Several factors are contributing to the decline in off-trade volumes of sports drinks in Finland in 2021. Firstly, the continuing COVID-19-related restrictions imposed on gyms and sports centres resulted in fewer people taking part in sports and buying sports drinks.
Sports drinks is facing a new threat in the form of the increasing popularity of hybrid soft drinks, with many consumers now choosing functional bottled water, BCAA energy drinks, or coconut water over sports drinks. These soft drinks are essentially marketed in the same way as sports drinks, for the same purposes, and targeted at the same young, active consumer group.
Competition at the top end of sports drinks is fierce. Nevertheless, both the leader Coca-Cola and second-ranked Hartwall have overall gained share during the pandemic and are expected to maintain their collectively dominant position in sports drinks in 2021.
Sports drinks is an increasingly mature category in Finland with the future of the category set to depend upon the success of low-sugar variants and new functionalities. Fitness trends have been strengthening in recent years, and this is only likely to increase as a greater number of Finns prioritise health and wellbeing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports drinks will continue to fight for the shelf space as well as face competition from other, similar, health positioned categories such as energy drinks, functional bottled water and coconut water. As such, there are likely to be several new product developments over the forecast period, including hybrid products that take characteristics from more than one category.
Few manufacturers and retailers fully developed strong marketing strategies in sports drinks during the review period, with sports protein products being much more prominent than RTD sports drinks. As such, players will need to compete more effectively in this field if they are to gain and maintain share.
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The choice of sports drink usually depends on the provision of fluids, carbohydrates or both. Included into this subsector are isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic sports drinks. Isotonic are products that replace lost body fluids, electrolytes (sodium, potassium and chlorides) and glucose in similar concentrations to existing body fluid without causing either swelling or shrinkage of cells. These products usually contain about 5-8% carbohydrate and are intended to be consumed during exercise and/or heat exposure. Hypotonic this product is a weaker solution than your body fluid. These drinks contain less carbohydrate and therefore have lower osmolality (fewer dissolved particles than blood). These drinks help the body to speed up water absorption and are best used when you need urgent fluid replacement, as in after exercise. These drinks are not the best for energy replacement. Hypertonic - this drink is a stronger solution than your body fluid. These drinks are designed to replace and maintain energy levels during exercise of at least one hour. They are absorbed slowly and therefore are not appropriate for fluid replacement. Leading brands in off-trade volume include Gatorade, Powerade and Aquarius.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Sports Drinks research and analysis database.
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