The notable shift in consumer decision-making forms the basis of a talk that Thomas Morgan, market analyst – sports nutrition for Lumina Intelligence, will give at NutraIngredients’ Sports Nutrition Congress.
Along with his insights into consumer purchasing behaviour, Morgan will also discuss global cultural differences, ingredient diversification, targeting approaches and customer engagement in his upcoming presentation.
“Consumers may order products by the reviews to give an indication of quality,” said Morgan.
“But they may be more likely to consider a product with a 4.8 star rating having 4k reviews than another with only 3 reviews at 5 stars as the volume gives more credit.”
The inaugural congress, which takes place in Brussels this month, gives the new Lumina Intelligence team a chance to highlight the buyer’s intent on reading peer reviews and how they influence purchases made online.
On the flipside to purchases made off the back of a product judgement call is the influential nature of review specifics that lead companies to focus reformulation in line with customer comment.
This in-turn creates a 360-degree approach to sports nutrition, which blurs the lines between specific elite athlete and general fitness products.
“Sports nutrition is becoming more about daily life, and not just about peak performance in sports themselves – elements of sports nutrition will become more popular as people look for ways to improve their general life, rather than just they’re exercise goals,“ commented Morgan.
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Another driver in this market is the cultural differences that each country has and how this can shape the nature of sports nutrition products that are specifically targeted to them.
Spain for instance would be a good market to develop endurance or cardiovascular products as the culture shifts away from bodybuilding to athletics. However, what is also becoming clear are the human sensitivities and tolerance levels to certain ingredients are strong drivers for product diversification.
“Analysis is showing that countries with different demographics, like China, where the population has higher incidence of caffeine sensitivity, that there are only few products without caffeine," said Morgan.
"This signifies there is an opportunity for companies to formulate pre-workout products specific for the country, as they have a vast population that has a significant amount of online engagement.”
Morgan added that there were both overall and specific trends coming up, highlighting the sports nutrition market as an area, where in general there was a move towards personalisation (as with most markets) as consumers look for products designed for their needs.
"On a more specific front in the US and the UK we are seeing a clear shift in attitude depending on from what the proteins are derived, as compared to Spain or South Africa," he added.
“The UK market has seen a significant increase in vegan and ethically produced proteins. Plant based proteins have 17 different variants on the market, indicating that companies are reaching new demographics, but where reviews are concerned they are still slightly behind animal sourced proteins.”
Even well documented sports nutrition compounds like nitric oxide, known for its aesthetic boosting qualities and used by bodybuilders for that ‘pumped’ look during competition, has become more of a performance-enhancing supplement and not just about the look.
Ultimately though, the online conversation is linking this engagement with sports nutrition products that is having the biggest impact.
Additionally, there is a real movement towards specialisation with woman’s and even a baby range of protein-based products coming to market for everyone’s wellness.
“The types of products in the sports nutrition market are evolving the more we know about the human body. We can tailor products to needs that arise,” added Morgan.
“We are seeing specific strains of brewer’s yeast combined with probiotics to improve immunity as an example. As these new areas of sports nutrition grow, they will gain reviews that will help shape the market for years to come.”
ABOUT LUMINA INTELLIGENCE
Lumina Intelligence is an insights service delivering a unique perspective on high-growth food and nutrition markets brought to you by William Reed, publisher of food and drink news sites including Nutraingredients.com and FoodNavigator.com.
Lumina Intelligence has been created to equip the industry with tools to measure the evolution of science, online consumer engagement and regulation and its impact on product formulation, labelling and new product development.
Our aim is to help users pinpoint trends and opportunities in niche markets, helping maximise the chance for success for new product launches.
With data from over 20 countries, Lumina provides in-depth ingredient analysis and product labelling information across Probiotics, Sports Nutrition and Sustainability.