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Attitudes towards Sports Nutrition - UK - August 2019

“The sports nutrition market is going through a major transformation, muscling its way out of its athlete-focused niche into the mainstream. A more accessible and widely resonating ‘active lifestyle’ positioning, together with product innovation and wider availability through mainstream channels, has been at the heart of this shift. There are opportunities for sports nutrition to further embrace this through collaborations with mainstream brands given the high level of interest in this concept.”

– Heidi Lanschützer, Food and Drink Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

  • The market’s move from niche to mainstream brings along huge growth potential
  • Personalised solutions have the potential to foster long-term usage and loyalty
  • Huge opportunity for sports nutrition brands to support healthy ageing among today’s seniors

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

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

          • The market
            • Growth through mainstream channels slows down
              • Figure 1: Value sales in the UK sports nutrition food and drink market^, 2016/17-2018/19
            • Sports nutrition faces competition from active lifestyle nutrition
              • Exercise participation overall is stable, but frequency edges up
                • War on sugar continues
                  • Ageing population poses challenge
                    • Companies and brands
                      • Acquisition activity remains high
                        • Grenade records impressive growth thanks to channel expansion
                          • Brand overhaul for MaxiNutrition and SCI-MX to widen consumer appeal
                            • Figure 2: Value sales in the UK sports nutrition food and drink market*, 2018/19*
                          • Snacking formats are a focus in sports nutrition NPD
                            • Plant-based innovation surges
                              • Gut health innovation gains momentum
                                • The consumer
                                  • Young men remain core users but uptake among women on the rise
                                    • Figure 3: Usage of sports nutrition products, by age, April 2019
                                  • Over half of users use sports nutrition products at least twice a week
                                    • Figure 4: Frequency of usage of sports nutrition products, by gender, April 2019
                                  • Convenience channel plays important role for sports nutrition
                                    • Figure 5: Where sports nutrition products are purchased, April 2019
                                  • Personalised sports nutrition is a largely untapped opportunity
                                    • Scope for collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands
                                      • Figure 6: Behaviours relating to sports nutrition products, by usage of sports nutrition products, April 2019
                                    • Scope to switch the focus away from sweet flavours
                                      • Opportunities for a “pro-ageing” proposition to tap the grey pound
                                        • Figure 7: Agreement with statements on sports nutrition products, by usage of sports nutrition products, April 2019
                                      • Protein’s feelgood factor should be key theme in brand communication
                                        • Figure 8: Perceived benefits of eating high-protein food, by usage of high-protein products, April 2019
                                      • What we think
                                      • Issues and Insights

                                        • The market’s move from niche to mainstream brings along huge growth potential
                                          • The facts
                                            • The implications
                                              • Personalised solutions have the potential to foster long-term usage and loyalty
                                                • The facts
                                                  • The implications
                                                    • Huge opportunity for sports nutrition brands to support healthy ageing among today’s seniors
                                                      • The facts
                                                        • The implications
                                                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Growth through mainstream channels slows down
                                                            • Sports nutrition faces mounting competition from high-protein brands
                                                              • Exercise participation overall is stable, but frequency edges up
                                                                • Ageing population poses challenge
                                                                  • High-protein diets remain popular
                                                                    • War on sugar continues
                                                                      • Plant-based nutrition is gaining momentum
                                                                      • Market Size

