Glanbia: Misleading claims blight sports nutrition

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sports nutrition, Nutrition

“Outrageous product claims” are damaging the sports nutrition sector but suppliers can do more to ensure they are brought under control, according to leading Irish-based dairy ingredients and whey protein supplier, Glanbia Performance Nutrition.

Glanbia Performance Nutrition international marketing manager, Sorcha Tobin, said suppliers had a part to play in ensuring products employing their ingredients made scientifically backed, legal claims by working more closely with food and supplements manufacturers.

“Suppliers have a big part to play in the way products are brought to market,”​ Tobin told “If we see something we are not happy with we let our client know. It shows how important it is to develop close relationships with customers.”

Many sports nutrition products, especially those promising muscle gain, energy benefits or weight loss, have drawn regulator attention both in Europe and elsewhere, something Tobin said had been amplified as sports nutrition products have moved mainstream.

Responding to this trend, Glanbia in 2005 created​UK-based Glanbia Performance Nutrition division to target the sports nutrition market with whey-based, ready-to-mix (RTM) and ready-to-drink (RTD) products at the forefront.

Increasingly aware of the mainstream movement of sports nutrition, Glanbia Performance Nutrition recently stated it would expand its weight management offerings“to address the rising incidence of obesity by creating products that are low fat, healthy and taste good.”

Frost & Sullivan estimates the European sports nutrition market will surpass the €4 billion by 2010 – and it is a food industry segment that is growing more rapidly than most.


Tobin said despite the mainstreaming of sports nutrition products in many markets, many consumers remained sceptical​about end benefits.

“Consumers are interested in these products but they remain cautious which is why trusted brands tend to perform best,”​ she said.

Being a dairy, Glanbia is big in milk-derived whey which it is estimated is in 95 per cent of muscle-building protein powders and shakes.

“These products still perform well but consumers are asking more now – they want products for pre-training, post-training, during training – and there are consumers that may not be training at all but are interested in the products for the calorie control or energy giving benefits they may contain,”​ Tobin said.

Mainstream sports nutrition products are most developed in the UK, Germany, France and Italy, she said, with eastern Europe growing most quickly.

Protein waters is a segment gaining a lot of attention and Kellogg’s had debuted a satiety water based on whey protein, although the dose of about one per cent whey protein was quite low.

A ten per cent level is seen as delivering greater benefits but formulation challenges remain.

She said the company had submitted a number of claims to the EU nutrition and health claims process, but as yet none had been adjudicated upon by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

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