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Monitor: 'Sports' a low priority for sports nutrition consumers

NBJ’s new Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report finds consumers seek sports nutrition for general health more than performance. Find out more.

Rick Polito, Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

April 19, 2024

2 Min Read
Monitor: 'Sports' a low priority for sports nutrition consumers

Walk into a supplement-focused store and the sports nutrition section will assault the eyes with bulky bodybuilders grimacing through a flex or lean-and-toned athletes seemingly warming up for their second marathon of the week.

But when Nutrition Business Journal looked into what consumers are thinking when they approach the sports nutrition category, sports performance was well down the list of health goals.

The findings are included in NBJ’s new Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report.

In a survey of 1,074 people who said they shop for sports nutrition only 36% said they use sports nutrition products “to perform better in a sporting or other physical activity.” That goal ranked well behind the 56% who cited “for general health and nutrition benefits.”


The takeaway for natural retailers is that all the sports-centric marketing and imagery may not be what their customers are looking for. NBJ tracks natural grocery and supplement standalone stores as one combined channel, but the two varieties of brick-and-mortar are often very different. Combined, the two are growing remarkably slowly compared to e-commerce and mass market retail as the supplement standalone concept continues to struggle. NBJ expects e-commerce to move past natural and specialty retail in market size for the first time this year.

Related:New condition-specific supplements address shifting consumer needs

The ”general health and nutrition benefits” that top the list of consumers’ health goals seems especially fitting for natural retailers, and stores offering education programs would do well to emphasize that general health concept. That transition has already happened for protein but there are other viable crossover candidates. SPINS data indicates creatine was up 90% in mass market retail last year, suggesting there could be a place for it in natural retail.


See sports nutrition sales data and insights in the new NBJ Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report.


About the Author(s)

Rick Polito

Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

As Nutrition Business Journal's editor-in-chief, Rick Polito writes about the trends, deals and developments in the natural nutrition industry, looking for the little companies coming up and the big money coming in. An award-winning journalist, Polito knows that facts and figures never give the complete context and that the story of this industry has always been about people.

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