PEAK ATP Featured in Nutraceuticals World Sports Nutrition Editorial

October 13, 2015

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Taking the Active Nutrition Market to New Heights
By Lisa Olivo, Associate Editor | October 1, 2015
Everyday consumers find strength in sports nutrition, propelling supplements into the mainstream.


While the term “sports nutrition” once brought to mind body builders and marathon runners, today a more moderate and mainstream consumer base is propelling growth in this once niche category.

With “active nutrition” presenting a more approachable benchmark for health conscious consumers, the overall sports nutrition category has seen significant growth in recent years.

Euromonitor International estimated the global sports nutrition category to be worth nearly $11 billion in 2015, and predicted it will surpass $14 billion by 2019.

This consumer shift and market growth has been driven in large part by recreational athletes looking to improve their overall fitness, performance and endurance, according to Sébastien Bornet, vice president of global sales and marketing at Switzerland-based Horphag Research. “These everyday athletes are drawn to evidence-based products that leverage natural ingredients and support their overall well-being.”

Sam Wright IV, CEO of The Wright Group, Lafayette, LA, predicted continued strengthening of the market, stating, “The overall category, including weight loss products, is growing at 6-7% per year as 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 60 every day for the next 15 years or so. Millennial consumers, which now outnumber Baby Boomers, are also committed to the category as healthy snacks become mini-meals.”

The performance ingredient market is an extremely attractive category, according to Larry Kolb, president of TSI USA, Inc., Missoula, MT, with excellent growth opportunities for clinically validated ingredients. “The clinical validation allows the marketers of sports nutrition products to use attractive structure-function claims to communicate benefits to the consumers. While protein-based products are still leading the way, performance ingredients are leading the innovation of the market and are even predicted to outgrow protein products in certain areas. We are extremely optimistic about the sports nutrition market and have seen excellent growth.”

Not Just for Athletes

The makeup of sports supplement users along with their key health objectives have evolved in recent years, leading to a more diverse consumer base for the category.

“Traditionally, those interested in sports nutrition supplements were primarily gym jocks in their 20s and 30s, and serious competitors such as triathletes and professional athletes who wanted supplements to increase their competitive edge,” explained Bruce Abedon, PhD, director of scientific affairs at NutraGenesis LLC, Brattleboro, VT.

However, he added that in recent years the audience “has widened to include people of all ages and genders, recreational sports activists, weekend warriors, etc., who are more interested in exercise to keep in shape and to have fun.” This shift, he said, is because there is increased awareness of the benefits of exercise for enhanced health. “These consumers recognize they too can benefit from increased energy, stamina and recovery time.”

“These products are not just for elite athletes or ‘gym rats’ anymore,” quipped Mr. Wright, noting that more consumers are trying to take charge of their health through physical activity and a nutritious dietary regimen. The goal, he said, “is to avoid the traditional medical care system for as long as possible for economic as well as health reasons. Sports nutrition products can play a major role in helping consumers of all ages achieve their healthy lifestyle goals.” He added that older consumers and groups such as vegans have turned to sports nutrition products to better support their dietary protein needs.

Russ Hazen, PhD, premix innovations manager for Fortitech Premixes by DSM, Schenectady, NY, believes this upswing in popularity among the general population is due in part to better consumer education as to how these sports supplements can benefit different health needs. “Mainstream media has done a great job with increasing awareness around the benefits of protein, for instance,” he observed. “This is an ingredient that has interest among body builders, but it’s also of interest to those looking to manage their weight due to its ability to induce satiety.”

While protein has managed to win over more general active nutrition consumers, other non-protein based formulas could be viewed as intimidating to users, according to analysts at Euromonitor. The firm cautioned that products with  “unfamiliar terminology in their ingredients list and stereotypically intense labeling have segmented non-protein supplements as unlikely to gain mass-market traction in the near future.” However, some recreational athletes are beginning to show more interest in non-protein products.

Protein & Amino Acids

Protein products account for a hefty portion of the global sports nutrition market, offering many consumers a gateway into the category. Euromonitor reported that protein products in the sports category would earn a retail value of $8.9 billion globally in 2015, with sales reaching $11.7 billion in 2019.