                                                                        • Growth of sports nutrition products through mainstream channels slows down
                                                                          • Figure 9: Value sales in the UK sports nutrition food and drink market^, 2016/17-2018/19
                                                                        • NPD in snacking formats and retailers’ shelf space overhaul have facilitated growth
                                                                          • The market has muscled its way out of its niche into mass market
                                                                            • Dominance of online and specialist retailers continues
                                                                              • Growing popularity of lifestyle high-protein products and ageing population pose challenge to traditional sports nutrition category
                                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                                • Exercise participation overall is stable, but frequency edges up
                                                                                  • Figure 10: Frequency of exercise, March 2018 and April 2019
                                                                                  • Figure 11: Frequency of exercise, by age, April 2019
                                                                                • Sports participation is static, but health and fitness club membership is rising
                                                                                  • More than a third are not getting enough exercise
                                                                                    • Sports nutrition brands can do more to encourage more physical activity
                                                                                      • The way Brits exercise is changing
                                                                                        • HIIT is growing in popularity
                                                                                          • Women muscle in on weights and strength training
                                                                                            • Sports nutrition is moving mainstream
                                                                                              • Plant-based nutrition is gaining momentum
                                                                                                • War on sugar continues
                                                                                                  • Creating strong demand for lower-sugar options in sports nutrition
                                                                                                    • High-protein diets remain popular
                                                                                                      • Mounting competition for sports nutrition products from high-protein food and drink
                                                                                                        • Ageing population could be turned into lucrative opportunity
                                                                                                          • Age stereotypes are starting to shift
                                                                                                            • Low levels of usage of sports nutrition products among older consumers
                                                                                                              • More than a quarter think there should be more sports nutrition products for over-50s
                                                                                                                • Improved disposable incomes could boost sports nutrition consumption
                                                                                                                  • Figure 12: Annual change in CPI and average weekly earnings, January 2013-April 2019
                                                                                                                • Future of food and drink legislation post-Brexit remains uncertain
                                                                                                                • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                  • Acquisition activity remains high
                                                                                                                    • Grenade records impressive growth thanks to channel expansion
                                                                                                                      • Brand overhaul for MaxiNutrition and SCI-MX to widen consumer appeal
                                                                                                                        • Snacking formats are a focus in sports nutrition NPD
                                                                                                                          • Plant-based innovation surges
                                                                                                                            • Gut health innovation gains momentum
                                                                                                                            • Market Share

                                                                                                                              • Competitive landscape
                                                                                                                                • Science in Sport reports another successful year and acquires PhD
                                                                                                                                  • Myprotein reports healthy growth after THG acquisition
                                                                                                                                    • Mixed performance for other players
                                                                                                                                      • Mars buys majority stake in personalised sports nutrition business Foodspring
                                                                                                                                        • Market share through supermarkets
                                                                                                                                          • Grenade records impressive growth thanks to channel expansion
                                                                                                                                            • Dunn’s River suffers substantial sales decline
                                                                                                                                              • Brand overhaul for MaxiMuscle and MaxiNutrition in a bid to get sales back on track
                                                                                                                                                • SCI-MX relaunches PRO 2GO range to widen consumer appeal
                                                                                                                                                  • Own-label grows strongly but still only holds a minority share of the market
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Value sales in the UK sports nutrition food and drink market^, 2016/17-2018/19
                                                                                                                                                • Launch Activity and Innovation – Sports Nutrition

                                                                                                                                                  • More innovation that moves sports nutrition mainstream
                                                                                                                                                    • Sports nutrition brands take a bite of the everyday snacking market
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 14: Sports nutrition launches in snacking formats, 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                      • NPD in indulgent flavours and encroachment into treat categories keep going strong
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 15: SCI-MX Nutrition’s new Pro 2GO Gooey Protein Bars, 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 16: New sports nutrition launches with highly indulgent flavours, 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                        • Plant-based innovation surges
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 17: New plant protein launches, 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 18: New PhD Smart Bar Plant range, 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • A move towards cleaner labels
                                                                                                                                                            • MaxiMuscle reformulates longstanding lines to remove nasties
                                                                                                                                                              • Challenger brands set the pace in all-natural NPD
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 19: All-natural sports nutrition launches, 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                              • A more holistic lifestyle and general wellbeing approach to women’s products
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 20: Free Soul sports nutrition for women, 2017
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Supernova Living sports nutrition for women, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 22: MissFits sports nutrition range for women, 2018
                                                                                                                                                              • Gut health innovation mostly driven by challenger brands
                                                                                                                                                                • Pre- and probiotics make their way to protein foods
                                                                                                                                                                  • Lifestyle nutrition brands Pulsin and Perkier look to gut health
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Pulsin Supershake Immunity Blend, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                  • Joe Wicks partners with Myprotein
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Myprotein’s The Body Coach new sports nutrition range, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                  • A handful of brands are exploring the recovery-sleep link
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: New sports nutrition products communicating around sleep, 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                  • Launch Activity and Innovation – High-Protein Products

