Special edition: Inside Europe's food supplement markets

Sports nutrition in Europe - market analysis

By Anna Bonar

- Last updated on GMT

The fastest growing consumer group were ‘lifestyle users’, making a transition into a more active life, according to ESSNA.
The fastest growing consumer group were ‘lifestyle users’, making a transition into a more active life, according to ESSNA.

Related tags Sports nutrition European union

European sports supplements market is predicted to grow by 2.3% a year to 2018 as product awareness rises, say analysts.

Analyst TechNavio said increased sports nutrition knowledge among non-elite sportspeople and lifestyle users was driving growth and the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) put the market at €3.6bn in 2011, which was the most recent available figure. The market is expected to reach €4.1bn by 2016. 

“The European sports nutrition industry has grown substantially in the past five years, and we fully expect its success to continue. Its growth is a testament not only to the innovation of manufacturers and retailers, many of whom are ESSNA members, but also to the fact that sports nutrition is no longer the preserve of elite athletes but is routinely used by members of the public across the European Union," ​said Dr Adam Carey, Chairman of ESSNA.

EU vs Eastern Europe

Breaking that down, Euromonitor data shows that sports nutrition in eastern Europe reached €146mn in 2013 and is set to grow to €230mn in 2018. That's Russia, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Serbia, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Belarus and Georgia.

Carbohydrate drinks were the biggest-selling category of sports nutrition products in Europe generally, according to ESSNA.

Protein products were the most popular in Eastern Europe and were predicted to grow from €76.5mn to €121.8mn between 2013 and 2018, said Euromonitor analysts.

Europe’s key vendors were Atlantic Multipower, EA Pharma, Enervit, and GlaxoSmithKline, according to TechNovio. Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe the strongest positions were held by Olimp, Atlantic Multipower and Nutrend.


ESSNA warned players needed to be careful of changing laws and regulations in the EU and beyond around health claims, Good Manuafcturing Processes (GMP) and more.

ESSNA said its focus over the next few months would be working with the European Commission on their forthcoming report assessing the necessity, if any, of provisions for food intended for sportsmen.

ESSNA and TechNavio agreed that the industry’s biggest threat was the availability of often illegal and potentially dangerous counterfeit products.

“Sports nutrition has successfully made its case to mainstream consumers and the industry has demonstrated how its products can aid performance, support hydration and boost recovery. The challenge for the industry now is two-fold," ​Carey told NutraIngredients. 

"Firstly it must maintain its momentum if it is continue to grow. Secondly, the industry needs to work collectively to stamp out the availability of illegal products that do not comply with EU regulations These products are dangerous and consumers must ensure they are only using genuine sports nutrition products from reputable manufacturers and retailers,” ​he added.

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