Sports nutrition can look forward to bright future, event presenters agree

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

NutraIngredients-USA -- Justin Howe
NutraIngredients-USA -- Justin Howe

Related tags Sports nutrition Sports nutrition products Sports & Active Nutrition Summit USA Sports nutrition sector Probiotics Nutrition

The sports nutrition sphere enters 2022 with a renewed sense of optimism, speakers at the recent Sports & Active Nutrition Summit told attendees.

The event returned this year as an in-person meeting at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Mission Bay in San Diego, CA.  This same event at the same venue in 2020 was the last in person event William Reed conducted as a live event as the world went into a series of pandemic-related lockdowns.  And this year’s event, which concluded on Wednesday, was the first in person event company wide as William Reed resumes the events end of its business.

CBD session kicks off event

The event kicked off with a series of presentations on CBD, an ingredient that is seeing demand tick back up again as consumers’ myopic focus on immune health products starts to fade.  The market had seen some tumult even before the pandemic, with a large oversupply developing on the raw material side. That has been paired with significant overcapacity on the extraction end. 

While that implies some future hurt for the market, the underlying fundamentals of the ingredient look strong, according to the presenters in San Diego.  Dr Hector Lopez, MD, of the Center for Applied Health Sciences laid out the case for the science backing the ingredient.  Much more needs to be done, but Lopez told the audience that good evidence exists for the effects of CBD and hemp extracts on sleep, mood and measures of recovery, all of which could figure into a sports nutrition product positioning.

Other presenters, including Steve Hoffman of Compass Natural Marketing, Tim Hitchman, PhD, of CV Sciences and Tyler Dautrich of MoreBetter filled in other pieces of the CBD picture. Those included the powerful marketing push CBD products are getting from celebrity endorsers and investors, the specific benefits consumers are seeking in these products and more.

Another panel at the event focuses on the difficulties CEOs have faced trying to keep businesses open and thriving during the past couple of years. One common theme was the notion of community, and how nurturing a supportive corporate culture and building community with end users can help sustain a business through the kinds of challenges they all faced during the pandemic.

Esports emphasis

Another major emphasis in this year’s event was on esports.  Jason Chung, PhD, who has developed the world’s first academic program focused on the sector, told attendees that esports streaming events, in which fans can watch their favorite players compete against others, has in a very short time gone from nothing to a huge business bringing in well more than $1 billion globally every year.  Players are now starting to look for products formulated specifically for their nutrition needs, which is becoming a growing opportunity for the industry.

The event included a wealth of information on market metrics, the latest on scientific substantiation and more.  

It concluded with a forward looking panel that included Tim Avila, of Systems Bioscience, David Sandler of StrengthPro, Ralf Jäger, PhD, of Increnovo, and Robert Wildman, PhD, of TYM Athletic Performance.  The panelists agreed that the sports nutrition category has emerged stronger than ever from the pandemic and can look forward to renewed growth.

For more coverage of the event, stay tuned to NutraIngredients-USA.

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