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What Are The Sports Nutrition Packaging Trends for 2020?

Last updated: November-30,2020

What Are the Sports Nutrition Packaging Trends for 2020?

Visual disruption is a key factor in winning the game for brands. And in case you want to know what that is, it’s what makes consumers take notice of your product when pitted against similar and competing products. When done correctly, it can boost your sports nutrition supplement sales by as much as 300% month over month.

This was the spike in sales seen months after the launch of 4 Gauge[i], a sports nutrition supplement manufactured by a UK company. What was the “visual disruption”? A hard bottle, shaped like the shell casing of a shotgun. This was innovative packaging at its best – a product of creative thinking that hit the spot for both men and women aged 18 to 35.

In today’s market, a supplement product's packaging is more important than ever. Future Market Insights (FMI) emphasizes this and goes on to say, packaging can be the “growth engine” for nutraceuticals. Let me put it that another way:

Sports Nutrition Packaging Trend Graphic
Packaging is vital to the success of your product

With that concept established, allow me to take you on a quick tour of the latest packaging trends for sports nutrition supplements. Along the way, we hope you see the amazing impact supplement packaging can have on consumers, and discover how you can make the right packaging work for your sports nutrition supplements.

Right on the Money: Trends in Sports Nutrition Packaging

Sports nutrition has gone mainstream and this is evident from the increase in the number of gyms and fitness clubs that have sprouted up over the years.

Recreational and lifestyle users of sports nutrition supplements are on the rise. These users are keenly aware of the positive impacts regular exercise and fitness have on health and how the use of sports nutraceuticals can nutritionally support their fitness regimens. Another fact about these users? They are increasingly searching for and buying these supplements online[ii].

Do Women Purchase Dietary Supplements?

In a highly competitive market, it is easy to see why having a great product just doesn’t cut it these days. On the crowded shelves, or through the noise of online advertisements, supplement brand owners are vying for consumer attention. Packaging plays an important role. Supplement packaging that stands out from the crowd possesses 3 dynamic components that can help attract customers and generate sales:

  • Eye-catching labels: Brighter colors work better on screens[iii]
  • Information that communicates well to consumers
  • Smart packaging (think innovative, creative, user-friendly, and eco-friendly)

Here are three dietary supplement packaging design trends that should give your sports nutrition products a competitive edge:

Color Coding

This a new trend in packaging that allows supplement brands to associate health benefits with a particular color for their customers. Each color corresponds to the function of a supplement, making it easier for consumers to identify the health benefits that they are looking for with a particular color. Supplement brand owners can color code the entire bottle or just the caps of the bottles[iv].

How does this work to boost sales?

The quicker consumers can associate with the benefits they are looking for, the quicker they are likely to click the “Buy” button.

High-Pressure Processing

Also known as High Hydrostatic Pressure (HPP), high-pressure processing is another trend that is gaining momentum. While the technology is not new, more consumers are now aware of the benefits of this type of packaging making it more sought after[v],[vi].

How does high-pressure processing work?

While eliminating bacteria, mold, parasites, yeast, viruses, and other harmful material, high-pressure processing retains the full potency of vitamins and nutrients without affecting the color, texture, and flavor. The process uses water, and not heat, making it more sustainable than other packaging processes.

How does this affect the bottom line?

HPP packaging appeals to all customers; even those looking for eco-friendly packaging value this feature.

Environmental Responsibility

This is a major concern among consumers which has led to more green packaging purchase choices. Meeting the demands of this growing consumer segment, Nature’s Way came up with a simple, yet innovative way for their products to stand out and grab the attention of consumers, online and offline. While most of their competitors packaged their products in round bottles. Nature’s Way chose square bottles instead. As a sustainability measure, these square bottles were made of 97% post-consumer recycled plastics[vii].

Today’s trends also include matte opaque plastic bottles with an engaging brand message.

Supplement Packaging Tips for Brand Owners

How is Labeling and Packaging for Sports Nutrition Different from Other Markets?

Unlike many other products on the market, supplements are used every day by consumers. An important consideration for supplement brand owners is - how well/easily can their packaging be accommodated in a consumer’s personal living space and busy lifestyle? For this, brand owners must ask these questions:

  • Is their sports nutrition product convenient to use?
  • After the product is opened, particularly in the case of protein powders, are consumers able to maintain hygiene and reduce spilling?
  • Are they making it easy for consumers to take a standardized "scoop" every day?