“Protein supplements are probably the most popular sports nutrition supplements on the market at the current time because of the interest in muscle building by young men up to about 35 years of age,” noted Nena Dockery, technical services manager with Stratum Nutrition, St. Charles, MO. However, protein supplements have begun appealing to a broader audience. “Female athletes, particularly those middle-age and older are also high users of sports nutrition products, opting for protein supplements as well as vitamin/mineral supplements and supplements targeting skeletal (bone and joint) health,” Ms. Dockery added.

This broader consumer appeal has propelled protein to mainstream status, particularly in the U.S. While traditional protein products such as powders have seen the highest growth in the category with a 14% increase in value in the U.S., Euromonitor noted increased competition from protein-fortified foods and other protein supplements. Still, the research firm noted powder products remain the most popular product format, representing 79% of protein value sales, or $4.2 billion, in 2014.

Ready-to-drink protein products such as Cytosport’s Muscle Milk, or even recent launches by Gatorade and KIND bar featuring convenient, on-the-go protein-fortified offerings make it easy for tentative sports nutrition consumers to sample protein products without investing in a tub of powder, which could be viewed as a product for more serious athletes, according to Euromonitor analysts. Further indicating the mass appeal of functional foods and beverages in the sports nutrition landscape, market research firm Packaged Facts reported 36% of U.S. adults consume sports drinks, while the nutrition bar segment grew 8% in 2014 to reach $2 billion.
With proteins derived from a range of sources, including whey, soy, hemp, a variety of vegetables, and even algae, there are numerous ingredients available depending on what audience formulators are trying to reach. 

Among the most popular protein supplements is protein derived from dairy. Whey protein, Dr. Hazen of Fortitech explained, “is typically a mixture of beta-lactoglobulin (~65%), alpha-lactalbumin (~25%) and serum albumin (~8%), which are soluble in their native forms, independent of pH.” He attributed the popularity of whey in the sports category to its rapid digestion, contributing greatly to its ability to build muscle. “It can be utilized in a product that targets muscle growth, as well as satiety for weight management,” he said.
Steve Siegel, vice president of Ecuadorian Rainforest, LLC, Belleville, NJ, suggested yellow pea protein is a helpful supplement for athletes looking to build muscle. “Yellow pea powder may provide up to 10 grams of protein per serving and, as a 2011 Shape article, ‘Pea Protein: The Hottest New Muscle Builder,’ explained, yellow pea protein also offers a number of branched chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.” Yellow pea protein is also an excellent source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, he added.

New research suggests that probiotic bacteria may work synergistically with protein to support utilization. It was recently discovered that GanedenBC30, the patented probiotic strain from Ganeden Biotech, Mayfield Heights, OH, along with protein was able to protect muscle from exercise damage, resulting in faster recovery and increased performance, according to the company.

With a combination of GanedenBC30 and casein, researchers saw “increases in multiple blood amino acid levels after the consumption of that protein,” according to Mike Bush, senior vice president, Ganeden. This discovery led the team to conduct an animal model study, which also found that this combination led to a 10% increase in protein utilization. Results prompted several studies at the University of Tampa with athletes where it was found the combination of BC30 and protein led to “improvement in recovery, improvement in power output, as well as the standard reduction of GI [gastrointestinal] distress and immune benefits.” All this research combined has led Ganeden to claim “GanedenBC30 supports protein utilization” in addition to “Supports digestive and immune health,” Mr. Bush explained.

Dietary protein is comprised of amino acids, which when taken individually as a supplement can also be used to support sports nutrition. “Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) such as L-luceine, L-isoleuceine and L-valine make up approximately one-third of muscle protein and are important for building and maintaining muscles,” explained Dr. Hazen. BCAAs, he described, have been called the “stress amino acids,” because muscles have a greater need for these amino acids during times of physical strain and intense exercise. “The primary market for BCAA supplements are body builders and other athletes undergoing intense exercise,” he noted, suggesting that consuming a functional beverage with BCAAs prior to exercise may help prevent muscle protein breakdown and improve recovery after periods of intense workouts.

