The sports nutrition market has been steadily growing. According to IRI, for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 23, 2020, the Weight Control, Nutritional Liquids, and Powders category netted sales of more than $4 billion, a 4.8% increase over 2019. (a) ResearchAndMarkets also anticipates the global protein supplements market to reach $32.6 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 8.0%.(b) That said, it’s clear that nutrition and performance products are full of flavor and protein as innovation flourishes.

No Longer Reserved For Athletes
Nutrition and performance products were originally marketed to bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes, with a focus on protein. However, the market has shifted, and these products are no longer strictly reserved for athletes. 

Health and wellness are the main drivers for sports nutrition, which is now mainstream, marketed to and used by individuals with active lifestyles. Once dominated by protein powder, ready-to-drink (RTD) protein drinks, and protein bars, newer applications such as protein chips/tortillas/puffs/popcorn, protein cookies/wafers, protein brownies, and protein cake bites are emerging. 

What Do Consumers Want?
Comax Flavors’ primary research on consumers’ behavior, usage, and attitudes towards nutrition and performance products revealed that taste and flavor are key factors.(c) Products in the study included protein powder, RTD protein drinks, protein bars, protein chips/tortillas/puffs/popcorn, protein cookies/wafers, protein brownies, and protein cake bites. 

Survey data show:

More than half (52%) of respondents cite “Taste” as the number one driver of nutrition and performance product purchases among all generations

More than one-third (36%) of respondents cite “Flavor” as an important attribute driving nutrition and performance products purchase intent 

When respondents were asked, “What do you wish your Protein Product had that it currently does not have? A vast majority of respondents wished protein-fortified foods and beverages had a “better taste” regardless of the application.

Protein has an off flavor, depending on the source such as soy, whey, lentil, and pea. Comax Flavors offers a proprietary technology that is engineered to mask protein’s often bitter taste, which works in a variety of applications.

Our R&D team partners with our customers to overcome flavor challenges and our masking flavors are customized to meet your specific needs. In addition to classic protein flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter, Comax creates innovative flavors such as birthday cake, cookies and cream, Devil’s food cake, chocolate marshmallow fudge, and New York-style cheesecake. 

Peruse our “Flavor of the Month” flavors for inspiration or contact us for more information.

Health at the Forefront
Health and wellness are at the forefront of consumers’ minds as the pandemic continues. “Healthy” is a top reason why respondents consume various nutrition and performance products with one-third or more citing it. The research finds that:

47% of respondents snack on Protein Chips/Tortillas/Puffs/Popcorn

45% of respondents indulge in Protein Cake Bites 

43% of respondents drink RTD Protein Drinks 

41% of respondents consume Protein Bars

36% of respondents eat Protein Cookies/Wafers

35% of respondents use Protein Powder 

30% of respondents consume Protein Brownies 

Activity in new protein sources such as plant-based proteins is fueling growth. Respondents look for plant protein as an “active ingredient” in their nutrition and performance products:

  • One-third (32%) of Protein Powder users look for plant protein
  • One-quarter of Protein Bar eaters seek plant protein
  • Just less than one-quarter (22%) of RTD consumers search for plant protein

Looking to pump up your nutrition & performance products? Comax Flavors creates customized flavors and customized solutions for your protein-fortified food and beverages. Reach out to us.




c N=1,200, Comax Nutrition Study April 2020; Protein Powder N=300, Ready-To-Drink Protein Drinks N=300, Protein Bars N=300, Protein Chips/Tortillas/Puffs/Popcorn N=100, Protein Cookies/Wafers N=67, Protein Brownies N=67, and Protein Cake Bites N=66