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Attitudes towards Sports Nutrition - UK - June 2016

“There is strong interest in collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands. Given that the boundaries between the two are becoming increasingly blurred, a proactive move to be part of this trend, rather than fighting it, could be timely.”
– Emma Clifford, Senior Food and Drink Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands can be mutually beneficial
  • Scope to drive awareness of benefits of high-protein food linked to muscle growth among parents and the older generation
  • Simplified information and personalised guidance is needed to make the sports nutrition market more approachable

Used by one in four people, sports nutrition food/drink enjoys surprisingly widespread use despite its specific function as supporting sports and fitness. Sales through the leading grocers and chemists increased in 2015, emphasising the buoyancy of the market. This reflects the market’s evolution from a small niche for the most serious exercise enthusiasts to one with more mainstream appeal, attracting more “lifestyle” users. Fuelling this shift is the growing availability and visibility of accessible products such as snacks and drinks from sports nutrition brands.

That protein is held in high esteem in a healthy eating context, particularly among young people, has been key to the sports nutrition food and drinks market’s recent success. This has also led to a surge in high-protein product innovation from mainstream brands, with Mars and Snickers protein bars the latest high-profile launch in this area. This is acting to blur the boundaries between sports nutrition products and those from mainstream brands, particularly when the latter takes a performance-oriented position such as Arla Protein.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Strong sales growth for sports nutrition products through the leading grocers
              • Figure 1: Value sales and annual rates of growth of sports nutrition food and drink through selected retailers*, 2013-15
            • Half of adults exercise at least twice a week
              • Most consumers try to eat healthily most or all of the time – High-protein widely seen as healthy
                • The ageing population is a challenge
                  • Companies and brands
                    • Independent brands are gobbled up
                      • Strong growth from MaxiNutrition, Sci-Mx and For Goodness Shakes
                        • Figure 2: Leading brands’ shares in the UK sports nutrition food and drink market*, by value, 2015/16**
                      • High-protein claims have increased dramatically in food launches
                        • The consumer
                          • One in four consumers use sports nutrition products
                            • Figure 3: Usage of high-protein products (excluding sports nutrition), by type, by gender, May 2016
                            • Figure 4: Usage of sports nutrition products, by product type, by gender, May 2016
                          • Collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands attract interest
                            • Users are hungry to know more
                              • Figure 5: Users’ attitudes towards sports nutrition products, May 2016
                            • Multiple benefits linked to protein should help to tap into a holistic approach to health
                              • Figure 6: Perceived benefits of eating/drinking high-protein products, May 2015
                            • Scope to grow awareness of higher protein needs of older consumers
                              • Interest in protein powders and a wider availability of high-protein prepared meals
                                • Figure 7: Attitudes towards protein, May 2016
                              • What we think
                              • Issues and Insights

                                • Collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands can be mutually beneficial
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Scope to drive awareness of benefits of high-protein food linked to muscle growth among parents and the older generation
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Simplified information and personalised guidance is needed to make the sports nutrition market more approachable
                                              • The fact
                                                • The implications
                                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Strong growth for sports nutrition products through the leading grocers
                                                    • Half of adults exercise at least twice a week
                                                      • Most consumers try to eat healthily most or all of the time – High-protein widely seen as healthy
                                                        • The ageing population is a challenge
                                                          • Rising real incomes bode well for the market
                                                          • Market Size

                                                            • Strong growth for sports nutrition products from the leading grocers
                                                              • The market is on a journey from niche to mainstream
                                                                • Figure 8: Value sales and annual rates of growth of sports nutrition food and drink through selected retailers*, 2013-15
                                                              • Blurring of boundaries between sports nutrition products and the mainstream
                                                                • The market holds further potential
                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                  • Half of adults exercise at least twice a week
                                                                    • Figure 9: Frequency of exercise, by age group, May 2016
                                                                  • Most consumers try to eat healthily most or all of the time – High-protein widely seen as healthy
                                                                    • Almost half of adults tried to lose weight in 2015
                                                                      • UK adults are getting enough protein
                                                                        • Differences over recommendations breed confusion
                                                                          • The debate over how sports foods should be categorised by EU law rumbles on
                                                                            • The ageing population is a challenge
                                                                              • Rising real incomes bode well for the market
                                                                              • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                                                • Independent brands are gobbled up
                                                                                  • Samworth Brothers aims to bring Sci-Mx to the mainstream
                                                                                    • A boost from the Rugby World Cup for MaxiNutrition
                                                                                      • High-protein claims have increased dramatically
                                                                                        • Snacks lead the way in high-protein NPD
                                                                                          • High-protein claims often teamed up with “natural goodness”
                                                                                            • Sports nutrition brands look to accessible formats
                                                                                            • Market Share

