The sports beverage market is experiencing some new trends that will become powerful movements in the coming years, according to the Vitafoods Insights Europe Virtual Expo.
A panel with expert Nandini Roy Choudhury, Client Partner for Food and Beverage at Future Market Insights, highlighted several key facets of the "functional drinks" sector. The global sports nutrition market is worth over $30 billion, Choudhury says, and that number could double in the next ten years. Her data shows that the majority (80%) of global consumers have at least tried a sports drink, such as Gatorade or Powerade, and an additional 77% have tried energy drinks. And this number is only expected to increase — functional drink consumption is expected to grow by almost 30% in Europe over the next decade.
The three key features of sports and energy drinks of the future, Choudhury told the panel, are sustainability, natural ingredients, and health. Consumers want beverages that are better for their bodies, minds, and the environment. Nearly 70% of those surveyed by Future Market Insights are interested in consuming what they call "natural" products that are conscious of food safety issues such as microplastics and do not contain chemicals, artificial flavors, or additives. Bottles should be made with biodegradable materials that do not contribute to waste, and drinks should not be loaded with processed sugar.
Additionally, ingredients in sports drinks should promote holistic wellness. Future Market Insights research shows that consumers want sports drinks to improve their energy levels, immune systems, cognition, digestive health, sleep health, sports recovery, and more. This can be accomplished by fortified beverages with various added ingredients. The top four ingredients consumers want in their sports drinks are fruit, calcium, fiber, and vitamin D.
Other ingredients that Future Market Insights has identified as popular in terms of their cognitive benefits are acerola powder, black tea, açai, green tea, pre-biotics, and yerba mate.