Shawn Baier, COO of Metabolic Technologies Inc., Ames, IA, said the ingredient BetaTOR, Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate free acid (HMB-FA), helps increase lean body mass/muscle mass by improving the balance of protein synthesis and protein degradation. HMB is a naturally occurring metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine, thus contributing to improvements in strength and power, he said. “HMB was originally introduced as calcium salt, however, the new form, HMB-FA shows increased absorption, faster absorption (30 minutes vs. 2-3 hours for the calcium salt), increased retention and it seems to be more effective in increasing muscle mass and performance. HMB-FA shows its full potential during times of overtraining.”

Dr. Hazen also noted the ingredient creatine is a popular supplement in the sports market because of its critical role in energy production and building muscle tissue. “Creatine can be produced in the body from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine. However, because of the role it plays in creating energy and muscle, many athletes are using creatine as a performance-enhancing agent. Creatine may enhance the performance of high-intensity, short-duration exercise, but it is not useful in endurance sports such as a marathon,” he said.

Energy & Endurance

A large section of sports nutrition supplements are designed to deliver energy and sustain endurance so that athletes can train harder for longer periods of time.

For example, Bioenergy Ribose, a unique 5-carbon sugar, stimulates natural energy production. Marianne McDonagh, regional director at Bioenergy Life Science, Ham Lake, MN, said Bioenergy Ribose “is the backbone of our ATP structure (adenosine triphosphate).” When muscles are pushed beyond normal limits and stressed, the body may be depleted in its natural levels of ribose. “Supplementing with Bioenergy Ribose accentuates your body’s natural process of energy synthesis and helps reduce the loss of energy during stress or physical activity,” she explained. “During this process, Bioenergy Ribose also helps your sore and stiff muscles recover faster so you can keep moving, train harder and stay in the game.” The ingredient is backed by numerous clinical trials, and is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), patent protected, non-GMO, Kosher and Halal.

Also tapping into the body’s need for ATP for endurance, PEAK ATP is a patented ingredient from TSI USA. The company’s Mr. Kolb explained that PeakATP has been shown to increase blood flow and muscular excitability. “Taken as a pre-workout supplement, it increases muscle mass, strength and power, while reducing fatigue,” he said.

TSI also produces BetaATP, a synergistic combination of the ingredients PEAK ATP and BetaTOR. The company said BetaATP helps more than triple the strength gains from resistance training (+329%, 96. kg vs. 22.4 kg (placebo)); synergistically improve power by 75% (1,076 ±40 watts vs. 614 ±52 watts (placebo)); and enhance muscle protein anabolism; among other benefits, Mr. Kolb noted.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another important nutrient that plays a key role in energy and endurance, said Fortitech’s Dr. Hazen. “It is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound that is also known as ubiquinone from the word ubiquitous, which means ‘everywhere,’” he explained. “Coenzyme Q or ubiquinone compounds are synthesized in the cells of all living organisms including plants, animals and humans. There are 10 coenzyme Q compounds that occur throughout nature, but only coenzyme Q10 is synthesized in humans. Since coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble substance, absorption depends upon an individual’s fat digestion efficiency.” He suggested that CoQ10 is best absorbed in a beverage format with some fat content.

Dr. Hazen also lauded the benefits of beetroot for sustained exercise, referencing a recent study facilitated by the University of Exeter in the U.K., which found that consuming beetroot juice can help people exercise up to 16% longer. “The study tied the nitrate content in the juice to reduce oxygen uptake, therefore making exercise less tiring.” While he said more studies are needed on this ingredient, Dr. Hazen suggested beetroot could potentially provide promising benefits.

Depletion of choline levels in the body is a consequence of vigorous and prolonged exercise, which may have a serious impact on performance, according to Catherine Adams Hutt, PhD, RD, CFS, chief science and regulatory officer with Sloan Trends Inc., Escondido, CA, principal at RdR Solutions, and advisor to the Choline Information Council. “Choline is needed to synthesize acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that signals muscle movement,” she explained. “Acetylcholine must be available in sufficient amounts to create excitation at the neuromuscular junction to cause efficient and effective muscle contractions.”

