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Sports drinks: a market on the rise


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Sports drinks are becoming increasingly popular. As isotonic drinks or hydration drinks, they are a popular way of replenishing fluid and nutrient reserves during and after training.

Due to sweating during exercising, it is necessary to make up for the loss of fluids and nutrients afterwards. Sports drinks - also known as isotonic drinks - have been specially developed for this purpose and primarily contain salts, i.e. electrolytes, which are lost when the body excretes fluid through sweating. Sodium, potassium and magnesium are particularly relevant for sports drinks, which help to maintain the electrolyte balance. This special composition of carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions contributes to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance training and can improve the absorption of water during physical activity. Potassium contributes to normal muscle function, while magnesium reduces fatigue and supports energy metabolism.

Sports drinks often also contain carbohydrates in the form of glucose, sucrose or maltodextrin, which provide the body with a quick source of energy, especially during longer and more intense activities such as endurance sports.


Sports drinks as new "co-trainers" for sport

The pleasant flavour of sports drinks is another plus point. The flavouring of the drinks can help athletes to drink more and thus compensate for their fluid loss. This is particularly beneficial during strenuous activities. Sports drinks are also characterised by their rapid absorption. The formulation is designed to enable rapid fluid intake, as athletes often do not have time to drink large amounts of water and need to replenish their fluid reserves quickly.

Last but not least, sports drinks also offer mental support, as their pleasant flavour and the fact that they provide energy can help to maintain motivation and mental focus during exercise.

Sports drinks: popular thirst quenchers during training

The market is therefore on the move for good reason and the momentum is pointing in one direction: steeply upwards. International data shows that sports drinks are increasingly providing refreshment - probably in line with the growing trend towards fitness and body culture. Protein drinks are also relevant in this context: After all, an adequate protein intake contributes to maintaining and increasing muscle mass. According to FMCG Gurus, 61.5 per cent of consumers surveyed worldwide in August 2023 said they had bought energy or sports drinks in the last three months. 48.2 per cent bought yoghurt drinks with a high protein content, 48.1 per cent milk protein drinks, 25.5 per cent nutritional supplements and 34.8 per cent protein shakes. 16 per cent turned to protein water and 69.3 per cent to sports drinks.

In Europe, the figure for sports drinks was as high as 70.3 per cent. Drinks with a high protein content were purchased by 50.1 per cent of European consumers in the last three months, energy drinks by 59.3 per cent and protein shakes by 34.7 per cent.
Source: FMC Gurus August 2023
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More water, less sugar

The awareness of maintaining a balanced hydration of the body is high among consumers worldwide. For example, 83 per cent of adults in the US state that this is one of their most important health goals throughout the day. 61 per cent believe that sports drinks hydrate better than water. According to Mintel, this perception is due to the marketing of the functional benefits of electrolytes.

According to Mintel, sugar reduction, naturalness and nutritional fortification are the key innovation themes in the launch of sports and energy drinks.

Sports drink brands are now increasingly focussing on low-sugar and low-calorie products as consumers become more concerned about their sugar intake. In the UK, 43 per cent of sports drink buyers are already opting for sugar-free or reduced-sugar variants. In China, 42 per cent of consumers prefer low-sugar energy drinks. 13 per cent of consumers in the UK opt for low-calorie sports drinks.
Source: "A year of innovation in sports and energy drinks, 2023", Amrin Walji, July 2023

Water drinks go far beyond sports drinks

Alex Beckett, Director Food & Drink at Mintel, concludes in his report that water drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, isotonic drinks and detox drinks will gain market share in the coming years.sportlerin_iStock-890403142

Over the next five years, Beckett sees how the older target group could benefit from water drinks. In particular, consumers aged 55 to 64 are showing interest in water drinks with additional functions such as vitamins and flavourings. This group, considered the "new seniors", who are retiring later in life, could help increase sales of bottled water.
Source: "The Future of Water, Sports and Energy Drinks: 2023", Alex Beckett, Mintel, September 2023

What can Austria Juice contribute?

AUSTRIA JUICE offers a broad portfolio of sports drinks with different flavours such as grapefruit, lemon, mixed berry and with a variety of ingredients depending on the requirements. In its own research and development centre, tailor-made and innovative sports drink concepts are developed for customers based on expert know-how.


Sports drinks and related beverages form a rapidly growing market. They are becoming increasingly popular due to their functions, such as the provision of fluids and nutrients, even among consumers aged 55 to 64. The demand for isotonic drinks is increasing as they compensate for the loss of fluids and nutrients during exercise.

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Julia WurzerAuthor

Marketing Manager


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