Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss Products Reach $9.9 billion in Consumer Sales in 2001

Sports and weight loss are the fastest-growing segments in the $17.7-billion U.S. supplement industry, attracting new entrants, inspiring brands and line extensions and stimulating fierce competition according to a recent report on sports nutrition and weight loss by Nutrition Business Journal (San Diego, CA) Both businesses remain intensely image-driven, growing through investment in packaging, marketing and advertising more than through product innovation and scientific proofs.

According to manufacturers, distributors and retailers interviewed for NBJ’s annual review of the SNWL market, sports and weight loss segments have proven somewhat recession-resistant compared to other supplement segments. Despite a slowing economy, they reported no softening in demand. NBJ research indicates that the $9.9-billion SNWL market grew 15% in 2001, up from 13.6% in 2000. The increase reflected acceleration in weight loss pills, energy drinks and liquid meal supplements, continued strength in bars, and new product introductions in all five subcategories.

NBJ divides Sports Nutrition in two parts. Sports nutrition supplements (powders/formulas, pills, ‘hard core’ drinks) totaled $1.74 billion in 2001, up 9% but off slightly from 10% growth in 2000. Sports functional foods, which includes all nutrition bars and sports/energy beverages, generated $1.38 billion and $2.92 billion, respectively, last year, up 21% and 16%. Collectively these sports functional foods grew 18%, well ahead of the 7-8% growth in the broader $18.5-billion U.S. functional food category. In the Weight Loss subcategories, weight-loss pills and liquid meal replacements grew 20% and 11% in 2001, together contributing $3.9 billion to round out the $9.9-billion sports nutrition & weight loss market.

Despite a growing market, sports nutrition and weight loss leaders cannot rest on their laurels. While the top 10 manufacturers account for 51% of $7.5 billion in wholesale sales (including exports) in a U.S. consumer market of $9.9 billion for SNWL products in 2001, distributors and retailers indicate that brand popularity can shift dramatically. Today’s sports nutrition mainstays could be tomorrow’s has-beens. Weight loss is even more of a roller coaster, driven by consumers’ quest for a “magic pill;” and both categories are affected by market swings related to controversial ingredients. The route to success lies in being able to take advantage of the changing business and regulatory environment or alternatively building a well-designed brand that can survive the fad mentality.

Nutrition Business Journal’s Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss Market III 24-page issue features market size and growth figures, ranking of top marketers, trends, product development and sales channel breakdown. It also features meal replacements, sports beverages, weight-loss programs, distribution and health club channels. The issue costs $120 for non-subscribers. For more information or a list of NBJ back issues, visit or call 619 295 7685 x. 13. A subscription to Nutrition Business Journal costs $995.

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