Dr. Adams Hutt pointed to research showing blood levels of choline decrease 40-50% after vigorous and prolonged marathon-type exercise, including running more than two hours or swimming more than 100 minutes. “Blood plasma choline levels did not fall after brief exercise approximately two minutes in duration, but highly intensive and longer (approximately 73 minutes in duration) submaximal exercise on a stationary bicycle created significant declines in blood choline, reflecting reduced acetylcholine availability (Spector et al, 1995).”

However, by providing 2.8 grams of choline prior to exercise, researchers prevented a fall in choline levels by 25-40% and raised choline levels above baseline values for up to two hours post exercise, Dr. Adams Hutt noted.

Further, she cited randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover studies that discovered improvements in running times and a timed swim test with choline supplementation. “In one study, long-distance runners improved running times by an average of 5 minutes over a 20-mile course when they consumed a 2.8-gram dose pre-race and at mid-point, when compared with those taking a placebo. In a second study, a higher percentage of swimmers who took choline prior to their swim experienced an improved performance on a timed swim test lasting more than 100 minutes than when they consumed a placebo (Von Allworden et al, 1983; Conlay et al, 1986).” Basketball players given choline reported increased vigor and reduced fatigue following a two-hour workout, she added.

Also supporting endurance is Horphag Research’s patented ingredient Pycnogenol, the antioxidant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree. In a 2013 study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness Pycnogenol was found to be effective in improving fitness performance and reducing muscle cramping and soreness by controlling oxidative stress in both elite and recreational athletes.

Recovery & Joint Health

Many supplements can help active individuals rebound and repair following rigorous exercise.

“Athletes and fitness enthusiasts strive to maintain optimum performance, and staying at the top of their game places a lot of stress on their bodies,” said Rod Benjamin, director of R&D and technical service for Bergstrom Nutrition, Vancouver, WA. “Nutritional support can help them maintain these rigorous routines by keeping the mind and body healthy.”

Bergstrom produces OptiMSM, which helps support extreme workouts and recovery. “OptiMSM has been long recognized as a joint health supplement. Numerous clinical studies suggest it supports joint health while pre-clinical data even suggests it may protect cartilage. There is additional research suggesting it also reduces muscle soreness following exercise. New data suggests that MSM helps support the immune system, which is important when placing the body under the kind of stress that can come from high-level fitness training,” said Mr. Benjamin.

NutraGenesis’ Dr. Abedon pointed to the company’s proprietary, GRAS-affirmed, full-spectrum, standardized extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), known as Sensoril, for its capacity to rejuvenate and revive active individuals. The Ayurvedic botanical, he said, is multi-patented and standardized to the highest levels of Ashwagandha bioactives. “Exercise exerts stress on the body and increases levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can result in reduced lean muscle mass. It also causes fatigue and can reduce levels of DHEA, an energizing hormone. In human clinical trial testing, Sensoril was found to help balance the body by significantly reducing stress and cortisol levels while increasing energy and levels of DHEA.” This, he said, can benefit athletes recovery time and increase performance while exercising.

As an added bonus, Sensoril may also benefit the mood of its users. “Sensoril’s highly experiential properties also help enhance mood so a person taking Sensoril feels rejuvenated not just physically but emotionally as well,” claimed Dr. Abedon. Clinical trials additionally support Sensoril as a botanical beneficial for joint health and muscle discomfort.

Pain management is also a critical component of recovering from an intense work out. Mr. Siegel of Ecuadorian Rainforest cited research showing that tart cherry juice could be helpful in supporting pain management post-exercise. “In a study observing post-workout pain, researchers used tart cherry juice on a group of runners participating in the Oregon Hood to Coast relay. They were split into two groups; one took a placebo cherry drink while the other consumed tart cherry juice. Each drank a 355 mL bottle of their juice daily for the week before the event. Runners who consumed tart cherry juice reported significantly less pain as measured on the 100 mm Visual Analog Scale at the end of the race.”

