COVID-19 Impact on the Sports Nutrition in Food and Beverage Industry

COVID-19 Impact on the Sports Nutrition in Food and Beverage Industry

  • Food & Beverage
  • Oct 07, 2020

COVID-19 Impact on the Sports Nutrition in Food and Beverage Industry

The pandemic have impacted the food industry by up surging in their consumption owing to health benefits associated with them. Extended lockdown has impacted considerably in Europe, Americas and all over world and it has been created an opportunity due to their demand because of raised awareness regarding health and increased concern for maintaining immunity and thereby well-being of health.

According to published journal of MDPI Sports 2020, unpredicted pandemic impacts and risk associated with spread has forcing governments to impose a quarantine and lockdown. The demand for fitness and sports products is also facing huge impact of pandemic. Isolation and quarantine has been imposed by governments which impacted on all aspects related to the sports.

For instance,

The absence of planned training, organized competition, lack of communication between coach and athlete, inappropriate training conditions are impacting on health of sports persons accordingly.

Thus, governments across the globe have focused on encouraging athletes to maintain their health through proper intake of healthy food supplements. Major of local and international competition, such as European Football Championship and the Olympic Games in Tokyo has postponed for a year as health of coaches and athletes is the first priority of government. Hence, governments are focusing on maintaining health of sports persons by providing them proper nutritional intake in isolation. Pandemic also impacted on consciousness regarding the health. Thus, awareness regarding physical and mental health has been increased which provides the demand to the nutritional products.

Sports nutrition products are manufactured to achieve fitness goals and to fulfill nutrients which depleted during the workout. They also include energy bars, sports drinks and protein powder. Manufacturers of sports nutrition prefer vegetable proteins, meat and dairy source as raw material for sports nutritional products.

Owing to this COVID-19, health conscious people and sports persons are staying at home providing demand for healthy supplements and related products for maintaining fitness has been raised. According to online shopping portal of sports and fitness products NorthAlp, it has been noticed an increase of 300% in sales of the fitness related products in India. During the lockdown, NorthAlp has witnessed raised sales of fitness related products.

Another factor behind the rise in online sales of fitness goods and brands is the growing acceptance of virtual exercise workouts with certified instructors and coaches. As gyms and fitness facilities are remaining closed owing to the lockdown, consumers are now more prone towards nutritional supplements to cater general wellness. The products for nutritional products are catering demand to maintaining health. Ingredients that enhance health and immunity are gaining demand as these ingredients are essential for muscle health and well-being of health. Among all sports nutritional products, protein powder is the leading ingredient of the sports nutrition market. According to Lallemand Health Solutions, 70% of consumers are being more concerned in sports nutrition as they are effective source of probiotics as well.

Further, e-commerce is playing essential role for providing sports nutrition. For instance, According to “Nutrition Business Journal's 2020 Supplement Business Report,” the demand for nutritional supplement has been grown as they are expected to grow at 61.4% in 2020. Further, online sales are expected to reach USD 10.00 million in 2023 in which online sales of nutritional supplements will acquire 19.6% of sales by 2023.

According to Aerometric Sports Products Pvt. Ltd., whey protein and other sports drinks such as glucose water has provided demand for sports nutrition across the world. Globally, sports nutrition is around USD 20.00 to 25.00 billion. Owing to the pandemic, sports nutritional products manufacturers and producers are prioritizing health and safety over productivity and profitability. They are looking for specialty vegan protein as they become more aware of techniques and strategies to manage the health. The pandemic has provided an opportunity for nutritional manufacturers to show their assurance to their customers by delivering customized support, representing their reliability and consistency as suppliers and augmenting their company’s biosecurity efforts across the board.

For instance,

  • In August 2020, Hormel’s Ingredient Solutions has launched a new website for full catalog of protein ingredients. The new website makes help to view a product’s ingredients, packaging and shelf life. Further, this allows customers to quickly request samples and explore products, more about the ingredient solutions team and speak with an expert on the team. Hence, as shift towards healthy food is increasing, the demand for sports nutrition has been impacted in better terms.

INITIATIVES

Outbreak of coronavirus has affected every sector in the food services industry including sports nutrition. The industry has affected as the supply and demand are badly disrupted.

