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Comax Flavors Bites Down on Nutrition and Performance Findings

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According to Zion Market Research, the global sports nutrition market accounted for $28.37 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $45.27 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 8.1% between the forecast period of 2017 and 2022.

Comax Flavors conducted a research study on consumers’ behaviors, usage and attitude toward nutrition and performance products, focusing specifically on protein powder, ready-to-drink (RTD) protein drinks and protein bars.

The Nutrition & Performance study was conducted in May 2017 with 1,000 U.S. respondents aged 18-70+, where half were female and the other half were male.

To help manage the market research program, the company partnered with Amy Marks-Mcgee of Trendincite LLC and collaborated with Costello Creative Group to translate the data into innovative infographics.

“Once reserved for athletes and heavily dominated by whey protein, the protein market across applications including protein powder, RTD and bars is continually evolving,” said Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors. “Nutrition and performance products are now readily available and marketed to people with active lifestyles and we are seeing activity in plant protein. We wanted to better understand habits and usage among the general population in this market.”

Nutrition & Performance Findings

  • Taste is the number one driver of nutrition and performance purchases among all generations with 47% of respondents citing it as the most important attribute
  • Flavor is the second most important driver of nutrition and performance purchases with more than a third—35%—of respondents citing it as a key attribute
  • Health is the number one reason respondents use nutrition and performance with almost half or more citing it; (45%) protein powder users, (50%) RTD users and (55%) bar users
  • Organic/non-GMO is one of the top five active ingredients respondents look for in nutrition and performance products; (44%) protein powder users, (46%) RTD users and (41%) bar users
  • Plant protein is one of the top five active ingredients respondents look for in nutrition and performance products; (34%) protein powder users, (20%) RTD users and (41%) bar users
  • Chocolate and vanilla flavors are top performers among all respondents who consume nutrition and performance products

Protein Powder Findings

Among respondents who consume protein powder:

  • 37% of  users noted that formula content was an important attribute in purchase intent
  • 44% of users add protein powder into dairy/non-dairy preparations, while 31% use it in sweet preparations and 19% use it in savory preparations
  • About a quarter of respondents at 26% consume berry flavors, while 21% consume tropical flavors
  • Apple, coffee and peanut butter flavors are equally consumed by 19% respondents

RTD Findings

Among respondents who consume RTD:

  • 29% of respondents drink berry flavors, which is most popular among the Silent Generation at 38%, Gen X at 35% and Gen Y at 30%
  • More than a quarter at 28% consume coffee and tropical flavors
  • 22% of respondents drink citrus flavors; Gen Y at 31% and Gen X at 27% are the heaviest users

Bar Findings

Among respondents who consume protein bars, the following was found:

  • More than half of respondents at 54% consume peanut butter flavors; the Silent Generation at 71% are the heaviest consumer compared to Gen Y at 38%
  • 32% of respondents consume indulgent flavors
  • More than a quarter of respondents consume apple pie (29%), berry (27%) and coconut (27%) flavors
  • 8% of respondents eat savory bars

Protein Cookies/Brownies Findings

  • 35% of respondents consume protein cookies/brownies three to four times per week
  • 27% of respondents consume protein cookies/brownies five to six times per week
  • More than three-quarters at 79% eat chocolate, which is the number one universally consumed protein cookie/brownie flavor among respondents, similar to protein powder, RTD protein drinks and protein bars
  • Half or more of the respondents consume the following flavors: peanut butter (64%), cookies and cream (61%), oatmeal raisin (52%) and apple pie (48%)
  • A third or more of respondents consume the following flavors: birthday cake (37%), pumpkin spice (36%), snicker-doodle (35%) and lemon poppy seed (32%)\

Protein Chips Findings

  • Shy of a third, 31% of respondents eat protein chips daily and 29% consume three to four times per week
  • Protein chips meet respondents’ demand for savory nutrition and performance products with more than half citing a variety of flavors: cheese (77%), BBQ (69%), savory (66%), spicy (62%), sweet (59%) and salty (59%)

Generations Defined

  • Gen Z born 1996 and later
  • Gen Y born 1977 to 1995
  • Gen X born 1965 to 1976
  • Baby Boomers born 1946 to 1964
  • Silent Generation born 1925 to 1945

Additional Information

This study is the company’s fourth of its primary market research program. Other studies include: yogurt, alternative dairy products, sweet baked goods and bread and crackers.

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