KANSAS CITY — It’s hard to tell who the players are without a scorecard in the diversified market for sports nutrition ingredients. As the market has fragmented, with product developers promoting products for pre-workout fueling, performance, recovery, hydration and maintenance, product developers and ingredient suppliers are developing solutions that fit into each category.

The benefits of whey protein and electrolytes in fueling performance are well documented. But other ingredient manufacturers are asking consumers to consider new ingredient applications.

Adding to the attractiveness of the category is how it is expanding. Initially, sports nutrition products were marketed to athletes intent to improve performance. But marketers have found a lucrative market in non-athletes, consumers who may be better described as active, who view sports nutrition products as tools to manage or improve overall health and wellness. These consumers propelled the nutrition bar category in the past and are generating growth in the market for premium beverages that deliver protein or enhanced hydration.

At SupplySide West, to be held Nov. 6-10 in Las Vegas, Gelita USA, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, will be exhibiting the Tendoforte brand of collagen peptide that is designed to strengthen tendons and ligaments and makes it suitable for sports nutrition products targeted toward protecting soft tissues in both amateur and professional athletes, according to the company.

“Collagen is one of the body’s most abundant proteins,” said Lara Niemann, marketing director – Americas, with Gelita. “It is found in all of our connective tissue, including tendons, ligaments, cartilage and joints. It is part of a healthy bone matrix and a key in how the body performs.”


This past March the International Olympic Committee approved the use of gelatin and vitamin C/collagen for athletes. The I.O.C. identified the ingredient as a supplement that may assist with training capacity, recovery, muscle soreness and injury management.

“Having that opinion gives us validation,” Ms. Niemann said. “We are pleased the scientific body of evidence captured the attention of such a serious organization.”

The I.O.C. approval gives Gelita more credibility in the market for sports nutrition products across its entire portfolio, which includes Fortgel for joint health and mobility and Body Balance for muscle health.

“From an application perspective, collagen has a neutral taste and blends well with other ingredients,” Ms. Niemann said. “It’s very adaptable for food products used by athletes, whether it’s beverages, bars or gel packs.”

Products where collagen is making an appearance as an ingredient include Collagen Nut and Seed bars from the Primal Kitchen, Oxnard, Calif. The products are available in dark chocolate almond, macadamia sea salt, coconut cashew and chocolate hazelnut varieties. The bars contain 15 grams of protein and are free of gluten, soy and dairy.

Bulletproof collagen barsThe Bulletproof brand also features a variety of products containing collagen, including a ready-to-drink cold-brew coffee with collagen protein and collagen protein bars. The bars have 12 grams of protein and are made with collagen from grass-fed cows, according to the company.

At SupplySide West, International Dehydrated Foods, Inc., Springfield, Mo., will introduce its Hydrolyzed Chikpro Broth Protein Isolate Powder. The ingredient delivers both a complete amino acid profile for muscle building and repair as well as type II collagen for joint support, according to the company. Recommended food and beverage applications for the ingredient include shakes, snacks and functional foods.

“The International Olympic Committee endorsed collagen for the improved athletic performance earlier this year,” said Stephanie Lynch, vice-president of global sales, marketing and R.&D. “This new ingredient provides our customers an easy solution to add the functional benefits to type II collagen along with a complete protein.”

Consumer demand for more protein has prompted product developers to add it to a variety of applications, including clear beverages such as water. FrieslandCampina Ingredients DMV recently introduced its Nutri Whey Isolate for protein waters and clear beverage applications.

Athlete drinking waterThe new ingredient is processed from Gouda cheese whey and produces an isolate that is low in salt and contains no undesired agents that may impact product clarity.

“With the ability to perform in clear beverages at high concentrations and its minimal processing credentials, Nutri Whey Isolate offers clear advantages versus current available products,” said Diderik Moerdijk, marketing segment manager with FrieslandCampina Ingredients’ Performance Nutrition division. “The opportunities abound for adding value to our customers’ product development.

“The market conditions are ripe for the introduction of Nutri Whey Isolate. Growth prospects for the performance and health nutrition sector are huge, and one of the trends shaping this space is ‘mainstreaming,’ as an increasingly large cross-section of the population seeks out products that support their active and healthy lifestyle aspirations.”