woman running

The Active Female Consumer

Active women today are interested in products that can support their active lifestyle, giving them the strength and energy to tackle each day head on. Foods, beverages, and supplements with these bioactives can help them do just that.


  • Active females are a rapidly growing consumer segment, and they have specific nutritional needs and preferences that companies need to understand and cater to in order to succeed in this market. 
  • Key attributes that define the active female consumer include: their focus on health and wellness, their interest in clean and natural products, and their desire for convenience and portability. 

The Needs of the Active Woman Consumer

Today’s active woman consumer is mindful of her health. She understands the connection between being healthy and being able to lead the active lifestyle she wants. She wants to know she can balance work, home, friends, hobbies, and self-care, giving her best to whatever she takes on.

Active women may have active lives, but their exercise habits are more casual. They don’t think of themselves as athletes and prefer physical activities such as walking, running, yoga, and strength training. The health needs of the active woman are likely to focus on the things that keep her active: strength, endurance, energy, immunity, and a healthy weight.


Glanbia Nutritionals’ Webinar: Navigating the Growth Potential of Energy & Performance

Register for our webinar today!

Essential Nutrients for Active Women

Active women consumers know the importance of eating healthy meals but may not always have the time to do it right. They also have an awareness that certain essential nutrients and bioactive ingredients can help them stay healthy and active, making products that contain them especially appealing.

Nutrition products in the market targeting active women include products in the sports nutrition and weight loss categories, where women-focused products are on the rise. Between January 2017 and January 2020, 2% of new global sports nutrition products targeted women, while 18% of new US sports nutrition products for women made a protein claim.1 Protein is associated with supporting strength, as well as weight management. 

woman with shaker cup

The popularity of the keto diet for weight loss is also making MCTs a go-to ingredient. In 2019, 16% of North American keto product launches contained MCTs, up from 11% four years before.2 Cayenne pepper (which contains the bioactive capsaicin) is a newer weight management ingredient emerging in the market,3 showing up in weight loss supplements such as Skinny Gal Thermogenic. 

Iron is also found in nutrition products targeting women. Women’s iron needs tend to be higher than men’s—plus there’s a high awareness of the link between iron deficiency and anemia, which can lead to low energy levels. Iron is also highly associated with immune system support by consumers globally (by 70% of consumers).4 Like iron, vitamin B12 is another nutrient that’s essential for red blood cell production and preventing anemia.

Key Ingredient Benefits for the Body

1. Iron 

Iron is an essential mineral used to make hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells) and myoglobin (a protein in muscle cells), which are responsible for transporting oxygen. Since women lose iron through menstruation, iron deficiency is more common in women than men. Iron deficiency during pregnancy can increase the risk of perinatal mortality, prematurity, and low birth weight.

While iron is also necessary for growth, development, and making certain hormones, its role in transporting oxygen is especially significant for active women. Low iron means low energy levels, including weakness and tiredness. Women engaged in strenuous physical activity can also lose iron through hemolysis and sweating.

2. Vitamin B12 

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin also required in the formation of red blood cells. As with iron, a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause symptoms related to low red blood cell count and insufficient oxygen such as fatigue and shortness of breath. Since vitamin B12 must be obtained through the diet, those on a vegan diet are at special risk of deficiency.

The impact of vitamin B12 on the body’s energy levels in itself makes it a key nutrient for active women. However, the roles of this vitamin are many. Vitamin B12 is involved in the transmission of nerve signals and the synthesis of DNA, for example, making it essential to the function of all the body’s systems.

two friends biking

3. Protein

While all women need protein, active women have even greater demands. Protein supports muscle repair, rebuilding, and maintenance and helps prevent muscle soreness after exercising. Protein is also essential for strong bones. 

Weight management is another important use for protein. Products with protein can provide satiety and replace higher calorie and less filling products in the diet. Protein supplementation also helps maintain lean muscle mass during weight loss. A protein that contains all the essential amino acids is ideal for a nutrition product for active women.

4. Capsaicin/Dihydrocapsiate

Capsaicin is the compound in chili peppers that makes them taste hot. It’s also a bioactive that’s becoming more widely known for its thermogenic effects and is showing up in various forms in weight management products.

Capsinoids such as dihydrocapsiate are also present in chili peppers, with similar clinical benefits to capsaicin but without the strong chemical heat. Unlike capsaicin, capsinoids are not associated with heartburn nor a potential unsafe rise in heart rate.

woman pouring green smoothie

5. MCTs

MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides are a category of fats found in coconut and palm kernel oil that are rapidly absorbed by the small intestine due to their small size. Unlike the long-chain fatty acids more commonly found in the diet, MCTs bypass the standard absorption process and are transported to the liver where they’re converted to ketones. These ketones, in turn, act as a quick source of energy. 

The keto diet is a high-fat diet that takes advantage of this process to help transition the body into a state of ketosis. In ketosis, the body’s glycogen stores have been used up, and the body’s fat begins to be burned for energy. Keto dieters report benefits such as weight loss, reduced food cravings, and even increased energy.

Bioactive Ingredient Solutions for Active Women

Active women want to feel strong, energized, and healthy so they can stay active into the future. Brands can connect to these consumers through targeted messaging and by delivering the product benefits that are most important for their active lifestyle.

Our bioactive solutions for women include FerriUp™, a lactoferrin and vitamin B12-rich whey protein concentrate optimized to support active women. The lactoferrin in FerriUp provides a highly absorbable source of iron, without an upset stomach. FerriUp is also an excellent source of vitamin B12 from dairy and delivers a high quality protein with all nine essential amino acids.

woman taking supplements

For weight loss products, Prolibra® offers a proprietary blend of whey proteins, peptides, and milk minerals to help consumers maintain lean muscle during their weight loss journey—perfect for powder drink mixes, nutrition bars, and snacks. Or try our CapsiAtra® dihydrocapsiate for use in tablets, capsules, softgels, and powder drink mixes.

We also offer KetoSure MCT™, a coconut-based MCT-C8 optimized with whey protein to support keto dieters. Add KetoSure MCT to your bars, snacks, powder drink mixes, or hot beverage powders. To explore the possibilities in foods, beverages, and supplements for active women, contact us.


1. Mintel GNPD, January 2020.
2. Innova Database, November 2020. Categories: sports nutrition & supplements.
3. Nutrition Business Journal, Sports Nutrition Issue, July 2017.
4. FMCG Gurus Insights & Opportunities – Immunity Global, January 2020.

Hello! It looks like you’re using Internet Explorer. Microsoft is phasing out this browser, so we are no longer supporting it and some parts of the page may not look right. To enjoy the full experience, we recommend you use one of these browsers: Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Brave.