Sports Nutrition… A New Whey Forward?
The overwhelming boom in the popularity of sports nutrition supplement products is something we are all familiar with – no matter what our involvement within the food and drink industry. It seems every week there’s a new ‘miracle supplement’, although the market still centres mostly around protein: whey and casein in particular.
So Where Does Lactose-Free Fit In?
Both Whey and Casein protein are milk derivatives, and lactose is a carbohydrate found in milk. Casein poses less of an issue, as it is a separate component of milk, although can contain traces. Whey protein however is far more likely to contain lactose, and more popular. Although filtration processes remove most of the lactose, those who are severely intolerant cannot consume even the smallest amount – making both products a no-go area.
The global sports-nutrition market itself is booming at an incredible rate, and this is down to more than just clever marketing. In January, where New Years’ Resolutions always see Gym usage booming, this is particularly pertinent.
Protein itself has further boosted the sports nutrition market beyond bodybuilders, athletes and gym users. The return of high-protein, low-carb diets such as the Atkins and the Dukan has meant sports nutrition is now mainstream. Products are being marketed on a lifestyle rather than sporting basis, appealing to a wider audience than ever before.
With the market so rapidly expanding, and 75% of the world’s population being lactose intolerant to some extent, it seems somewhat bizarre that Lactose Free Sports Nutrition is a relatively niche market.
Even more strangely, the lactose-intolerant population is highest in Asia – the fastest growing sports nutrition market. Serving the lactose-free sports nutrition market here especially would be a key driver of success. Although small, the market for lactose-free protein supplements is growing.
Alternatives such as lactose-free whey and casein protein – where filtration processes have pointedly ensured there are no traces of lactose – are appearing.
As well as this, it is important not to ignore the growing market and availability of non-dairy protein alternatives, such as soy-protein and pea-protein. Often marketed as vegan protein alternatives, soy and pea protein supplements can be just as effective as sports nutrition for athletes, bodybuilders or those following a lifestyle.
With all this in mind, it seems the only way this market can grow is up, particularly as consumers begin to realise that there do exist products which are lactose-free and just as effective.
The international obsession around fitness and healthy living does not look to be slowing down at any rate, and the proportion of those who are lactose intolerant does not look to be decreasing. It is clear that the collision of these two worlds creates an opportunity for extensive growth and new product development.
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