Prinova research reveals split between “mainstream” and “hardcore” sports nutrition users

The study has found that consumers who exercised more frequently shared different opinions on sports nutrition compared to those who exercised casually

Prinova research has revealed wide variations in the needs of sports nutrition consumers, with those who exercise less frequently more likely to prioritise goals such as weight management and immune health. The survey also shows that more casual sports nutrition consumers are more likely to value taste and texture.

Prinova has surveyed 1277 European consumers of sports nutrition products. Although all were physically active, exercising at least twice a week, their preferred activities, goals, needs and purchasing habits varied significantly by activity level.

Respondents were presented with a list of 15 possible goals and asked to pick the five that were most important to them when using sports nutrition products. ​The three most common were energy (71%), post-exercise recovery (51%) and muscle growth (48%).

However, the research suggests that the mainstreaming of the consumer base has increased the importance of goals not traditionally associated with the category. Consumers who exercised twice a week were almost twice as likely to prioritise immune health as those who exercised daily (20% vs 11%).

The less frequent exercisers were also significantly more likely to target weight management (24% vs 16%) and digestive health (11% vs 7%), and to list taste and texture as a purchase influencer (33% compared to 22%).

Tony Gay, technical sales director of nutrition at Prinova Europe, said: “Sports nutrition has emerged from its niche of serious athletes, resulting in a more mainstream consumer base. This research suggests that people who exercise less regularly tend to have different goals from their more ‘hardcore’ counterparts and are more likely to have needs that overlap with other categories, such as immune health and weight management. The key takeaway is that there is no ‘typical’ sports nutrition consumer, and as the market becomes more fragmented, there will be growing demand for innovative bespoke and hybrid products targeting more than one goal.”

Prinova’s branded products for sports nutrition include:

  • enduracarb: a science-backed, slow-release ‘double sugar’ which outperforms other carbohydrate sources over prolonged periods of intense exercise
  • Aquamin: a range of plant-based, clean label, marine multimineral-complex products supported by more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications
  • EAAlpha: a balanced blend of nine essential amino acids (EAAs) with arginine, providing an optimal ratio for muscle protein synthesis.

The survey of 1277 consumers in the UK, France, Germany Italy and Spain was carried out in April 2023. The full results will be published in a Prinova report.