Shifting Market Dynamics in Sports Nutrition
Once just for elite athletes and bodybuilders, sports nutrition products are now sought by people dedicated to pursuing healthier lifestyles from all walks of life. The mainstream consumer has become an important driver in the industry, expanding sports nutrition to include nutrition for an active lifestyle. Sports nutrition brands are changing how they approach product development and marketing as they shift their focus to appeal to this growing consumer segment.
While serious athletes still make up the core of the sports nutrition market, they account for a small proportion of today’s sales. “Active lifestyle consumers” are now a significant segment driving revenue growth for sports beverages, foods, and supplements. As consumers reemerge after the pandemic lockdown and focus on getting back in shape, many will turn to the convenience of sports nutrition products (especially protein products for satiety and exercise support), boosting the category further.
Download our Protein Guide to learn about global trends in protein.
3 Key Sports Nutrition Trends
The significant growth opportunity in catering to active lifestyle consumers means more sports nutrition brands are trying new approaches to make more accessible products. This ranges from targeted messaging to tailored eating habits to sports nutrition products that taste better.
Here’s a look at three key sports nutrition trends that can help marketers refine their strategy:
1. Mainstream consumers want personalization.
Personalized nutrition is a growing trend that resonates with consumers who understand nutritional needs are not one-size-fits-all. Health and technology companies now offer consumers food and supplement guidance based on assessments, biomarkers, genetics, and microbiomes, with a growing number of companies entering the space. Sports nutrition products are well-positioned to incorporate elements of personalization to offer active lifestyle consumers more customized nutrition solutions.
2. Mainstream consumers look for convenience and alternative delivery methods.
The popularity of e-commerce during the pandemic has changed consumer expectations of convenience. In 2020, nearly half (46.4%) of sports nutrition supplement sales came from e-commerce channels, which grew 31.4%.1 Consumers are also seeking convenience in alternative nutrition delivery formats—particularly through complete nutrition snacks. Next-gen meal replacement bars from brands such as Feed, Huel, and Soylent offer busy, health-conscious consumers the ultimate in convenient nutrition.