Sports nutrition manufacturers have realised that they can only get so far in targeting the saturated niche of bodybuilders, elite athletes and fitness fanatics in western markets. Sports nutrition components such as protein and energy ingredients can be exploited by all demographic groups. Manufacturers are therefore diversifying into the broader healthy living platform.
“Protein has moved beyond the athlete and is now all about a healthy lifestyle,” said Williams.
This is borne out by the increase in protein claims tracked by Innova - 10% of all cereal launches - many of them bars - carry a protein claim.
Flavour innovation is another indicator that sports nutrition products are no longer just for athletes: in the first half of 2011, 41% of global sports products tracked by Innova were unflavoured, but by the first half of 2015, this figure had fallen to 24%.
“Mainstream consumers care a lot more about the way products taste - not just about the nutritional benefit,” said Williams.