Vitamins, minerals and plant protein have emerged as superstar sports nutrition ingredients in new consumer research by Prinova.
The functional ingredients specialist surveyed 1277 physically active European consumers. It presented them with a list of 20 common ingredients and asked them to pick the five that they most looked for in sports nutrition products.
By far the highest scoring ingredients were vitamins, picked by nearly two thirds (64%) of consumers, followed by plant protein and minerals. Meanwhile, many ingredients not traditionally associated with sports nutrition also scored highly. Sixteen per cent of consumers looked for products containing fibre, shortly followed by omega-3 (14%), botanicals (13%), probiotics (9%), and oats (9%).
Prinova believes the findings reflect the growing body of research on non-traditional ingredients for sports nutrition, and the new diversity of the sports nutrition consumer base.
Tony Gay, technical sales director, Nutrition, at Prinova Europe, said: “Not so long ago, sports nutrition was seen as synonymous with protein, but the landscape is already looking very different. The market has exploded as scientific research has revealed the value of a far wider range of ingredients for athletic performance, and that has cut through to consumers. For example, there’s growing awareness that a deficiency of B-vitamins can reduce athletes’ ability to perform high-intensity exercise, while Vitamin C offers benefits for recovery as well as immune health, and minerals can offer benefits in areas like hydration.”
The research also suggests that the plant-based trend has had a major impact on the sports nutrition space. More than four in ten (42%) consumers named plant proteins as one of the ingredients they most looked for, compared to 26% who looked for whey or dairy protein, 15% who looked for egg protein and 8% who looked for meat protein.
The full research is available in a new Prinova White Paper, ‘State of Play: New insights into the changing sports nutrition market’. It can be downloaded here.