US still #1 for sports nutrition products: Leatherhead report

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

US still #1 for sports nutrition products: Leatherhead report

Related tags: Coconut water, Energy drinks, Sports nutrition products, Nutrition

The US is still the leading market for sports supplements, foods, and beverages, with the supplements market in particular showing growth of about 5 percent, says a new report from Leatherhead Food Research.

The new report, The Global Market for Sports Performance and Energy Products​, rates the US sports supplement market at a whopping $2.95 billion in 2010, and notes that sports nutrition supplements remain one of the most bullish sectors of the overall dietary supplements industry.

The report reserves special mention for the rise of the internet as a sales channel: “The internet now accounts for almost 10% of sales within the sector, while sports nutrition products make up nearly a quarter of the market for supplements sold through the internet in the US,”​ notes the report.

Nutrition bars lead the field

In the sports food sector, Leatherhead note that the market for nutrition/energy bars was estimated to be $1.2bn last year, a figure which represents a 4 percent increase from 2009, and an impressive 18.8 percent growth on 2006 figures.

“It should be noted that this figure uses a fairly broad definition of the market (including products such as energy and protein bars, as well as healthy meal replacement products) and covers sales through all major retail channels,” ​states the report. “Although it is unclear how many of these are eaten either during or after exercise, many are positioned as sports foods and are therefore classed as such for the purposes of this report.”

Energy drinks stealing market share from sports drinks

As with supplements and foods, the US remains the leading market for sports beverages, with volume sales estimated around 4.55 billion liters, which works out at almost 15 liters per person.

While sports drinks continue to sell well, the sales are decreasing as sales of energy drinks increases, says Leatherhead: US sales of energy drinks were estimated to be worth about $6.1 billion in 2010, with energy shots leading the growth.

The report highlights coconut water as a sector to watch, with the market already worth about $95 million. “Although the sector is largely made up of a handful of leading brands, recent data suggests that more US consumers are becoming awareness of the benefits offered by coconut water (such as its natural nature, as well as its lack of sugar and fat) and penetration levels are increasing as a result,” ​states the report.

New product activity is also boosting the potential of coconut water, says Leatherhead, with Virginia Dare and Comax Flavors both noted as launching a range of flavors for coconut water in 2010.

Health claims

According to the report, fortified with vitamins and minerals is the leading health claim for sports and energy drinks, closely followed by claims such as “low/no/reduced calories, no additives/preservatives and low/no/reduced sugar”​.

For more information on the report, please click here​.

Related topics: Markets, Energy

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