PILLAR Performance Nutrition was founded by former NSW Waratah, Damien Fitzpatrick following the conclusion of his professional rugby career, as he recognised the glaring gap in sports nutrition generally – and specifically professional sport – for purposefully formulated batch-tested micro nutrition. Damien worked closely with several Performance Dietitians, namely former triathlete, Pip Taylor to build out PILLAR’s opening range. PILLAR is Australia’s leading provider of sports micro nutrition, with a focus on high-potency; premium, bio-available ingredients and third-party testing. In just over 12 months since the brand’s launch, PILLAR is now used by more than 40 professional sporting teams and countless individual athletes across Australia. The PILLAR range has been quickly embraced by endurance athletes of all kinds, namely triathletes, distance runners and cyclists – all of whom have specific micronutrient requirements thanks to their significant physical output in training on a weekly basis. This connection between PILLAR and the endurance community has seen the brand become the Official Micronutrition Partner of IRONMAN Oceania.
The Path to Informed Sport Certification
PILLAR made the decision to seek out third-party testing well before the brand launched. A fully certified range of sports micronutrition was always the goal, stemming from Damien’s life experience as a professional athlete. His struggles to find fit-for-purpose, athlete-safe products became the nexus for PILLAR Performance, as he wanted other athletes to easily and safely access the benefits he felt from using micronutrition in a high-performance setting. Certification is an extremely important step in supporting the work PILLAR does with our professional athletes and teams. The confidence it gives them to access the entirety of our range is priceless, allowing them to utilise the products that are best suited to address their individual performance needs.
Navigating the Certification Process
The product certification process consists of four steps, facilitated by the experience of the Programme Management team at Informed Sport. Matt Townsend, Head of Marketing and Communications for PILLAR outlined the brand’s experience with the process, “The team at INFORMED were great to work with throughout the entire process. We outlined our vision to certify the whole range, and they were extremely supportive of that, even with the complexities that some of our products presented in testing. They took us through the entire process in great detail, keeping both ourselves and our manufacturing partners informed and up-to-date.”
Support through Challenges
With more than 22,000 supplement samples analysed each year in their laboratories, Informed Sport’s scientific expertise and experience is unparalleled. The laboratory team’s continued research and method development allow them to overcome challenges that complex botanicals and matrices can sometimes present when testing to low levels. “Micronutrition is not as straightforward as other products when it comes to batch testing, presenting a range of complexities, however, the team at Informed was committed to working with us to ensure the testing process was able to meet the needs of all parties for a positive outcome,” noted Townsend.
Global Reach of Informed Sport
With more than 1350 certified products available in 130 different countries, the global reach and recognition of the Informed Sport brand is a powerful tool for sports nutrition brands. The growing global recognition was a top reason PILLAR chose Informed Sport as their third-party testing and certification programme.
Utilising the Certification
While PILLAR is only very early post-certification, the feedback they’re received from achieving Informed Sport certification for their product line has been overwhelmingly positive and they expect to see the benefits become apparent as they move into more global markets. PILLAR feels that certification is an important element of building confidence and trust with consumers as a new brand. They are using the Informed Sport branding on their products, design collateral and when communicating with partners, distributors and retailers.
Advice for Brands Considering Informed Sport
For sports nutrition brands thinking of becoming certified PILLAR offered their advice, “The process itself was fantastic from our perspective. We’d recommend being prepared before beginning the process, and speaking with your manufacturing partners and anyone else heavily involved in the production process. The more you have in place at the beginning, the more efficient the process to certification can be!”