Sports nutrition to muscle-in on weight management as interest in 'cutting calories' thins

By Nikki Cutler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sports nutrition to muscle-in on weight management as interest in 'cutting calories' thins
Sports nutrition will overtake weight management within five years as consumer interest in calorie-control loses weight, insights revealed at Nutraingredients’ Sports Nutrition Congress this week.

Kicking off the event in Brussels (24th​ and 25th​ September), Pia Ostermann, beauty and fashion analyst for Euromonitor International, got engines revving when she revealed the soaring scale of the sports nutrition market. She asserted that consumers want to add nutrients to their diet rather than cut calories, which is setting the pace for sports nutrition to overtake weight management.

“In the context of the global consumer health marketplace, sports nutrition represents about 6% of the market,”​ she explained.

“It’s continuing to grow with consumer health becoming an increasingly important subject and we are predicting it will overtake the weight management sector by 2023.

“More and more people are using sports nutrition products for broader heathy living goals. Weight loss 

Pia Ostermann, beauty and fashion analyst for Euromonitor International
Pia Ostermann, beauty and fashion analyst for Euromonitor International

supplements are suffering as people look for products that have a broader active lifestyle message and are more about adding something into the diet rather than taking something out.”

According to Euromonitor, the US has the biggest sports nutrition market globally, accounting for a massive 58% of global spending in 2018, which is unsurprising considering it has been an established market in that country for around 30 years. The UK comes in second and Australia comes in third on the global leader board thanks to their fitness and gym-going cultures.

Protein sales: Bulking-up

Ostermann added: “Protein powder dominates and is expected to expand. It has long appealed to gym goers as a muscle building product but it now also appeals to the mass market and there are now more casual users moving into the market as they see it as a healthy product to help them get a strong and toned body.”

Euromonitor splits themarket into three main sections: core users, casual users and fitness lifestyle users. The core are the well-informed body builders and athletes who consume high volumes of sports nutrition. The casual users are those buying from the mass-market channel who see these products as an essential part of an active lifestyle but are more likely to opt to products based on convenience and taste. Finally, the fitness lifestyle users are urban youngsters who are image conscious and therefore want big brands, clean labels and sustainable call-outs.  Ostermann predicted that brand extensions and new marketing techniques are required for brands to appeal to all the consumers in the market.

To further increase the audience, there is a growing number of female users participating in strength training, with many influencers online posting photographs of their muscles using the hashtag #StrongNotSkinny.

The want for transparency is also becoming more important to all consumers but Ostermann concluded that plant-based protein was the trend to watch.

“Whilst whey protein still dominates the market, more consumers are looking to cut back on their animal-derived food consumption with more consumers looking for clean labels and plant based products.”

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