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The Power of Plants - The Rise of Vegan Sports Nutrition Products

Gym users are increasingly turning to vegan products before, during and after pumping iron or riding the treadmill.

While plant-based alternatives to mainstream foods are familiar to consumers and are in many shopping carts, vegan sports nutrition products seem to be a niche product.

But if it’s a niche, it’s a niche with some weight.

The global vegan supplement market, which includes vitamins, minerals and botanical supplements in addition to plant-based powders, bars and drinks used before, during and after exercise, will grow to 170 by the end of 2020, according to a study. It was worth more than a billion US dollars. .

And the latest data from research and analytics firm GlobalData – just foodParent company of – 19.5% of exercisers who use supplements prefer vegan/plant-based ingredients before exercise and 20.7% do so after exercise.

Assuming gym goers, other sports enthusiasts, and daily healthy diets aren’t vegan, this phenomenon requires some explanation.

health concerns

An increasing health-conscious consumer base post-Covid is clearly a factor here. Products are also touted for providing powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and oxygenating properties.

And a key takeaway for gym-goers is that, in terms of performance, proponents claim they are at least as good or better, with higher levels of fiber than products with different protein sources and dairy ingredients. It is to provide high functionality by mixing

Finally, it ties into the story of products making the planet better.

All of this has created a surge in vegan sports nutrition product development. This is a trend that has certainly been noticed by raw material suppliers.

John Kelly, Strategy Director, Beverages, European Division, Kerry Group, said: Today’s consumers are approaching sports nutrition more holistically than ever before, with a focus on specific needs and ingredients to meet those needs before, during and after exercise. .

“A total of 55% of European consumers prefer plant-based protein over dairy protein in sports nutrition products, according to Kelly research. We are responding to this by diversifying our current range to include more plant-based protein types in the form of alternatives.”

The majority of sources used in their products remain dairy-based, such as whey, MPI, and casein, Kelly said, but most sports nutrition manufacturers are opting to switch to plant-based sources to meet consumer demand. It adds that it is developing a version.

“There is also interest in ‘hybrid’ formulations containing both vegetable and dairy proteins. Plant-based protein sources include peas, soybeans, and broad beans,” he adds.

“There is also a growing demand for functional ingredients such as probiotics, prebiotics and fiber, as well as minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron. Inclusion of caffeine is also popular for an energy boost.”

And while milk chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla remain the top flavors in sports nutrition drinks, flavors associated with health benefits, such as turmeric, lemongrass, and ginger, are emerging.

Demand for specialized vegan sports nutrition ingredients

It’s the same story on the other side of the Atlantic, where animal-free US whey maker Perfect Day is seeing huge demand from sports nutrition companies.

Already supplying companies such as California Performance Co., the company behind V-Whey products, and now partnering with Myprotein, a leading sports nutrition brand based in the UK but serving the market globally doing.

Using precision fermentation and microbiome to produce animal-free milk protein, Perfect Day partnered with Myprotein to develop Performance Protein Powder Whey Forward.

Myprotein, owned by consumer brand group THG, suggests the end result is the same product as whey protein found in milk and matches the nutritional profile of Impact Whey products with 20 grams of protein per serving. I’m here. Also, it is lactose free.

Ryan Pandia, Co-Founder and CEO of Perfect Day, said:

I can forgive you for thinking that Myprotein was ahead of the game in this area with the establishment of its expert offshoot, My Vegan, in 2018.

Since then, Myvegan has been one of the star performers in parent company THG’s sports nutrition division, contributing 4% of Myprotein’s revenue in the first half of 2020, leading to a 138% increase in new customers.

Myvegan general manager Sophie Pugh said:

“The development of global vegan products, such as enhanced textures that allow products to resemble dairy products, means customers don’t have to sacrifice taste to buy vegan.

“Climate change and brand ethics are now major concerns for consumers. 84% of consumers believe sustainability is important when We want to help you make the right choices.”

The future of this planet is important to the growing number of sports nutrition consumers.

Perfect Day’s alternative whey protein claims to reduce water consumption by up to 99%, greenhouse gas emissions by up to 97% and non-renewable energy use by up to 60% compared to traditional production methods. I’m here.

price issue

But as consumers try to address the cost of living crisis, could the premium prices often attached to vegan sports nutrition products be a barrier to future growth for plant-based product makers? Forwards are $39.99 USD for 20 serve products.

James Williams, head of retail for health and wellness at UK plc Supreme, behind sports nutrition brands Sci-MX, Battle Bites and Protein Dynamix, explains why plant-based products need to carry a premium price tag. He says he doesn’t know if there is.

“One thing we’ve noticed in the industry is that free-from or vegan tends to cost more because there’s a demand for it. It must be a special sauce, so they should charge more.” Raw materials are often cheaper,” he says.

“For vegan proteins like pea-based proteins and soy-based proteins, there is no increase in the cost of these products.

Another sports nutrition maker believes prices are starting to approach dairy-based lines.

Maxence Damarey, a former French professional boxer who now runs Ozers, a plant-based sports nutrition company based in Paris, said: The vegan ones are still a little premium, but the prices are becoming more competitive. ”

Whether or not price becomes an increasingly important issue, Supreme’s Williams confirms that demand for vegan sports nutrition products is increasing as of today.

He said the business is seeing “very strong growth” in vegan products, around 40-50% a year, reinforcing MyProtein’s claims that it’s bringing new consumers into the category. , aims to retain these customers by improving its product mix.

“Soy protein has been around for a long time. We are moving from that and trying to move everything to pea protein. [genetically-modified organisms] And that procurement,” he says.

Williams suggests that one of the selling points for consumers is that vegan proteins are easier on the stomach than their dairy-based rivals.

“A lot of whey powder can give you a bit of an upset stomach. You won’t get the same effect with pea protein or soy,” he says. But perhaps deciding on whey doesn’t make them feel better.”

Damarey of Ozers agrees. “Gym users find that drinking his vegan protein improves digestion. They don’t have gas or bloating, and it’s great in terms of fiber,” he said. increase.

He says vegan sports nutrition products tick a few boxes, so there’s no questioning their stickiness.

“Improving people’s health is a short-term effect, long-term it’s about the environment,” he says.

“This market is definitely growing. We have all types of customers. They are tired of chemicals and want something more natural.”

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