More food companies are entering the fast-growing category.
The sports nutrition market is becoming increasingly segmented, as manufacturers sweat to stay ahead of competition. Outgrowing the one-size-fits-all formula, brands like PowerBar offer a range of products spanning formats and nutritional needs.
Driven by trends of protein and convenience, mainstream consumers are increasingly reaching for ready-to-drink sports beverages, such as Muscle Milk, to aid in satiety and support everyday active lifestyles, according to Innova Market Insights.
Another key trend in sports nutrition relates to product packaging. Portable formats, including gels, chews, bites, and shots, grew 26% in 2013. Huma Chia Energy Gel offers on-the-go consumption as well as a simple label, with such ingredients as fruit puree, ground chia seeds, brown rice syrup and sea salt.
Vegan is among several diet-specific claims gaining traction in sports nutrition, supported by a growing interest in plant-based protein. Vega Sport offers a range of plant-based powders, bars and gels that combine sources of protein, including peas, sprouted whole grain brown rice and alfalfa.
Even the trendy Paleo diet has a product tailored for it. Paleo Protein powder from MHP combines premium-grade beef protein isolate and egg white protein. The product is free of sugar, fat, lactose and gluten.
Clean label claims are gaining momentum in sports nutrition, driven by a focus on superfoods and functional ingredients, such as dates or dried fruits. One such example is Raw Revolution Organic Live Food Bars, which are minimally processed bars that contain such ingredients as sprouted flax seeds, spirulina, barley and wheat grass.
A growing number of powders and bars developed for or marketed to active women has emerged. PhD Woman, a United Kingdom-based brand, offers protein shakes and bars designed to aid in muscle tone and recovery, energy, and weight control.
Hydration tablets that add electrolytes and flavor to water from such companies as Nuun tap into trends of portability and customization.