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Sports nutrition winning mainstream battle

Sports foods and beverages have become the most important categories to European and American consumers, according to a new report from Irish analyst, Research and Markets.

In its Sports Nutrition Market Report, it noted sports nutrition foods, beverages and supplements reached $5.4 billion in 2005, and are growing at 5.8 per cent per year on both sides of the North Atlantic. "Sports-related foods and drinks are no longer niche products that only target professional athletes and bodybuilders," the report stated.?"They are increasingly popular among mainstream consumers seeking to improve their physical and mental health."

It added: "Although the core users of sports-nutrition products are athletes and bodybuilders, recreational and lifestyle users are driving market growth. Recreational users of sports nutrition products are fitness enthusiasts, weekend sportspeople and gym-goers, while lifestyle users just seek a refreshing beverage, a quick meal replacement or healthy snack."

Research and Markets highlighted the opportunities for sports-nutrition foods and beverages manufacturers to make inroads into other food categories and target new demographics.

"Manufacturers of sports-nutrition products need to make customers better aware that these products can offer a healthy alternative to confectionery and carbonated drinks, and increase the feeling of well-being," it said. "Seniors, in particular, need to be made better aware of the ways in which sports-nutrition products can contribute to their health."

Arizona-based beverages specialist Jim Tonkin of Tonkin Consulting agreed that sports drinks had achieved a broad level of acceptance.

"Traditional?sports drinks like Gatorade are very mainstreamed now," he said. "For instance, golfers and office workers are drinking?sports drinks because they are widely available, and they?know about the sodium and potassium electrolytes and other purported benefits through the advertising platforms."

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