Consumers catch the exercise bug: Bringing probiotics into sports nutrition

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

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getty images

Related tags Sports nutrition Probiotics postbiotics mood Weight management

The global pandemic has caused the majority of consumers to exercise more and invest in their health. This, combined with the mega-trend for holistic wellness, will lead to an uptick in interest in sports nutrition with microbiome health benefits, says ADM.

New research from the global human and animal nutrition producer reveals that COVID-19 has changed consumer attitudes markedly. ADM's OutsideVoice data reveals that 57% of people say they are going to exercise more in the future than they are today and 48% of consumers will purchase more items related to health and nutrition.

Brad Schwan, VP of category marketing at ADM, will reveal the research results and provide insights into how sports nutrition companies can tap into the emerging trends during the second episode of NutraIngredients' Sports and Active Nutrition Interactive Broadcast Series​ airing on Wednesday (October 7th).

The episode, which follows last week's instalment on the subject of 'Performance and Recovery', will discuss science and market insights from ADM representatives alongside Professor of Nutritional immunology Philip Calder, and personalised nutrition expert Mariette Abrahams. 

Schwan will inform viewers that COVID-19 has been a "unique catalyst" that has made consumers - even those previously uninterested in exercise - more willing to put time, focus, and investment into their fitness and nutrition.

ADM therefore sees a big opportunity for growth in the broader consumer category – those who exercise regularly but don’t consider themselves to be athletes. 

In order to tap into this growing audience based, Schwan says its essential to understand these consumers' perceptions of 'health' and 'fitness' and provide products with the right ingredients, benefits and positioning.

Mental wellbeing

“We need to think about how they think about wellness. Our research shows they think about it in a very holistic way. If you ask them why they exercise, strength and mental wellbeing are tied as the number one reasons.

“Sports nutrition brands that address these more holistic benefits will see growth."

In fact, ADM's research shows that 84% of consumers see mental health as being just as important as physical well-being.

Schwan points out that many people turn to exercise as a form of stress relief and this an audience that sports nutrition brands can better cater to with specifically formulated products focusing on mental wellbeing.

He notes that one key way to do this will be with the use of specific probiotic strains which have been scientifically shown to improve mood and reduced stress​.

Weight management

ADM’s research reveals that a second key consumer health concern is around metabolic health and weight management, with 51% of consumers indicating that they are concerned about being less active or gaining weight during the pandemic. What’s more, there is awareness of the link between more severe responses to COVID and obesity.

To cater for this market, the firm offers BPL1, a probiotic strain supported by positive clinical research in the areas of abdominal visceral fat reduction and weight management. BPL1 is also available in a heat-treated form (HT-BPL1) - a postbiotic which does not contain live microorganisms but features many of the same benefits that are associated with probiotics.  

Postbiotics are non-viable microorganism metabolites that may have similar benefits to probiotics but can be used in a wider array of food and beverage applications because they are heat treated and do not contain living microorganisms. They are also much more tolerant to heat and moisture during processing, making it possible to incorporate them under harsher formulation environments.

The final episode of the Sports and Active Nutrition Broadcast Series, airing on October 14th, will focus on 'Brain Health' with a particular focus on eSports. To register for free and ensure you don't miss the next two episodes, click here​. 


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