European Sports Nutrition Industry Insights

Explore the key factors driving growth.

According to a 2019 report published by Mordor Intelligence, Europe’s sports nutrition market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8% from 2020-2024. The sports nutrition industry is divided into three segments: sports foods, sports drinks, and sports supplements. Products in these categories are developed, produced and marketed to offer a wide range of functional benefits, including enhanced physical performance and increased energy levels before, during and after training, weight control, boosted immune system, muscle growth, and meal replacements. Since 2003, the industry has been regulated, monitored, backed, and promoted by the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA)—the trade association representing the interests of the sector across Europe. In the following article, we take a closer look at some of the primary growth factors that are paving the way for new market potential.

Formerly a niche industry, Mordor Intelligence now identifies sports nutrition’s move into the mainstream as one of the key drivers triggering growth. Research and Markets attributes this shift to the general rise in consumer interest around personal health, fitness, and wellbeing. This encompasses the increasing understanding of the role and importance of physical fitness as a means of disease prevention and the promotion of mental health. Fitness is no longer an elite act undertaken by professional athletes; it is embedded in society’s widespread recreational activities and everyday lifestyle choices. This, in turn, trickles down to new consumer behaviour. As people strive to become fitter and faster, healthier and stronger, heavier or lighter, they explicitly seek out products that promise to facilitate them en route, thereby helping them reach their physical goals. Thus, numerous studies have revealed that, for example, the sports drinks market’s growth correlates directly with the increase in the overall number of fitness centres in Europe.

At the same time, the rising demand for natural ingredients across all industries is paving the way for new product innovations. Grand View Research elaborates, “Production of sports drinks with natural ingredients, such as natural sweeteners, is expected to propel the market growth by providing the opportunity to the manufacturers to add value to their products.” And this not only holds true for sports nutrition products with natural ingredients, but also those which occupy the organic space, promise added health benefits, or can make plant-based claims. With regard to the latter, it should be noted, however, that despite growth in the plant-based segment, whey protein powder—an animal-based protein—still dominates Europe’s sports nutrition market and is listed as a core ingredient in over 50% of available products. In a separate example, Businesswire also attributes the overall increase in sports nutrition consumption to the rising demand for alternative medicines in the form of supplements. Looking at our own organic ingredients portfolio at foodcircle, we certainly see this trend in the superfoods category where products such as our organic hemp protein powder or organic ashwagandha powder are piquing interest amongst sports nutrition manufacturers and retailers.  

When segmenting the market geographically, it becomes clear that over 75% of the European sports nutrition industry’s market is dominated by four countries: the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and France. In fact, in the sports drinks sector, over 50% of the market share belongs to the United Kingdom and Germany alone, with 27.3% and (ca.) 24% market share respectively. Businesses in the industry can and should use these figures strategically to decide whether to tap into new markets where growth potential is arguably still very high or to enter established markets where both consumption and competition are high. Similarly, the types of products consumed differ from region to region and can thereby provide indicators to a brand’s potential for success. Mordor Intelligence has identified precisely such differences that provide valuable insights for sports nutrition manufacturers positioning, “The UK population is inclined toward health and fitness. Moreover, consumers in Germany demanding clean-label products, in order to stay aware of the composition of products.” Purchase and download the full report here.

The future looks promising for the sports nutrition sector. At foodcircle, we look forward to joining more sports nutrition manufacturers on their journeys to bringing organic and plant-based products to customers across Europe. Shop organic ingredients for sports foods, sports drinks, and sports supplements online at

Imagery: (1) Lyfe Fuel (2) Lyfe Fuel (3) Vitalii Pavlyshynets via


Magazine Highlights

Stay up-to-date on new products, prices, and industry insights.