Shifting Expectations for Sports Nutrition Brands
The pandemic has led to some big changes in how consumers eat and exercise. Sports nutrition manufacturers are now realizing there may be long-term implications to how consumers perceive and prioritize their health. While active and sports performance consumers still rely on the benefits they receive from sports nutrition products, many are looking for brands to fill even more of their needs.
Sports Nutrition Category Breakdown
Although there are many players in the $13.8 billion US sports nutrition category, nearly a third of the market is made up of just five brands, reports Euromonitor.1 These are Clif at 7.8%, Optimum Nutrition at 7.5%, BSN at 5.1%, and Cellucor and Muscle Milk, each at 4.5%.
Protein remains the top in-demand nutrient for sports nutrition products and is prominently featured in ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, beverage powders, and bars for sports nutrition. Euromonitor breaks down the category sales into:
- Sports protein powders (53%)
- Protein and energy bars (30%)
- Sports non-protein products (9%)
- Sports protein RTD beverages (8%)
Active and Sports Performance Consumer Needs
Besides consumers’ desires for ingredients and product formats that can support their workouts, a new proactive and holistic focus on health is expected to drive sports nutrition trends going forward, notes FMCG Gurus.2 One way this is playing out is the increased attention sports nutrition consumers are paying to functional ingredients.
Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about ingredients that can offer a health boost beyond basic nutrition. When it comes to choosing a sports nutrition product, one with added adaptogens like ashwagandha (associated with stress relief) or immunity-related ingredients like elderberry will stand out as providing more value. Brands that include functional ingredients will be seen as supporting consumers’ overall health and wellness goals, rather than just their fitness goals.