parents with kids on shoulder

2023 Nutrition Trends for Active Adults: What They Are & Why They Matter

The new active lifestyle consumer is driving mainstream growth in sports nutrition products. See the top 2023 nutrition trends for active adults and how the sports nutrition industry can address their needs. 


  • Active consumers, who are individuals that have regular exercise routines, are very deliberate in their food and beverage purchases and are likely to spend more to ensure the product meets their needs. 
  • The top nutrition trends for active consumers include: no- and low-sugar hydration, natural energy boosters, healthy fats, on-the-go protein, and fortified snacks.

Who Is the Active Lifestyle Consumer?

The active lifestyle consumer segment consists of individuals who have incorporated healthy fitness and nutrition habits into their lives. They are not necessarily athletes but are likely to have regular exercise routines that include walking, jogging, hiking, or working out at the gym.
Active consumers tend to be very deliberate in their food and beverage purchases, seeking out products that can support their healthy lifestyles. They are likely to spend more to ensure they’re getting a product that meets their needs.

To support their proactive approach to health, many active consumers are turning to sports nutrition products that offer the health benefits they seek. However, this growing active consumer segment has different nutrition interests than traditional sports nutrition consumers. 

What Are the Top Nutrition Trends for Active Consumers?

Active adults are nutrition-savvy. They seek ways to maintain a balanced calorie intake—i.e., having enough energy and nutrients to support an active lifestyle but without excess calories—and they also choose products that can give them a nutrient boost whenever possible. 
With that in mind, we’ve identified these five trends as the top 2023 nutrition trends for active adults:

1. No- and Low-Sugar Hydration

The proliferation of flavored waters and seltzers is meeting an important need for on-the-go hydration that tastes delicious, without all the calories. Active adults have fully embraced today’s no- and low-sugar hydration options which come in a dazzling variety of flavors

Unsweetened ready-to-drink (RTD) bottled teas and coffees are also popular among some active consumers. When formulating beverages that do contain some sweetness, manufacturers can consider sweetening with natural sugar alternatives like fruit juice, honey, or maple syrup and using messaging such as “a hint of sweetness.”

woman with water bottle

2. Natural Energy Boosters

While energy products are typically sought for boosting alertness and mood, active consumers also consider benefits like weight management and pre-workout energy. Although traditional energy drinks can address these needs, active consumers prioritize natural sources of energy, which they perceive as healthier. 61% of US adults who exercise three or more hours a week say they’d like a pre-workout product that provides energy from natural sources.1

Natural energy boosters include natural caffeine sources like green tea extract, coffee extract, guarana, and yerba mate, as well as B vitamins, which support energy production in the body. Our innovative FitNox® pre-workout ingredient avoids stimulants altogether by using extracts from moringa oleifera leaf, pomegranate, and black ginger.

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

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

Register for our webinar today!

3. Healthy Fats

Another of today’s major nutrition trends among active adults is healthy fats. Fats from the right sources, such as avocado and coconut, are considered beneficial and are now found even in decadent products like avocado ice cream and coconut yogurt. 
The popularity of the keto diet for weight loss is also supporting this interest in healthy fats—particularly MCTs, which are rapidly absorbed and metabolized to reach ketogenesis more easily. Among US adults who exercise at least three hours per week, 76% are aware of the keto diet, and 26% have tried it.

Learn about our KetoSure™ MCT, a clean label coconut-based MCT-C8 on whey protein for optimum keto nutrition.


4. On-the-Go Protein

Protein continues to be a sought-after nutrient, especially in snacks. This is because consumers expect snacks to provide satiety and hold them over until the next meal. On-the-go protein snacks like protein bars, snacking cheese, jerky, and RTD protein shakes let consumers easily bring their healthy snack to work, school, or the gym.

For active adults, exercise support benefits like muscle recovery and energy are also important. For example, 48% of US active consumers currently use protein bars as pre-workout products, and 46% use them post-workout.3 Meal replacement is another use of on-the-go protein products—either to eat healthily when in a rush or to help with weight management.

See our Bar Solutions—from ingredients to bar development services.

5. Fortified Snacks

Whether the snack of choice is a bar, RTD beverage, or snackable cereal, better-than versions are a clear stand-out to the active consumer. Added micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, along with the top trending macronutrients protein and fiber, give active adults snack options they can feel good about. 

While active consumers are likely to use nutritional supplements to promote optimal health, there is still a strong appeal in getting their nutrients through food. Brands looking at fortifying their snacks should consider that consumer awareness is especially high for vitamin C, calcium, iron, and plant protein. 

Creating Foods and Beverages for Active Adults

These nutrition trends are overwhelmingly positive and can serve as a reminder of the important role of the food industry in supporting active and healthy lifestyles. To create foods and beverages for the active consumer, just remember that healthy nutrition is in!

Contact Glanbia Nutritionals to learn more about fortifying your products to provide the most important nutrients consumers are looking for. Our active and healthy lifestyle ingredients—from proteins to bioactives to custom nutrient premixes—have got you covered. 


1-3. Glanbia Nutritionals, Performance Nutrition U&A Study: US, July 2022.

Take our poll

What’s your priority for 2023?


Enter your email on the next step to receive the articles as soon as they go live.

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.