Consumers are looking to stay healthier for longer. At the same time, they also recognize that their current lifestyles can impact on the ability to lead a healthy life. As a result of this, consumers are seeking out better-for-you snacks that have a functional purpose. This is driving mainstream demand for sports nutrition products over traditional snacking items such as chocolate and confectionery. Whilst this is a positive for the industry, it is crucial that brands address the issue of indulgence to maintain such appeal in the long-term.

Sports Nutrition products are becoming increasingly mainstream from a consumption perspective. This is not necessarily driven by regular gym goers, but time-scarce, health conscious consumers who are embracing the concept of active nutrition. That is, they are taking a more proactive approach to health maintenance. This is part of FMCG Gurus Evolution of Nutrition trend, which shows that consumers are looking to stay healthier for longer and see diet as an integral part of this.

FMCG Gurus conducted a survey of 26,000 health conscious consumers across 26 countries in Q3 2019 and found that 61% have looked to improve their health and wellness over the last two years. Meanwhile, a total of 39% say that they have taken steps to improve their diets over the same period. When questioned why they have improved their diet, “general wellbeing” (58%) was a more popular answer than “to lose weight” (52%). This is indicative of how consumers are not just looking to make changes to their lifestyles to improve their physical appearance but to address their long-term health.

The desire to stay healthier for longer is something that is having an impact on dietary plans. Indeed, a total of 51% of consumers say that in the last 12 months, they have made conscious efforts to switch from traditional snack products such as chocolate to high protein/low sugar alternatives. Additionally, a total of 68% of say that they eat high protein snack bars to some extent.  This is a key reason why everyday consumers are turning to sports nutrition products. After all, when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle, consumers state that they face many barriers. For instance, a total of 45% say that they often do not have time to exercise, whilst 26% say that they are restricted by the fact that they eat out-of-home regularly. As a result of this, they are looking to adjust their diets to compensate this – with high protein offerings proving popular. This explains why 54% of consumers across the globe say that they expect snacks to offer some form of nutritional boost.

Whilst everyday consumers seeking out sports nutrition products is a major bonus for the industry, it also means it is important to address the issue of taste associated with high protein products. After all, irrespective of health concerns, consumers like to enjoy treats daily. For instance, a total of 44% of health-conscious consumers say that they like to enjoy moments of indulgence on a regular basis. This is something that could prove problematic for the industry in the long-term. For instance, 31% of consumers confess that they can find healthy food to be bland and boring. Additionally, 53% say that they can be concerned about the aftertaste of high protein snacks.

If the sports nutrition market is going to have long-term mainstream appeal, the issue of taste and indulgence is something that the industry needs to address.

Mike Hughes

Head of Research and Insight

FMCG Gurus

This article is based on a survey of 26,000 respondents across twenty-six countries in Q3 2019

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