Gyms and health clubs are essential to sales of sports nutrition. In 2020, their closure had a dramatic negative impact on the consumption of sports protein and sports non-protein products across the country as consumers were unable to exercise in the same way they had been doing previously.
For the first time in Euromonitor International’s database, the share of e-commerce within the distribution of sports nutrition products in the UK declined in 2021, after seeing spectacular growth in 2020. This rather unexpected situation is, however, understandable when looking into the peculiar circumstances of the category in the country.
Whereas in the past a presence in sports nutrition specialist retailers was fundamental, and more recently e-commerce attracted players’ attention for its reach and relatively easy way to expand to a large customer base, nowadays omni-presence is the main direction that most players are taking as the category cements itself and brands look for opportunities with different retailers. Whilst Amazon is a must in the online world, grocery retailers have become a golden opportunity to access consumers who would otherwise not be exposed to such products.
Vegan products, which eliminate any animal-sourced ingredients, and plant-based products, which do not necessarily eliminate animal ingredients but generally incorporate plant-based ingredients, are increasing in prevalence throughout the category, and represent a marketing opportunity for many brands to attract new consumers and gain brand awareness through advertising. Whilst options that are pea- or brown rice-based have been around for some time, others, such as pumpkin from Clearspring and hemp from Naturya, have also successfully made their way into the category.
As protein has already expanded at a fast pace, sports protein products is moving closer to maturity. On the other hand, sports non-protein products are still widely unknown to consumers and are still expanding in terms of product variety and availability in different points of sale.
Over recent years, consumers in the UK substantially increased the consumption of protein through sports nutrition products. Increased awareness of its health benefits and regular workout activity motivated this upwards trend.
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This report originates from Passport, our Sports Nutrition research and analysis database.
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