He also suggested that bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple, could help alleviate exercise-induced joint pain. “One study showed that bromelain might help support pain relief in knee joints. In another study, researchers observed the effects of a proteolytic enzyme supplementation that included bromelain in post-workout recovery and pain.” He said participants supplemented with bromelain reported a significant reduction in post-workout pain.

“Though regular physical activity is vital to maintaining joint health over time, the stress and strain of athletic endeavors can also make joints and the surrounding soft tissue more vulnerable to injury. Therefore, it is critical that the natural mechanisms that keep joints cushioned and flexible be maintained,” stated Stratum Nutrition’s Ms. Dockery.

Stratum offers NEM brand eggshell membrane, a food-sourced dietary ingredient derived from the membrane that lines the inner surface of the eggshell. The ingredient is characterized by a broad range of attributes that have been shown to support joint health, according to the company. Clinical research has validated NEM’s beneficial effects in increasing joint flexibility and decreasing joint discomfort at the recommended 500 mg dose. [Clinical Interventions in Aging, 2009; Clinical Rheumatology, 2009; Journal of Arthritis, 2014]. 
The ingredient has also been studied for its immunomodulation effects, which can help the body maintain a healthy inflammatory response to the stresses and strains of athletic and sports activities, Ms. Dockery noted. “If left unresolved, the ongoing presence of specific pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β and TNF-α in the joint tissue and synovial fluid can contribute to the development of joint degradation and arthritic conditions.”

Joint health and recovery is essential for all athletes, but Paul Dijkstra, CEO InterHealth Nutraceuticals, Benicia, CA, stressed that this facet of sports nutrition is especially concerning to active but aging individuals. “The aging athlete is very interested in recovery, and recovery starts at the joints,” he said. “A slower recovery and restricted mobility is a top fear among the aging population. Consumers 30-50+ years are extremely concerned about maintaining their normal activity as they age.” The company’s ingredient supporting joint health is UC-II, which the company described as a natural, patented dietary ingredient consisting of collagen with undenatured type II collagen.

Mr. Dijkstra cited a recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on UC-II in healthy, exercising adults, which showed that 40 mg of UC-II significantly improved knee extension compared to placebo. “Subjects exercised longer before experiencing joint discomfort compared to baseline and recovered faster from joint discomfort after exercising compared to baseline. Data suggest that it may be possible to exercise longer with UC-II before experiencing joint discomfort,” he said.

Applied Food Sciences (AFS), Austin, TX, has developed a unique rejuvenating ingredient. “D-Glucarate aids in the removal of toxins from the blood stream, notably cortisol (a stress hormone), allowing the body to maximize results and recover quickly,” explained Jackson Zapp, vice president of innovation for AFS.

D-Glucarate is naturally found in fruits and vegetables such as apples, Brussels sprouts and broccoli and helps the liver process and eliminate excess hormones and toxins, according to Mr. Zapp. Additionally, he said D-Glucarate could help support those suffering from Low-T, or decreased testosterone, which can be an issue for some athletes. “Testosterone boosting supplements unfortunately have the side effect of also boosting levels of unwanted estrogen. Increasing the amount of D-Glucarate in the diet or adding it to any workout supplement can help balance hormone levels by eliminating excess estrogens and estrogen mimickers. Some of the top body builders in the world call Glucarate the ‘secret estrogen eradicator’ and swear by it.”

Formulation & Delivery

Like many categories in the nutraceuticals industry, sports nutrition consumers are looking for recognizable, clean label and safe ingredients to support their fitness goals.

Mr. Zapp of AFS observed, “One trend we see on the rise in sports nutrition formulation is products moving toward cleaner labels. Beverages that once contained too many ingredients to count, with names only a biochemist could pronounce, are being replaced by more natural solutions and fewer ingredients. Athletes typically care more about what they put in their body, therefore cleaning up the label becomes important for product innovators.” 

Additionally, he mentioned the trend of personalizing supplements for sports users, which he believes goes hand-in-hand with consumer demand for clean labels. As more consumers turn from one-size-fits-all approaches to nutrition, they are seeking out formulas and nutrition plans to target their individual nutrition needs and preferences.

