The global sports drinks market is surging, due to increasing urbanisation and growing number of fitness centres and health clubs globally. The key trends observed in the global sports drinks market include inclusion of new sports drinks flavours and emerging concept of nutrient timing. The global sports drinks market is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 8.1 percent during the forecast period.
The developing economies are expected to offer growth opportunities to the market. Asia-Pacific is expected to witness a double digit CAGR during the forecast period. The surging demand of sports drinks for natural sweeteners is expected to provide growth opportunity to the sports drinks manufacturers.
With the blurring boundary between generate rehydrating drinks and sports drinks, the sports drinks manufacturers have been borrowing product innovation from the food and beverage industry. The sports drinks manufacturers have started to offer their products in new flavours, such as strawberries-and-cream, lime and cucumber; with these sports drinks marketers expect to receive positive response from the consumers, especially in the developed countries.
PepsiCo is the forerunner in the introduction of sports drinks brands with new flavours. The company has launched its sports drinks in strawberry lemonade flavour during the recent past. The Coca Cola Company has also introduced its sports drinks in two new fruit flavours; twisted blackberry and watermelon strawberry wave.
Consumers of sports drinks have been inclining towards adoption of products with natural sweeteners, in order to curb their calorie consumption. This lays significant growth opportunity for the sports drinks manufacturers to focus on this segment to optimise their revenues.
There are several types of natural sweeteners having least negative impact on consumer health. Stevia extract sweeteners (also known as Rebaudioside M) is a common type of natural sweetener used in sports drinks. This sweetener is 200-350 times more potent than sucrose and also shows good stability during high temperature short time heat processing and on subsequent product storage.
Sucromalt and isolmaltulose are the other categories of natural sweeteners used in sports drinks. The functional properties of cucromalt are similar to other sweetener syrups; however it provides steadier energy. Isomaltose is derived from sugar beets and is fully digested carbohydrate. Owing to its low-glycaemic property, it releases energy in a balanced way without sudden peaks and drops in the blood glucose level.
Owing to the benefits imparted by natural sweeteners, consumers are expected to increasingly adopt sports drinks with such sweeteners, which can also be an opportunity for the manufacturers to evolve new products including them.
With a growing inclination of people towards physical fitness, the number of health clubs and fitness centres has surged in recent years. Health clubs and fitness centres have grown at a CAGR of 7.4 percent during 2010 and 2013. The growth of such establishments is one of the major growth drivers for the sports drinks market and is expected to provide further opportunities to the manufacturers operating in this domain.