Nutrition Business Journal tracks the $47.3 billion sports nutrition and weight management (SNWM) industry across seven supplement and functional food and beverage categories and publishes an annual report analyzing this market. In 2020 this report was prepared in late February, when there was vital information missing that would end up impacting forecasts for 2020 and beyond, so this month NBJ is taking another look at the market and providing some revisions to previous projections that hadn't taken the COVID-19 pandemic into account.
First, the bad news. Despite jokes about consumers gaining the “COVID fifteen” during quarantine, and the very real concern about obesity as a comorbidity of coronavirus, weight management supplement sales haven’t experienced the halo effect in sales growth seen across other categories. Weight management and weight loss pill sales, largely made up of herbal formulas, have been dropping since 2015, but shifting priorities in 2020 have accelerated this dip to an estimated 7% decline this year. Although not in a decline, weight management meal supplements are expected to remain flat, with sales growth of 0.2%.
The nutrition bar and gel category is also suffering in 2020, with a projected sales decline of 3%. Growth had already been slowing in the category, down to 3.7% in 2019 from a peak of 14.9% in 2012. Even pre-COVID, further slowing growth was expected in the category, and the current environment has clearly accelerated this.
The good news, though, is that the other categories have remained resilient. Sports nutrition supplements are projected to experience a healthy boost in growth this year, up to 8.7% from 6.3% in 2019, with 36% of consumers reporting increased usage of protein powders in the early days of quarantine.
The most surprising category performance, though, is seen in sports hydration and energy beverages. With strong sales in the convenience and mass channels, we had expected this category to slow with the shifting consumer channel behavior, but growth is actually projected to increase from 8% in 2019 to 8.4% in 2020. This is particularly notable as the category now brings in an estimated $27.7 billion annually and has had consistently strong growth over the past ten years.
While no category in the SNWM industry saw quite the boost in growth seen in the overall supplement industry, which has a projected growth of 12.1% this year, sales are still projected to grow 5.5% to $47.3 billion. This is slightly lower than the 6.3% growth NBJ had projected in February, but in a year where so many industries are struggling, it's still a win.
Learn more in NBJ's 2020 Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report, the industry's go-to guide for data and insights on the sports nutrition and weight management market.