Consumers are more likely to respond to transparency, trust and, clarity. These are key elements that can be communicated effectively through product packaging[viii].

Important reminder: While great supplement packaging design matters so does FDA-compliance. Non-compliant supplement brand owners stand in the danger of damaging their brand reputation.

Should My Supplement Packaging Be Different if I'm Selling Online Versus Brick and Mortar Stores?

In physical stores customers have to go to a specific location and have limited products to choose from.

In contrast, brand owners selling their supplements exclusively online can have their entire range available for the consumer to browse through and choose, but they need to be more competitive. Your digital label has just a few brief seconds to make an impact. In those few seconds, the label has to be attractive and speak about your product and the benefits it can provide. If you haven’t convinced your audience in those few seconds, a competing product is just a click away.

Packaging for online consumers also plays a bigger role in communicating brand message. It’s important for customers to have a good experience as they unwrap their box. Not only should the packaging be strong and eco-friendly, but it should be in harmony with the label, communicating a consistent brand message[ix].

Popular Sports Nutrition Packaging Options

There are various types of packaging options available for sports nutrition supplements, including -

  • Single & multi-dose packaging
  • Custom boxes
  • PET bottles
  • Hanging blister cards
  • Blister packs
  • Stick packs

Examples of Supplement Packaging and Labeling Designs

Stick packs or sachets[x] provide an alternative packaging option that is growing in popularity because of the convenience. Individual serving sizes are standardized, and consumers are assured of getting the right dose each time. This type of packaging is preferred because of their on-the-go mobility advantage and sustainability (less raw material is required to make them).

A study from Grand View Research shows plastic packaging (jars, bottles, canisters, etc.) for supplements being the preferred choice, while glass bottles were preferred for capsules, tablets, and liquids.

Consumers are also known to consider other factors in packaging such as outer boxes that are tamper-proof, package inserts providing additional information about the product, as well as closures and desiccants[xi].

Selecting a Sports Nutrition Supplement Packaging Option Doesn't Have to Be Difficult

The main purpose of packaging is to protect the dietary supplement you’ve created from environmental exposure that could compromise the efficacy of your product. Labeling and packaging also has the power to influence consumer purchasing behavior. Don’t let the noise of competitor product packaging drown your great product or limit its reach.

As part of our turnkey dietary supplement manufacturing services, we offer in-house packaging and label design services. While your product is being created in a GMP-certified facility, work with our award-winning packaging and label design team to create a product label and packaging solution that will unquestionably grab the attention of prospective buyers!

For more information about these services, call 855-492-7388 to speak to one of our representatives or send us your request to receive a free price quote.


[i] https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2018/01/12/E-commerce-Targeted-sports-nutrition-packaging-key-to-sales-boost

[ii] https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2019/total-consumer-report-2019/

[iii] https://thelabellink.com/packaging-design-online-vs-offline-sales/

[iv] https://www.plascene.com/3-trends-in-sports-nutrition-packaging

[v] https://www.foodqualityandsafety.com/article/hpp-food-packaging/

[vi] https://www.plascene.com/3-trends-in-sports-nutrition-packaging

[vii] https://www.nutritioninsight.com/news/Natures-Way-unveils-sustainable-supplement-packaging-with-shelf-standout-square-design.html

[viii] https://www.nutritioninsight.com/news/Sports-nutrition-packaging-Decoding-complex-products-for-the-mainstream-market.html

[ix] https://www.packworld.com/issues/e-commerce/article/13370693/how-will-ecommerce-affect-package-design

[x] https://www.deerland.com/marketbreakdown/stick-packs-provide-consumers-convenient-packaging-option-supplements/

[xi] https://www.packagingdigest.com/nutraceuticals/top-4-trends-nutraceutical-pkg-1806

May 8th, 2020

About the Author:

Vincent Tricarico

Vincent Tricarico is currently the Vice President of Contract Manufacturing at NutraScience Labs. With nearly 20 years of direct-to-consumer and business-to-business experience, Mr. Tricarico is a respected executive in the dietary supplement industry and is well-known for his ability to consistently build and grow successful teams that produce results. Over the years, his work has been published in many industry trade publications, such as Natural Products Insider, Nutritional Outlook, and WholeFoods Magazine.