From birthday cake-flavored protein powder to pecan-flavored nutrition bars, the sports nutrition category is filled with functional sports performance-focused products designed to mask the taste of chalky protein isolates and bitter vitamin blends.
Aside from standing out from the competition with cleaner formulations and research-backed ingredients, sports performance products also innovate with unique flavors that will incite consumers to sample new items.
Such flavor innovations are constantly in flux—and they significantly vary from country to country. Synergy Flavors, the Illinois-based makers of flavors, extracts and essences, recently released a report tracking emerging and established flavors in the sports nutrition market in both Latin America and North America, and the results are illuminating. The report aggregated data from Mintel and Euromonitor, food bloggers, social media, Google Trends and more to learn which flavors in sports nutrition were gaining momentum in the Americas, and divided such flavors into four categories: Emerging (ahead of the curve), Growing (just starting to appear in finished products), Mainstream (regarded as 'normal') and Established (very easy to find, with potential for global appeal).
“Our Flavors of the Future research was a journey of discovery, going well beyond a typical research project to represent an in-depth analysis of the trends that will captivate the sports nutrition market in the near and longer-term future—some of which are so novel to the market that those product manufacturers that are considering them are true trendsetters,” says Alexandre Massumoto, marketing research lead at Synergy Flavors in a statement. “The research results have been fascinating and using them as a guide we aim to help product manufacturers seize the opportunity to be pioneers in flavor development and stay ahead of the game in the ever-evolving sports nutrition market.”
The work highlights some important trends in the sports nutrition flavor industry such as an impending shift away from super-sweet flavors such as Cookie Dough and S’mores—flavors that are well-established in the United States, or Tres Leches or Papaya Cream—flavors that are popular in Latin America. Rather, consumers on both continents seem to be embracing more nuanced, potentially functional flavors such as Turmeric, Matcha, Yuzu, Taro and Pitaya.
Click through the following slideshow to learn which flavors may be coming soon to a protein powder near you.