The sports nutrition market took a hit in 2020 as the pandemic shut down gyms and sporting events. But look for it to come roaring back in 2021 and beyond as a new focus on health becomes mainstream. Key trends are developing in the sports nutrition space, beyond improved performance and endurance there is increasing focus on immune and gut health as added benefits to help athletes feel and perform their best. Additionally, more consumers looking for plant-based ingredients and clean label products. Below we will dive into what is trending in this category including the new ingredients gaining the attention of consumers.

The Numbers
In 2019, US sports nutrition sales were $13.22 billion, according to Euromonitor International. While the market took a hit in 2020, these numbers are expected to grow to $14.4 billion, a 9.1% growth, in 2021. One of the biggest things to come out of the pandemic is the importance of overall health. Consumers now see that there is a link between being healthy, both physically and mentally, and immune health.

Additionally, many mainstream consumers are now more active, working to stay fit, and looking for more clean and natural ingredients rather than the traditional “chemical” ingredients of the sports nutrition market. This presents an opportunity for unique product introductions and category growth.


Trends in the Sports Nutrition Category

Clean Label

Consumers are reading labels more and more often. They want to see names and ingredients they recognize and know that they are legitimate and safe. There are certification companies, such as TruID Certified that work to verify the authenticity of an ingredient.

Serious and semi-competitive athletes are looking for ingredients that are safe and free from banned substances. Informed Ingredient offers testing for over 200 banned substances, offering professional and high-level competitors assurance of a clean product.

Immune Support

Immune health concerns have skyrocketed and there does not seem to be an end in sight as consumers now
know the value of having a healthy immune system. Many sports nutrition consumers take multiple products to help them meet their goals.

Adding functionality to a product, such as adding immune health ingredients to a protein powder, helps the consumer boost their immune system without having to add more products to their regimen.

Gut Health

Research has shown that gut health affects the entire body, from the brain to the skin. Consumers are incorporating
pre and probiotics into their sports nutrition routine to help in that overall wellness.

Not only are they taking prebiotics in capsule form, but prebiotic powders are also being added to protein shakes and foods. This also ties back in with immune support, a healthy gut is key to a healthy immune system.


Big Opportunities with Innovation

The sports nutrition market is expected to grow to $33 billion by 2028. While competition in the category is strong, innovation with new ingredients and new products offers companies many opportunities to reach the new expanded active consumer market. Today’s athletes have many options to choose from; utilizing new and novel ingredients, especially those of natural origin, will help your product rise to the top of the leaderboard as this category continues to gain momentum.

If you would like to learn more about NutriScience’s ingredients for sports nutrition, click the logos below.