                                                                                                                                                                    • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                      • No end to the rise in high-protein claims
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Share of UK food and drink launches featuring a high-protein claim, 2014-19**
                                                                                                                                                                      • Snacks is an increasingly popular category for high-protein innovation
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Share of high-protein food launches, by product category, 2017
                                                                                                                                                                      • High-protein, on-the-go savoury snack innovation gains momentum
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: New Fridge Raiders Combos range, 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: New meat snack launches with innovative flavours, 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                      • Mainstream brands enter the high-protein snack bar arena…
                                                                                                                                                                        • …with more chocolate brands also joining the fray
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Latest high-protein launches by established confectionery brands, 2018/10
                                                                                                                                                                        • Halo Top blazes trail for more high-protein ice cream innovation
                                                                                                                                                                          • Protein makes its way to ice cream with Halo Top
                                                                                                                                                                            • Unilever and Asda follow, with Wheyhey refreshing its brand identity
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 31: Examples of recent high-protein ice cream launches in the UK, 2018/19
                                                                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                            • Young men remain core users but uptake among women on the rise
                                                                                                                                                                              • Usage of high-protein products also edges up
                                                                                                                                                                                • Convenience channel plays important role for sports nutrition
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Personalised sports nutrition is a largely untapped opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Scope for collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands
                                                                                                                                                                                      • More clarity needed on industry regulation, and players should be more vocal about their quality controls
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Scope to switch the focus away from sweet flavours
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunities for a “pro-ageing” proposition to tap the grey pound
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Protein’s feelgood factor should be key theme in brand communication
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Usage of Sports Nutrition and High-protein Products

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Usage of sports nutrition products continues to rise
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Usage of sports nutrition products, by gender, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Usage is heavily geared towards young males and those exercising frequently
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Low levels of usage among the older generation
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Usage of sports nutrition products, by age, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Over half of users use sports nutrition products at least twice a week
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Frequency of usage of sports nutrition products, by gender, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Usage of high-protein products also edges up
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Usage of high-protein products, by gender, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Where Sports Nutrition Products are Purchased

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Supermarkets have a strong lead in purchasing of sports nutrition products
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Where sports nutrition products are purchased, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                • A quarter of buyers purchase these products from convenience stores
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Specialist stores mostly attract heavy users
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • A quarter of under-35 buyers purchase from online-only sports nutrition retailers
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Gyms can score with a customised offering
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Behaviours Relating to Sports Nutrition

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Scope for collaborations between sports nutrition and mainstream brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Recent marketing tie-ups range from BOL Foods to the Coconut Collab
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Behaviours relating to sports nutrition products, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Behaviours relating to sports nutrition products, by usage of sports nutrition products, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Strong interest in personalised sports nutrition
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Personalised products are rare
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • More clarity needed on industry regulation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brands and retailers should be vocal about their quality controls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Attitudes towards Sports Nutrition Products

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Plant-based proteins enjoy health halo among majority of users
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Opportunities in gut health and driving awareness of amino acids
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Scope to tap into interest in product provenance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Attitudes towards sports nutrition products, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Agreement with statements on sports nutrition products, by usage of sports nutrition products, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Scope to switch the focus away from sweet flavours
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunities for a “pro-ageing” proposition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Few over-55s use sports nutrition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • “Pro-ageing” approach is key to reaching seniors
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Perceived Benefits of Eating High-protein Food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • A diverse mix of benefits linked to eating high-protein food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Perceived benefits of eating high-protein food, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Perceived benefits of eating high-protein food, by usage of high-protein products, April 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Protein’s feelgood factor should be key theme in brand communication
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Scope to tap into the growing demand for ‘mood foods’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Gut health warrants attention
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Satiety is the leading benefit for women
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bone health message could boost protein’s appeal among older people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Attitudes towards Sports Nutrition - UK - August 2019

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