The Ascendant Female Sports Nutrition Market
Until recently, the vast majority of sports nutrition products on the market have been catered to male consumers. Moreover, research and development has been tailored to men, meaning that many popular products don’t meet the needs of women athletes. “In studies that investigate injuries and performance, the two most important topics for athletes, only 2 to 3 percent of the subjects are female,” said said Susan Kleiner, owner of High Performance Nutrition LLC, and a nutrition consultant for professional sports franchises.
That situation has changed however, with the arrival of news research on female anatomy and nutrition; numerous companies, notably sports nutrition brand Dymatize and ingredients supplier Bergstrom have funded recent studies on women. As half of the market, women consumers represent a significant opportunity for sports nutrition brands.
“While protein supplements dominate the sports nutrition market, accounting for 89 percent of the market in 2015, there is a need for innovative new ingredients that will help differentiate sports nutrition products for women, as they are not as much into mass building but rather into being fit and toned,” said Michio Imanaka, Brand Manager for Astareal Inc. USA. “Besides protein supplements, women have long been taking vitamins, iron and folate for their energy and fitness needs.”
In the area of muscle building, women often have different priorities than men. Whereas some men try to build huge muscles, opting to purchase products that help them achieve their goal such as muscle milk, women generally prefer improving overall muscle tone within a leaner body frame. There is ample room on the market for muscle building products that are tailored to the subtle, differing demands of women, who are athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Ultimately, if sports nutrition brands are to succeed in attracting women consumers, they will need to take the unique demands of the female body into account, including pregnancy, menstruation, higher body fat content, and estrogen. It is only when women are proportionally represented in studies, and the sports nutrition market, that the full range of products developed for them will come into existence. With a low base in the market, and increased participation in athletics and fitness activities from women, women’s sports nutrition will become increasingly prominent over the next decade, and forward-looking companies can reap the benefits.