Personalized nutrition demand to double sports nutrition mkt growth

CHICAGO: Sports nutrition is one of the major consumer health products in demand by health-conscious people, athletes, and sports persons who consume protein powder, health drinks, and other supplements that promotes health and wellness. In the last few years, there has been a stable growth in demand for sports nutritional products.

During onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports nutrition market was impacted due to closure of gyms, lockdown restrictions. The consumers had to cut their expenses especially if they were turning to sports nutrition snacks for general snacks. However, the hits have been short term and the market is recovering as consumers are taking more proactive approach towards wellbeing and to boost their physical health.

Thus, the overall impact of pandemic can be considered as neutral for the sports nutrition sector across the globe and a stable growth could be expected in the industry in the coming years. There are several opportunities for the market players for innovative product development and adapting to changing customer needs. The sports nutrition market is characterized by many opportunities and product trends.

Growing Market for Personalized and Customized Products
Sports and exercise performances are significantly influenced by nutrition, and each individual responds differently to the same foods, nutrients, and supplements. The dietary supplements and adequate amount of nutrition intake could influence the physical performance of an individual. Athletes and frequent gym goers have different nutritional requirements from general population. Increasing awareness of uniqueness of each person's gut microbiome is spurring the demand for tailored sports nutrition. The market players are making it possible for consumers to customize their products according to their personal requirements, including gut health. Additionally, players are combining more traditional features of sports nutrition with niche benefits. For instance, a pre-workout product supplement with collagen for joint and skin health and probiotics for immunity.

Increasing Demand for Clean Labels
In the US, nearly 69% of the consumers of sports nutrition or performance beverages agree that they contain too many artificial ingredients. On the account of food safety concerns more emphasis was given to the traceability of the food ingredients. Hence, the surge in the demand for clean and more transparent labels. Clean-labels ingredients are consumer-friendly ingredients, which are 100% natural, organic, non-GMO, and are minimally processed. Also, increasing health concerns of the consumers and understanding about the adverse health effects of artificial ingredients is also leading to the increased demand for natural ingredients.

Plant-based Products are Gaining more Popularity
In 2019, around 14% of the UK sports nutrition products featured a vegan or vegetarian claim, up from 9% in 2014. Furthermore, nearly 21% of the Europeans have bought plant-based sports nutrition products.  Furthermore, the adoption of plant-derived nutrition has benefits on gut microbiome. Most of the market players such as GNC Holdings, Herbalife Nutrition, and Glanbia are rigorously investing in the plant-based nutrition. The rising inclination towards vegan diet including supplements to meet an athlete's daily nutritional requirements is leading to the growth of sports nutrition products.

Nutrition that Offers Mental Health Support
With bouts of anxiety and depression becoming common during the lockdown, increasing emphasis is being laid on improving mental wellness in addition to physical health. Athletes and sports persons are increasingly focussing on maintaining a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management techniques. Some consumers are looking for supplements that can help them improve their energy and concentration levels. Sports nutritional supplements that provide these benefits are likely to register higher sales.

Sleep Support for Recovery and Wellness
The increasing focus on overall health and wellness has also drawn attention towards the importance of sound sleep. Thus, the supplement products which improve quality of sleep are gaining traction. The trend has been higher for products such as functional beverages. In sports nutrition, products with ingredients which assist in sleep support benefits also provide dual advantage of  exercise recovery with improved sleep quality. The common ingredients being used in sleep support sport nutrition products include melatonin, L-theanine, and chamomile.

Why Social Media Plays an Important Role in the Sports Nutrition Market?
During  the lockdown, many consumers switched to ecommerce websites to purchase sports nutrition products. To get more information regarding sports nutrition products the consumers are using social media in order to receive recommendations from influencers and also to compare products. Social media management has become essential part of marketing strategy of leading sports nutrition brands. Social media is also assisting companies in connecting with their target consumers and meet the ever-changing requirements. Leveraging social media will enable companies to make tangible changes that will in turn boost their product sales and widen their customer base.

Future Outlook
The global sports nutrition market was valued at USD 14.67 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 26.11 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 10.09%. North America is the largest market for sports nutrition and accounted for 53.45% share in 2020. Government initiatives is promoting the increase in number of gyms, health centres, and sports related activities, driving the demand for sports nutrition products in the region. Asia Pacific is one of the fastest-growing markets and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.88% during the forecast period. Enhancement in digital infrastructure in emerging countries such as India and China offer significant opportunities for online platforms to promote the sales of sports nutrition products in the region. Post the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports nutrition market is likely to witness increasing demand for immunity improving products.