Today’s sports nutrition consumer now may be anyone from a professional athlete to a casual gym-goer buying a pre-workout nutrition bar or an isotonic beverage after a brief weekly workout. This has driven a complete transformation of the predominant use case for sports nutrition. Casual and lifestyle users are less likely to focus on performance nutrition than on active nutrition, or even simply on healthy living. Research also shows that these “active lifestylers” are influenced more by sensory appeal (e.g. taste) and align with more mainstream needs (e.g. convenience) than the specialists, such as athletes training for an event, who require a more extensive nutritional program. Active lifestylers are unlikely to order large vats of protein powder, but are very likely to pick up a sports bar at the store.
Though many trends in sports nutrition markets apply across the world, significant differences exist between regions, especially in Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Though the North American sports nutrition market is by far the world’s largest, the one enjoying the most rapid growth is Asia-Pacific’s. Currently worth $1.4bn, it is forecast to reach $2.3bn through 2023. A very high proportion of this is accounted for by three countries; Japan, China, and India generate 90% of total value sales in the region. The phenomenal growth in the Asian market (CAGR 12.7%) is being driven by increased interest in fitness and healthy lifestyles.
A focus for many active Asian consumers is immune health. Over half (52%) of internet users in China list improving their immunity as one of their reasons for taking part in sports and activities. For this reason, sports nutrition products that can help strengthen and maintain the immune system may resonate particularly well with consumers in this region.
Keeping athletes primed for performance
Athletes at all levels can face harsh environmental factors (increased exposure to crowds or travel exhaustion) as well as physical and psychological stress. These factors can negatively impact the immune system and overall physical health. This can lead to missed training days or critical workouts and impact performance and wellness goals. So while workout and training goals are different for many, the I importance of staying healthy and ready to rain is essential to all.
Demand for immune health products has reach the widening sports nutrition market, but consumer what to know the products they consume do what they claim. With research and transparency a key purchase driver, the sports nutrition market needs more products with clinically-proven immune health support.
Science-backed immune support
Creating a product with clinically-proven immune health ingredients is one way to reach the sports nutrition market whitespace. For example, Wellmune, a natural immune health ingredient, helps athletes stay healthy during and after intense exercise, allowing for harder and longer training. Wellmune, is a proprietary baker’s yeast beta 1,3/1,6 glucan supported by more than a dozen published, peer-reviewed clinical studies, many of which took place in a sports nutrition context. This research has found Wellmune helps keep athletes stay physically healthy and promotes mental clarity by helping to increase vigor, while reducing fatigue, tension, confusion and upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) symptoms in marathon runners.
Download our white paper to learn more about personalizing sports nutrition for the expanding consumer base.
 GlobalData Ingredient Insights: Energy
 Euromonitor Passport, 2019
 Euromonitor, Sports Nutrition in Asia Pacific, January 2019
 Mintel, Trends in Health & Wellness—China, August 2017