Retail sales of nutritional shakes and bars reached $9 billion last year after rising at an annual rate of almost 10% over the preceding five years, reports market research firm Packaged Facts in the study Nutritional Shakes and Bars: US Retail Market Trends and Opportunities.

Producers of nutritional shakes and bars benefited from steady growth in the US population. The youngest age groups have the highest usage rates, with Millennials and Gen X consumers being the most likely purchasers.

In addition, within the nutritional shakes and bars market, consumers focused more on healthy, eco-friendly eating and trying novel flavors. Because organic items have a reputation for both health and environmental responsibility, Packaged Facts found that organic versions of nutritional shakes and bars experienced vigorous sales growth over the 2011-2016 period.

Looking ahead, Packaged Facts forecasts retail sales of nutritional shakes and bars will enjoy annual growth of more than 8% through 2021. Gains are expected to slow down relative to 2011-2016 levels, but marketers of nutritional shakes and bars can still expect many opportunities for growth.

For one, nutritional shakes and bars are expected to continue experiencing growth in niche areas as consumers persist in seeking out novel flavors and ingredients. Increases in disposable personal income will support purchases of premium shakes and bars, including non-GMO (genetically modified organisms), organic, “free-from,” and superfood-infused types. Marketing strategies focusing on health and the delicious taste of products will help nutritional shakes and bars to expand their appeal among demographics that under index in consumption, such as Baby Boomers.

Likewise, marketing opportunities exist with parents of young children, who are often concerned about the growth and health of their kids amidst unhealthy food options and an epidemic of childhood obesity. Many products aimed at children offer claims of nutritional support for optimal growth, especially among picky eaters.

Learn more about the report.