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Information on Sports Nutirion

Sports Nutrition Supplements are one of the most exciting and fastest growing markets in the UK. With continued growth throughout the last 2 decades this category has become of mass market interest and crosses a large demographic target.

The concept of a Sports Nutrition Supplement is a food-based product consumed to enhance physical performance in a given sport or activity. Due to the physiological demands of exercise, the body requires extra nutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and minerals) to support the growth of new muscle and elicit physical recovery.

Essentially, a Sports Nutrition Supplement allows the consumer to add specific nutrients to their normal diet to support their increased physical activity. This is generally achieved through convenient and enjoyable delivery formats such as shakes, bars, tablets and even fortified foods.

The history of athletes consuming specific foods or nutrients to enhance their physical performance is a relatively new concept. Over the last 100 years scientists and competitors have been building their knowledge on how diet can support the needs of physical performance.

The concept of Sports Nutrition Supplements is suggested to have been born in the 60’s where scientists condensed carbohydrates in to the world’s first energy drink. Fast forward to the 70’s and 80’s and we started to see bodybuilders looking at ways to consume extra nutrients to support their extreme forms of training and build extreme levels of muscle mass.

Alongside scientists and nutritionists, bodybuilders really drove the concept of supplementation in the 80’s and the market suddenly became relevant. Technology and manufacturing developed as supplements were being recognised as beneficial to many populations requiring extra nutrients such as armed forces, astronauts and obviously health enthusiasts.

The market, as we see it today, has come a long way from the 80’s with products now being built and accepted by the masses. Sports Nutrition Supplements are shaping the future of other foods due to their controlled nutritional content and positive impact on health.

Sports Nutrition Supplements come in many forms in today’s modern market. Largely based around convenience you will see the following across the most popular brands on the market…

Powders: The most popular form is a powder supplement, where the consumer mixes a specific amount of powder with water, milk or another liquid to create a drinkable supplement. Powders can essentially cover all genres of supplement including protein, pre-workout, recovery, weight loss, weight gain and meal replacement. These powders are commonly contained in large plastic tubs or resealable foil pouches.

Snacks: The fastest growing format of Sports Nutrition Supplements are snacks such as bars, cookies and even crisps. Much like other snacks, they are built for taste and convenience but with the added bonus of containing controlled levels of nutrients such as protein.

Drinks: The format best known for energy drinks has expanded to other product types such as protein shakes, amino acid drinks and also pre-workout drinks. Built around convenience, taste and refreshment these types of beverage are ideal for the mass market as a familiar and reliable format.

Tablets and Capsules: This delivery format is often used for ingredients or nutrients that are required in small doses. Vitamins and minerals are a great example and most commonly consumed in this format, although more specific ingredients such as caffeine, amino acids and herbal extracts are also more relevant in this form.

The overall UK Sports Nutrition Market was worth in excess of £800m in 2017 with strong growth projected to continue.

Whilst the majority of sales have been generated through e-commerce channels and specialist online brands, the UK has seen the fastest growth rate in retail sales throughout Europe. Sales through leading grocers and chemists have grown in excess of £100m in 2017 from £66m in 2016. Some retailers, including pound shops and discounters, are now becoming destination shops for sports nutrition consumers as the market becomes more and more accessible to the masses.

Convenience products have shown strongest growth in value and volume (ready to drink beverages, protein bars, etc) in recent years. This highlights the relevance and importance of ‘grab and go’ products to the mass market. Recruitment of consumers in to this category is heavily influenced by these convenience products, before upscaling and investment in to powder based products. Powder based products continue to be the most popular product format throughout the global market and make up 65% of total sports nutrition products purchased in Europe.