The global sport nutrition market is growing fast and offering significant opportunities for innovative new brands.

The market is estimated to be worth $28.7 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1% between 2017 to 2022 to reach a massive $45.27 billion by 2022.

Sports nutrition was once the sole domain of athletes but the growing focus on diet, exercise and health has moved it towards the mainstream, gaining prominence in key channels like grocery and benefitting from high profile marketing campaigns and celebrity endorsement. Key players in the market are now being challenged by niche brands muscling in, but the corporates have been quick to react.

Evidence of this move is easily found amongst a recent wave of acquisitions. Lion Capital bought Grenade in March in a deal that valued the business at £72m and ABF snapped up Reflex Nutrition and High 5 in the last couple of months. In February, world leader in the sports nutrition field Glanbia, announced its investment in Amazing Grass (a portfolio of organic and non-GMO brands in the plant based categories).

As the sector moves more mainstream what should brand owners consider?

Solid research: consumers continue to become more educated about nutrition and are savvier than ever before. Providing easy to read and robust information regarding the product they are buying allows them to make quick informed decisions at the point of sale

Channel presence: convenience is king! Not only should the product purport quick benefits, it should be easily found and accessible for consumers. Supermarkets, pharmacies and even high street stores like WHSmith are growing their space dedicated to sports nutrition products

Adaptability: the growth in demand for specific dietary preferences including products that are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and non-GMO has led to product innovation within the sports nutrition space. Brands should clearly identify their niche appeal to consumers and play off current trends in the market to capitalise fully on the growing opportunities in this space.

As the weekend warriors and emerging lifestyle fitness types begin to buy more into this category, we anticipate the market will follow in the footsteps of the US where manufacturers have targeted the mass consumer through lower priced offering, smaller pack sizes, more convenient formats and lifestyle-driven positioning.

Avril Breen