For instance,

  • In April 2020, Cargill, Incorporated has started working by following safety practices at site including additional precautions at manufacturing facility, including temperature testing and prohibiting international travelling among others. However, with the increased demand for the healthy essential products, the manufacturers are taking new initiatives for products availability.

Increased demand for protein bars, supplements, and energy drinks among athletes, bodybuilders, and even weekend warriors was one of the major factors in that growth,” she adds, pointing to findings that rising disposable incomes, urbanization, and the sheer building boom in gyms and fitness centers gave further cause to be bullish on the category.

  • McNamara

“When your account for all the categories that have been subsumed into sports nutrition,” he says, “it’s a huge market. Diversification into weight management, athletic performance, energy, and even cognitive performance has transformed it from a niche category targeting gym goers to a broader consumer base looking to fuel their active lifestyles. And that’s a good thing, it has built a strong category.”

- Brian Appell, Director, Global Communications, OmniActive Health Technologies (Morristown, NJ)

 “An economic crisis could impact categories that consumers consider non-essential, including products that are more lifestyle-targeted and not developed to aid serious health issues. The latter is, of course, subjective and for each consumer to decide, but we expect products addressing various deficiencies, pain management, diabetes, stress, cardiovascular health, or prenatal supplements to be less affected, to name a few.” 

  • Mike Hughes, Head of Research and Insights, FMCG Gurus

“Sports nutrition is a product category that may take a short-term hit as a result of COVID-19. This is because consumers who regularly go to the gym are being forced to adjust the way that they exercise due to restrictions, whilst everyday consumers may swap better-for-you snacks for traditional, comfort-orientated snacks. Consumers will not neglect other areas of their health due to COVID-19. For instance, many are recognizing that the virus is having an impact on their mental wellbeing and resulting in issues such as weight gain, something that they want to address. This means that they will pay closer attention to product claims whilst also assessing if an increase in ingredients such as protein and vitamin D can be obtained from everyday food and drink products.” 

  • George Kuriakose, Head of Operations, Anaha LifeCare

“In India and across the world, predominantly whey protein and some form of sports drink such as glucose water has been the prevalent form of nutrition. Today as we evolve, there are different forms of nutrition that are helping the athletes perform better every day and this is the way sports nutrition will evolve.”

  • Vijayaraghavan Venugopal, CEO of Aeronutrix Sports Products Pvt. Ltd.,

“We created a pay protection program providing paid leave and benefits to any team member who was feeling unwell, quarantined due to close contact or who tested positive. The first 15 days of coronavirus-related absences are covered at 100% of base pay and if needed, subsequent days of leaves are covered at our regular short-term disability coverage pay percentages with no limit. This pay program has been instrumental in our ability to keep our team members safe. We have been proactive in communicating often to ensure they know that it is okay, and encouraged, to stay at home when feeling unwell or if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If someone doesn’t feel well, there is no financial hardship to stay home. Our efforts exceed the CDC and OSHA guidelines.”

  • Hormel Foods Corporation.

CONCLUSION

As the effects of COVID-19 are felt around the world, sports nutrition manufacturers have been significantly impacted by raised consumption and awareness regarding health. However, regulatory norms around social distancing across multiple nations, reduced social gatherings were estimated to impact the meat substitutes and vegetable protein to a high extent. However, sports nutrition manufacturers have been seeing a stable sale in their products and hence stability in demand during the coming months of the fiscal year.

Sports nutrition is one of the major consumer health products demanded by health conscious people, athletes and sports person who has raised the sales of protein powder, health drinks and other healthy supplements owing to impacting wellbeing of health. There have been vast changes in the consumption pattern among pet food which are particularly “at-home” has been gaining popularity.

Though, there has been a stable growth in demand for sports nutritional products, the purchasing behavior among consumers have greatly disrupted the distribution channels for these products. Also, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been an increasing awareness among sports person, on healthy diet wherein, the demand for healthy ingredients in diet has been on a rise. Protein, vitamin and other essential ingredients in sports nutritional products is expected to grow substantially during the coming years, with the rising awareness. Thus, the impact of pandemic has been neutral for the sports nutrition industry across the globe and hence, a stable growth can be observed in the industry during coming years, with many opportunities of new products development for the manufacturers.

 

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