man with pre-workout beverage in gym gn

What's New in Pre-Workout Beverages?

Pre-workout beverages are gaining a strong following as more consumers become aware of the science-based benefits of pre-workout formulas. In turn, manufacturers are addressing consumer trends to appeal to more consumers. Here’s a look at what’s new in pre-workout beverages and some key growth opportunities for manufacturers.

Pre-Workout Beverages Going Strong

Pre-workout beverages are becoming increasingly popular as consumers seek to get the most out of their workouts. These consumers are typically nutrition savvy and are often using other sports nutrition products as well, such as exercise recovery products. 

Consumers of pre-workout beverages are drawn to ingredients that can increase their energy, focus, and muscle endurance to support an optimal workout. These functional beverages commonly include ingredients such as BCAAs, EAAs, creatine, beta-alanine, nitric oxide, taurine, caffeine, and green tea. 

The pre-workout nutrition space continues to evolve in response to consumer trends, with some promising innovations that can help bring pre-workout beverages into the mainstream. Take a look at today’s trends in pre-workout beverages:

Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Formats

While powders still dominate in pre-workout products with over 80% of new product launches being in powder format, RTDs are definitely on the rise.1 The convenience of a grab-and-go option that doesn’t require preparation is extending the reach of pre-workout beverages. This format also allows the possibility of mainstream positioning at retailers, alongside energy drinks or protein shakes, for example. The two most common types of RTDs are pre-workout shots & energy drinks. 

Proprietary Blends

Despite consumer trends in transparency for food and beverage labeling, proprietary blends nonetheless appeal to certain consumers. Several factors may be contributing to this. For example, the use of a proprietary blend can establish a brand as a leader with deep knowledge of the science behind pre-workout ingredients which allows them to create an optimized blend. 

It also facilitates a brand's control of the information consumers see in online searches for that ingredient blend. This can be important for communicating a product’s benefits clearly and quickly. 

Botanical Ingredients

While consumers expect certain ingredients in pre-workout beverages, such as amino acids and caffeine, they’re also on the lookout for new ingredients that can give them an extra boost. Botanicals are becoming a popular choice.

herb powder on spoon and sticks

Beetroot, ginseng, guarana, curcumin, cinnamon, rhodiola, and black pepper are examples of ingredients that have been studied for their effects on exercise performance and can be found in pre-workout beverages. Other emerging plant-based ingredients in pre-workout beverages are fruit and vegetable extracts such as blueberry and broccoli.

Broadening Consumer Base

Pre-workout beverages are no longer targeting only the core consumer base of male weightlifters and athletes. As we’ve seen with other sports nutrition products, companies are now considering the benefits of using a broader marketing strategy to include women, older consumers, and other consumer segments that might be seeking support for their active lifestyle. 

While pre-workout beverages that target a general audience are on the rise globally, there is also growth opportunity in pre-workout beverages that focus on the needs of specific consumers, such as women. A study in late 2018 of active US consumers of using BCAA supplements found that 47% were female and 20% were over the age of 45.2 The right functional ingredients and messaging to address the benefits different consumer segments are looking for will be essential. 


E-commerce is playing a critical role in determining which pre-workout beverages rise to the top. More than ever, consumers are relying on online reviews to decide which pre-workout beverages to try. High user ratings boost a product’s visibility in search engines as well. It’s important for companies to consider this aspect as part of their overall marketing strategy.

couple with laptop online shopping

Winning with Pre-Workout Beverages

As companies seek to attract more consumers to pre-workout beverages, it’s important to pay close attention to consumers’ evolving needs. Using the ingredients, product formats, and sales channels that address consumer trends is a winning strategy that can help make pre-workout beverages a go-to product for all active consumers.

As a leader in nutritional solutions for sports nutrition and functional beverages, we offer a full portfolio of functionally optimized dairy and plant-based proteins, micronutrients (amino acids, vitamins and minerals) and bioactive ingredients that meet the needs of today’s consumers. We also provide pre-workout appropriate All N™ Off-the-Shelf Blends and custom nutrient premixes that can make your product stand out from the rest. Get in touch to find out more on how we can assist you with your next pre-workout beverage project. 


1. Mintel, Global New Product Launches – 2016-2020, accessed January 2021.
2. Glanbia Nutritionals Proprietary Study, US Active Consumers, December 2018.

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