YouTube channel with educational videos about nutritions

Additionally, Myprotein fosters community involvement through initiatives like the Move30 Challenge and MoveClub, encouraging individuals to adopt active lifestyles. 

Furthermore, the brand utilises TikTok and Instagram as a platform for creating engaging content that resonates with the fitness community. 

Myprotein curated a special TikTok made me buy it bundle with all their trending products!

2.3.2 Building brand loyalty through community with influencers, referrals, and ambassadors

Myprotein partners actively with athletes and fitness influencers who become brand ambassadors, such as Joe Wicks in the UK. He even created his own range with the brand! 

For example, in their most recent campaign for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They created a movie-style trailer for a cyber hunt during Black Friday. 

Influencers like Ashley Cain and Matt Morsia star as giants searching for discount codes in global cities like Paris or London. 

Myprotein also boosts brand loyalty through "MP Rewards" and referral programmes. Referrals earn £10 credit when friends spend £45, with £10 off and free delivery for them. Student discounts only also add to the appeal.

From a modest beginning, Myprotein has emerged as a major player in the global $45.24 billion (2023) sports nutrition industry.

Since being acquired by The Hut Group in 2011, the brand has expanded its reach worldwide, with notable growth seen in Japan. 

Their success is built on a foundation of offering a wide range of products, providing an excellent online shopping experience, and employing smart marketing strategies. By prioritising these aspects, Myprotein continues to inspire people to lead healthier lives on a global scale. 

What do you think could be the next big step for Myprotein as it continues its journey in the nutrition industry?

Frequently asked questions
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