Natural Products Insider

MAY-JUN 2019

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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14 INSIDER May /June 2019 The weekend warriors—people cramming most of their exercise into two days off from work—are not new. Yoga is not new, but its huge bloom of devotees in western countries like the United States is newish. CrossFitters and Tough Mudderers also are newer. Add to these high-profi le exercisers a cornucopia of active consumers at gyms, parks, beaches, trails and all manner of courts, tracks and fi elds, and the result is a mass of amateur athletes ripe for sports nutrition product use. The expanded demographic numbers many millions of active people. CrossFit has more than 15,000 offi cial affi liates, with around 4 million participants, according to CrossFit. More than 3 million people have competed in one of the many races annually, and the organization said participation is growing thanks to shorter race options. According to the Outdoor Association, almost half of Americans (49 percent, or 146 million people) engaged in outdoor recreation in 2017, and running, including jogging and trail running, was the most popular activity in terms of both participants and total annual outings. Anthony Almada, a co-founder and fellow of the International Society for Sports Nutrition (ISSN) and consultant to and spokesperson for Indena, highlighted "some inspiring fi ndings from the ongoing USA National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)," such as: about 8 percent of Americans are performing 2.5 to 5 hours of vigorous or 5 to 10 hours of moderate exercise per week, and about 41 percent are engaged in 5 hours or more of vigorous or 10 hours or more of moderate exercise, per week. The big questions for the sports nutrition industry regarding this consumer pool are: How do the needs of these active consumers differ from elite professional and amateur athletes? How can brands formulate and market to this growing population? Different Strokes for Different Folks? At the retail level, nutrition giant GNC is aware of these differences and addresses the market expansion by offering something for every level of athlete. "Serious athletes are a larger segment of GNC's customer base," confi rmed Guru Ramanathan, Ph.D., chief innovation offi cer at GNC. "However, as customers start to seek alternative ways of staying active and healthy, we expect to see an increase in the weekend warrior segment." For example, he noted serious athletes may look for products like mass gainers, whey protein isolates, protein blends, pre-workouts, creatine, etc., which are available in a variety of delivery forms, doses and fl avors. One consideration for elite athletes, especially those facing anti- doping tests, may be products certifi ed free of banned substances. On the other hand, he suggested weekend warriors and active consumers may benefi t most from the GNC Pro Performance line, as it provides simple formulas that deliver results. "In addition, these consumers may be interested in GNC's protein bars, plant proteins and other formulas that are suitable for use before or after weekend activities," he advised. "We also recently launched our Earth Genius Pure Edge products, which contain plant-based ingredients to help with performance." Regardless of the differences between the groups of consumers, Ramanathan recommended multivitamins, fi sh oil and probiotics for all levels of athletes. As for how they want to consume sports nutrition, GNC has found its elite athlete consumers focus on both supplements and food/beverage. Ramanathan explained these consumers want to be sure their diet helps prime the body, but also understand that supplements can give them an additional edge. On the fl ip side, GNC has noticed active consumers may prefer supplements over food to receive nutritional benefi ts their diet may be lacking. "However, both elite athletes and active consumers prefer portable and on-the-go delivery forms that are convenient and easy to use," he confi rmed. Protein and Energy Equalizers? As the star in lean body mass development, protein is the main ingredient for all exercisers and may, in fact, be the gateway for active consumers to cross over into sports nutrition. The type and level of protein intake depends upon the body composition and strength goals of the athlete, and this may not be dependent on elite vs. non-elite. Protein is available in many delivery forms and from many different sources, both animal and plant. There is desire for all types within and across both groups. "The protein market appeals to a broad range of consumers who seek it for a variety of reasons, including sports recovery, weight management and more," noted Stephanie Lynch, vice president of sales, marketing and technology for International Dehydrated Foods (IDF). "In fact, according to research by NMI [Natural Marketing Institute], nearly four out of fi ve consumers consider protein content as an important factor in food and beverage purchasing decisions." One protein food mainstay in sports is chicken. "Chicken protein, specifi cally, is great for a broader consumer audience because it is the most versatile and diet-friendly protein," Lynch said. "And, since 77 percent of consumers already get protein from chicken, according to the NPD Group, it is a familiar choice that supports a clean label." While whey, casein and even soy protein have long been available in various delivery forms, chicken has been mainly consumed in its natural (albeit cooked) form by athletes. Sports Nutrition: Nutrients for Weekend Warriors/Active Consumers Millions of Americans are working out and competing in sports at a non-elite level, and they are increasingly interested in sports nutrition for lean bodies and improved energy. Active consumers and weekend warriors may not be as concerned with banned substance testing as are drug-tested athletes, but transparency and quality are still important to them. Recovery is an overlooked area of sports nutrition, especially by consumers whose bodies yo-yo through periods of sedentary activity and bursts of intense exercise. Sports Nutrition for Active Consumers by Steve Myers INSIDER's Take

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