The demand for food supplements on the side of professional athletes and bodybuilders is ever-increasing, and two big Hungarian companies are already on the market.
According to Index, the market is growing not only because there are more bodybuilders or professional athletes but because food supplement products are used even by those, for example, managers, mothers, or accountants, who think that it is important to ingest everything essential for their body and mind. Only a few know that the two big sharks in the industry,
Scitec and BioTech USA, are Hungarian companies.
The latter is a family enterprise while the former is a Hungarian-centred and Hungarian-led company that is owned by a South African group. Both are very successful abroad, even though they have to face incredible competition.
People think that food supplements go hand in hand with bodybuilding because it is true that professional bodybuilding boosted the start of the industry. Today,
it is a market worth 133 billion dollars,
according to an estimate of The New York Times.
Since growing muscles need a lot of protein, and people cannot eat 30 decagrams of chicken meat with rice after each training, food supplements became very important in the second half of the 20th century. The difficulty of their production is that their raw materials are mostly smelly and have an awful taste.
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Therefore, the task of the BioTechUSA factory in Szada and the Scitec factory in Dunakeszi is very simple: they have to produce something delicious and consumable for the body. Furthermore, since many think that food supplements are drugs, producers have to make sure never to add anything labelled as a prohibited performance-enhancing substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
BioTechUSA was originally an American company, but the Lévai family bought it
and finally opened their factory in Szada. Bálint Lévai, the CEO of the company, said that they preserved the name because it refers to the American roots of the company, and the USA is still the centre of bodybuilding.
Today, the company is present in 77 countries with 130 shops in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, France, Russia, and Poland. They have a factory and a logistics centre in Hungary, and, in 2018,
their annual revenue was 68 million EUR.
Scitec Nutrition was also founded in the United States in 1996, by a Hungarian bodybuilder. They opened their factory in Dunakeszi in 2009 and were bought by a group of investors in 2012. They professionalised the processes in Scitec and then sold it to a South African company, Ascendis Health.
Attila Seres, the managing director of the company, said that the Hungarian management ran the company, but they, of course, coordinated strategy with the owner. Scitec is currently in a contract with the Hungarian Olympic Committee and the Hungarian Football Federation. They are also
taking part in innovative research and advise the Olympic team of Hungary.
Their annual revenue was 67 million EUR in 2017-2018, and they are present in 90 countries. Furthermore, they started their webshop not long ago.
Trends are changing because more people buy food supplements and the number of those who would only like to live more healthily but are not professional bodybuilders and athletes is rising quickly. Therefore, quality is more important than ever because it is easy to lose a customer even with a bad taste or smell. For example, one of the most important new target groups of the industry is regular runners.