Market Analysis Highlights Trends in Sports Nutrition Market

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Portrait of happy young fitness woman running with earphones

Netherlands—A new global report has highlighted three distinct trends in the performance nutrition market, according to a press release, which will help sports nutrition brand owners and formulators develop products that meet consumer demand. The report is a collaboration between market research company FMCG Gurus and functional ingredient innovator FrieslandCampina Ingredients.

The key trends:

Conveniently nutritious. One in four consumers surveyed feel that a healthy lifestyle is out of reach due to an on-the-go lifestyle. In compensation, they are looking to improve their snacking habits: 67% choose to consume protein snack bars and 51% have made an effort to substitute traditional snacks for high protein/low sugar alternatives. Drink shots, thanks to their convenience, are a growing area of interest.

Vicky Davies, Global Marketing Director, Performance and Active Nutrition, FrieslandCampina, commented in the release: “Timing is everything for athletes and serious gym-goers—the right nutrition needs to be carefully aligned to their workouts to reap the most benefits and provide the right boost at the right time. There is an opportunity to develop functional snacks that aid preparation before exercise, power during it, and recovery afterwards—and that fit into everyday life. As a leading provider of performance nutrition ingredients, we’re all about nutrition to get the most out of life—and these findings align perfectly with that.”

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Nutrition for me. Consumers are increasingly taking nutrition into their own hands, and are seeking information from several sources: 45% spoke to personal trainers and gym instructors regarding nutrition, and 53% went to friends and family.

Mike Hughes, Head of Research and Insight, FMCG Gurus, commented: “We have identified that active consumers are taking a much bigger role in shaping their nutritional habits to suit their unique health and wellness goals. They are more astute than ever, showing that there is growing demand for tailored better-for-you products that address wide-ranging physical and cognitive health benefits. Both of these are increasingly recognized as important in the performance nutrition sector.”

Women’s fitness. Women account for an increasing proportion of the performance nutrition market, but are lacking products tailored to them, the press release says. 63% have looked to improve their general health and wellness over the last two years, while 41% have attempted to improve their diet. Women are increasingly shifting priority away from weight management, as well: 37% are looking to improve strength, 32% are looking to increase lean muscle mass, and 41% are looking to boost cognitive health.

Davies explains: “Men no longer dominate the market for performance nutrition products, but formulations, brands, and positioning have not yet caught up with these changes. ‘Pinking and shrinking’ just doesn’t cut it anymore. Women are less interested in traditional health claims like ‘energy boosting,’ instead preferring more ‘natural’ products than male athletes. This is a huge, largely untapped market.”

Hughes concludes: “Performance nutrition is an expanding and fast-paced market, so it is important that manufacturers stay up to date with the latest trends and consumer preferences. Although there are clear themes across the globe, this research also highlights the unique differences between regions, genders and ages. For example, in Asia and China, our sample group was least satisfied with its muscle mass, whereas in the USA, strength was the biggest area of discontent. 41% of women have tried to lose weight in the past two years, but only 31% of men. Having detailed insight like this allows formulators to create more specialized performance nutrition offerings to meet local consumers’ needs.”

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