“Personalizing a product to meet consumers’ values doesn’t just mean choosing the right flavor, it also means finding ethically sourced and sustainably grown ingredients that they can trust. For example, at AFS we provide an ingredient called JAVA.g, which is a blend of super antioxidants and caffeine from green coffee that comes from fair-wage coffee farms sustainably grown to help build communities around the world,” he explained.

Ms. Dockery of Stratum noted that combining ingredients in custom formulas requires that the ingredients don’t interfere with each other, either physically or in functionality. “NEM can easily be combined with most other dietary ingredients. Though NEM is only partially soluble because of the inherent presence of calcium, the advantages of the mild preparation methods used in manufacturing NEM outweigh any benefits that would be derived from making it completely soluble in which more harsh preparation methods would need to be used.”

Bergstrom’s Tim Hammond, vice president of sales and marketing, suggested that the type of physical activity seems to strongly influence the type of product athletes and fitness enthusiasts use. “Many prefer products that are easy to use, such as ready-to-mix powders and supplements for both pre- and post-workout formulations. Gels and shots are primarily focused on more intra workout activities. Some consumers will even choose a pre-, intra- and post-workout product all from different manufacturers and in different forms based on their individual needs.”

Mr. Wright of The Wright Group predicted that while “personalized products based on nutrigenomics are still in their infancy,” they will play “a greater role in the food industry, including sports nutrition, in the future.”

However, he also noted that a wide range of available product forms, including shakes, powders, bars, gummies, gels and beverages are popping up on the market to meet a broad range of consumer needs and preferences. “As these product formats proliferate, it becomes more necessary to ensure that the complex ingredient systems are stable, tasty and non-reactive,” he said. “Antioxidants in particular can be very reactive with other ingredients in the formulation, especially with iron, copper, zinc and other minerals. The Wright Group offers a wide range of microencapsulated SuperCoat products in order to ensure that our clients’ ingredients ‘play well with others’ in their finished products.”

Sports nutrition companies are also relying more and more on their supply partners, he added, to help them in developing turnkey, robust formulations based on science as well as what products and claims resonate with their target segments. “They also are looking for formulation help with some of the organoleptic problems that arise from these complex nutrient blends that may contain proteins, amino acids, botanicals, energy ingredients and fatty acids, as well as traditional vitamins and minerals.”

When discussing product format, Fortitech’s Dr. Hazen said ready-to-drink juice box type products are popular, along with powders, sachets, stick packs, bars, supplements and gels. However, he noted the company is seeing, through its all-in-one powdered beverage service, an increase in the use of cap-based delivery systems. He explained, “A premix, which can include nutrients, as well as sweeteners, color, flavor and stabilizers, is packaged into a cap that can be attached to a typical water bottle. The consumer then dispenses the product through activating the cap, delivering the powder premix into the aqueous medium below. This method keeps the different components of the formulation in their most intact state.”

Ms. McDonagh of Bioenergy Life Science said the powder premix format is still the most convenient and popular among sports nutrition products and the physically active consumer. This format, she said, “allows the consumer to mix it in their favorite beverage and take it with them to mix when needed. Single-serve packets of premixes are in demand and quite trendy because they are best and easiest for traveling.”

Challenges & Opportunities

Despite prosperity in the sports nutrition market, and growing consumer interest, the category still faces significant challenges.
Regulatory bodies have taken a particular interest in the sports category in recent years, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cracking down on manufacturers of illegally manufactured sports supplements using BMPEA in their products. In April five companies were issued FDA Warning Letters for sports supplements with products containing the synthetic stimulant BMPEA labeled as the botanical Acacia rigidula.

In the past there have been similar controversies surrounding sports products illegally containing DMBA, an illegal substance linked to strokes, heart failure and death.

“One of the unfortunate misconceptions is that sports nutrition products routinely contain illegal steroids and other pharmaceutical ingredients to boost the perception of efficacy,” commented Mr. Wright. “These fringe companies involved in this adulteration are not part of what we all recognize as the legitimate sports nutrition or dietary supplement industry, but we tend to get painted by the same brush by uninformed legislators, regulators and media personnel.”

