Sports nutrition mainstreams: A key theme at Vitafoods Europe 2018

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18 May 2018 --- Boundaries are blurring as sports nutrition continues to move mainstream. Ingredients and products aimed at promoting active living were a clear standout theme at Vitafoods Europe this year. New launches targeted a wide scope of aspects related to active lifestyles, and are likely to resonate not just with hardcore athletes but also with consumers of different ages and activity groups.

“There’s still room for growth in three areas in sports nutrition,” says Florencia Moreno Torres, Analyst at Innova Market Insights. “The first one has to do with flavors and the fact that there is so much innovation and competition in the market. Consumers won’t just settle; they’re looking for novel and improved flavor profiles. Secondly, everything that has to do with transparency, clean label and sustainability if possible.” 

“The third point is convenience,” she says. “We know about busy lifestyles but we are also talking about mini-bites, products you can open and close easily and reusable products, which also fits in with the aspect of sustainability.”

At the show, Innova Market Insights noted a 14 percent average annual growth in sports nutrition launches featuring plant protein (global, 2013-2017), but also a continued CAGR of 10 percent in whey protein over this period.

There has been particularly strong development happening in the clean label mainstreaming of sports nutrition products. At the show, FrieslandCampina’s consumer research similarly highlighted a need for natural and clean ingredients as well as innovative flavor profiles in sports nutrition. The results of a consumer study showed that 69 percent of sports nutrition consumers find all-natural ingredients to be appealing in these types of products.  

Click to Enlarge
Ramon Mommersteeg, Product Group Manager
FrieslandCampina DMV (left).

“We have looked at several aspects in two consumer focus groups. On the one side, we looked at hardcore athletes. On the other, we looked at active lifestyle consumers and both gave us similar results and that is that they are both looking for natural, clean ingredients,” says Ramon Mommersteeg, Product Group Manager Whey Proteins at FrieslandCampina DMV.

“This is logical, but if you talk to these people you really get the impression that they are looking for transparency, things they can trust and what it can do for them. They are really starting to get educated and interested on what can bring them to the next level,” he says.

To address this demand, DMV has come up with native protein launches. 

“Native proteins are the format of how you find it in nature,” Mommersteeg says. “There are two types of protein within dairy: casein proteins and whey proteins. For both, we have developed native protein products. Micellate Prestige is a casein protein, while Nutri Whey native is a whey protein.”

“We are highlighting Nutri Whey native and that is some shakes, RTDs. What we highlight is how Nutri Whey native is a concept where we really try to target the millennials. We developed it together with Givaudan [a leading flavor house], where we looked at what flavor profile consumers are looking for. With Coconut Lime and Pear Cinnamon, we are really looking at what consumers are looking for and targeting that. We also developed Protein Bites, a traditional bar for the active lifestyle; offering them a sensible bite to increase their protein intake.”

Fytexia highlighted the potential of weight management ingredients as part of an active lifestyle, with its Sinetrol Active Living, formulated to potentiate the benefits of sports practice. This combination of citrus polyphenols, guarana and L-carnitine is clinically proven to reduce the excess of fat mass leading to a healthier body composition.

“More and more people include sports as part of their strategy to lose weight. This year, we now have Sinetrol Active Living which targets weight loss help for people who practice sport, to potentiate the weight loss of the sporty subject. This helps them reach their goal sooner,” Sophie Loisel, Business Development Director at Fytexia, tells NutritionInsight.

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Sophie Loisel, Business Development Director at Fytexia.

“Consumers expect an efficient and safe weight loss, but they also want to manage what comes after the end of the supplementation. We can confirm with our Sinetrol that after they stop taking the supplement, they do not gain weight and keep losing weight up to one month after stopping supplementation. This is because Sinetrol helps to rebalance body composition; you lose fat mass and gain muscle mass. Muscle mass uses higher quantities of energy to sustain itself,” she says.

Kyowa Hakko
Kyowa Hakko introduced its key branded ingredients Setria Performance Blend specifically targeting the sports and healthy aging sectors.

“We have a couple of ingredients that could be positioned for hydration and sports performance. Another recently launched is a performance blend targeting long-lasting energy as a nitric oxide booster,” Oksana Ritchie, European Marketing Manager for Kyowa Hakko Europe, tells NutritionInsight.

The blend combines glutathione and l-citrulline, one of the amino acids that helps with the nitric oxide boosting capabilities

“It is a patented product that Kyowa Hakko has developed and we have studies to show that this combination works to enhance the nitric oxide and that it stays longer in the body during the workout. We are working on some innovative products which are at the R&D stage for both sports nutrition and healthy aging,” Ritchie says.

Other notable launches at Vitafoods Europe 2018 within the sports nutrition category included:

  • GoldNutrition’s range called Woman Collection by GoldNutrition. Focused on busy and active women and inspired by female superheroes, this line contains products tailored for women’s needs, including a protein shake with probiotics (Lactospore) and antioxidants (Spectra).
  • Pouch Alliance's protein shot with 20g of protein per 60ml. Suitable for all kinds of consumers/sportspeople to easily increase their protein intake.
  • Prinova's Encapsulated Creatine addressing a sports nutrition formulation challenge. Creatine is highly unstable in water and will quickly degrade to the by-product Creatinine. This restricts its usage in the rapidly growing functional sports beverage market. Prinova's unique technology with encapsulated creatine aims to protect it from breaking down in water and is only released once ingested. This opens up creatine usage for carbonated energy drinks, shots and even protein beverages. Demos available include per serving, 3g encapsulated creatine, 5g BCAAs 2:1:1 and 100mg caffeine.

By Lucy Gunn

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