The global sports food market (size of $4,176.5 million in 2015) is expected to grow at 9.2% CAGR during the forecast period. The key factors driving the growth of the global sports food market include increasing number of fitness centres and health clubs, and growing urbanization.
Owing to growing inclination of people towards physical fitness, the number of health clubs and fitness centers has surged in the recent past. The health clubs and fitness centers witnessed growth at a CAGR of 7.4% during 2010-2013. The growth of such establishments is one of the major drivers for the sports food market, and it is expected to provide further opportunities to the manufacturers operating in this domain. Among the various regions, Asia-Pacific witnessed the fastest growth during 2010-2013 in the number of health clubs and fitness centers.
The surge in the level of urbanization has been propelling consumer demand in all domains. Their changing lifestyle is encouraging them to adopt healthy food habits. This is also driving the demand for sports nutrition products including the sports food, such as energy bars, protein bars and sports gels. The shift in consumer trend is also encouraging the sports food manufacturers to evolve new products that can suffice people to attain their health goals faster. Africa and Asia are regions witnessing fastest rate of urbanization. According to a report by United Nations, urbanization level for all of the global regions will be above 50% by 2050.
The involvement of children in athletic activities has been increasing. The parents are also encouraging their children to participate in the sporting events to encourage their overall development and escalate their confidence level. This is also supporting the growth of the global sports food market, as parents are concerned about proper nutrition of their kids after an athletic or workout session. To take advantage of this trend, the sports food manufacturers are also launching new products to capture this segment of the market. For instance, in March 2016, NikoBar announced to launch a premium grass-fed whey protein line of kid-focused nutrition bar in two flavors. Clif Bar is one of the leading providers of protein bars for children.
The consumers in the sports food market tend to move from tastier sports foods to healthier ones. During the course of their purchase of sports food, the consumers keenly look out for the ingredients involved. The manufacturers are trying to bring about products with the best blend of taste and healthy ingredients. They have started to concentrate on the sugar content in their product offerings. The demand for bars with organic ingredient has grown significantly, especially in the developed countries. With the increasing instances of celiac disease, the sports food manufacturers are choosing ingredients such as sunflower seeds, quinoa, brown rice flour, pea and rice protein, tapioca syrup, cacao nibs and organic agave, in order to match the consumer needs.
The developed countries, such as the U.S. and countries in Europe, still remain major markets for sports food products; however the emerging economies in Asia-Pacific are expected to be major growth drivers for the market. The low awareness in the developing countries, as compared to the western markets is the key reason for less market share of eastern countries, in the global sports food market. Moreover, the low disposable income of consumers and use of products limited only to athletes and bodybuilders have also been hindering the growth of the market earlier.
The major companies operating in the global sports food market include Nestle S.A., Clif Bar & Company, Glanbia Plc, Abbott Laboratories, PepsiCo Inc., GNC Holdings Inc., The Coca Cola Company, Universal Food, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and MusclePharm Corporation.