TSI’s Mr. Kolb echoed this sentiment, suggesting that manufacturers of innovative sports nutrition products often face regulatory challenges, either for claims, or even for the legal use of the ingredient (lacking New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) or GRAS status). “TSI is and will continue to clinically validate its ingredients, allowing marketers to make attractive claims.”

Mr. Wright suggested leaders in the industry need to do a better job of educating the public and communicating the true benefits of safe and useful products.

A more basic difficulty in the market is simply differentiating products amid a competitive consumer landscape. Dr. Hazen suggested, “Identifying a star ingredient as a focus of the product and then choosing a good supporting cast of nutrients to go along with it is a good way to do this. This allows a manufacturer to position their product in a targeted nutrition space, but can also allow for some overlap with secondary areas as well.”

For example, he said a protein-based beverage designed for endurance athletes might use “amino acids along with a primary protein blend to allow for energy during high stress workouts, but also allow for quick recovery after the workout."

Another challenge is the high bar being set by consumers and formulators alike. “Formulators are urged to create all-natural, multi-functional products that contain all non-GMO, GRAS-certified and clinically proven ingredients to produce effective products that generate real results,” said Ms. McDonagh. “Some manufacturers are being challenged to reformulate their products and change their marketing strategy to reflect this position in the market.”

“Consumers want to understand every ingredient they put in their body, but using more natural and botanical ingredients puts a greater expectation on suppliers to meet their needs,” said Mr. Zapp of AFS. This, he said, is a challenge because many times natural or organic ingredients cost significantly more to manufacture than synthetic ingredients. “In addition, when working with natural ingredients, consumers want these products to align with their values of fair wages and sustainable farming.”

However, this also presents an opportunity. “Mintel confirms that the end consumers are willing to spend 31% more on foods that align with their values around clean, ethically-sourced, natural ingredients.”  

Global Sports Nutrition Market Could Exceed $12 Billion by 2020

Persistence Market Research report predicts 9% CAGR.

Rising interest in fitness and physical health has helped the growth of the global sports supplement market. In 2013, the market was worth about $6.8 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% between 2014 and 2020, according to a report published by Persistence Market Research. By the end of 2020, the global sports supplement market is expected to generate annual revenue of about $12.45 billion.

Though sports dietary supplements were initially targeted at athletes to support their heightened nutritional requirements, the rising number of people conscious about their health and physique has fueled the growth of the global sports supplement market. The increasing number of health clubs and fitness centers has helped the market considerably.

However, quality concerns could negatively affect the global sports supplement market. There have been numerous reports of sports supplement manufacturers using new dietary ingredients in supplements that have not been tested for their safety and efficacy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently warned 14 sports supplement companies to not use DMBA (1,3-dimethylbutylamine), a drug that raises blood pressure, in their products.

Such factors have helped paint a bad picture of the market among the masses. Expanding distribution channels are one of the major challenges faced by the organized sports supplement market.

Substitute products are now easily competing with sports supplements products, thereby affecting growth.

The increasing urban population in Asia-Pacific is expected to open a huge opportunity.

Manufacturers are promoting their products through advertising in various sports events and endorsements by famous sportspersons. This will further boost the expansion of the market, the report said. Sport supplements are usually available at health food stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies. However, it has recently been observed that consumers prefer to purchase products through e-commerce. This new trend will shake up the distribution channels of the global sports supplement market.

The overall market has been segmented on the basis of products offered, including protein-based supplements and non-protein based supplements. Protein-based supplements have been further sub-segmented into protein powder and ready-to-drink (RTD) protein supplements.

Protein powder is the largest product segment in the global sports supplement market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% from 2014 to 2020. This segment is expected to be valued  at $8 billion by 2020.

North America is the leading region of the global sports supplement market, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. The U.S. and Canada contribute significantly toward the growth of the overall market in this region. However, robust demand for sports supplements from the developing economies in Asia-Pacific is expected to challenge the North American market.

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