“Sports nutrition protein and positioning rules are being broken,” says Innova Market Insights

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20 Sep 2017 --- As sports nutrition has continued its move into the mainstream, one major feature has been the rising interest in active nutrition, giving a performance positioning to more food and beverage products. The rise of active nutrition to meet the demands of a choosier consumer was a key theme highlighted by Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights in a pre-Anuga webinar yesterday. Innova Market Insights is an official trend partner at Anuga 2017 in Cologne (October 7-11).

“We have come a long way since the black & white pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger showing his huge muscles and highlighting the protein powders he consumed. Those products do not look very natural, with the black canisters focused more on performance and benefit, rather than naturalness,” notes Williams.

A previously untapped market is now being exploited, however. “We know that 30 percent of US consumers pay a lot of attention to health aspects when looking for sports nutrition, in addition to the benefit they are looking for from the protein powder. They are also looking for other things around that; everything is becoming much more holistic – it is not just only about the protein – it is about looking for overall benefits, but also natural claims.”  

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She points to further consumer research which found that 20 percent of US consumers are also interested in natural claims when buying sports nutrition products. This is increasingly leading to the launch of more green packages, natural sweeteners, GMO-free claims and other natural related marketing. 

“Consumer are thinking about more than muscle gain; they want other things as well. It is about broadening your consumer base – there will be a small group who only care about the muscle benefit, but there is a much bigger group that care about other things as well,” she notes. New marketing platforms to target mainstream consumers, could include active aging, those who just want to tone up a bit (“fit girl”), people wanting a more active lifestyle “for more energy to get through the day” and growing children. 

Williams notes that we are moving beyond the traditional sports nutrition powders, with numerous seemingly mainstream brands now entering the space. An analysis of the growth of formats and positioning (2016 vs. 2015) in sports nutrition launches tracked was dominated by sports bars (+17 percent), sports powders (+12 percent) and ready to drink foods (+11 percent). 

“There are a lot more companies entering the sports powders space, including Mars. We know that it is growing in terms of volume and value and a lot more players are entering the market as the barrier to entry has dropped. We are seeing a blurring of categories where sports nutrition brands are becoming much more protein, both in terms of protein content and positioning of products. The rules are being broken on protein content and positioning,” Williams stresses.

Click to EnlargeAccording to Innova Market Insights data, high/source of protein claims in tracked food and beverage launches saw a CAGR of +27 percent over the 2012-2016 period. This compares with a 19 percent rise in sports/recovery claims and 14 percent for energy/alertness over the same timeframe. These launches are increasingly targeting active lifestyles, moving outside traditional sports powders, drinks and bars to feature in a wide range of mainstream categories including beverages, dairy, soups, ready meals, cereals and bakery. 

“Body in Tune” was one of Innova Market Insights’ Top Trends for 2017, highlighting developments in active nutrition, which includes the potential for wholesome and nourishing foods that are an increasingly popular choice, compared with more traditional low and light formulations focusing on fat and calories. It also indicates the need for tailored products for increasingly specific sub-categories of individuals, such as active older consumers, fitness-conscious women and sporty teenagers.

Innova Market Insights will be at Anuga 2017 in Cologne (Anuga Trend Zone – Blauer Salon (passage between Halls 3 & 11). The Anuga Trend Zone 2017 display features in-depth analysis on the issues driving the food and beverage landscape today.

The Innova Market Insights team of expert staff will be on hand to guide visitors through the display and offer their insights.

Every day during Anuga 2017 you can join Innova Market Insights for the following presentations: 

11:00-11:30am – Top 10 Trends 2017 
12:30-1:00pm – Active Nutrition 
2:00-2:30pm – Top 10 Trends 2017
3:30-4:00pm – Plant Powered Growth
5:00-5:30pm – Top 10 Trends 2017

By Robin Wyers

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