By Scott Dicker
With more and more consumers trying to live an active and healthy lifestyle, the traditional sports nutrition market has expanded to a much more diverse crowd. The recent Sports Nutrition Marketplace show I attended, which is sponsored by the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), featured high-profile speaker presentations as well as an expo floor highlighting some of the latest ingredients to hit the market.
The show addressed topics ranging from the latest science of staple ingredients like protein and creatine to newer ingredients in the sports nutrition scene like enzymes, tart cherry, and collagen. Performance-based research, regulatory environment, and the current legal realities of ingredients and finished products were also covered. Here are five of my key takeaways from the conference.
1. Protein, Protein, Protein!
Dr. Douglas Kalman presented very interesting research on plant-based proteins being comparable to animal protein if consumed in high enough amounts.
Dr. Bill Campbell presented his research on how higher protein diets can increase muscle mass in female bodybuilders. This particular study got my attention on the basis of its subjects: in my experience, it’s rare to find studies centered on females, let alone female athletes. In this regard, the study strikes me as a great example of how the sports nutrition segment today includes a more diverse range of consumers than it has in the past.
2. New Paleo Twists
Chik Pro, a chicken meat protein isolate, offers a unique twist on the Paleo trend. It is high in branched-chain amino acids and low in allergens. I was able to try the cappuccino flavor of the Chik Pro powder and was pleasantly surprised by the taste. I really couldn’t taste the chicken at all.
3. New Collagen Items
More collagen products are expanding their reach to include the sports consumer, specifically around joint health. On the expo floor, I found collagen everything, from powders to gummies to brownies.
4. Investments in Consumer Trust
During the presentations, certifiers spoke from Informed Choice and the Banned Substances Control Group. It was great to hear about the progress these third-party certifiers are making on product and ingredient testing, which increases consumer trust in the industry.
5. The Importance of Brand Positioning
How brands position themselves in the market is more important than ever. Branding expert Dominic Leung from InterbrandHealth talked about how wellness is now a status symbol and how people are willing to spend whatever quantity of disposable income they have on their wellness. He spoke about how fitness is no longer only related to activity but how it also defines people’s personalities, as well. He also explained how consumers are looking for products that help them meet both their fitness and wellness goals. We at SPINS have had a close eye on this convergence of the sports and wellness consumers for some time, and we’ll continue to track the trends with additional specificity as we develop new Product Library enhancements surrounding this topic in the near future. (Stay tuned!)
All in all, this conference was a great way to read the current pulse of the industry as well as glimpse into the future. This sports nutrition trend continues to pick up steam with core consumers and new ones, and our team looks forward to following its evolution and offering SPINS’ unique insights on this exciting segment of the market.
Interested in sports nutrition? Learn more from SPINS’ own Scott Dicker in his article for Natural Products INSIDER following market trends and strategies to get the most from your workouts.