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Hit the gym with our sports nutrition spotlight

As gyms and fitness centres open up all over the country, we are certain that many of your consumers will be seeking out sports nutrition as a way to get back into the proverbial swing of things. This special spotlight article will provide the data-driven insight needed to better understand the growing potential of the sports nutrition market while also offering an overview of the Cambridge Commodities ingredients and solutions that can bolster your inventory with award-winning quality and expertise.

Whether you produce a powder a protein bar or something else entirely, the must-knows and must-haves of this article will give you a leg up in distinguishing your brand from the competition just in time for the resurgence of gym-goers.

Why and why now?

The reopening of the nation’s gyms aside, the opportunity is rife for companies to seize consumer interests with sports nutrition innovation. According to Innova Market Insight, Europe had the highest number of sports nutrition product launches at an overwhelming 59% with sports nutrition NPD growing at a CAGR of 43.3% from 2015-2019. Accompanying the leaps and bounds in this category was the ever-popular subcategory of sports powders, which accounted for 42% of sports nutrition category launches at a CAGR of 97% from 2017-2019. From these statistics alone, it should come as no surprise that interest in sports nutrition products has proven to be a dominating force in the global marketplace. The question of specificity, however, is how you can use that dominance to leverage your product line into a bright and exciting commercial future.

Across several categories, which include sports nutrition, consumers have become increasingly fixated on products which boast premium quality ingredients that promote both conventional and spiritual wellbeing. Plant-based protein powders such as pea, brown rice and hemp have been a driving factor in the industry’s new product development (NPD) trends. Likewise, claims for low carb, vitamins and minerals, sugar reduction and burgeoning probiotic support have signified a mounting desire for fortified products with a multifunctional twist. The top five product positionings for sports nutrition launches in 2019 were as follows:

  • High/source of protein (47%)
  • Energy/alertness (31%)
  • No additives/preservatives (26%)
  • Gluten-free (23%)
  • Low/no/reduced fat (16%)

While an infusion of protein remains the top priority, the edging in of the other top positionings evidences a modern consumer with a holistic mindset. In the UK for example, indulgent and premium claims, coupled with weight management claims sit comfortably within the top five, and the ability to meet those claims lies in two other key market trends: exotic flavourings and the mainstreaming of sports nutrition products.

In terms of flavouring for sports nutrition products, the fruit flavours strawberry, lemon and orange occupy three spots within the top five behind universal mainstays milk chocolate and vanilla. While indulgent, dessert-like flavours have been suggested for marketing to a widening audience of mainstream consumers and an ageing population, exotic, citrus flavours have been a major organoleptic trend for a younger generation that has become increasingly enamoured with complex experiences and storytelling. With personalised nutrition at the forefront of the health and socially conscious consumer’s mind, investing in a diverse range of sports nutrition NPD that goes beyond traditional powders and supplements to embrace the palatability of research-driven hybrid products will be more important than ever. As modern consumers blur the line between specialisation and everyday commodities, adapting to evolvingly complex trends and need states will require ingredients which are just as versatile as they are.

Special solutions: BCAAs and recovery

Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) are a popular option for sports nutrition supplementation due to their ability to promote pre and post-workout muscle protein synthesis and contribute to muscle growth over time. BCAA supplementation has the potential to appeal to both experienced and novice gym-goers as many consumers require protein supplementation to compensate for inadequate levels of dietary protein. These branched-chain amino acids are:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

For an easy-to-consume option that blends these BCAAs into one, our branded product instAA® (P31442) is a vegan suitable amino acid blend containing L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine in a ratio of 2:1:1. Supplemented with an emulsifier to counteract the innate insolubility of BCAAs, instAA® is an instantised format suitable for powder in water applications and can be delivered pre, during or post-workout to support muscle mass growth and recovery. An ideal choice for a range of sports nutrition products, instAA®’s plant-based, water-soluble positioning is well-suited to current consumer trends as a BCAA blend for the modern mainstream mentality.

For post-workout recovery in a more general sense, our ingredients come in a wealth of formats and functions to serve your specific NPD needs. Our Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate (P2007), for example supports post-workout rehydration whereas our Green Tea Extract (P0736) is standardised to contain 40% polyphenols to contribute to weight management when coupled with diet and exercise.

For branded recovery solutions, CocoMineral® (P03370) is an instantised, coconut water powdered extract which contains key electrolytes for replenishing those lost through sweat during exercise and can be adapted to finished products ranging from market-leading sports powders to fortified foods and beverages. As a plant-based complex carbohydrate for rapid fuelling and sustained energy release, our partner ingredient Karbolyn® (P11071) is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream to provide consumers with pre- or post-workout energy without the need for heavy snacking or sugar. Both these brands secure their place in our catalogue for their flexibility, promoting easily accessible performance that can be adapted into any personalised nutritional diet or routine. As we welcome gyms back into our daily lives, the importance of that flexibility cannot be overstated.

If you would like to inquire about instAA®, CocoMineral®, Karbolyn® or any of our other sports nutrition ingredients, please contact our team for more information.

Contact us to to find out more about our sports nutrition selection!

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