Meilissa, Product Strategic Manager for Bioactives at Glanbia Nutritionals, discusses some key trends in sports nutrition

Meet the Experts - Meilissa Hosen

Product Strategic Manager Bioactives, Glanbia Nutritionals

Meilissa Hosen, Product Strategic Manager for Bioactives at Glanbia Nutritionals has seen the sports nutrition market evolve over the past few years. Here she talks about some key trends & the importance of innovation to meet consumer demands.

What are the growing trends in sports nutrition?

Sports nutrition is no longer confined to bodybuilders interested in performance nutrition. It has expanded to include more casual users too, interested in maintaining – and improving - health and wellness and leading active lifestyles. Figures for the global sports nutrition market reflect this increased uptake; it is expected to reach US $24.43 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR 9.7%.1 As a result of the changing demographic, the positioning of sports-related products has shifted to the mainstream.

Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen that energy and alertness remain a key trend in the sports nutrition category, as both active consumers and sports professionals seek ways to increase their mental, as well as physical energy. Innova Market Insights reports that claims for ‘energy’ and ‘alertness’ accounted for 31% of all global sports nutrition launches in H2 2018.2 Although interest remains high for traditional pre-workout blends typically used by fitness enthusiasts and serious athletes to boost performance, consumers are also recognising the benefits of combining ingredients for energy, such as creatine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), with nootropic ingredients (supplements and other substances that may improve cognitive function)
like caffeine, for energy and cognitive health. Again, this indicates that the sports nutrition category is expanding to include wellness and lifestyle benefits too, with interest in immunity, bone health and digestive health driving growth. This is a trend that is reflected in demand from our customers.

How is the way consumers consume high-protein changing?

I have found that high protein remains a key trend in sports nutrition. While dairy-based proteins, such as whey, continue to dominate the market, there is also growing interest in plant-based alternatives, in-line with rising demand for ‘natural’ and clean label ingredients. Plant-based proteins, such as pea and soy protein, are also gaining momentum for their perceived health and wellness benefits, as well as for ethical and sustainable reasons.

In terms of applications, consumers are increasingly looking for high-protein food and beverage products that fit into their busy and active lifestyles. Although protein powder is still a permanent fixture on sports enthusiasts’ shelves, my view is that more convenient products that can be enjoyed on-the-go, such as bars, breakfast cereals and healthy snacking bites, will continue to see sustained growth.

What are the challenges of formulating with creatine?

The market for creatine monohydrate is well- established and is now estimated to be worth US$100 million.3 Creatine is the body’s first choice of energy for anaerobic activity. Research studies have consistently indicated that creatine supplementation increases muscle creatine and phosphocreatine concentrations by approximately 15–40%, by increasing supply energy to muscles.4 This benefits the body through increasing cellular energy supplies, enhancing anaerobic exercise capacity, increasing training volume and providing greater gains in strength, power and muscle mass.

However, sports nutrition manufacturers are faced with numerous challenges when formulating with creatine. Creatine degrades very fast into creatinine in water. Creatinine is a metabolite which is biologically inactive form of creatine and provides no use to the body. Typically, creatine monohydrate also degrades in extreme processing temperatures and even recrystallizes, which makes it almost impossible to formulate in ready-to-drink applications. This low rate of solubility also makes it difficult to formulate ready-to-mix powders without encountering problems with sedimentation.

trends in sports nutrition creabev

How is innovation in creatine ingredients helping to meet the needs of consumers?

At Glanbia Nutritionals we have recently launched CreaBev™, which provides manufacturers with a more effective way of incorporating creatine into beverages. The innovative ingredient is more soluble and stable than standard creatine monohydrate, helping manufacturers overcome the challenges typically faced with ready-to-drink and ready-to-mix formulations.

Our studies have shown that CreaBev has both short- and long-term advantages over standard creatine monohydrate. Within the first 2 hours there is only 2% degradation in creatine for CreaBev, compared to 11% degradation in creatine within five minutes for standard creatine monohydrate, making it ideal for ready-to-mix beverage applications. CreaBev is also more shelf stable than standard creatine monohydrate in neutral pH beverages, with only 30% creatine degradation after 12 months, compared to 95% degradation within the first three months for standard creatine monohydrate. Plus, the research highlights how CreaBev contains 35.5% less creatine than the control (creatine monohydrate) but still shows similar plasma creatine levels – making it highly bioavailable.5

With improved dispersion, stability at high processing temperatures and improved short and long-term stability, consumers can enjoy beverages without powder sedimentation and less degradation of creatine. This stability makes CreaBev ideal for formulation in long shelf life ready-to-drink and ready-to-mix formulations, for consuming on-the-go as part of a healthy lifestyle.

How is innovation in creatine ingredients helping to meet the needs of consumers?

At Glanbia Nutritionals we have recently launched CreaBev™, which provides manufacturers with a more effective way of incorporating creatine into beverages. The innovative ingredient is more soluble and stable than standard creatine monohydrate,

How can CreaBev help manufacturers differentiate their products on the shelves?

Compared to standard sources of creatine, CreaBev exhibits low chemical degradation, no recrystallization and no sedimentation, which allows incorporation into both ready-to-mix and neutral pH ready-to-drink applications. From a consumer’s point of view, the improved functionality does not impact the taste or texture either, as the ingredient has a similar sensory profile to creatine monohydrate. We’ve had a great response from the market so far on this ingredient and look forward to introducing it to more customers!


1. ‘Sports nutrition market size, share, & trends analysis report by product (Drinks, Supplements, Foods) by distribution channel (e-commerce, brick & mortar), by region, and segment forecasts, 2018-2025’, Grand View Research, Inc, 2019.
2. Innova Market Insights, 2018.
3. SPINS Total US – Creatine Products - Convenience, MULO, Natural Channel, Specialty Gourmet Channel and Vitamin Shoppe, December 2017.
4. Jäger et al., Analysis of the efficacy, safety, and regulatory status of novel forms of creatine. Amino Acids (2011) 40:1369–1383
5. Glanbia study. Data on file.

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