Chari Hawkins

Hilo Nutrition has relaunched, unveiling a selection of products today on hilogummies.com and Amazon.

Introduced in 2019, the brand has been offering workout gummy supplements while partnering with athletes like track and field star Chari Hawkins, who’s heading to the Tokyo Olympics this summer, and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.

“The reason he was interested was [because] at the end of the third quarter for football games, he would take gummy bears,” said Hilo Nutrition cofounder and chief executive officer Andrew Sauer of Kelce, whom he met through a mutual friend. “That was a common behavior for him for quick energy. And he’s like, ‘I don’t really like just taking candy in the third quarter. Can you make something better?’ And so that was a part of the start. The founding of the business was that conversation with him.”

While inspired by athletes, Sauer said he created the brand to help enhance the workout experience for all. “If you can make something that works for a high-level athlete, odds are it’s going to work for someone who’s working out more casually.”

At the time of launch, “all the messaging [in the market] was around getting bigger muscles or getting stronger, and that’s not what everyone was looking for,” Sauer added. Offering gummies (“which didn’t exist in sports nutrition”) that target specific needs like energy has attracted a broader consumer, those who “hadn’t seen a supplement product that fit for them.”

As Sauer has grown Hilo Nutrition (alongside cofounder Eric Torgerson and business partner David Olsen, managing director of investment firm Highlander Partners), he’s developed a relationship with the brand’s customers via social channels like Instagram and Facebook. It’s allowed him to better understand their wants, he said, and as a result, the team has reformulated products to include more natural ingredients and use less sugar (three grams per serving).

Previously, “we were still kind of grounded in some of the science of our past, and we were using things that we had familiarity with,” said Sauer, who has a history of working in sports nutrition.

Andrew Sauer and Eric Torgerson

Andrew Sauer and Eric Torgerson  Courtesy

Their pre-workout “energize” product — which formerly used a higher dose of caffeine — now incorporates beetroot, maca, vitamin B12, rhodiola and lion’s mane mushroom.

“Our consumers were saying, ‘I like having my coffee. I don’t want extra caffeine. Help me get something that can last me longer, give me longer sustained energy,’” Sauer explained.

The natural ingredients “come together to give a consumer a better longevity for a workout versus this stimulant hit that, you know, we were using before,” he added. “That was a big shift for us, just sitting down listening to our consumer and understanding what they were dealing with, and then marrying the science with that to give them a better experience.”

The other two products are “repair” — which uses turmeric for inflammation, astaxanthin to “accelerate recovery” and vitamin D for bone health — and “sleep,” which has tart cherry for “recovery,” chamomile to “calm” and melatonin to help fall asleep. Produced in Indiana, priced at $24.99 each, the supplements are vegan and gluten-free.

“Building a community and helping that community reach their goals is something that I’m personally passionate about,” said Sauer.