Women aren’t just some version of men to be overlooked in marketing, formulation and marketing by sports nutrition companies. They have reached equal participation saturation in fitness and athletic competition, and they are a powerful economic force in the nutrition marketplace.
Sports Nutrition is becoming mainstream thanks to health-conscious consumers seeking convenient health-boosting products to support active lifestyles. Women are key drivers of this trend, especially as they are dissatisfied with a variety of physical, cognitive and emotive health issues, according to a 2019 global sports nutrition survey by FMCG Gurus.
While no one path serves all female athletes and active consumers in the sports nutrition industry, all roads must lead to more educational and product options for these women.
“I relate to clients so much because I was once in their shoes,” said Kaelin Tuell Poulin, founder of female fitness nutrition brand LadyBoss, who encountered much misinformation along her fitness journey. “I know what I wish was available to me, so I created LadyBoss with a vision of helping other women facing the same struggles.”
One way for brands to resonate with female consumers is to engage them with messages of strength, energy, empowerment and athleticism, not just weight-loss and skinny promises. Women are active online, so social media and online communities are prime channels for brands to reach female athletes and consumers.
As for products, some companies have launched female-specific sports nutrition lines or products, while other brands have undertaken a more inclusive approach to developing and marketing unisex or non-female-specific products.
Given the improving but still persistent trend of scant sports nutrition research on women, often due to fears over how menstruation and hormone changes could affect results, it is challenging to provide women the ingredients they need to be stronger and perform better.
“Honestly, women are competing at the same level as men these days with effort, athleticism and performance,” said Shawn Wells, a master sports nutrition formulator and co-founder of World’s Greatest Ingredients LLC. “So, they are wanting exactly what the men are using, not a ‘watered down,’ diluted, less efficacious product.”
At the end of the day, active women have busy lives tending to any mix of career, family and exercise/competition. Convenient products are desired, but not at the expense of science. Also, 46% of women said they often turn to indulgent food offerings because they feel stressed, so it is crucial that sports nutrition products are indulgent and affordable if they are to continue to appeal to mainstream females in the long-term.
Be sure to check out Natural Products Insider's full digital magazine, "Female strong: Women's mark on sport nutrition."