Demand is plentiful for sports nutrition firms

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Gary Scattergood, editor, Food Ingredients Health & Nutrition
Gary Scattergood, editor, Food Ingredients Health & Nutrition
Functional food companies are always on the lookout for the new areas of consumer demand, lifestyle trends and gaps in the market. So it's a bonus for sports nutrition firms that there are experts out there who are only too happy to tell them what they are looking for. James Collins, head nutritionist at Arsenal Football Club and director of performance nutrition, says there needs to be greater collaboration between sports nutrition firms and those working at the higher end of professional sport.

Not only will this make sure products are expertly suited to the needs of elite athletes, but the evidence suggests those products will gradually filter down to a wider market of amateur sportsmen from die hard triathletes to the weekend jogger. Collins told a recent conference there was a real thirst for knowledge out there among amateur sportsmen with access to nutritional information soaring.

So what should sports nutrition firms be looking to provide?

He said his experience at an elite level told him there was a real demand for innovations to tackle iron and vitamin D deficiencies. And where the top sportsmen lead, the rest follow. Iron deficiency among elite athletes is nothing new, but Collins said he was witnessing increasing levels of “iron drain”​, particularly towards the end of a long season. At the top of practitioners such as Collins’ wishlists are "different modalities” of iron, especially in liquid form.

In relation to vitamin D, sports nutrition manufacturers are well aware elite athletes are always looking for innovation in the area. But what is perhaps more interesting is the rise in amateur athletes who are visiting sports clinics for vitamin D tests highlighting not only greater levels of awareness, but also the need for firms to develop more personalised products. On a wider level, there also appears to be a clamour for more focus on “periodising nutrition”​ providing products that help athletes complete both resistance and endurance activities in the same workout not individual products for both activities. The good news for sports nutrition firms is that the market is growing, knowledge is rising and, from the elite level to the hardy amateur, the demand is there. Now they have to flex their muscles and rise to the challenge.

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