Active Nutrition: The New Mainstream

As everyday consumers embrace active nutrition, will they rely on sports nutrition products in their daily lives?

Over the last couple of years, a significant proportion of consumers have adopted an active-nutrition lifestyle. Consumers’ health goals are shifting as they take on a prevention-over-cure approach to health. They are being more proactive in seeking out functional products that offer a real health boost. These attitudes are having a significant impact on their choice of food and drink products when seeking out everyday product offerings.

Consumer attitudes towards health have been greatly impacted by the pandemic. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that 60% of global consumers have become more conscious about their health, in turn leading them to demonstrate a greater level of proactiveness in trying to improve physical and mental health. Consumers are not only looking to address their health in the short term but to also take a longer-term approach to health and wellbeing. This is highlighted as 52% of consumers state they have adopted a long-term approach to health in the last two years.

Consumers are researching different topics of health such as new ingredients, symptoms of health problems, and nutrition in general. Brands need to help consumers with researching health by providing information that is simple, credible, transparent—and not misleading.

Active Nutrition Is the New Normal

What does this mean for sports nutrition products? Will consumers increasingly turn to the benefits these products offer on the daily?

As consumers change their current eating habits, there has been an increased emphasis on improving diets and nutritional intake—resulting in sports nutrition products becoming more mainstream. FMCG Gurus insights show that 56% of global consumers say they have switched from eating traditional snacks such as chocolate and confectionery to high-protein/low-sugar alternatives in the last twelve months. When asked why they have done this, the main reason given was to boost immunity levels—highlighting how a greater number of consumers are seeking out snacks with active ingredients they believe offer a genuine health boost.

Many consumers across the globe say they have purchased some form of sports nutrition product in the past six months. When it comes to specific products purchased, shoppers are likely to turn to sports drinks, energy drinks, and sports/protein snack bars. This highlights how the sports nutrition market is no longer associated with a specific audience of avid gym goers/active sport participants. Instead, the sports nutrition market has become increasingly mainstream, with everyday consumers substituting traditional snack and beverage products with sports nutrition products they believe are guilt-free, conveniently nutritious, and help them manage their health goals.

Consumers also want maximum reassurance around the efficacy of sports nutrition products. They want products that offer multiple functional benefits. Natural claims are also important to consumers. It is crucial that ingredients are seen to be real and authentic and that products are free from chemicals deemed to be detrimental to the individual and wider environment.

Obstacles Remain

Although the sports nutrition market is becoming more mainstream with everyday consumers turning to these products, it is important to note that there are still some barriers to purchase.

One of the key barriers to address is sensory appeal. FMCG Gurus insights show that 37% of global consumers who purchase sports nutrition products state they are concerned about the aftertaste of high-protein snacks.

Consumers want products they deem to be guilt-free and that offer a convenient health boost they can easily incorporated into daily diets—meaning that they must be satisfied with the sensory elements of the products that they buy. For manufacturers and ingredients suppliers serving the active-nutrition market, this is both a gauntlet and an opportunity.

This article is based on FMCG Gurus’ “Active Nutrition vs. Sports Nutrition in 2022 - Global Report.” For more information, please contact, info@fmcggurus.com

Will Cowling is the marketing manager at FMCG Gurus. For more information about FMCG Gurus’ latest reports, including its COVID-19 survey series, please e-mail info@fmcggurus.com.