Mainstream trends transforming the sports nutrition market

9 May 2018

Mainstream consumers have become more interested in sports nutrition, bringing better flavour and more diverse ingredients to the sports nutrition sector.

European consumers are living longer, many have become more interested in healthy lifestyles, and endurance sports like marathon running, cycling and triathlons have become increasingly common. The knock-on effect for the sports nutrition sector is a broader range of consumers, from amateur athletes looking to fuel their exercise or improve recovery, to more general consumers seeking a protein or energy boost.

Mainstream trends transforming the sports nutrition market

Sports nutrition companies increasingly are breaking the market down into demographics, with products that focus on healthy aging, sporty teens or active women, for example. Boundaries have also blurred between specific sports nutrition products and those intended for general, everyday consumption, such as protein-fortified pancakes, smoothies and cereals that have escaped the supplements aisle to be found alongside mainstream packaged foods.

Beyond whey- and soy-based protein powders, a growing number of more palatable options like bars, shakes and drinks are based on plant proteins like pea, hemp or flaxseed.

While 80% of the sports nutrition category is still focused on protein, according to Euromonitor International, other ingredients are also coming to the fore as the sector has moved to the mainstream. Probiotics are among the ingredients making their way into protein products, a trend that Mintel highlighted in its Global Food & Drinks Trends report in 2016. Probiotics company Ganeden, for example, has said that more than half of all probiotic products launched with their partners in 2017 were protein-based.

Hardcore gym-goers and athletes have always been more results-driven than general consumers, who tend to focus on taste and cost ahead of nutritional benefits, according to the International Food Information Council. Therefore, one of the biggest effects of sports nutrition entering the mainstream has been improved flavour.

Ingredients companies have collaborated to ensure functional sports products taste as good as possible, thereby extending their appeal. At Hi Europe 2016, for instance, Carbery showcased beverages and snacks made with its latest hydrolysed whey protein ingredient, which also featured bitterness masking technology from flavours company Synergy.

One thing is certain: long gone are the days when sports nutrition – and protein in particular – was targeted at bodybuilders alone. Trends in the sports nutrition sector increasingly reflect broader food trends, such as increased demand for natural, plant-based, clean label or organic products – while also delivering on promises to improve performance.

Related news

Gen Z consumers are thirsty for variety in beverages

Gen Z consumers are thirsty for variety in beverages

31 May 2022

As Gen Z consumers gain disposable income, they are looking to quench their thirst with beverage brands that are clean, sustainable and socially responsible, according to a report from the global consumer trend forecaster WGSN.

Read more 
Tea flavour innovation in China unites tradition with modernity

Tea flavour innovation in China unites tradition with modernity

13 Apr 2022

Chinese tea brands are innovating with new flavours, blends and formats, and even making a foray into food with tea-flavoured food and drink launches.

Read more 
Low- and no-alcohol beverages see significant growth globally

Low- and no-alcohol beverages see significant growth globally

11 Apr 2022

Alcohol-free and low-alcohol beverages are helping drive growth for many alcohol manufacturers that have been struggling to adapt to the changing tastes of the market in recent years.

Read more 
Baby formula brands innovate with clean label launches

Baby formula brands innovate with clean label launches

7 Apr 2022

Clean label baby food is receiving a significant amount of development, with two recent brands ByHeart and Bobbi launching formulations certified by the Clean Label Project with a Purity Award.

Read more 
Consumers seek ashwagandha-fueled relaxation in beverages

Consumers seek ashwagandha-fueled relaxation in beverages

28 Mar 2022

Ashwagandha has been used in India for centuries, and it is only in recent years that consumers in the US and now Europe are realising its health benefits, with manufacturers starting to add this adaptogen to beverage formulations.

Read more 
A new brew: Ayurvedic coffee in India, adaptogenic coffee from Finland

A new brew: Ayurvedic coffee in India, adaptogenic coffee from Finland

10 Mar 2022

Coffee is probably one of the world’s most popular functional beverages, providing millions with their daily caffeine hit. However, some brands are taking its functional benefits further by adding in botanicals, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Read more 
Coca-Cola is spreading itself outside beverages to expand its market

Coca-Cola is spreading itself outside beverages to expand its market

28 Feb 2022

With 130 years of experience behind the brand Coca-Cola, it would be easy to imagine that the brand would be comfortably reliant on one of its 15 billion-dollar brands that make up the portfolio of one of the largest beverage companies in the world.

Read more 
Microdrink startup Waterdrop expands in US, looks to move global

Microdrink startup Waterdrop expands in US, looks to move global

24 Feb 2022

Australian beverage startup Waterdrop has raised €60 million ($70 million) in a Series B funding round led by Singapore-based investment firm Temasek. The startup, which makes microdrinks — water-soluble, sugar-free cubes packed with plant-b...

Read more 
Synthesising volatile aroma compounds to make alcohol-free beer taste better

Synthesising volatile aroma compounds to make alcohol-free beer taste better

18 Feb 2022

A Danish startup is using synthetic biology to produce the volatile aroma compounds that are lost when brewers make low- and no-alcohol beer.

Read more 
Can sugar-reducing tech revive falling fruit juice sales?

Can sugar-reducing tech revive falling fruit juice sales?

12 Feb 2022

Better Juice’s naturally sugar-reduced fruit juice will hit US supermarket shelves in spring 2022 thanks to a partnership with GEA. Could this turn around the long-term decline in fruit juice sales?

Read more