As sports nutrition continues to push further into the mainstream, producers are increasingly dropping the rogue image of the category’s past in order to increase appeal among non-core users. Wellness- and fitness-minded females represent a major opportunity among these more casual consumers. Unlike the related vitamins and dietary supplements category, gender-based formulating and marketing is underdeveloped in sports nutrition. However, as evolving fitness and nutrition trends drive more women to the category, producers are increasingly taking note and crafting brand extensions and stand-alone lines to cater to this long-ignored demographic.
Evolving Fitness Trends are Bringing More Women to the Category
Though women account for roughly half the 16-39-year-old population and gym members in leading sports nutrition markets like the United States, remarkably few sports nutrition products cater to their unique nutritional needs. While the disparity has roots in the demographics of bodybuilding and strength training (both of which are male dominated, and out of which the category evolved), it also springs from increasingly outmoded notions of female fitness. Traditionally, fitness routines catering to women focused on endurance exercises targeting weight loss. While many of these routines remain popular, female fitness has taken on an increasingly anaerobic tilt recently. Under the rallying cry of “Strong is the New Skinny”, young females are increasingly taking up resistance training, often incorporated in functional fitness/strength programs like CrossFit. Simultaneously, the rise of “competitive fitness” events, such as the Tough Mudder obstacle races (which has burgeoned into an international phenomenon and seen its female participation nearly double to 30% since it started in 2010), and the growing popularity of distance running and triathlons are encouraging more casual female fitness consumers to move toward a regimented training regime, in which supplementation is often a logical next step.