                                                                                              • Competitive landscape
                                                                                                • Independent brands are gobbled up
                                                                                                  • My Protein is at the helm of the UK online channel
                                                                                                    • The Protein Works™ joins PhD Nutrition within the Sport-ph company
                                                                                                      • Real Good Food clinches ISO2
                                                                                                        • Glanbia Performance Nutrition continues to build its global portfolio
                                                                                                          • Market share through supermarkets
                                                                                                            • Dunn’s River Nurishment is at the top
                                                                                                              • Figure 10: Leading brands’ shares in the UK sports nutrition food and drink market*, by value, 2015/16**
                                                                                                            • Sci-Mx sales up 25% year on year
                                                                                                              • Figure 11: Leading brands’ shares in the UK sports nutrition food and drink market^, by value, 2013/14*, 2014/15** and 2015/16***
                                                                                                            • Strong performance from For Goodness Shakes
                                                                                                              • A boost from the Rugby World Cup for MaxiNutrition
                                                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                • High-protein claims have increased dramatically
                                                                                                                  • Snacks lead the way in high-protein NPD
                                                                                                                    • Figure 12: High-protein food launches, by product category, 2015
                                                                                                                  • High-protein claims often teamed up with “natural goodness”
                                                                                                                    • Mars gives high-protein within chocolate a huge boost
                                                                                                                      • Mornflake is the latest breakfast cereal brand to go high-protein
                                                                                                                        • Prepared meals see more high-protein NPD
                                                                                                                          • High-protein NPD activity in dairy from Arla and Alpro
                                                                                                                            • Asda enters the sports nutrition space with an own-label offering
                                                                                                                              • Sports nutrition brands look to accessible formats
                                                                                                                                • Launches beyond sweet treats
                                                                                                                                  • For Goodness Shakes unveils flavoured water range
                                                                                                                                    • LDN Muscle moves into sports nutrition products
                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                      • One in four consumers use sports nutrition products
                                                                                                                                        • Young consumers and high-earners are the core users
                                                                                                                                          • Collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands attract interest
                                                                                                                                            • Users are hungry to know more
                                                                                                                                              • Multiple benefits linked to protein should help to tap into a holistic approach to health
                                                                                                                                                • Scope to grow awareness of higher protein needs of older consumers
                                                                                                                                                  • Interest in protein powders and a wider availability of high-protein prepared meals
                                                                                                                                                  • Usage of Sports Nutrition Products

                                                                                                                                                    • One in four consumers use sports nutrition products
                                                                                                                                                      • High levels of loyalty among many users
                                                                                                                                                        • Young consumers and high-earners are the core users
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Usage of sports nutrition products, by product type, by gender, May 2016
                                                                                                                                                        • Usage has fallen year on year
                                                                                                                                                          • High-protein and sports nutrition products attract the same audience
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 14: Usage of high-protein products (excluding sports nutrition), by type, by gender, May 2016
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Usage of high-protein products (excluding sports nutrition) and sports nutrition products, by age, gender and socio-economic group, May 2016
                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Sports Nutrition Products

                                                                                                                                                            • Collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands attract interest
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 16: Users’ attitudes towards sports nutrition products, May 2016
                                                                                                                                                            • All-natural ingredients are an attractive proposition
                                                                                                                                                              • Most users trust the governance of the sports nutrition market
                                                                                                                                                                • Users are hungry to know more…
                                                                                                                                                                • Perceived Benefits of High-Protein Products

                                                                                                                                                                  • Multiple benefits linked to protein should help to tap into a holistic approach to health
                                                                                                                                                                    • Topping up dietary protein is seen as the main benefit
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 17: Perceived benefits of eating/drinking high-protein products, May 2015
                                                                                                                                                                      • Sustained energy and satiety are stronger draws for women
                                                                                                                                                                        • Scope to drive awareness of benefits linked to muscle growth…
                                                                                                                                                                          • …and bone health
                                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Protein

                                                                                                                                                                            • Awareness of higher protein needs of older consumers can be grown
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 18: Attitudes towards protein, May 2016
                                                                                                                                                                            • Under-25s are most likely to think plant protein is just as good quality as animal protein
                                                                                                                                                                              • 44% of 16-24s think there are not enough high-protein prepared meals
                                                                                                                                                                                • One in four are interested in protein powders
                                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology

                                                                                                                                                                                      Companies Covered

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Attitudes towards Sports Nutrition - UK - June 2016

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