Here’s a fun exercise: on your way to work or an appointment, keep an eye out for people running, jogging, cycling. If the weather is decent, we bet you will see at least one.
All these individuals are prime candidates for a sports nutrition/active lifestyle-support product. It is a diverse market, and it isn’t about getting the perfect beach body.
Nutrition Business Journal’s newly published Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report 2023 illustrates a voluminous and vibrant category.
The research team queried 1,000 habitual sports nutrition consumers aged 18 to 65 to uncover purchase drivers and use patterns. When asked why they use sports nutrition products 63% of respondents replied, “to improve my general health.” Next was “to improve my sports performance or active lifestyle.” Also up there was “to improve muscle tone or maintain weight,” ticked by 35% of those surveyed.1
Currently, the total market of sports nutrition and weight management products in the US is worth approximately $70 billion — and this is expected to set a record of a little more than $90 billion in 2026. After a rather listless 2020 due to pandemic restrictions, sales of sports nutrition galloped out of the gate to gain 21.6% but slowed to a more modest growth of 10.6% in 2022; similar growth is expected this year. 1
Products targeted to support and improve fitness gains and athletic performance are diverse, but the needs remain the same: weight/fat loss, protein intake, hydration, focus/concentration, joint protection, and recovery. Immune and sleep support along with effective stress management are also critical for users in this category.
The “sports nutrition” category has grown in recent years — it still encompasses the athletes and dedicated fitness enthusiasts. But it is also catering to healthy active adults of all ages who prioritize heightened vitality and wellness, and being fit physically and mentally — but aren’t interested in becoming competitive or working out extensively in the gym. Recognizing this, Nutrition Business Journal announced that it has renamed its “Sports Nutrition Issue” as the Active Lifestyle Issue.”
We believe this confirms what brands and formulators know — that sports nutrition is not just increasing muscle size and strength. In fact, this is cited as the fourth reason why occasional sports nutrition users would purchase a new product (25%). The first two are tied — promote improved energy (28%) and for joint support (28%). Another popular reason is faster recovery (20%).1
For those who use sports nutrition regularly, 63% do so to improve general health, 39% want to address a nutritional deficiency, and 32% want to address a specific health condition (such as sleep, stress/mood).
The most popular daily supplements/beverages that sports nutrition users take to support their active lifestyles and sports nutrition endeavors are energy products (36%), pre-workout energy formula (15%), and adaptogens such as ashwagandha and ginseng (12%). 1
In the past 12 months, 25% of active consumers stated that they have used energy supplements (such as caffeine), while 21% used herbs, and 20% used pre-workout and other sports performance-related supplements. In their energy beverages, 11% of sports nutrition users seek out caffeine, and 4% look for ashwagandha. 1
We believe these fresh statistics paint a portrait of new product potential and opportunities.
For example, clearly, energy is a top priority among regular consumers of sports nutrition products and for good reason: who wants to feel the drain soon after beginning exercise or play?
Caffeine remains a go-to ingredient, but many people are repelled by potential jitters. CaffXtend® is a natural caffeine ingredient that releases caffeine consistently throughout the day, allowing for satisfying extended workouts and no jitters. Designed using Nutriventia’s N2DS SR platform, CaffXtend® is encapsulated in microbeads to gradually release caffeine over a 12‐hour period.
Brands and their consumers may benefit from caffeine as a natural energy source because caffeine is a clean and simple ingredient that practically everyone knows; and 35% of respondents pegs this as the top reason they plan on buying a sports nutrition product within the next 12 months. 1
Another reason they cited is the attraction of products with added functional benefits, such as adaptogenic activity (17%). Adaptogens are powerful at counteracting stress. Stress management is an unaddressed factor in exercise and sports performance: chronic high stress robs us of the ability to marshal energy for physical endeavors. 1
One of the most well-known and sought-after adaptogens is Ashwagandha. And there are many on the market. Prolanza™ is distinctive and perfect for the active nutrition market as it works in a single small dose of 300 mg daily, and a human clinical trial has shown it provides adaptogenic support for a prolonged period, and has high bioavailability, making it ideal for formulations that efficiently manage stress.
Stress-related insufficient sleep is a condition-specific concern that active individuals seek to solve, as it often leads to unsatisfactory workouts. And melatonin remains the top non-habitual and natural way to support earlier sleep onset and improved sleep duration. Melotime™ is Nutriventia’s proprietary melatonin that helps provide sustained 8-hour sleep through a proprietary and proven technology.
A significant number of active consumers interested in sports nutrition and related natural support want to preserve joint function as both aging and repetitive motion can accelerate wear and tear of knee joints. Joint support is a top reason for occasional sports nutrition users to purchase in this category. In fact, according to NBJ’s report, by 2025, a full 10% of sports nutrition product sales will be for joint support. 1
Curcumin (turmeric) is perhaps the most widely known herb for supporting joint structure and function, as well as enhancing comfort. Typical turmeric has naturally occurring challenges but TurmXTRA® 60N has resolved those and has more value-added appeal. TurmXTRA® 60N is validated through several pre-clinical and human clinical research to provide joint and muscle support at 1/10th the dose of other turmeric extracts. Low dose, high efficacy equals greater compliance, and that creates consumer trust and appreciation.
Finally, for those who do work out more strenuously, they may need to consider shoring up their immunity. Vitamin C is the best-known immune-support and antioxidant vitamin. C-Fence is Nutriventia’s proprietary single-dose, 24-hour optimized vitamin C.
As new fitness trends and sports gain traction, they encourage more people to become active, or even more so than they have been. From stress management to immune support, energy and joint protection, sports nutrition has evolved to include any consumer who wants to get into action.
- Nutrition Business Journal, “Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report 2023,” pp. 2, Survey was launched February 2nd 2023, Last Accessed 06/22/23