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Olympics in Japan: Sports Nutrition Trends in Summer Olympics Host Country

The long-awaited Summer Olympics is finally here, and Japan is ready. With the country busy promoting sports and fitness in advance of the games, Japanese consumers’ growing interest in exercise and nutrition is setting the stage for big growth ahead for the country’s sports nutrition market.

Summer Olympics Expected to Drive Growth in Japan’s Sports Nutrition Market

Japan is already one of the largest sports nutrition markets in the Asia Pacific region. Now, with the country gearing up to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, many expect to see a significant boost in the sales of sports nutrition products as the public becomes increasingly engaged and inspired by the Games. In a market where athlete endorsements help drive product purchases, hearing Olympians share their tips on diets and workouts may lead to many trying these strategies for themselves.

In fact, the government has been laying the groundwork for a national culture of fitness since 2015. After winning the bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Japan Sports Agency was founded, with the goals of encouraging citizens to get involved in sports and facilitating access to sports opportunities. The focus is on lifelong adoption of physical fitness to ensure a healthy society.

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Understanding Japan's Sports Nutrition Consumer

Exercise Trends

Participation in sports and exercise is on the rise in Japan, reports Euromonitor, with a number of new fitness clubs recently popping up across the country as it hopes to emerge from the pandemic.1 The Japanese are becoming more health-conscious, with a shift toward a more holistic view of health that incorporates regular exercise. There is also a growing awareness of the importance of work-life balance, including an emerging trend of companies in Japan reducing their overtime.

In exploring the exercise habits of Japanese sports nutrition consumers, FMCG Gurus’ research reveals the most popular forms of exercise are swimming (78%) and outdoor running (76%) ,followed by walking (60%), using running machines at the gym (31%), and doing at-home exercises like sit-ups and push-ups (29%).2 About 1 in 4 exercise five to six days a week, while another 1 in 4 exercise daily.3

Consumption Trends

The most commonly purchased sports nutrition products in Japan are sports drinks (68%) and protein snack bars (59%).4 However, sports protein RTD beverages were the most dynamic sports nutrition product in 2020, growing by 9%.5 Protein awareness is high in Japan, making format variety important for protein products. For example, at least half of Japanese sports nutrition consumers are buying high protein cookies (56%), high protein yogurts (54%), protein powders (50%), and protein RTD beverages (50%).6

man doing yoga

When choosing sports nutrition products, health claims are top of mind, with 67% of sports nutrition consumers indicating health claims are important or very important.7 Organic claims (61%) and type of protein (61%) also stand out as important, as well as athlete endorsements (57%).8 While whey protein appeals to the most consumers at 73%, Japan’s sports nutrition consumers are also receptive to a wide variety of plant proteins.9 More than half indicate canola, potato, hemp, wheat, soy, and rice proteins appeal to them in sports nutrition products.10

Get in the Game

As Japanese consumers’ interest in sports and exercise continues to grow, companies with a strong understanding of consumer exercise habits and preferences in product formats, ingredients, and health claims can look forward to building lifelong relationships with these health-oriented consumers. Glanbia Nutritionals’ Solutions have all the ingredients you need to develop sports nutrition products that can win in the Japanese market.
To learn more about our offerings in sports performance, contact us.


1. Euromonitor, Sports Nutrition in Japan, November 2020.
2-4. FMCG Gurus, Sports Nutrition – Asia Pacific – 2020, March 2020. 
5. Euromonitor, Sports Nutrition in Japan, November 2020.
6-10. FMCG Gurus, Sports Nutrition – Asia Pacific – 2020, March 2020. 

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