New market research highlights three trends for sports nutrition

February 25, 2020

FrieslandCampina Ingredients and market research expert FMCG Gurus have collaborated on a global report highlighting three distinct trends in the performance and sports nutrition market.

FrieslandCampina Ingredients (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) and market research expert FMCG Gurus have collaborated on a global report highlighting three distinct trends in the performance and sports nutrition market. One trend highlights the importance of on-the-go foods and snacking to consumers’ diets. According to the report, one in four consumers surveyed feel that they are unable to lead a healthy lifestyle because they regularly eat and drink out-of-home. The research shows that 67% of consumers eat on-the-go protein snack bars, and 51% have made a conscious effort to substitute traditional snacks, such as chocolate, for high-protein, low-sugar alternatives.

“Timing is everything for athletes and serious gym-goers – the right nutrition needs to be carefully aligned to their workouts to reap the most benefits and provide the right boost at the right time,” said Vicky Davies, global marketing director, Performance and Active Nutrition, FrieslandCampina Ingredients, in a press release. “There is an opportunity to develop functional snacks that aid preparation before exercise, power during it, and recovery afterwards – and that fit into everyday life.”

Consumers are also taking nutrition into their own hands, proactively seeking information from multiple sources. Besides medical professionals, 45% of sports nutrition consumers are also seeking information from personal trainers and gym instructors, and 53% get information from friends and family. Not only that, but consumers are actively educating themselves and forming clear opinions and preferences on the ingredients and formats they prefer.

“We have identified that active consumers are taking a much bigger role in shaping their nutritional habits to suit their unique health and wellness goals,” said Mike Hughes, head of Research and Insight, FMCG Gurus, in a press release. “They are more astute than ever, showing that there is growing demand for tailored better-for-you products that address wide-ranging physical and cognitive health benefits. Both of these are increasingly recognized as important in the performance nutrition sector.”

Finally, women are being seen as a clear and distinctive market in their own right. While they account for an increased proportion of the performance nutrition market, there is still a lack of products tailored to women. According to the report, 63% of women have looked to improve their general health and wellness over the last two years, and 41% have attempted to improve their diets. Women’s priorities are also shifting from weight management to improving strength (37%), increasing lean muscle mass (32%), and boosting cognitive health (41%).

“Men no longer dominate the market for performance nutrition products, but formulations, brands and positioning have not yet caught up with these changes,” said Davies. “‘Pinking and shrinking’ just doesn’t cut it anymore. Women are less interested in traditional health claims like ‘energy boosting’, instead preferring more ‘natural’ products than male athletes. This is a huge, largely untapped market.”