The market analyst reports growth in sports nutrition products is far outpacing overall food and drinks spending growth, as hectic lifestyles and lack of free time are encouraging people to use such products to maximize benefits from exercise.
Datamonitor attributes growth in the category to a widening consumer base for sports nutrition in the United States. However, the disparate nature of these consumers' needs has made marketing sports nutrition products more difficult.
Between 2000 and 2005, consumer spending on sport food and beverages in the US grew by 6.7 percent to $3.1bn. Over the same time period, spending on sports supplements grew a modest 2.3 percent, to reach $621m.
Datamonitor divides sports nutrition products into two categories: sports food and beverages, and sports nutrition supplements. Sports food and beverages are direct substitutes for traditional food and beverage. While sports nutrition supplements come in pill or powder form and are generally intended to be taken in addition to the consumer's regular food and drink.
The relatively smaller size of the sports supplement market reflects the greater difficulty of gearing the plethora of specialist, expensive and inconvenient products that make up the this market to mainstream consumer lifestyles, says Datamonitor.
As well, the analyst cites a decline in the core bodybuilder group that accounts for a substantial proportion of total sports nutritional supplement consumption.
Total consumer spending on sports nutrition products reached $5.4bn in 2005. The US accounted for the most of this spending, at $3.7bn. Europeans accounted for $1.7bn over the period.
The expanding consumer base for these goods has been spurred by a wider range of products meeting consumers' sports and lifestyle needs, as well as increased marketing and distribution due to the involvement of major global food and drinks players within the sports nutrition markets.
In the past consumers of sports nutrition products were typically young males, whereas they now include older people as well as more women.
As more female consumers take up sports and exercise to complement their diets, women are increasingly turning to sports nutrition products such as sports drinks. For instance, low calorie fitness waters are marketed towards the female consumer.
Datamonitor also said that health is a paramount issue for consumers in the US, where many people rate it as the number one concern driving happiness.
However, health and fitness are in competition with another facet of modern life: convenience. This phenomena is relevant to sports nutrition products because they are substitutes for other snacks, drinks and energy providing products.
Datamonitor predicts that by 2010 total consumer spending on sports nutrition products will reach $6.9bn, with the US at the prow with sales of $4.8bn. Sales in Europe will rise to $2.1bn, according the group.