Organic powders made from plants are generally minimally processed, preserving their benefits for athletes and enabling them to improve their performance. During the pandemic, athletes became more aware of health and moved towards common, organic, and natural supplements without synthetic ingredients.
Organic products form a significant part of the sports nutrition market and are responsible for bolstering this market, too. As per a recently published report by Future Market Insights, the global sports nutrition market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3% from 2022 to 2032, owing to these shifting consumer trends.
Clean label: The future of sports nutrition
The sports nutrition market has undergone a major overhaul to meet the demands of consumers who are becoming more health conscious. Studies have found 48% of UK consumers who do not consume sports nutrition products are skeptical about the benefits of the products. And 69% of consumers consuming sports nutrition products agree that the products contain too many artificial ingredients.
The clean label drive has given rise to environmental and ethical claims. Sustainability, transparency, and responsibility are growing as a result of this. Sustainability is achieved when consumers consider the products to be clean and safe to consume. Mentioning the ingredients and claims clearly on the pack can yield a significant rise in attraction. Around 46% of UK consumers consider it to be good for one's health and 24% consider it to be highly nutritious.
Further, 86% of consumers said they are more likely to buy products that build trust. It is easier to build trust when labels are transparent or when ingredients are easy to understand. Gaining trust will enable companies to take responsibility for maintaining their products' quality and provide transparency between them and their customers. One example is Vejo, the first pot-based blender in the world that includes blockchain technology in the lid of the capsule-based functional ingredients. As a result, consumers can determine precisely where the ingredients in their products come from.
Since consumers have become more aware of supplement health profiles and have become savvier about supplements, supplement business owners may consider working with third-party organizations. A non-profit organization called the Clean Label Project certifies supplements for environmental and industrial contaminants, as well as their ingredient quality, and offers them "clean label" certifications. These trends are inclined towards increasing the demand for organic food products and supplements, which in turn will increase the demand for sports nutrition products.
New technology advances, distribution contracts to boost demand
Food supplements companies are implementing a variety of new strategies to ensure their presence on the global market. By focusing on organic ingredients, they develop new science-based technology, new ways to engage customers, and new distribution channels to increase product sales.
ProSource, a veteran manufacturer of supplements from North America, continues to be one of the top producers of creatine monohydrate supplements with its ultra-pure German creatine monohydrate. Among its newest ventures, the ProSource Amino Fusion represents a bold evolution in the science of muscle performance and growth enhancement. Amino Fusion supports muscle growth and recovery via its two-phase muscle and growth technology and organic ingredients from whey protein. With the first wave, PepForm® Leucine Peptides provide a rapid intra-workout flood of leucine that triggers maximum protein synthesis. Using instantized BCAAs, a second wave results in a steady flow of amino acids into the blood, improving endurance and post-workout growth and recovery.
It is a cutting-edge muscle supplement based on the latest research that can be used before, during and after working out to enhance physique and performance. As a result, the company combined science with organic ingredients to enhance performance and health. ProSource's commitment to expanding the boundaries of sports nutrition supplementation is demonstrated by its new science of faster, more efficient BCAA delivery.
Labrada is another popular organic sports supplement company that has won awards for its Lean Body line of meal replacements. Through its weekly newsletters, informative websites, videos, social media, dedicated customer service, and online contests, the company strives to engage and educate its customers. One of the company's recent marketing strategies is the signing of a long-term distribution contract with The Honickman Companies through its Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of New York in March 2022. Labrada Nutrition's Lean Body protein shakes will be distributed by Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company for over 12 million people living in eight counties, including the five boroughs in New York City. As a result of this step, Labrada will be able to cater to a large group of health-conscious consumers and make them aware of the benefits of consuming products that contain organic and natural ingredients.
Organic sports food start-up case studies
The sports nutrition company Koia entered the global market through its national distributor, Whole Foods. In 2021, this plant-based protein beverage brand tripled its sales. The company launched two stock keeping units (SKUs)—cinnamon horchata and cold brew coffee—and expanded distribution footprints of Natural Grocers, Fresh Thyme, Earth Origins Market, and Giant. As a result, it was able to launch more new organic drinks to a wider customer base.
Koia had to differentiate itself from the plethora of plant protein sports nutrition products and for this they implemented an effective strategy. In addition to its 5:1 protein to sugar ratio across its five almond milk products, the company also boasts proprietary blends of hemp, brown rice, and pea protein. In fact, these three plant proteins give the company's after-work out nutrition drinks a more complete amino acid profile, a higher protein content and enhanced taste.
Similarly, NorthStar provides nutritional supplements made from real whole food and organic ingredients. In contrast to questionable sugary colored sports drinks, NorthStar Organic Sports Drinks offer a natural, organic alternative. The company retains the positioning strategy of relying on professional sports and exercise culture to attract sports fans. It is heavily marketed as part of overall fitness and exercise culture, serving as a means of "refueling" or rehydrating after exercise. Sports drinks are marketed to a wider consumer base because of their composition and presence. The packaging of NorthStar, as well as the lack of coloring, makes it look like clear water, in contrast to the myriad flavors and artificial colors of other sports drinks. By offering an organic, Canadian-made product in-store, NorthStar has also effectively connected with consumers of the sports nutrition market through its health and hydration benefits.
An additional strategy of the company was to support sports celebrities in prominent events. The organization supported runners such as Dylan Wykes and Rob Watson in different running sports events. As a result, all of these initiatives together contributed to a good brand name within the organic sports nutrition market.
Sport nutrition ingredients are enabling food and beverage companies to develop products with a variety of flavors, consistency, and functional properties. Hydration is a common characteristic of products designed for use before, during, and after workouts. While pre-workout foods provide a quick energy boost, during-workout drinks provide more sustained energy. It is imperative to consume foods and beverages post-workout to replenish, recover, and re-energize.
One such beverage is designed to be consumed about 10 to 20 minutes before, during, and after a workout by Cleveland-based Nooma. The company is known for its sports drinks, which are consumed during and after workouts. Organic fruit juice concentrates and flavors are used in the drinks, and stevia leaf extract is used to sweeten them. In addition to 120 mg of caffeine from organic green tea, each contains a powerful blend of four adaptogens: ashwagandha, ginseng, cordyceps, and maca.
Several famous sports personalities have endorsed organic sports nutrition products. The fans, in turn, were compelled to try out the products. For instance, MusclePharm's Assault by MusclePharm is a favorite supplement of Nick Swisher, among many other players. Creatine, arginine, calcium, B vitamins, and other amino acids are contained in the powdered substance.
Another example is Clayton Richard, San Diego's ace pitcher, who uses EAS 100% Whey Protein and EAS Phos Force. Both the products are manufactured by Abbott Laboratories in Chicago. Both caffeine and creatine are included in Phos Force. According to this player, these are highly nutritive supplements that boost immunity and have no side effects. These endorsements were successful in ramping up the overall sales of the organic sports nutrition products. The EAS Phos Force saw growth of US$89.5 million in just a year after implementing its endorsement strategy.
The sports nutrition market has witnessed a lot of growth for organic products. It's not only that they're good because prominent figures endorse them, but they are healthy foods the human body requires. In the coming years, the dominant section in the sports nutrition market will be taken over by organic foods owing to growing R&D.
Nandini Roy Choudhury is client partner, Food and Beverage, at Future Market Insights. She is an experienced research professional and client research partner at ESOMAR-certified market research and consulting firm Future Market Insights (FMI). FMI is headquartered in Dubai, with offices in the US, UK, and India. MarketNgage is the Market Research Subscription Platform from FMI that assists stakeholders in obtaining in-depth research across industries, markets, and niche segments.