Food Navigator

Performance beverages are more popular than ever before and the category is brimming with innovation, offering healthy, great-tasting functional beverages – all thanks to flavor modulation technology. Learn how flavor development is shaping the industry and turning sports drinks from a necessity to a choice.

Sports nutrition beverages are everywhere these days. According to Mintel research, the sports and performance drink category is up 18 percent from 2015-2020 and the total category sales are estimated to reach $13.5 billion by 2025. From pre-workout protein shakes and recovery beverages to meal replacements, functional waters and energy drinks – there are countless options available to consumers looking for a quick, refreshing way to boost performance. But as the category grows, so do consumers’ expectations about flavor and overall taste experience.

In the past, sports nutrition beverages lacked variety and were not especially enjoyable to drink. Consumers were typically given a choice between chocolate and vanilla powdered drinks, and the flavor barely disguised the bitterness of the proteins. Sports nutrition beverages that were satisfying to drink were often laden with sugar and other additives to make these products palatable. In many cases, the ingredients added to make these early sports nutrition beverages taste great undermined the nutritional benefit of the drink itself. Read More

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