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A case for investing in female sports nutrition

Female athletes and active consumers present a vast opportunity for sports nutrition brands, which must consider research, product formulation and messaging.

The sporting world has many gender disparities. Female athletes tend to get paid less, land fewer endorsements and garner less screen time. The sports nutrition industry lacks clinical research and product development specific to women. This makes it difficult for sports nutrition brands to deliver scientifically supported benefit claims and guidance to women.

Several trends show female athletes and active consumers deserve more attention, effort and investment from sports nutrition companies, including women’s increased participation in sports, growing control of discretionary spending and domination of supplement sales, including online.

Sports nutrition research on female subjects still lags, although there is evidence of progress. On the upside, female sports nutrition launches have increased. Also, brands with male-focused and/or unisex sports formulations have more deliberately included female athletes and consumers in marketing and education—it might not be necessary to develop female-specific sports nutrition products, lines or brands to adequately serve women.

Still, brands should see female athletes and active consumers as a community and consider the messages marketing and advertising sends to women. It may also be important to avoid “pink” traps in packaging and selling, as well as to consider women want to be a part of the flavor innovation party going on in the sports nutrition market.

For more on how companies are already or planning to address the gaps in sports nutrition for women, check out the special digital issue "Female strong: Women’s mark on sports nutrition."

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