With increased health consciousness, consumers worldwide are following healthy living and fitness trends. According to Mintel, in 2021, two-thirds of people in the UK exercised at least twice a week, and 72% of US adults agreed that it is important to lead an active lifestyle. This consumer shift towards a more active lifestyle positively impacts the Sports Nutrition category as the consumer base expands.

Over the past five years, new sports nutrition product introductions grew 18.2% CAGR (2017-2021)

Source: Innova Database

Today’s consumers are looking for convenient ways to pursue a healthy lifestyle, often wanting more out of their everyday drink offerings. Innovation in sports drinks has been spurred by this consumer mentality of “what can this beverage do for me?” In turn, brands have responded by adding nutritional value to their replenishing or rehydrating beverages. The opportunity for sports and performance drinks is endless. Yet what do manufacturers need to consider when developing these products?

Taste matters

Flavor is an undeniable driver for consumers when shopping for performance drinks. For example, in the UK, 77% of Sports Nutrition users would be persuaded to eat/drink more often by better taste (Source: Mintel, 2021). Although traditional flavors like chocolate, vanilla or fruit flavors continue to be all-time-favorites for many consumers, many manufacturers combine these with more innovative and indulgent flavors to differentiate.

The value of color

With sports drink launches globally increasing by 18% in 2021 vs. the prior year, standing out on the shelf is crucial. In a category where color is certainly prominent, there’s great opportunity to cater to consumer requests for cleaner ingredients through formulating with natural colors.

At Sensient we are convinced of the value color has upon food and beverages. When Evaluating Color’s Impact on Food and Beverages, it shows just how significant the impact of color can be: it drives purchase intent, flavor expectation and perception and even influences product preference and overall liking. In the sports drinks category, colors can signal the flavor profile and underline functional attributes, such as energy boosting or immune support.

Adding functional attributes

As consumers look to holistically address their wellbeing, incorporating functional ingredients for immunity, gut health and mental wellness brings the added value that might drive consumers’ preference.

Two-thirds of category users in UK indicate that they would like to see more sports/performance products that offer additional functionality.

Source: Mintel

At Sensient, we are aware of the growing consumer demands for intense taste experiences, functionality and naturalness. To meet that need, we have developed flavor and color solutions suitable for your applications. From protein or pre-workout powders to ready-to-drink protein shakes or functional drinks, our technical team is ready to support and find the formulation that will make your brand stand out. With our expertise in color and flavor formulations and decades of application know-how, we are able to offer customized, effective, end-to-end solutions with a collaborative approach to color, taste and mouthfeel enhancement.

Let's Get Started

Contact us and schedule a consultation to start working on your next product development.