The world of sports nutrition has experienced rapid growth and development over the past few years, mirroring the global rise of personal interest in fitness, nutrition, and mental health. A 2022 report revealed that the fitness and health industries are currently undergoing a growth rate of 8.7% per year from a revenue standpoint. The global sports nutrition market alone was valued at $34.8 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $67.9 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 5.4% from 2021 to 2030. As the sports nutrition category continues to evolve, there are many new trends that continue to emerge in brand identity, consumer demand, and ingredient development.
We are seeing brands that have traditionally focused solely on health and wellness begin to diversify by delving into the sports nutrition and/or active lifestyle spaces. Because of this shift, many of the longstanding sports nutrition brands are being crowded out by newer, more health-intentional brands that are selective in delivering science-backed, naturally-derived ingredients.
People around the world, of all ages and abilities, are seeking a more active lifestyle with improved nutritional options to fuel their growth. Most importantly, they are looking for products that actually work. With the knowledge that a product is formulated with high-quality and functional ingredients, athletes of all fitness levels are willing to pay a premium.
So, how do brands take advantage of these trends and appeal to the average consumer who is interested in clinically-proven sports products for the new age? There are a number of ways in which both traditional and new-age sports nutrition brands, along with health and wellness brands, can comfortably adapt to this shift in consumer demands and expectations.
Using brand name ingredients – these are the ingredients that are of higher quality, original and unadulterated, tested and certified, clinically studied, and that have a history of safe use.
Using more natural ingredients – consumers who want to use supplements look for more natural ingredients. They understand that supplements don’t “grow on trees”, but still expect natural options to be available so that they can avoid putting synthetic chemicals into their bodies.
Expanding the scope of sports products offered – this means going beyond the traditional focus of muscle building, endurance, and energy in sports nutrition. Adding ingredients to your line that help with holistic aspects of training and well-being – including pain, stress, sleep, vision, testosterone (for men), gut health, etc. – transforms your products to provide full-body benefits that are needed to withstand an active lifestyle in the long term.
There are many high-quality, clinically-proven ingredients to choose from for powering sports nutrition and supporting an active lifestyle. NutriScience offers a wide variety of innovative, branded ingredients to add multiple benefits to your next product formulation:
Various studies have shown that ashwagandha extract has correlations with the more standard areas of concern for athletes, such as improving endurance and building strength. In addition, ashwagandha extract optimizes the holistic areas of sports performance by improving sleep quality and quantity, and reducing stress & anxiety. High-potency Shoden® ashwagandha extract utilizes both roots and leaves to provide an industry-leading 35% withanolide glycosides. This low dose extract has been clinically studied for increasing testosterone in men (an incredible 14.5% increase), reducing stress, and enhancing sleep.
In training of any form, athletes can suffer from inflammation and joint pain due to repetitive impact or strenuous physical activity. Even people who simply attend a workout class may suffer a minor back injury from twisting in an unfamiliar way. Moringa seed, Moringa oleifera, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, and has been found to have high levels of glucomoringin and glucosinolates – these sulfur-containing compounds have been found to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. MorActive™ moringa seed extract has been clinically studied to relieve back discomfort and is Informed Ingredient Certified, making it a proven-effective, clean ingredient for sports formulations.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is most commonly found in green tea. It promotes a state of relaxation without drowsiness, and decreases levels of stress & anxiety – again, addressing the more holistic areas of sports performance. L-Theanine also works synergistically with caffeine and other stimulants to reduce jitters and the negative side effects associated with energy supplements or pre-workout. Suntheanine® L-theanine is the most extensively-studied L-theanine on the market, with hundreds of scientific and clinical studies backing its effects. These include studies on reaction time and cognitive performance for gaming and physical activity. Additionally, Suntheanine® is Informed Ingredient Certified for sports.
Natural Caffeine Extracts
In the realm of energy and stimulants to support active lifestyles, natural caffeine extracts are some of the cleanest options for athletes. Whether it’s to power through a tough workout or to have the stamina for a family hike, energy-supporting supplements or beverages are a common part of an active lifestyle. InnovaTea® and InnovaBean™ are natural caffeine extracts from tea and coffee, respectively. They are made from upcycled raw materials, providing a sustainable way to deliver clean energy.
Ingredients for Gut Health and Beyond
An established fact in sports performance is that the food we put into our bodies is just as important as the hours and effort we put into training. In order to get the most out of the nutrients in our food, our gut and digestive system need to be functioning well. Feeding our gut microbiome with pre- and probiotic foods and supplements not only supports our digestive system, but goes beyond to effect the various gut-organ axes within our body. Sunfiber® is a partially hydrolyzed guar fiber that serves as a soluble fiber and prebiotic to support gastrointestinal health, provide regularity, and promote healthy levels of cholesterol. Beneficially, taking Sunfiber does not result in the typical bloating, cramping and gas production that other fibers are known to produce, and is Informed Ingredient Certified for sports. ButyraGen™ is a direct butyrate generator that works as a prebiotic to generate butyrate (a key short chain fatty acid) independent of the state of the microbiome. It has a plethora of health benefits in areas of inflammation, immunity, metabolism, heart/lung/liver health, and brain and nervous system support.
The time is now to take advantage of these trends and be a part of the evolution of the sports nutrition industry. While competition in this category is strong, innovation in ingredients and products offers companies many opportunities to reach the modern active consumer. Today’s athletes have many options to choose from – utilizing new and novel ingredients, especially those of natural origin, will help your products rise to the top of the leaderboard as this category continues to gain momentum.
NutriScience Innovations develops and markets innovative ingredients for the dietary supplement and functional food markets. To learn more about our product selections that can be formulated into sports nutrition formulas, click on one of the ingredient logos below.