Sports nutrition is a highly competitive retail sector and is constantly evolving. As functional foods and drinks begin to dominate the market, are traditional supplements being sidelined?
A recent survey of 2,000 consumers revealed that over 70 percent consider themselves to be much more aware than ever before of the ingredients in their groceries. Does this also translate to the arena of sports nutrition? Ulrick & Short Ltd., leading British-owned clean label ingredient specialist, believes that it does.
Ulrick & Short director Adrian Short explained: “Consumers are increasingly looking for added value from sports nutrition products. Simply ramping up protein through supplements is no longer sufficient for fitness-conscious customers, who are looking to improve their performance and stamina whilst also reducing dairy, fat and calorie content.
“Non-GM, clean label ingredients are integral to the manufacture of value-added nutritional food and drink products, as sportspeople in particular wish to avoid artificial additives and e-numbers wherever possible. Through the addition of clean label wheat proteins, fat mimetics, fibers and texturizers, it’s possible to create a wholesome and extremely functional sports drink, gel or cereal bar that can help to replace lost nutrients and underpin performance improvement.”
Ulrick & Short can offer a range of over 150 clean label ingredients, each with specific functionality: wheat-based Complex, for example, provides around 30 percent glutamine di-peptides and is a very effective blend partner for dairy proteins. Similarly, Delyte is the ideal replacement ingredient for creamers and other fats, simplifying labels and enhancing mouthfeel—proven in taste-tests to be superior to other products. Adding Synergy improves a product’s carbohydrate profile, and Scilia texturizes whilst also helping with fiber claims.
As well as boasting extensive technical and development expertise in non-GM clean label ingredients, Ulrick & Short is well placed to tackle the sports nutrition sector as sports gel contract manufacturer Nutrition Works is an affiliate company.
Adrian Short concluded: “In 2012 the sports nutrition sector was worth £260million in the UK alone and is seeing impressive year on year growth, as the target market expands beyond the dedicated gym-goer to include people who simply want to eat healthily and improve their fitness to a modest degree. There is doubtless still a place for protein powders, but retailers are seeing ever greater demand for a wide selection of tasty bars, drinks and snacks, made with natural ingredients, that improve nutritional intake and, in some cases, help to manage weight loss too. It’s up to manufacturers to meet the demand and we can help them achieve that.”