Nutrition Excellence Inc.

Distributing premium nutritional and athletic performance products throughout Canada
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Forrest Lancaster

With more than 21 years of experience in the sports nutrition distribution business, Jeffrey Steinberg’s occupation is also his passion. As founder and CEO of Nutrition Excellence Inc. (NEI) based in Burlington, Ontario, Steinberg has been pushing for quality supplements, superior service and product support within the niche market. Formed in 2000, NEI distributes a range of nutritional, health and athletic performance supplements including vitamins, shakes, bars, protein powders and more.

“I’ve been weight training since I was 18,” says Steinberg. “In 1994, after university, I started doing some personal training on the side and noticed the people I worked with also had an interest in nutrition products. I started buying products from a Canadian distributor and she asked if I wanted to help her at a trade show.”

Starting small

At the show, Steinberg’s knowledge of health and fitness and knack for sales gained noticed. “I started working for the distribution company on a part-time basis and eventually this grew to where I had four sales people below me. I worked for this company for six years building various brands.”

In 2000, Steinberg decided to take his experience and branch out on his own. “We started with one product line – ISS Research – which we still carry today,” he says. “At first NEI shared office space with another Canadian cosmetics company, running out of just two small cubicles.”

“Eventually we moved into our own space and outgrew that as well,” he says. “In 2005, we expanded to our first office- warehouse space, followed by a second move in 2008. NEI has been here in this current location for seven years.”

Coast to coast distribution

Today, the 100 percent Canadian-owned company has successfully entered nearly all retail channels from big box stores to drug and convenience stores, as well as smaller grocers and specialty health-food stores. “NEI now carries 13 brands,” says Steinberg. “We offer warehouse and distribution of premium brands to multiple categories and channels all across Canada.”

Premier partnerships

Nationwide distribution wouldn’t be possible without key business partnerships, such as NEI’s relationship with Routes Transportation, an integrated third-party logistics provider. Routes Transportation is a valued partner of NEI, providing innovative transportation solutions.

What started as a small request has grown into an integral business solution, enabling NEI to meet the needs of its customers. Routes Transportation takes great pride in building trusted and lasting relationships with customers. “We succeed when they succeed,” says Kenny Falardeau, operations manager of Routes Transportation International.

NEI currently employs 15 people out of its office and warehousing facility in Burlington. “As we grow, we continue to seek great salespeople with a passion for the products and the industry,” says Steinberg. “Their interest and personal consumption of nutritional supplements enables them to give quality advice on a wide variety of supplements distributed by NEI.”

Steinberg says NEI prides itself on the in-depth knowledge of its team and its preferred vendor status with many retail chains in Canada. “We are the distributor of choice for many because NEI is dedicated, experienced and accessible,” he says.

NEI is proud to partner with some of the biggest names in the health and fitness industry. “We’ve been working with Quest Nutrition for about five years and this partnership has contributed to tremendous growth,” says Steinberg. “Representing big-name brands such as Quest Nutrition has allowed for more market access and made our presence known.”

The company is also a premier distributor of Cygen Labs’ products. Cygen Labs offers a line of sports nutrition products to assist all levels of athletes, from amateurs to competitors, in meeting training goals through supplements. “Cygen is also a 100 percent Canadian-owned company,” says Steinberg. “With exchange rates making the Canadian dollar so weak, we have actually noticed Canadian-owned brands are getting more attention. Products made in Canada are known for having higher quality standards and Canadian consumers appreciate this.”

Steinberg says partnerships with other Canadian companies have helped boost business. “We’ve been building many of these relationships for 15 years with both the manufacturers and buyers,” he says. “We’re now actively trying to add brands that are a good addition to our current line up.”

New to the NEI lineup is the all-natural Cygen Labs’ BCAA and Nutriwhey protein, containing no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. NEI also stocks the OhYeah! line of protein bars, shakes and protein powders. The newest addition is the Victory Bar – packed with 21 grams of protein and 20 grams of fiber in a 200 calorie bar.

From the beginner athlete to serious trainer or those just looking to be more health-conscious, Nutrition Excellence Inc. has made a mission out of supplying the best premium brands known for top-notch quality to retailers throughout Canada.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Routes Transportation