Hardcore bodybuilders are traditionally thought to be dedicated to muscle mass and tone, with general health being a secondary goal at best.
But Irish ingredients supplier Carbery has conducted an online survey of bodybuilders that suggests supplement users are starting to embrace broader health goals.
According to the survey, almost 20 per cent of respondents say they use sports nutrition products primarily to improve general health and wellness.
While traditional flavours like chocolate and vanilla remain the most popular, heavier users are showing an increasing interest in healthy, natural versions.
Interestingly, in relation to flavours there is a good acceptance of natural varieties among heavier users, although preferred flavours in final products tend towards traditional ones such as chocolate and vanilla.
However, Carbery said many sports enthusiasts are unaware of the natural qualities of whey protein and that industry must work harder to communicate its roots, origin and naturalness.
“It is clear that more work needs to be done by the industry to highlight the naturalness of whey to encourage consumers to look out for it,” said Paul Donegan, marketing manager for Carbery Food Ingredients.
Value for money
Beyond concern for health and an interest in naturalness, value for money was found to be a crucial factor in buying decisions. In the Carbery survey 70 per cent of respondents highlighted cost as a key factor.
The Irish company said the necessity to provide products that meet nutritional requirements, taste good and offer good value for money should drive product development in the sector.
Another opportunity lies in the timing of consumption. Carbery said the majority of respondents only use sports nutrition products after exercise and not before – highlighting a potential focus for future product development.
A final conclusion of the research was that sports enthusiasts and lifestyle users of sports nutrition products need more information about how to benefit most from sports supplements and how they can be used to suit their particular health and fitness goals.