Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 20 APRIL 2018 Sports Drinks Trend #2: Clean Labels, Single-Ingredient Formulations: Transparency Becomes a Priority Consumer trust in sports drinks brands is now hinging on transparency, with more and more consumers expecting a clean-label ap- proach from sports drinks manufacturers. McCormack says that one major priority— and a challenge in the beverage industry— involves understanding what consumers perceive "clean label" to be: "We're trying to better understand the consumer perception of 'clean label.' A colleague of mine spoke at a conference in Wisconsin late last year about formulating dairy protein beverages. We represent the f avor industry, but the stabi- lizer industry is seeing challenges right now because consumers perceive carrageenan as having negative connotations." Synergy Flavors Nutrition Applications Technologist Rachel Dannemeyer says that moving toward a clean-label approach has resulted in changes to the formulations that sports drinks manufacturers are using. Says Dannemeyer, "We're seeing botanical ingre- dients gaining a lot of traction. Consumers want the functional benef ts of botanicals, but with a clean-label approach." T is emphasis on transparency is also manifesting as a push toward single-ingredi- ent and single-function products. But Lovett says the single-ingredient focus isn't just con- f ned to sports drinks. "We're starting to see more 5-Hour Energy–type products coming out," Lovett says. "But most of these energy shots [that have traditionally occupied the market] have had a whole slew of dif erent ingredients. T e trend is now moving toward products with only one or two ingredients, and they're geared toward a specif c benef t, like concentration." Trend #3: Kombucha and Probiotics Have Reached the East Coast While not traditionally seen as a sports drink, experts say kombucha is well positioned to enter the sports market—and several com- panies are already marketing kombucha as a sports nutrition supplement. Lovett says that kombucha is naturally well positioned to enter the sports drinks market thanks to its various functional benef t claims. She states, "Kombucha is becoming more of a trend on the East Coast. A lot of what gets put out on the West Coast is cutting-edge, and the East Coast follows. I do think there's a place for kombucha in the sports market because it's about detox and it's full of pre- and probiotics." Tonkin says that probiotic sports drinks are an emerging market in the United States that may hold promise, but cautions that the science around probiotics is still evolving. Says Tonkin: "In a lot of Asian and European countries, starting your day with a probiotic load is quite common. Kombucha and probiotics are growing in popularity in the United States," but he cau- tions consumers not to accept marketing claims at face value. For instance, Tonkin asks, "How do we know that 3 billion CFUs of a single strain of probiotic is right for us?" In his opinion, probiotic sports drinks will likely require more vetting and study as the niche continues to grow. Trend #4: Amino Acids and RTDs: A Good Match? Amino acid workout beverages aren't new to the United States, but traditionally, they haven't had much of a presence in the RTD space. Now, though, that trend appears to be changing. McCormack says that amino acid RTDs are starting to see growth: "Cellucor C4 is a well-known pre-workout product that has amino acids, and they recently launched an RTD version. I think you'll see those products coming out in RTD format because it's more convenient." Lovett says that Kyowa Hakko already sells an amino acid drink, and the ingredient supplier is starting to see more amino acids as part of RTD sports drinks formulations. "We have a lot of sports nutrition compa- nies coming to us because our amino acids are made through fermentation rather than chemical synthesis," Lovett says. "So yes, RTD amino acid sports drinks is def nitely a grow- ing area." Two such drinks, Vitamin Well's VW+ 001 and its sugar-free cousin VW+ 002, combine electrolytes and vitamins with Kyowa Hakko's branded L-alanyl-L-gluta- mine ingredient Sustamine to provide ath- letes with an added energy boost during workouts, reduce muscle breakdown, and improve recovery time. Trend #5: Product Categories Continue to Blur T e def nition of sports drink is still undergo- ing an evolution as the category boundaries continue to shift and blur. Data provided to Nutritional Outlook by Innova Market Insights indicate that sports nutrition products are now entering the mainstream, where products typically seen as sports drinks are taking on mass-market appeal. T ese "active nutrition" drinks are now incorporating performance- oriented ingredients and making specif c func- tional claims that are designed to appeal to a larger market. Tonkin says that the personal nutrition market is a growing segment, with powdered products seeing growth. "T ere's a trend in the United States around personal nutri- tion," he says. "People are taking charge of what goes into their bodies and how it gets there. I think that's interesting, and it's get- ting people to think about what they want to drink and how they want to drink it. So, if you like almond milk and you want to add some additional protein, you can open up a stick pack of protein and add it to your morning smoothie." Tonkin says this shifting of categories is resulting in a variety of hybrid and crossover sports products that combine functions: "T ere's a new generation of sports drinks that are taking over. T ey don't call them- selves sports beverages, but they can be used in the same crossover fashion. T e sports nu- trition space is morphing from the original players that called themselves sports drinks, like Gatorade and Powerade," he says. Trend #6: Changing Consumer Demands Infl uence Marketing Strategies T e development of a healthier kind of sports drink means brands will have to start mar- keting their beverages in unique new ways. Tonkin says more sports drinks brands are emphasizing clinical trials in their marketing assets to meet consumer demand for trans- parency in advertising. "A lot of companies will say, 'I know these three ingredients work individually, so if I put them together I have an exponentially better beverage.' But unless you do a clinical trial on the f nished product, you can't prove that three is better than one. Consumers want to

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