Sports nutrition has been traditionally reserved for use in endurance sports and strength sports, such as weightlifting and bodybuilding. However, the key market trend in recent years has been broadening appeal and consumer demand for all kinds of “performance” products that fit a more recreational and lifestyle-driven positioning.

More recently the emphasis on performance and the boom in interest in protein drinks has regenerated interest in the sector among more casual users looking for products for a healthy lifestyle.

Elsewhere in the performance market, coconut water is increasingly being marketed as the natural isotonic of choice. Coconut featured in 14% of US RTD sports drinks launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in 2015 and this was mainly in the form of coconut water, although it does also include the use of any coconut flavors and ingredients. This was twice the level achieved in the soft drinks market (excluding sports drinks), where coconut featured in just over 7%, rising to 12% in juices and juice drinks.

Food and beverage products promising energy benefits have moved far beyond the domain of energy drinks. According to Innova Market Insights, sub-categories demonstrating growth for global product launch activity tracked with an energy/alertness positioning in 2015 from 2014 include Fruit-Based Snacks (+105%), Snack Nuts & Seeds (+141%), Yogurt (+60%) and Dairy Alternative Drinks (+32%).

In general, the sports nutrition sector continues to develop and diversify, particularly in terms of target market, with an increasingly wide range of consumers now in its sights, including those interested in different sports, exercise regimes and levels of activity, also potentially subdivided by age and gender. 

2017 Ingredients for Health Guide Categories:


Antioxidants for Health

Bone, Joint & Cosmetic Health

Cardiovascular Health

Cognitive Health

Diabetes & Blood Glucose Control

Digestive Health

Eye Health

Sports & Energy

Weight Management

Originally appeared in the December, 2016 issue of Prepared Foods as For the Athlete in Everyone.