High Consumer Interest in Plant-Based Sports Nutrition
Europe’s sports nutrition brands have been rapidly expanding into plant-based to keep up with consumer demand. Some brands adding several plant-based options to their lineup in the last five years include Prozis, Grenade Carb Killa, JC’s Trek, Foodspring, Barebells, Nutramino, and Maxim.1
Vegan claims grew more than 38% in UK sports nutrition launches from 2019 to 2020 and accounted for nearly one in five of new sports nutrition products by 2021.2 In France and the UK, the top claim appealing to consumers when choosing a sports nutrition product is “plant-based,” a claim that appeals to a whopping 96% of French and 92% of UK consumers.3
In Germany, France, and the UK, the vast majority (90% of German and 89% of French and UK consumers) have tried a sports nutrition product with plant protein.4 Sports nutrition is one of the many categories being reshaped by consumers’ growing interest in plant-based protein.
Plant-Based Sports Nutrition Ingredient Trends
To understand how consumer interest in plant-based protein is influencing Europe’s sports nutrition market, here’s a look at the trends.
1. Environmental Sustainability Driving Use
Research shows the leading motivation for choosing plant-based sports nutrition products is not perceived health benefits, but sustainability. “Plant protein is better for the environment” is the top reason for trying plant protein sports nutrition products by consumers in the UK (80%), France (83%), and Germany (83%)—just ahead of “plant protein is healthier.”5
2. Standard Sports Nutrition Flavors Preferred
When it comes to flavors, consumers still expect the standard sports nutrition flavors in their plant-based offerings. Plant-based sports nutrition product launches in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) from 2016 to 2021 show chocolate is the top flavor, present in 14% of new products.6 Plain (7%) and vanilla (6%) were next, followed by cookies and cream (4%) and strawberry (3%).7