When it comes to sports nutrition, consumers are always looking for the next big thing. One of the most noticeable developments across the board for pre- and post-workout, metabolism boosters and gut health has been demand for formulations that meet common dietary preferences––such as natural flavors and sweeteners, stimulant free or Keto friendly. But what about more specific trends affecting each of these categories?
Caffeine is a very popular ingredient in pre-workout supplements. It can help increase power and performance in activities from intermittent sports like soccer to endurance events like long-distance running. Creatine, an organic compound found in human muscle cells, is another popular pre-workout ingredient. It helps recycle energy to increase strength and muscle mass during high-intensity repetitive exercises. Some new ingredients fueling pre-workout trends include mushroom blends that provide stimulant-free energy, and adaptogens for anti-fatigue and immune support.
Creatine is also popular in post-workout supplements as it helps bring more energy to recovering muscles. Likewise, carbohydrates are critical to fueling the recovery process after a workout. Some sports nutritionists recommend a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein consumed within 30 minutes after exercising.
Portability is a big plus for consumers looking to take their pre- and post-workout to the gym. Single serving stick packs and sachets offer convenience and ease of use.
Bars are a great complement to powders for the on-the-go consumer and their design should consider the timing of the workout. If eaten pre-workout, consumers are looking for energy to propel them through their routine. If eaten post-workout, the bar’s ingredients should promote recovery. Bars should also be designed with transportation in mind––if the consumer will be carrying the bar around in their pocket or gym bag, an uncoated bar may prove less messy.
Just like with sports performance products, most metabolism booster development has been centered around the consumer’s dietary choices.
Some vitamins and minerals can play an important role in optimizing metabolic function. For example, vitamin B12 plays an important role in the efficient breakdown of fats and proteins.
One challenge surrounding the metabolism booster category is that many products are formulated with “hype” ingredients backed by insufficient or no clinical evidence. Consumers often confuse the increased use of these ingredients as proof that they actually work. At Nellson, we aim to remain as transparent as possible.
Metabolism boosters containing botanicals are becoming popular but can present undesirable flavor notes. To improve the flavor of a formula with multiple botanical ingredients, we start by taste testing each ingredient. We then adjust the flavoring components to find the best mouthfeel, salinity and acidity before working on masking, sweetness and final flavor. By focusing on the supporting aspects first, we are able to develop amazing flavors.
Consumers are gaining a better understanding about what specifically works for their gut. As a result, the diversity of available probiotic strains and the combination of prebiotics with probiotics have increased steadily. Some trending ingredients include bacillus coagulans, lactobacillus plantarum and acacia fiber.
Consumers want gut health ingredients added to other product categories. To this end, we are finding the addition of prebiotics and probiotics is an increasingly frequent request. Our formulation and process technology expertise in bars and powders is as important as ever due to the delicate nature of probiotic strains.
Find out more about how we work with you to develop on-trend sports nutrition products without compromising on taste, functionality or shelf life.
Contact us today to start your sports nutrition project.