The last time we caught up with Tim Lawson, formerly a founding father of Science in Sport, it looked as though he may be leaving the nutrition market behind. Having produced a variety of body care products for cyclists, Lawson’s Strip range was debuted at i-ride’s house show in August last year. But, as he is now ready to reveal to the trade, Strip is simply a line that will sit within the now launched Secret Training portfolio.
Lawson explained: “After we sold our old sports nutrition business I went back to University to keep myself busy. Nutrition and Sport Science has been a passion of mine for a long time and selling the business didn’t really change that, it just meant I could spend more time in the library.
“Last year, I had some ideas how we might be able to use sticky rice starch to make a better isotonic energy gel, so I decided to link up with my brother-in-law – who I’ve worked with before when we developed the first isotonic energy gel and a few other patents.
“Over the summer things started to progress quite quickly, and we managed to develop a new production process and plant.”
The original plan changed somewhat when Lawson was approached by a pro tour team.
“We are lucky in that, because we have made some great innovative products in the past, both athletes and suppliers want to work with us. We have had support from the technical departments of some huge companies, especially because rice starch has not been used in energy gels before, despite there being some really interesting research. Tinkoff-Saxo asked us if we could make an improved hydration drink, and this will be ready in February.”
Acutely aware of the trouble retailers can face selling nutrition goods, Secret Training will offer the independent bike dealer plenty, explains Lawson.
“What really is the focus for us is doing things a little differently than what is currently available. We are more interested in the consumer’s marginal gains and maximising their performance than we are squeezing out the maximum margin in a mass market – that side of the market seems well catered for and extensively discounted in any case.
“What we will offer is great products with an honest margin and at the same time try to support the bricks and mortar stores as much as possible.”
There’s plenty more in the pipeline too, Lawson added, with recovery and protein products currently being tested.
Secret Training products will be available directly to retailers, with sample gels and counter-top dispensers available with buy in packages.