The pandemic was a challenging time for the sports nutrition category, but it did bounce back in 2022 with a ton of new products and brands. So what innovations in sports and active nutrition are we seeing and what kinds of formulations are consumers demanding? Vaughn DuBow, the Global Director of Marketing – Microbiome Solutions at ADM, said gut microbiome-supporting solutions extends far beyond what we might normally think of in terms of active nutrition or sports nutrition.
“What I mean by that is if you look at what active nutrition consumers are looking for, they actually have five top areas that they're focusing on in the upcoming year. They not only want to be physically active, but beyond that, they want to make sure that they're taking products or eating foods that are going to support their immune function at 63%, 59% noted that they want to improve their digestive health, 55% noted they want to improve their mental well-being, 53% want to improve their heart health, and 51% want to improve their strength. So with that being stated, it's such a wide open category that really, the only one ingredient category that can touch upon all of these benefits is going to be the microbiome. So that's why we really believe that microbiome- supporting solutions are the future of active nutrition,” he said.
DuBow added that other key focus areas in the active nutrition sector that he’s watching are within the beverage space.
“The first one is hydration. And we've seen hydration drinks not only really explode over the last couple of years in popularity, but the projected growth is massive as well. So predominantly with those, we see electrolytes being utilized. We also see various other amino acids like beta-alanine or L-carnitine. And we're noticing that they're starting to get beyond just hydration and are starting to be perceived with other benefits such as endurance or muscle building or even cognitive function, even when they might not have all of those ingredients included. So hydration is a massive one.
And then right beyond that is going to be energy. And that one makes a bit more sense within the beverage space because we all know how big the energy drink sector is. What I've been finding exciting about energy drinks is that they're starting to move away from simply being a jolt of caffeine and nothing more. They're starting to become much more well-rounded formulas given consumers actual functional
benefits besides just caffeine-based energy.”
To hear about ADM’s recently launched Active Lifestyle Blend and the research behind it, listen to the NutraCast.