Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 18 Sports Drinks APRIL 2018 NEW NICHES Seven sports drinks trends to watch in 2018 BY MIKE STRAUS T he sports drinks market continued to undergo a variety of shifts in the last year, with a further push into the functional space opening up new verticals for sports drinks brands. Data from Innova Market Insights (Arnhem, Netherlands) in- dicate that sports drinks are now "active nu- trition" products, with a signif cant increase in the number of sports drinks that are in- corporating functional ingredients. Innova says that while the primary niches have re- mained the same—energy and stamina, hy- dration and recovery, muscle building and maintenance—the mainstream adoption of sports nutrition is expected to bring new opportunities. As consumers continue to look for health- ier and more functional sports drinks, manu- facturers will diversify product of erings with healthier products and work to make new kinds of functional sports drinks that ad- dress consumer health concerns. Trend #1: Healthy, Functional Products Lead the Way T e sports drinks market's push into the functional beverage space has gained mo- mentum, with more manufacturers incorpo- rating functional ingredients and functional health claims as a means of dif erentiating their products. Jim Tonkin, president and owner, Healthy Brand Builders (Scottsdale, AZ), says that consumer demand for healthi- er products is now opening up opportunities for smaller brands to compete. Says Tonkin, "I think there will be healthier products coming to market that will contin- ue to grow the sports nutrition space, high- lighting functional ingredients specif cally. It could be for muscle recovery, circulation, cardiovascular health, or even bone health. I'm working with a number of companies now that are developing these beverages, and it will be interesting to see whether or not Gatorade pays any attention to these smaller competitors." Sugar content is still a concern, both for consumers and manufacturers. Will McCor- mack, business development manager, nutri- tion, for f avors f rm Synergy Flavors (Wau- conda, IL), says that reducing sugar content is an ongoing trend as the marketing around sports drinks has shifted away from athletes and toward a general consumer market. "When you think about what traditional sports drinks were formulated for, you re- alize they're not the kind of beverage that people sitting at a desk all day should be consuming," he says. "T ey were designed for exercise recovery, which is why the sugar content was so high. But now, we're seeing a lot of requests from manufacturers who are looking to reduce the sugar content and re- place the sugar with ingredients like protein." Elyse Lovett, marketing manager at ingre- dients f rm Kyowa Hakko (New York City), says that the continued development of functional sports drinks will involve replac- ing unhealthy ingredients with healthy ones. "A lot of people are looking for an energy-type drink without the caf eine, something that gives more of a sustained boost. We're also seeing more natural sugar in these products now," she says. Lovett says that manufacturers are start- ing to examine dif erent kinds of sugars and sweeteners, with alternatives like sugar alco- hols, sugars derived from f ber, and natural sugars increasing in popularity. Data provided by Innova Market Insights indicate that sugar claims are starting to stabilize in the industry. Claims like "sug- ar free," "no added sugar," and "low sugar" grew continuously starting in 2014 and peaked in 2016, with over one-third of new product launches incorporating some kind of "reduced sugar" claim. SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/MINERVA STUDIO

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