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Global sports nutrition market to top $6 billion by 2018, report says

By Hank Schultz , 07-Feb-2013

Revamped, more complete product lines that are connecting with new customers are driving growth in the sports nutrition market, according to a new report.

The report, by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., projects that the global market for sports and fitness nutrition supplements will reach $6.17 billion by 2018.  The report lists as a key driver something that has been noted in recent product launches, namely the ramification of the market in terms of product offerings, target consumers and sales outlets.

Sports nutrition offerings have historically followed the market, the report notes.  In years past, the people most devoted to sports and fitness were a select crew, either certain physically-active groups such as professional athletes or body builders who formed their won distinct subculture and spent most of their time in dedicated gyms. The exercise engaged in by most people was fairly gentle by modern standards.

Average Joes

Now, however, many more “regular” people have embraced far-ranging fitness goals even as, paradoxically, populations in the Western world continue to get fatter.  Marathon running races in the US continue to set attendance records, and new branded fitness regimens like Zumba or CrossFit show up regularly.

“The new customers groups that are increasingly becoming an area of interest for various sports and fitness nutrition supplement companies include weekend fitness or sports enthusiasts and people who are interested in maintaining their health by using supplement products,” the report’s authors note.

“With growing interest from such users, sports nutrition products, which were previously available only in gyms and health food stores, are now available in mainstream mass market outlets such as super markets and convenience stores,” they said.

“Sports supplement manufacturers seeking a greater share of the market are therefore leveraging this trend and are investing substantially in research to develop novel products that can carry a natural claim,” the authors note.

Move toward natural

The report notes that product lines and marketing approaches are being overhauled to appeal to these new customers.  Examples of recent launches include new, broad-spectrum sports nutrition lines from Douglas Labs, Thorne Research and Champion Sports.  But within this broad trend of reformulation and ramification, there is an important undercurrent, the report notes.

“An important trend is the growing demand for products containing natural ingredients. As consumers shift away from synthetic products, either in terms of foods or supplements to products closer to nature, demand for natural/herbal supplements and products is growing at a rapid rate. The trend is particularly true for products containing various herbs and spices, specifically those used in Chinese traditional medicine and Ayurveda,” the report states.

BRIC countries will be big

From a global perspective, the report says demand for sports nutrition products is still concentrated in the West, especially in the US.  But as in other product categories, the opportunities for greatest growth lie in emerging markets, in particular the BRIC countries, which are growing faster than Western markets and are urbanizing at a faster pace, too.

And these markets are immature, both from a sales channel perspective and from the viewpoint of potential segments of consumers.

“Currently, the usage of sports supplements (in the region) is mostly limited to the fitness-oriented groups such as body builders, athletes or regular gym goers in such countries. The availability of sports supplements is largely restricted to certain non-grocery retail channels such as health food shops and the Internet,” the authors note.

As far as regional markets are concerned, the report projects a 12% CAGR in the Asia/Pacific region for sports and fitness nutrition products in the next five years.

Among the major players in the category profiled in the report are Abbott Laboratories Inc., Clif Bar & Company, The Coca-Cola Co., GlaxoSmithKline Plc, GNC Holdings Inc., Nestlé SA, Optimum Nutrition Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Red Bull GmbH, and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd.

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