Market Trends: What could shape Sports Nutrition in the future?

According to Innova, the Global sports nutrition’s NPD growth exhibited an increasing trend over the last 5 years. Growing popularity of plant derived protein (peas, hemp, rice, pumpkin), vegan friendly options and focus on products for women are the key factors boosting growth of the category.

Higher demand for convenient and wholesome foods, increasing interest in protein-rich diet owing to evolving fitness trends, consumer’s search for nutritious meal alternatives and healthier snacks, vegan formulations with plant protein, superfood ingredients claiming functional benefits, bars catering to specific needs and diets (paleo, keto) and flavor innovation are powering growth of sports bars NPD.

Sports nutrition NPD has seen strong growth in recent years as interest in health and wellness and more active lifestyles has brought about a mainstreaming of the category. Over the 2014 to 2018 period, there was a CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of 26.1%, with particularly strong growth in 2018, largely as a result of new products and reformulations offering plant-based proteins and vegan options.

Europe has become not only the leading region in terms of NPD, but is also seeing the best growth rates in a number of subcategories. It is particularly strong in ready to use options, such as sports bars and other sports products, where it had shares of 70% and 71% of H2 2018 NPD, respectively. It also led NPD growth over the 2016 to 2018 period for sports drinks and other sports products and took second place for sports bars, sports powders and supplements. It was the only region seeing growth in protein based RTD sports drinks

Energy/alertness is the leading positioning for H2 2018 overall, used for 31% of launches, with particular strength in the developed regions and in sports drinks, sports powders, other sports products. Energy/stamina was also the leading positioning for supplements.

Ongoing interest in protein is reflected in the position of high/source of protein and added protein claims in the top five positionings in H2 2018, used for 25% of launches each. High/source of protein led in sports bars, protein-based sports drinks and other sports products, while added protein was strong leader in sports powders. A key area of interest in protein in recent years has been in the use of plant-based proteins rather than more traditional dairy-based options.

The strength of sports powders in NPD is reflected in the leading flavors in H2 2018, with the top four, milk chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and orange, being the same. Lemon took fifth place overall as a result of its strength in sports drinks, while punch took fifth place in sports powders. More exotic fruit flavors feature in a number of subcategories, as do more sophisticated and dessert-style flavors such as salted caramel, cheesecake and cappucino.

Source: Innova New Products Database