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Sports Nutrition Flavoring and Market Trends for 2020

Last updated: February-22,2022

Sports Nutrition - Flavors and Market Trends

With the market size[i] of $15.6 billion in 2019, the global sports nutrition market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.9% from 2020 to 2027. Besides rapid urbanization, increasing disposable income, and an increase in the number of gyms and fitness centers, increasing demand for various types of dietary supplements, energy drinks, and protein bars among bodybuilders and athletes is the primary driving factor for growth.

What is Sports Nutrition?

Sports nutrition plays an important role in optimizing the essential effects of physical activity for a bodybuilder, professional athlete in training, or for anyone who is exercising to improve mental and physical health. Proper sports nutrition is the key to an individual’s optimized health, performance, and recovery.[ii],[iii],[iv]

Who Are the Key Consumers of the Global Sports Nutrition Market?

Athletes and bodybuilders primarily drive the sports nutrition market. Various nutrition supplements for professional athletes and bodybuilders are developed to enhance their overall performance, health, and muscle growth. Also, conventionally, sports drinks were used by bodybuilders and athletes to replenish the water level in their body.

However, with the consistently increasing number of lifestyle and recreational users, these products are no more restricted to their traditional audience and are undergoing a mass adoption worldwide. The ever-extending end-customer demographics have also resulted in form and flavor variations.[v]

Importance of Flavors in Sports Nutrition

Today, the flavor of a product plays a critical role in both the initial purchase process, as well as the decision to re-order it. According to studies conducted by Mintel, more than 75% of consumers are influenced by the flavor of a sports nutrition product when purchasing it. Gone are the days of standard flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Your consumers demand excitement and innovation and are highly influenced by new flavors. Further, innovative flavors help your supplements stand out among other competitive products.[vi]

Sports Nutrition Flavor Trends

Based on the revelation of the Flavors of the Future 2020 report published by the global supplier and manufacturer of flavors, extracts, and essences, we’ve got some of the trending flavors for sports nutrition. Some of these trends are established and mainstream, while others are emerging and growing.[vii]

Emerging Sports Nutrition Flavors

The sports nutrition flavors that are in their infancy and ‘ahead of the curve’ are Baklava and Gianduja. Baklava is a sweet Greek dessert made from the combination of honey, nuts and filo pastry with a recommended pairing of rose, orange blossom, or maple syrup. Gianduja is made from a mixture of hazelnut and chocolate and can be paired with other well-recognized flavors, including peanut, vanilla, or rum.

Sports Nutrition Supplement Flavors That Are Growing in Popularity

Among the flavor trends that are somewhat established but are yet to make in the mainstream are forest honey, carob, and rum and raisin. While forest honey, also known as honeydew or pine honey, is popular due to its perceived healthiness, rum and raisin, which is a classic ice cream flavor with the Mediterranean origin, have the potential to “scoop up” sales. On the other hand, carob offers a natural flavor pairing for sports nutrition products due to its similarity with cocoa powder and can hit the market with consumers seeking alternatives to standard milk chocolate profiles.

Emerging Trend: Unique Flavor Combinations in Mainstream Flavors

Consumers are becoming more interested in alternative citrus flavors like Bergamot that ideally pairs with tangerine, grapefruit, or rosemary. Savory sports mixture flavors are trending over dessert flavor combination and feta cheese paired with olives, tomato, and apple is catching up. In the mainstream, fig is also an emerging flavor when paired with cardamom, cinnamon, or guava.

Well-Established Sports Supplement Flavor Trends

Pomegranate is increasingly used in beverages because of its health benefits. Furthermore, its appeal enhances when paired with more familiar flavors, including raspberries, apples, and black tea. Apricot is another established flavor and is paired often with peach, coconut, rose, or botanicals like thyme and basil.

Additional Information on Flavoring Sports Nutrition Supplements

If you're thinking about creating a plant-based protein powder supplement, I recently recorded a podcast with our New Business Development Manager, Ryan Gillen, about this very topic. I highly suggest watching it to avoid making any mistakes that could damage your brand.

Sports Nutrition Market Overview

The growing importance of leading an active lifestyle is driving the sports nutrition market. A study conducted in 2018 by the ‘Physical Activity Council’ shows that around 64% of the U.S. population aged 6 and above are engaged in jogging, running, high-intensity training, and similar activities. People are becoming more aware of consuming adequate nutrients and adopting healthier lifestyles, and all this is positively impacting the sport nutrition supplements market.

Popular Sport Nutrition Supplements

Today, the market is loaded with a variety of dietary sport nutrition supplements, including plant and animal-based protein powders, capsules, tablets, etc. Some of the popular sport nutrition supplements are Branched-Chain-Amino-Acids (BCAA), B-vitamins, caffeine, creatine, hydration and sports drinks, and various protein supplements. According to market research, the sports food segment has significant growth rate potential due to the trend of meal replacement bars such as protein bars and energy bars.[viii]

Regional Analysis

With a dominating share of 61%, North America led the global sports nutrition market in 2019. Various factors like a growing number of health centers and gyms, government initiatives, and sports nutrition product launches besides the presence of key market players in the region contributed to this regional market growth. While an increasing number of health-conscious individuals is the driving factor for the European region, Asia-Pacific is anticipated to be the fastest-growing sports nutrition market due to the rising popularity of these supplements.

Sports Nutrition Trends in 2020

Current trends in sports nutrition[ix] reveal that:

  • Reviews and star ratings are vital criteria that consumers regularly use as part of the purchasing decision process.
  • With one-fifth of sports nutrition products making at least one clean label claim, there is an increasing emphasis on clean label statements. It includes the anti-doping linked ‘No banned substances’ besides ‘No artificial sweeteners’ and ‘No GMOs.’ Clean label sports nutrition products are typically priced 25% above the category average.
  • Demand for plant proteins such as pea or soy is increasing as an alternative to animal proteins.
  • Pre-workouts are becoming more popular on social media with the #preworkout hashtag, gathering 4 million posts on Instagram alone.

With over 120 years of sports nutrition contract manufacturing experience, NutraScience Labs can help supplement brand owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to manufacture high-quality, clean label sports nutrition supplements. In addition to offering exceptional turnkey manufacturing services like packaging, labeling and fulfillment solutions, our in-house certified food scientist can work with you to create many of the flavor options outlined in this article!

For more information about our custom supplement manufacturing services, call 855-492-7388 to speak to one of our knowledgeable representatives or send us your request to receive a free manufacturing price quote!


[i] https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/sports-nutrition-market

[ii] https://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/articles/sports-nutrition.html

[iii] https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/search/?q=sports+nutrition

[iv] https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-019-0329-0

[v] https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/sports-nutrition-market

[vi] https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2018/11/08/Flavour-hotlist-The-emerging-sports-nutrition-trends-set-to-excite-shoppers

[vii] https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2019/11/25/Taste-experts-reveal-sports-nutrition-flavour-inspirations-for-2020

[viii] https://www.verywellfit.com/sports-supplements-and-athletic-performance-3119362

[ix] https://www.nutraingredients-latam.com/Article/2019/10/14/Sports-Nutrition-key-trends-for-2020

August 13th, 2020

About the Author:

Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - Mr. Bruno possesses over 43 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master's degree in nutrition and a second Master's degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Senior Director of Product Innovation at Twinlab Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.