In terms of growth outlook, the sports nutrition market will register a promising compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% between 2013 and 2019, states a research report by Persistence Market Research (PMR). At this CAGR, sports nutrition will be a US$ 37.7 billion market in 2019.
It only takes a look around at supermarket shelves to understand that sports nutrition products are no longer restricted to sports persons and bodybuilders. Today, sports nutrition products are targeted at the general ‘health conscious’ consumer – across age groups – who is labeled as the ‘lifestyle or recreational’ user. Simply stated, the future of the global sports nutrition market lies in breaking out of niche segments.
Key products within the sports nutrition market are: sports drinks, sports food, and sports supplements. While the demand for these sports nutrition products will likely experience steady growth over the next few years, there is no denying the fact that companies in this market will have to work twice as hard to overcome some marked threats.
Here’s a brief overview of some threats that players in the sports nutrition market will have to overcome:
Negative publicity resulting from adulterated products
Reports about sports nutrition products containing trace amounts of heavy metals, antibiotics, and other health-harming ingredients have dented this market to a great extent. Product recalls, especially, are a challenge that the industry needs to brace for as regulatory authorities are tightening existing rules pertaining to sports supplements and nutrition products. Negative publicity for sports nutrition products has the tendency to snowball on social media, making it imperative for market players to exercise caution while formulating and testing sports nutrition products and also while marketing them.
Substitute products are a palpable threat
A vast majority of consumers are now going back to the basics as far as health and nutrition sentiments are concerned. A 2012 survey by an independent food company based in the UK revealed that about 80% consumers were following a healthy diet, as compared to 70% the year before. Organic food and nutrition products are regarded as a more cost-effective method to obtain nutrition rather than purchasing sports nutrition products. The sports nutrition industry will have to address this problem at two levels – introducing products that are aligned with the natural/organic consumption trend and showcasing this change through intelligent marketing campaigns.
Conventional distribution channels are not as effective anymore
it is high time sports nutrition companies began to look beyond specialized distribution channels. In the past, channels such as health stores, online shopping portals and health clubs contributed to sales. But today, the scenario is fast changing because consumers are looking at convenience and consequently prefer purchase platforms such as convenience stores and supermarkets.
The maze called ‘consumer preference’
With every new nutritional trend that hits the market, consumers begin to show a change in purchase patterns. Companies in the sports nutrition market often lose out on sales because of these rapid shifts, which makes this factor a serious restraint in the sports nutrition market. Players will have to anticipate trends and shorten the time-to-market for new products if they are to maintain a competitive edge.
Overall, price points and product positioning will be winning imperatives in the sports nutrition market. These two factors will help companies break the niche and acquire a new, more profitable consumer base.